Fresh water in the veins

There is a fishing dynasty in our midst.
This year’s representatives of the Gibbins’ fishing aristocracy were cousins John “Homer” Gibbins from Morson and Rueben “Bart” Gibbins of Bergland. They left their mark at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship but that is only two fifths of the story.
“We use all homemade baits and tackles,” said John, the older of the pair. “We have never used these lines before but they seem to be working,” added Rueben before the Day Three weigh-in.
After the first day, Team Gibbins (#62) landed 16.14 pounds and sat in 17th place behind Luhman and Raveling’s epic 22 pound bag. But, the Gibbins’ knew that bags like that are akin to being hit by lightning twice.
“That’s a bag of a lifetime,” said Rueben Gibbins as he sat on the dock awaiting Day Three’s weigh-in. Of course, his team also had a superb day.
“The first day, we caught 50 bass,” said the elder Gibbins. “We culled a dozen times,” he added.
The second day, the Gibbins team reeled in almost 17 pounds of Rainy Lake bass to secure a sixth place ranking and cement their berth in the final parade. It was a moment they were savouring as they anxiously waited in the boat for the final weigh-in.
“The parade is the best part” said Rueben. “Trying to make the top ten is a challenge with so many anglers.”
The rainy final morning did nothing to dampen the spirits of the close knit team.
“Neither of us had regular rain gear so we got pretty wet,” laughed John.
Despite the inclement weather the team managed to net just over 15 pounds for a final ranking of eighth out of 134 teams.
Whereas some teams had been on the lake for three weeks of prefishing, the Gibbins, in typical laid back fashion, did not sweat the preparation.
“We weren’t prefishing real hard,” said John. “We were just looking for beaches,” he laughed.
The other three-fifths of the Gibbins’ story revealed itself during the final weigh-ins. To lend support to cousin John and brother Rueben, John’s two brothers, Oliver and Jason, stood by and eagerly watched as the final standings took form.
These Gibbins are certainly no strangers to tournament pressure. Oliver won the Emo Walleye Classic this year, and along with his brother, won the Morson tournament and the Kenora Bass International last year. They are eager to defend their crowns as well as compete in the Chevy Bass Classic in the coming weeks.
Echoing his cousin and his brother, Oliver described his laissez-faire attitude when it comes to tournament preparation.
“We got there in the middle of the night,” he remembered about his Emo Classic victory just two weeks ago. “We didn’t even prefish at all,” he laughed.
The diminutive Oliver assumes the role of the spokesman for the modest Gibbins clan. Standing beside his brother and cousin, he offered a simple answer for his family’s proficiently on the lake.
“We live off the bass and walleye,” he said.
As he surveyed the expansive crowd, Oliver began to make plans to enter the draw for next year’s tournament.
“Do I sign up for it right now?” he asked eagerly.
“It will be nice to fish on a different lake” he added, still fixated on next year’s event. “We are used to Lake of the Woods.”
It could be said that all three brothers, Rueben, Jason and Oliver, were born with silver hooks in their mouths. Their father and their uncle made sure to take each boy on the lake by the time they were four years old.
“We often have walleye cook-offs and things like that,” said Oliver. “We are a real fishing family.”
Emerging from the dense crowd to check out the final standing is yet another angler who wears the name “Gibbins” proudly on his shirt. Jules Gibbins, John’s son, and a cousin to Jason, Oliver and Rueben, is already entering tournaments and guiding fishing trips at the age of 18.
“Oh, he’s really good,” said Oliver about his cousin. “I fish with him all the time.”
“I’ll enter this tournament next year,” said Jules confidently as he eyeballed this year’s final standings. “I’ll be here.”