Area bass tourneys still in need of anglers

Sunset Country’s two big summer bass events, the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and the Kenora Bass International, still are looking for teams to fill their fields for the upcoming 2009 events.
Both events used to fill up instantly the day deposits were due in the fall, with many anglers left on the waiting list. But like many extra-curricular activities, these tournaments are feeling the effects of the tough economy throughout North America.
I get into conversations with anglers from all over the region, and all over North America really, about these two events. There always are a select few, no matter what the topic is, that reflect a negative perspective on everything and the same can be said for these bass events.
Many will speculate that since the fields are not full that these tournaments are dying, but that is far from the case. Both organizations have a dedicated group of individuals who work throughout the year to make these tournaments world-class events.
There is nothing to criticize these events for.
Many folks probably don’t realize it but there is nowhere else in North America that has the quality open team tournaments that we do in this region. Look at Minnesota and southern Ontario. Bass tournaments were popular in these places long before they were popular in Sunset Country, but their big events lost support from anglers, volunteers, and sponsors and now they have some small tournaments to fish and that’s it.
There are no big community events with thousands of spectators enjoying the weigh-in festivities and evening events, and there are no big prizes for the anglers.
Frank McClymont, one of the directors of the KBI, sent me a note this week saying there currently are 108 boats signed up for the KBI. Fort Frances has about 140 boats signed up for their event. Both tournaments will accommodate 150 teams, so they still are looking for anglers.
McClymont shared an interesting piece of information with me about the KBI; that it is the foundation for all tournaments in our region.
The KBI was the first bass tournament in Northwestern Ontario and all of the other events in this region have taken something from it and added their own ideas. But they all have benefited from the good people who have worked in the past and present to make the KBI what it is today.
There has been a decline in American anglers at both events and the reality of it is that local anglers in Northwestern Ontario are getting too good. In the early years of the KBI, American teams won the Can-Am Challenge nearly every year. Now, Canadian teams win this sidebar event most years.
Many of these anglers supported our tournaments for many years but if they are not winning anything, then they stop coming.
It used to be that anglers in our area were new to bass fishing and we were behind our friends from the south in trendy new tackle and techniques. Now with all the great fishing publications available and the endless supply of information on the Internet, this disparity no longer exists.
Bass anglers in Northwestern Ontario have become very good on their home waters—and have produced on waters outside this region, as well.
If you are considering entering one of these events, they are worth it in so many ways. If you know someone you think would like to fish one of these tournaments but need some help to enter, lend support.
I can tell you there is a very dedicated group of people who work to make these events a success and go out of their way to make the anglers feel like are on cloud nine for a weekend.
I still can remember the first KBI I fished with my dad when I was 10 years old. The entry fee was my Christmas gift that year. Since then, the KBI has changed and directed my life in so many ways.
I absolutely love to fish, live for the competition, and have chosen to pursue a career within the fishing industry.

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