Couple wins final bass tourney of year

Ted Stewner was up to his old tricks as he and wife, Louise, took home first place in the LaBelle’s Fall Classic on Rainy Lake this past weekend.
This is the fourth time Stewner has won the final bass event of the season and he did it with authority this time around—earning the biggest fish award on the second and final day Sunday with a 5.10-pound monster to go along with the only catch on Day 2 that topped 19 pounds.
Rainy Lake fished tougher than usual last weekend and most of the anglers agreed it likely was because the weather has been to warm so bass were not committed to deeper water areas where they usually congregate at this time of year. Smallmouths were scattered all over the place.
I heard reports of anglers catching fish in as little as two feet of water all the way down to 25 feet.
My partner, Joe Thrun, and I took eighth place. We targeted humps and points of all depths, but caught most of our fish in 12-16 feet of water.
We were able to mark most of these fish on the electronics, and then drop our bait down and catch them. The key was to cover a lot water and hit as many spots as we could.
We would catch one or two fish on a spot and then move on. Sitting on a spot did not seem to pay off if the bass were not biting.
The big key with smallmouths is if they are going to bite, they usually show themselves awfully quick.
Second place went to the team of Alex and Darrell Keszler, which was no real surprise. These guys have been on fire and had an awesome year, including finishing second in both of the Rainy Lake tournaments this year, which is quite a feat.
The Keszlers brought in the biggest catch on Day 1 on Saturday, as well as the tournament, with a 20.70-pound bag. But their 16.64 pounds on Sunday left them a little bit short of the Stewners after the finale weigh-in.
Bill Senter and Brian Durham of Missouri took third-place honours, followed in fourth by Chad and Gerry Hanson of Fort Frances, who had one of the biggest catches on Day 2, while Mike and Sandy Salvador of Sioux Narrows rounded out the top five (the latter took the big fish award for Day 1 with a 4.94-pound smallmouth).
Although the smallmouths were a little bit tough on Rainy on the weekend, the walleyes were on fire. We caught nearly as many walleyes as bass for four days straight last week and caught fish up to 12 pounds. If you threw a jerkbait like an X-Rap up to some wind-blown boulders, they would just about rip your arm off—it was incredible.
These were some of the biggest walleyes I’ve ever caught and I got similar reports from many of the other anglers in the tournament.

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