Anglers battling nerves heading into Day 1

Dan Falloon

Bass fishing may have been the sport of the day, but many anglers were talking about another creature—butterflies—on the docks at the Sorting Gap Marina this morning before heading out for Day 1 of the 16th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Granted, some of the teams had reason to be a little unsure of what to expect, like FFCBC rookie duo Brad Eberhart and Ryan Meier from Illinois.
Their major worry?
“We’re Team 88,” cracked Eberhart, referring to his team’s starting position out of 106 boats that took to the water this morning.
“Hopefully we move up from 88.”
Fortunately for them, they’ll be at an advantage on Day 2 tomorrow when the flights will launch, as they did last year, in reverse order.
Eberhart and Meier have fished Rainy Lake in both the spring and the fall, but have found some summer spots they’re counting on to produce this week.
“If we just fish our spots—we’re not going to win or anything, we’re hoping to get 14 or 15 pounds,” Eberhart noted.
“We’ll just try to finish respectably.”
However, things have been a little tough in the four days of pre-fishing the pair had out on the water.
“The fishing’s been hard. Usually, we catch a few,” said Eberhart.
 “It’s a lot different than May fishing,” he added. “We’ve been catching fish, it’s just that some of them aren’t the right size.”
But even if the fishing doesn’t go great this week, Eberhart has a little bit of perspective anyway.
“It’s another day of fishing. At least we’re not working,” he joked.
Meanwhile, Calvin McKay from International Falls, alongside partner Chad Jonson, couldn’t wait for the fishing to get underway.
“[I’ve got] butterflies,” he admitted. “We’re ready to be out there, I guess.
“Ready for Day 1 to be over with,” he added. “Then we can relax a little bit.
“The first day’s always the toughest.”
Mandi Olson was another angler with some nerves this morning despite fishing in her sixth FFCBC.
“I’m always nervous, but I’m pretty confident we’ll do okay,” she remarked.
“The fishing’s always good.”
“The pre-fishing was slow, as always,” chipped in her dad and partner, Ken Olson.
“We’ll just have to run around, see who’s home today.”
Some anglers haven’t been able to find any patterns with some trophy winners, so they hoped some good spots would materialize beginning today.
“We’re looking for bigger fish, that’s for sure,” said Todd Jackson of Cohasset, Mn., who started pre-fishing with partner Gregg Peterson on Saturday.
“The bigger ones are being a little elusive for three days of fishing.”
None of the anglers were particularly concerned about the rain that fell on the area overnight.
Ken Olson felt that as long as the weather didn’t change too dramatically, things would be okay.
“As long as the weather stabilizes, everything will be alright,” he reasoned.
The team of Troy Norman and Jay Samsal had an issue this morning when their boat broke down early on.
But FFCBC director Steve Lundon said the duo had found another boat and were back in the water by 8:30 a.m.
As for the arena set-up, Lundon added there were just “a few odds and ends” left to set up.
But he said everything would be ready when the weigh-in begins at 3:30 p.m.
The Day 2 weigh-in also gets underway at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, with the final weigh-in set for Saturday starting at 3 p.m.