The much-anticipated Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship (FFCBC) is fast approaching. The tournament website lists 110 teams registered to compete, compared to a field of 90 last year.
Greg Gustafson, director of angler relations says FFCBC is one of the biggest functions that Fort Frances has.
“It’s something for the town to look forward to,” he says. “The tournament’s a big deal.”
It also makes a huge economic impact. Anglers coming from away spend lots on gas, hotels, meals, tackle, and repairs.
Gustafson says he loves watching the weigh-ins and the top-10 boat parade. Though everyone would love to hoist the trophy, a lot of anglers live for the parade.
Last year, Ian Waterer and Motei Demers edged out Jeff Gustafson and John Peterson by less than a pound for the 2022 title, winning the tournament with a three-day total of 57.63 lbs. Father-son duo Travis and Jace Peterson finished third.
Two other father-son teams finished in the top 10 last year, with Mike and Javyn Maxton earning fifth, and Cory and Chase Curtis placing seventh. Gustafson says he has enjoyed watching family teams have success in the past few years.
“We got father-daughter teams and husband-wife teams that have done well,” he says. “That’s kind of what we’re hoping for, is just to see more of those kinds of teams get involved and not be afraid to take on the big guns — some of the guys who have won it numerous times.”
Gustafson has gotten to see a number of different champions in his 13 years with the tournament, but now, he’s one of a few higher-ups looking to step down. He says FFCBC needs folks to take over some director positions, but that those leaving would help onboard newcomers.
“It’s not like we’re gonna hand the job over and not help out,” says Gustafson. “We want to make sure the tournament stays successful.”
FFCBC is also seeking volunteers. Folks can help deliver fish to the weighmaster, chaperone the teen dance, check boats, and conduct fish care. Many hands are also needed to help set up and take down the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Jeanette Cawston at 275-9229. Be sure to contact her before July 19, when the big tent will be set up. That night, anglers must cease pre-fishing and attend the rules meeting.
Following that, the boat parade will run down Front St. from the woodyard to the hospital. Then, the teen dance takes place with MJ Interactive DJing the event.
Tournament fishing begins the next morning with flights leaving at 6:30 a.m. Anglers will start to return with weigh-ins at 3:30. The bar opens at noon. At 8 p.m., Tour de Fort presents Skye Wallace and Goodnight Sunrise performing from the big tent.
Fishing on Friday maintains the same schedule as the day before, with the Quest for the Best singing competition taking place at 7:30 p.m., presented by the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce.
The third and final day of weigh-ins begins at 3 p.m., with the top-10 boat parade starting at 5 p.m. There will be a set of fun inflatables for kids starting at 11 a.m. The Watten fish fry will run from 4-8 p.m. At 8, Some Shitty Cover Band will wrap up the festivities.
The following morning, volunteers will need help dismantling the tent starting at 9 a.m.
For extensive coverage of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and its associated events, keep an eye out for the July 19 edition of the Fort Frances Times.