Another great SKBI in books

The 24th-annual Shaw Kenora Bass International took place on Lake of the Woods this past weekend and another great event went down without any glitches.
The weather was great throughout the weekend—other than a quick storm that rumbled through the area Thursday morning.
I remember the storm because I forgot the rainsuits for both me and my partner, Chris Savage, on Day 1 so we got absolutely soaked for an hour while it rained and the wind blew.
I did have a hooded sweatshirt that I wore, which helped, but “Savy” had nothing but a T-shirt. He didn’t complain, though, despite the biggest goose bumps I’ve ever seen on anybody and a pretty good cough.
It was a roller-coaster ride of a weekend for us. We ended up with a second-place finish which, when everything was said and done, we were extremely pleased with. At the time it was a little bit tough, though, but only because these big tournaments are so hard to win.
When you get the shot, you want to make it happen.
Two of our good friends, Mark Libitka and Dave Bennett, ended up winning the tournament, beating us by .14 of a pound—that’s less than two ounces. It was a tight finish and in the end they squeaked by us.
Chris finished second in 2009, as well, and lost that one by a .02-pound margin.
I probably fish with Dave Bennett more than anyone else over the course of the year. We do a bunch of ice-fishing trips together, guide together a lot, and even fish a few tournaments together. So I was happy to see him enjoy all the success—even though I wanted to win really bad!
Chris and I probably fished the best tournament we ever have this past weekend in 12 years of fishing together. Unfortunately, we lost only a couple of fish over the weekend, both on the first day.
We did not catch a lot of fish, but we made some good decisions and really let the weather conditions tell us what to do.
We’ve had a lot of success fishing for largemouths over the years and so we spent a great deal of time over the first two days fishing for them. We did not even catch one on the first day and managed to get only one on Day 2.
On Day 3, we went for it again—thinking we needed to get a big bag to win the tournament because the entire top 10 was packed so tightly together.
?We finally managed to get the largemouths going on Day 3 (Saturday) and brought in our largest catch of the weekend. We brought in consistent catches of 16.36 on Day 1, 16.42 on Day 2, and 17.76 on Day 3.
They hold the top 10 after Day 2 to weigh-in last on the final day. We basically were tied with Bennett and Libitka heading out on Day 3, holding a .01-pound lead on them.
When we returned at the end of the day, we did not really tell each other what we had—other than saying we had over 15 pounds and under 20 pounds. It might not sound like much, but that leaves a lot to the imagination.
We had our best day and when we caught our last good fish in the afternoon, “Savy” said that if someone beats us, they deserve it. The 17.91-pound bag Bennett and Libitka brought in was enough to win.
The big catch of the weekend was brought in on Day 3 by the team of Troy Norman and Jay Samsal. Their haul of 18.92 pounds helped land them in fifth place overall.
It was an awesome comeback after their first day catch of 11.95 left them well off the pace.
It was fitting that the big bass of the weekend was caught by the biggest angler in the tournament, Joe Pritchett. Partnered with Hiram Archibald, the 6.02-pound bass was part of their big 18.33 bag that was the largest on Day 2.
The leaders after Day 1, Alex Keszler and Wayne Wagner, brought in 18.76 pounds of smallmouth bass that day and ended up finishing in sixth place.
A huge thank-you to all the volunteers who made the SKBI another awesome event for the anglers and the city of Kenora. It is one of the town’s biggest events of the summer and it takes a bunch of people to make it happen every year, so thank you all very much!
The next big bass event in Sunset Country is the annual “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament in Sioux Narrows coming up in September.
There are still about 25 spots open if you are interested in signing up. You can find registration forms online at the tournament’s website.

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