Anglers on the dock

As a huge crowd congregated to watch the final weigh-ins under the tent Saturday evening, the seven top teams waited patiently on the docks for word on who would take home this year’s championship.
The atmosphere among the anglers was charged as they recounted the day’s events. Some insisted that the weather had thwarted their best efforts. Others were more relaxed, confident day three had left them in good stead.
Later, the talk turned to mindgames, aliens–basically all the stuff of healthy competition.
Doug McBride, lounging in his boat with his son, Zack, was optimistic–and with good reason. “We got five nice ones. We had them all by about five or ten after eight this morning,” the Devlin resident said. “This was by far the best day.”
This bit of luck gave the pair plenty of time to move around the lake, McBride related.
“We went to the south arm and tried to find a really big one.”
Later, after the announcement came the team had placed second behind the Ballan brothers, McBride got down and dirty about the underlying tension on the docks.
“People want to have a little peek and see what you have for fish. It was all pretty stressful. But once you get that adrenaline rushing that rises above everything,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin duo Mark Raveling and Mike Luhman had no such last-day luck. But they still appeared relaxed as they waited for the final verdict.
“We had a lot of fish on but we lost a lot of them,” Raveling explained.
“At 10:30 (this) morning, we lost two big fish and only had two fish. Those were the tense times,” Luhman later added.
Knowing they were out of the running for the top three positions had its upside, Luhman whose team finished sixth, said later.
“We mingled a little bit (on the docks). We got to know the McBrides a little bit. We traded a few stories, there’s nothing else to do when you’re out there waiting,” said Luhman.
“It was pretty relaxed for us because we knew we couldn’t catch them. At that point in time, it’s all over,” added Raveling.
For husband and wife team Genvie and Michelle Grafham, day three was similarly disappointing–not to mention uncomfortable.
“It was wet. It was cold. We didn’t have a great day but we got our five fish,” Michelle Grafham said. “It was tough for us.”
Rod Kitchingman and partner Bryan Lapointe fared even worse.
“Today all the fish were gone . . . we believe aliens from outer space took them, hopefully to Lake of the Woods (Kenora Bass International) because that’s where we’re going next.” Kitchingman quipped.
“We had a very tough day. We only have four fish. We got four bites and they’re all in the boat,” he added.
The team slid down to 26th place after weigh-ins.
Meanwhile, local duo Harry Bell and John Maffei were initially tight-lipped about their catch–definitely a positive sign.
“It was good. It’s hard to say,” Bell said.
When prodded, Bell expanded on is last catch a little more.
“I would guess we might have about 17 pounds. Not good enough to win, but enough to keep our spot,” he confessed.
The pair actually reeled in over 18 pounds, landing them in third place overall.
Close behind, in fourth place, were the Minnesotan team Larry Hullet and Gene Boyer.
Hullet insisted he took no part in any of the mindgames going on–at least, not at this late stage.
“When you’re at the dock, the games are over. You have to play the mindgames on day one and two,” remarked Hullet.