Records broken at tournaments

It was a good weekend of bass fishing for anglers across the Sunset Country region with record setting catches brought to the scales at both the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship on Rainy Lake and the Bronzeback Classic on Lake of the Woods. Nice weather, reduced fishing pressure over the past year and anglers simply getting better are all reasons for the bigger catches.

Down at Rainy Lake, Troy Norman and Jay Samsal won the FFCBC for the third time. This time, they became the first team in the 26 year history of the event to crack the 60 pound mark for three days. Their total of 62.10 was more than three pounds ahead of the record of 58.62 set way back in 1998 by five time champions Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun. Their fish over the weekend averaged 4.14 pounds, very impressive stuff.

At the Bronzeback Classic on Lake of the Woods, Jamie and Ashley Bruce won for the second time, with a two day total of 36.20 pounds, besting the second place team of Stephen Lundin and Stephanie Novak who brought 33.40 pounds to the scales. It was the first time any team had broke the 33 pound mark in the ten year history of the tournament.

Both events took place with some changes this year due to the pandemic but the anglers are very grateful for the directors and volunteers at each event who made these tournaments happen. Our summers are short and there are a bunch of us who love bass fishing and competing in tournaments so getting to do a few of them brings back some level of normality and gives us an opportunity to have some fun.

Jay Samsal, Scott Dingwall, Troy Norman and Jeff Gustafson celebrate Samsal and Norman’s victory at the FFCBC this past weekend.

The FFCBC had a little bit smaller field this year because they were missing between 20 and 30 U.S. teams that usually participate in the event but there were around 15 new teams this year so that was great to see. Rainy Lake is a beautiful body of water and the tournament has always been run to a high standard so it’s a weekend that I always look forward to every year.

I got to Fort Frances and got in a day and a half of practice, which is less than I would normally do but I just planned to fish a lot of the places that have been good in the past with hopes that we would figure out a good pattern to replicate. My regular partner John Peterson is from Minnesota. He was unable to attend this year so I fished with one of my long time fishing pals, Scott Dingwall.

We had a great first day of the tournament, landing in 7th place with 18.68, but had a pair of 16 pound limits on days two and three to eventually finish in 14th. After a few years of tougher results I think we need to start exploring the lake for some new areas to fish. We had a bunch of great years fishing in the area that we like but sometimes the good memories can hurt you in these tournaments, versus fishing the conditions.

It was still fun to get to spend a few days on Rainy Lake. As I said earlier, I always look forward to the chance to fish Rainy and while I live near Lake of the Woods and enjoy fishing it when I can, the thing I like about Rainy is that it is more remote and much quieter overall. You can find areas on Rainy where you might not see another boat all day. There are pine covered shorelines and beaches everywhere, it’s just a really nice lake. Congratulations to all of the winners over the weekend, next up locally is the Kenora Bass International on Lake of the Woods August 5-7. There are still some spots available for anglers interested in fishing.