Godin, Wilson crush KBI tourney

The 30th-annual Kenora Bass International (KBI) wrapped up Saturday under the White Cap Pavilion and when all was said and done, Bill Godin of Devlin and his partner, Leroy Wilson from International Falls, emerged as champions for the second time.
Beautiful weather in the days leading up to the tournament, as well as over the course of the three-day event, led to the highest weights the KBI has ever seen.
Although Godin and Wilson’s total of 55.58 pounds was not a new tournament record, it was the weight it took to crack the top 10–or even earn a cheque–that was the most impressive.
Teams were able to run all over the massive lake because of the calm conditions and beautiful weather, so that contributed to the great fishing. Godin and Wilson took advantage of these conditions, running to the south end of the lake each day to wrangle up their big fish.
As has been the case over the past couple of years, smallmouth bass dominated the winners’ catch, although largemouths factored into the catches of the second- and third-place teams.
Brian McNanney and Matt Rydberg of Sioux Narrows caught almost 18 pounds every day for a three-day total of 53.33 pounds to finish second. Their Day 3 catch included the big bass of the day at 5.57 pounds.
Third-place finishers Bryan Gustafson and Jamie Bruce brought in the biggest catch on Day Two when they dropped 20.22 pounds on the scale to move from 38th place after Day One up to second.
They spent the majority of the tournament fishing for largemouths and caught some big ones on Day Two.
In the 30-year history of the KBI, there only had been about half-a-dozen limits that cracked the 20-pound mark but there was one each day this year. Godin and Wilson had a 20-pound limit of smallmouths on Day 3 while Manitoba anglers Aaron Wiebe and Peter Tully took the lead on Day One with the biggest catch of the tournament at 20.40 pounds.
They also had the big fish on Day One–a 6.37-pound largemouth.
Mike Reid and his partner, Paul Skolyckas, had the big fish of the tournament with their 6.49-pound largemouth on Day Two to win the Frank McClymont Big Bass Memorial Award.
For the first time since 1998, I teamed up with my Dad this year and we had a great time together in the boat. He took me in the KBI when I was 10 years old back in 1993 and it was my first tournament, so it was special for us to fish together again.
We ended up having a great tournament and finished fourth.
It was pretty awesome to get to go through the boat parade together Saturday afternoon. It really is amazing how many people come out to support this event every year, especially on the Saturday.
The KBI is a big event for Kenora as far as attracting a bunch of people to the community for the week, and for putting Lake of the Woods and Sunset Country on the map as a premier bass-fishing destination in North America.
A huge thank-you goes out to all of the volunteers who make this event happen year after year. I attend some of the planning meetings when I can throughout the winter and I can tell you these people put a lot of hours into planning the tournament.
Then they are down at the tent all weekend during the event–without getting paid. It’s really amazing!
Things really could not have been scripted any better for the 30th-annual KBI this past weekend with the great weather and excellent fishing.
Here is to many more great events down the road!

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