Falls bass derby taking shape

The inaugural live-release International Falls Bass Championship, scheduled for Aug. 26-27, will feature a unique format using both Rainy Lake and Rainy River.
Half the anglers will spend the day on the lake or river, then switch venues for the second day.
Daily weigh-ins will be conducted in Smokey Bear Park in downtown International Falls, where entertainment and vendors also will be set up.
The tournament plans to draw a field of 60 teams, which will vie for $30,000 in prizes.
In addition, the winner of the championship will have a spot reserved to compete in the 2006 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
To register for the tournament or for more information, visit the tournament website at www.ifallsbass.com or contact the area’s Visitor and Convention Bureau at 1-218-283-9400.
Teams already registered for the event include many who fish a number of professional bass tournaments around the U.S. Midwest and Ontario.
Each two-angler team is required to pay a $500 entry fee to compete for the $10,000 first-place prize money (based on a field of 60 teams).
Chip Leer, a professional fishing guide and outdoor television and radio personality, will serve as master of ceremonies of the event.
Leer, who served as emcee of the Minnesota pro-am bass tournament conducted on Rainy Lake in 2003, directs the Leech Lake Mercury Walleye Classic—one of the U.S. Midwest’s largest walleye tournaments.
He has authored a number of fishing articles which have appeared in a variety of outdoors publications, and his voice is heard weekly on any number of outdoors radio and television programs.
Raffles during the tournament are expected to offer chances on a boat, motor, and trailer, and cash awards. The raffle will serve as a main fundraiser for what organizers plan to be an annual event.
Raffle sales also will benefit the United Way.
Pete Schultz, director of the championship board, said the August tournament is a chance to showcase the area’s productive bass fishery.
The International Falls Bass Championship will follow the successful, long-running Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship planned for July.
“We’re not competing with the Fort Frances tournament, but will complement it,” Schultz said, noting organizers of the Canadian tournament have been helping to plan the Falls one and are expected to help support it in a variety of ways.
He noted the FFCBC event already has reserved a spot in its 2006 tournament for the winning team from this year’s International Falls Bass Championship.
“We would hope our tournament will be as successful as the Canadian event,” Schultz remarked.