Anglers cross fingers as bass draw

Lady Luck will be the best friend of many local anglers next week.
The random draw for the 45 available spots for next year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship will be held this coming Wednesday (Oct. 2) at La Place Rendez-Vous.
The top 90 teams from this past July’s derby, which doled out $133,000 in prize money, are automatically in next year.
FFCBC media relations director Bud Edwards said Thursday morning that the number of people throwing their names into the hat for the remaining 45 spots has been equal to—or even better than—the number who tried last year.
“With the rate of response having been so high, we’ll definitely have a full field,” said Edwards. “It doesn’t surprise me because of the way people seem to enjoy it so much.
“Many of the anglers say how it’s the best bass fishing tournament to go to all year.”
The deadline to enter the draw is this Monday (Sept. 30). Completed entry forms, along with a $200 deposit, can be dropped off at the Times office.
After the initial 45 spots are filled, all others entered will be drawn and placed in numerical order on a waiting list in case any teams already in the tournament are unable to compete.
“We’ve never had a lot of dropouts from the tournament,” noted Edwards. “The most ever was about 10.
“If you get selected between one and 15 for the waiting list, you’ve got a reasonable opportunity.
“Everyone realizes if you get No. 60, you’re not going to make it in. But hope springs eternal,” he added.
Edwards guessed the reason for the increasing interest in the FFCBC stems from the tournament’s evolution over its first eight years from a basic fishing derby to a week-long festival.
“The response from spectator, the town, and the volunteers is something the anglers really notice,” he said. “From the angling component to the entertainment to the family aspect of it, there’s something for everyone.”
The evening begins with a mix-and-mingle at 6:30 p.m., followed by the draw at 7 and then presentations to tournament sponsors for their contributions.
The night will close with a look ahead to the 2004 and 2005 tournaments, where Edwards said ideas on how to improve the event will be considered.
“One thing we’re looking at is getting the message out to sponsors about the marketing avenues available to them to reach anglers,” he suggested.
One option available to platinum (highest-level) sponsors, he added, is the placing of advertising in the tournament newsletter that’s mailed out to fishermen.
“It’s a good target market with many spin-offs. You’re not only reaching the anglers, but their family and friends, as well,” Edwards said.