Annual KBI derby sees close finish

?I will never forget the final moments of the 2009 Shaw Kenora Bass International that took place over the past weekend. Chris Savage and I had the win in our grasp, but came up two one-hundredths of a pound short to our friends from Sioux Narrows, Brian McNanny and Matt Rydberg.
Our hats are off to Brian and Matt for three solid catches, they deserved the win. They are great anglers and have put in the time and figured out how to catch largemouth bass in Lake of the Woods better than anybody else. I mentioned it on stage Saturday, but Brian set the lake record last September at the Bassin’ For Bucks tournament in Sioux Narrows with a three day total of 59.14 pounds.
A lot of people have asked me in the last few days how it felt to lose by such a close margin. I think a lot of people expected us to be disappointed or upset, but Chris and I were really happy to take second in this very competitive tournament. I said it last year when we won, it is so hard to win any of these big tournaments, so to finish second is still awesome. Beyond that, we really are great friends with Brian and Matt and have all the respect in the World for them, so we were happy for them. It’s such a great feeling to win, so I hope they are still enjoying it…which I’m sure they are!
When you fish tournaments enough, you catch both ends of the close finishes, by that I mean you end up beating people by slim margins and you get beat by slim margins. We’ll get our chance again someday. We had a really tough day the first day so to come back the way we did was very satisfying.
I have to mention that our day two catch of 20.52 pounds is a tournament record and is in fact the first bag ever over 20 pounds at the KBI, so that really made our whole weekend. I also caught my biggest Canadian bass ever that day, a largemouth weighing 5.72 pounds.
The weekend was really a roller-coaster of emotions for us, with a tough first day that put us in 47th place. After that we figured we were just fishing to try and get in the top 30 and get our money back. We just didn’t really get it going in practice and things stayed the same that first day.
On day two, something changed and we were able to score on five big largemouths, our best tournament day ever. On day three, we caught three more big largemouths but couldn’t get the last two in the boat. We managed to catch some decent smallmouths on our way home and gave Brian and Matt, who were leading heading into day three, a run for their money.
Congratulations also go out to the rest of the top five.
Third place finishers, Mike Causyn and Tim Strempler made a big run on day three with the biggest catch of the day. They were followed closely by Bart Stebnitsky and Darren Marcine who had the second best catch on day three. Both of these teams came from outside the top ten to start the day, something that is very hard to accomplish.
Darren and Bart should be extra proud because they knocked off the rock-solid team of Alex Keszler and Wayne Wagner, who finished fifth. Both of these teams caught smallmouths all three days and to beat Keszler and Wagner is no easy feat, they have been dominate the last few years at tournaments all over the region.
A big thanks to all the volunteers, directors and sponsors that made the 2009 KBI the best ever.
The crowd for the weigh-in on Saturday was probably the biggest ever and that made for a very fun boat parade.
Shaw did a phenomenal job of putting together a great production for the final weigh-in as well. We spent Sunday afternoon watching the re-run and it was very well done.
Thanks to everybody.

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