The second-annual Perch Lake Bass Challenge near Atikokan had one of the most hotly-contested finishes in Northwestern Ontario fishing tournament history back on Sept. 6, forcing two Fort Frances teams into an unconventional tiebreaker to decide the winner.
Last year’s runners-up, Rob Tovey and Larry Buttner, weighed in a bag of 15.36 pounds to tie Jon and Dave Evans for the one-day tournament lead, leading to a cutting of the cards to crown the champs.
“We had a first-place tie [after the weigh-ins],” tournament organizer John Homer noted.
“I couldn’t remember what we did for a tie, so I printed the rules right away and when there’s a tie, you cut cards and the low card wins,” he explained.
“They cut cards, and Rob Tovey and Larry Buttner lost, which was kind of sad for them because they finished second last year and it would’ve been nice to see them win this year,” Homer added.
“I went back through seven different tournaments in our area 10 years back and I couldn’t find [another] tie for first place.”
The inaugural champs, Doug and Darren Sampson, dropped down to 23rd place this year—bringing in just one fish weighing 2.39 pounds.
The tournament is marketed as a fun, family-orientated day of fishing with an affordable entry fee of just $100 per team.
“A guy will go in it with his 10-year-old kid, and there’s a lot of husband-and-wife teams,” Homer enthused. “Whereas a tournament with a $1,000 entry fee, you aren’t going to go in it with your 10-year-old.
“That’s why we do it [this] way, and maybe it’s a stepping stone to another tournament,” he reasoned. “The next thing you know, you are signing up for the Atikokan Bass Classic or the Fort Frances one.”
Rounding out the top five were Bob Snider and Earle Fredrickson (13.88 pounds), Aaron Weins and Justin Ehelebe (9.87), and Wade Bates and Jason Dragan (9.40).
The hidden weight prize of $100 went to Darryl Warkentin and Caralyn Hershey.
The $250 Lund certificates went to the top young angler duo of Eli Anderson and Josh Stuys (they finished seventh with 7.55 pounds) as well as Jon and Dave Evans for being the top finishing team in a Lund boat.
The field is capped at 30 teams, and 28 already have confirmed their entry for next summer.
For more info, visit www.perchlakebass.com