‘Castin’ For Cash’ always a fun time

Bass anglers from across Sunset Country converged on the Despair, Footprint, and Jackfish chain of lakes last Friday and Saturday to take part in the 10th-annual “Castin’ For Cash” bass tournament.
Organizers Bill and Nell Godin run the event out of their resort, Lake Despair Lodge, and do an excellent job catering to the needs of all the anglers and their families.
From the anglers’ point of view, this event was a success as a full field of 68 teams competed, the weather was perfect, and everybody had fun.
Capturing first place was the team of Jon Evans from Fort Frances and Gus McFaddin from Beaumont, Tex.. They brought in catches of 14.52 and 14.79 pounds for a two-day total of 29.31 pounds.
They led the event after day one and did not look back, narrowly beating out the team of Kelvin Caul and Ted Heyens, who finished second with 28.57 pounds.
Evans and McFaddin have fished the tournament together for a few years now. McFaddin owns a cabin in the Nestor Falls area and has been coming up to Sunset Country since 1939.
I did not get a chance to chat with him after the tournament because he was tired out from the extreme heat on Saturday, but Evans explained he is a good angler with a lot of history in the region.
Many years ago, he used to guide for some of the camps in the Nestor Falls area and he described the special guide licence that fishing guides needed at the time.
McFaddin explained that all guides had to sew a patch onto their jacket or hat, and wear it while they were on the water. Interesting stuff.
“Castin’ For Cash” is a fun tournament because many of the anglers stay at the Godins’ resort for the weekend. The atmosphere around camp in the evenings is fun and there always is plenty of entertainment going on.
The tournament has a slightly more laid back atmosphere than many of the other events. And though many of the anglers take the weekend seriously, myself included, it is a relaxing event.
Cellphone service is minimal so you can stay up there and lose touch with everything for a few days, which is nice.
There were no shortage of good stories on the weekend from other anglers. Former champ Leroy Wilson had a good one at the end of Day 1.
While we were waiting in the bay to weigh in our fish, he told me he lost two nice bass early in the morning on a Northland swimbait because he forgot to remove the plastic hook cover that comes on the baits out of the package as a safety precaution.
He said he had two fish bite good, fight for a few seconds, then jump and spit his bait with ease.
After the second lost fish, Leroy inspected his bait to find a plastic cover over the hook. Bad start to the tournament.
On Day 2, my partner, August Collinson, and I were fishing a quiet shoreline around noon when a boat drove past us pulling a tube. I did not pay much attention to it but August noticed that it was our friends and fellow tournament anglers, Eric Lessman and Todd Grennier.
Like us, they were experiencing tough fishing over the weekend so they decided to quit fishing at lunch time and enjoy the rest of the day on the water tubing.
We witnessed a couple of good wipe-outs that made our day.
August and I have had success at this tournament over the past couple of years, but we really struggled this weekend and finished in 16th place—one spot out of the money.
We found some big fish in practice on offshore humps and spent a lot of time chasing those. Turns out there were not as many out there as we thought.
It’s amazing how fast the tournament days go by when you aren’t catching fish. We tried a variety of depths, but just could not get anything solid figured out.
Meanwhile, I am off to Las Vegas for a few days this week to attend the annual ICAST fishing show. This is a really big event that attracts people from all corners of the fishing industry.
Tournament pros, TV personalities, writers, and tackle buyers all attend to see all the new products that fishing tackle manufacturers are releasing for the upcoming year.
Look for a report next week of the best new items I see in Vegas.

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