Great memories of bass tournament

I remember the first Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
On the Sunday of the tournament, I went out on Rainy Lake with Rick Socholotuk to check some fishing boats in the afternoon. We ducked under the low side of the causeway and snapped the antennae that was in contact with the main command centre.
I remember the afternoon as a person recovering from some broken ribs and crossing some pounding waves that only made things worse. I shouldn’t have been out in the boat.
Bill Boulton was the chairman that year and the bass fishermen brought excitement to the community.
I didn’t stick around for the weigh-in. Norm and Dave Lindsay won the first tournament and would go on to win several more tournaments either together or with different partners.
Doug Cain and I would join many others at the docks in the morning and would tease the anglers on their boat-launching abilities. We were always joined by Lionel Roberts who emceed the tournament.
Later, I would direct the anglers to the launch ramp and eventually became the director of angler relations.
One morning stands out in my mind. Randy Amenrude and Gary Lake had returned to the Sorting Gap shortly after nine.
Randy showed me a present in his hand and swore me to secrecy about the lure. He had managed to obtain some eight centimetre Rapala jerk baits which had been introduced at ICAST just the weekend before and had successfully embedded the bait in his hand.
He wondered if I knew how to remove the hooks. Luckily for him, I had received a lesson just the day before from an angler who had caught a lure in his leg.
The hook was removed and the team of Amenrude and Lake went on to win the tournament that year and announced to the audience on the final day the lure that won the tournament.
Next year, all the stores loaded up on the Rapala jerk baits.
Teddy Davis had a big boat that he used to take and release bass up into the north arm of Rainy Lake.
The lower part of the bow was painted to show a shark mouth opening up with teeth.
I remember when Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun won their first tournament, and went down next to the boat with their children and had their photo taken. Their family was always a big part of the tournament and they celebrated with their kids their victory.
I have a lot of great memories. Bill and Jim won the tournament two years in a row and Billy didn’t want to go through the tent on the boat.
Rather, he was everywhere with his camera shooting hundreds of pictures of the weigh-in and the crowds.
And only after the boat came to a stop would he climb up and help his brother, Jim, bag the fish–and even then he captured the anticipation of the crowd on film from the boat deck.
I have lots of great memories of the tournament. The tournament has had a great impact on the economy of the community over its 25 years.
The tournament changed the boat-buying patterns of the district. The tournament filled motels and hotels with anglers and friends.
Friendships with anglers have grown and blossomed reaching out to all parts of the U.S. and Canada.
A new younger group of fishermen now compete. Regional bass fishermen have become better anglers being able to compete on equal footing with some of the best anglers in North America.
Take time to see the weigh-ins.

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