Weights better at ‘Bassin’ for Bucks’

The 19-annual “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament took place over the weekend in Sioux Narrows.
Started way back in 1996 by local bass anglers Chris Bell and Mel Geisbrecht, this event has stood the test of time and is sold-out with a full field of 120 boats year after year.
Early on, two of the greatest women I’ve ever met took over running the tournament and they continue to do a great job today. Barb Salvador and Debbie Ducharme, with the help of a great team of volunteers, make this one of the most popular events in the region.
They work hard throughout the weekend to make sure everybody has a good time and it doesn’t go unnoticed!
Last year, the weights at “Bassin’ For Bucks” were down from the previous few years, likely due to changing weather throughout the event. They were significantly better this year—despite the fact that largemouths weren’t really much of a factor in the tournament.
The Sioux Narrows area of Lake of the Woods traditionally has had the best largemouth fishing on the lake, but it has slipped somewhat in recent years for some reason.
In most years, they factor into several of the top finishes but they really didn’t this time around.
Veteran anglers Terry McClymont and Tim Strempler walked away with the tournament title this year with a three-day total weight of 54.35 pounds. Their haul was anchored by the largest catch on Day 3—five smallmouths weighing 19.45 pounds.
For winning the event, the pair walked away with a new Crestliner boat sponsored by K-Sports in Kenora.
Second place went to perennial contenders and former tournament champs, Ted and Louise Stewner. They are very good deep-water anglers and the conditions played right into their hands as the cold weather earlier in the week pushed a lot of the smallmouths out of the shallow water onto the deeper humps and points the Stewners target.
Mike Reid and I have fished the tournament together since it started and were fortunate to have three pretty good days of fishing to finish third.
We had a pretty tough practice and just decided to fish in the areas where we saw the best quality fish. We didn’t really have any strong patterns or spots, but it worked out well.
We caught our fish on different lures in different spots all weekend.
We did spend quite a bit of our time targeting largemouths, but only weighed in three of them over the three-day event. We probably should have spent more of our time focused on smallmouths but the chance at catching a big five-pound kicker largemouth gets us every time.
We caught most of our smallmouths on a Northland Impulse Smelt Minnow rigged on a 3/16th oz. jig, fishing in 12-16 feet of water.
The big fish for the weekend was caught by the Kenora team of Ryan Lentz and Jason Eerola—a 5.34-pound largemouth. Though there were a few kicker largemouths weighed in by various teams, they really were a non-factor in the tournament for the most part.
The biggest catch of the weekend came from the eventual fourth-place finishers, Brian McNanney and Matt Rydberg. Their catch of 19.73 pounds included one big largemouth and four smallmouths.
There are a few reasons why “Bassin’ For Bucks” is so popular with anglers, both from our area and from several states. The format is unique in that daily prizes are awarded to the top six weights each day, so teams that have a tough start still have something to fish towards on each of the three days.
One good day can get you paid!
I think people just like Sioux Narrows, as well. It’s a beautiful part of Lake of the Woods and the community itself is very supportive of the event.
My wife, August, fished with her cousin, Tara Savage, and they had fun, as well. We stayed in a cabin at Crawfords Camp all week, sampled dinner at a few different places, and had a late-night stop at the Mine Shaft one night.
Everywhere we went, people were talking fishing and life in a small town.
For more information on the tournament, visit bassinforbucks.com