Sunset Country tournament rundown

After a great week at home, I’m back on the road again—fishing the last FLW Tour event of the season at Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee.
So far my practice for this last event has been going pretty good.
This is a really good lake that kicked out as many giant bass as any lake in the United States this winter. In fact, several five-fish limits weighing more than 40 pounds came across the scales in February and March.
Although the weights are unlikely to be that high during the tournament this weekend, there will be plenty of big bass weighed in. After a couple of tough tournaments, I’m hoping to end the season on a strong note this weekend.
After this event is over, I’m very excited to get back home to Sunset Country to get the bass tournament season going on our lakes.
I follow bass fishing across North America and there is nowhere else that has the quality open, team tournaments that we have on our waters, in terms of participation, payouts, and community support.
We also have some of the best fishing you will find anywhere. So when you combine all of those factors, our tournament options are pretty awesome.
Although I do fish for walleye, pike, musky, lake trout, and other species during the open-water season, my love is for bass fishing and competing in area tournaments.
Here’s a rundown of the great events we have coming up over the next few months in the Kenora and Fort Frances areas.
The first bass tournament of the year is the “Casting For Cash” event put on by Bill and Nell Godin at their resort on Lake Despair. The Despair chain of lakes has great smallmouth fishing that seems to be getting better every year.
This is a fun event that I’m fishing with my fiancé, August.
The dates for this tournament are July 5-6. There usually is around 60 boats in the field and the entry fee is $400.
The following weekend, area anglers will be on Shoal Lake for the Big Bass Classic. This event has been going on for more than 20 years on what is arguably the best bass fishery we have in Sunset Country.
This tournament, which runs July 13-14, usually draws about 75 boats fishing for a $12,000 first-place prize. The entry fee is $500 and you can sign up on the morning of Day 1.
Chris Savage and I will be fishing this tournament for the 14th year in a row.
On the weekend of July 20-21, the action shifts to Lake of the Woods for the Bronzeback Classic—an event that sold out quick back in March with a 100-boat field.
This is a smallmouth-only tournament featuring a wide variety of prizes.
There are a bunch of adult/child and male/female teams competing in this tournament and everybody has a lot of fun. August and I are teaming up again for it.
The next two tournaments are the two biggest in our region, with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship running July 25-27 and the Kenora Bass International taking place Aug. 8-10.
These are very prestigious events with big money on the line. These two tournaments are the highlight of the season for me, and something that I look forward to all year long.
The big news out of Fort Frances this year is that the tournament is being held back down at the Sorting Gap Marina on the riverfront. It is always a fun week in the Fort and I think this move will improve the atmosphere of the whole event.
My friend, John Peterson from Minnesota, and I team up in Fort Frances while Chris Savage and I will be trying to earn our third KBI title in August.
The last big event for area anglers is the “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament in Sioux Narrows on Sept. 6-8. This tournament has a $400 entry fee and is one of the favourites of area anglers.
Great fishing can be had on one of the most beautiful sections of Lake of the Woods.
Mike Reid and I have fished this tournament together every year since it started in 1996 and we’re still chasing that first-place title.
I think we’ve finished in nearly every spot in the top 10, including three second-place finishes, so we’re going to be due one of these years.
I can’t wait to get home next week to get the season rolling at home. If you’re looking for any more information, most of these events have good websites or feel free to get a hold of me if you have any questions.
Look for my report from the last FLW Tour event of the season in my column next week.