Despite heavy rain all weekend, competitors at the fifth-annual Morson Bass International tournament perservered and wowed the crowds at both weigh-ins with impressive baskets of fish.
On Day 1, the father-and-son team of Almer and Bill Godin (of Rainy River and Devlin, respectively) finished the day with five fish totalling a whopping 17.23 pounds to lead the pack.
They were followed by two teams tied with 15.97 pounds (Pat Gibbins/Pat Handorgan and Reuben Gibbins/Brian Paulsen).
Rounding out the top five on Day 1were newcomers Gil Maille/Rachel Maille (15.07) and Mike Graham/Paul Visser (14.98).
These five teams were held back until the very end of Day 2 and were brought into the tent in their boats from lowest rank to highest to see if they could dethrone last year’s champs, Terry Gill/Chad Hanson, who had finished in sixth place on Day 1 with 14.57 pounds.
The defending champs had a stellar second day, netting the largest basket of the day at 16.45 pounds for a two-day total of 31.02.
Last year they won it with 31.99 pounds, but they weren’t ready to count their chickens as they knew some big baskets were still to come.
As the rest of the field passed through the scales, no one knocked Gill and Hanson off the podium. Then the top five came in one boat at a time.
Graham and Visser managed only 12.08 pounds on Day 2 for a two-day total of 27.06 pounds and a ninth-place finish overall.
The Mailles brought in 13.35 pounds for an overall total of 28.42 pounds and a fifth-place finish—good enough for $700 in prize money.
Of the two teams tied for second after Day 1, Gibbins/Paulson weighed in 13.59 pounds while Gibbins/Handorgan weighed in 13.26.
They finished with 29.56 and 29.23 pounds, respectively, to wind up in third ($1,350) and fourth ($950).
It all came down to Almer and Bill Godin, who needed 13.80 pounds to win it all.
They rolled into the tent and presented five fine fish. The crowded cheered fervently as Almer held up the first three. Then he and Bill did a double presentation and the crowd went crazy.
As the fish were weighed, Gill and Hanson looked nervous. And when the scales tipped 14.61 pounds, they graciously congratulated the Godins, who took home $3,500 as the 2009 M.B.I. champs.
Bill has been fishing the tournament with his nephew, Bryce, and Almer with Bryce’s dad, Danny. However, they had to attend a wedding in Kenora hence the Almer/Bill combination.
Now that they’ve won, Bill would not comment on whether he would be sticking with dad or taking Bryce back next year. But he did say this “was very special for me this year . . . to fish with dad, and to win it, after losing mom this year.”
Bill said they travelled to the Rainy River from Morson on Day 1 but “it just wasn’t happening.”
He said they hit a lot of fish on a few spots on Day 1 but backed off one spot to avoid fishing it out for Day 2, which proved smart as they did well there again.
“We jigged mostly with tubes and did really well on two reefs today,” Bill said Sunday. “We culled a lot and came in with nice fish.”
Meanwhile, despite heavy rain for the exact hour the kids’ derby was held, 30 youngsters braved the elements and landed 19 fish.
For the third time, Patrick Vogan won the deby, catching 12 fish!
Coming in second was Braydon Kreger with two fish.
The heavy rain from the first hole to the last (when it quit) also did not hamper seven diehards in the first-annual LoW Fire Department golf scramble.
The top team with a score of 40 was Wayne Shatford and Steve Beyak while coming in second was Gary and Stella Tuesday (44).
Closest to the pin was Steve Beyak.