Champs set to defend Lake Despair title

Dave Woodgate, co-winner of Lake Despair Lodge’s inaugural “Castin’ for Cash” bass tournament last year with Cory Calder, is willing to talk fishing anytime.
But he’d rather keep a lid on his team’s spots as they prepare to defend their title at the two-day, 54-boat derby this Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re trying to fish everything and find the right structure,” Woodgate said of their pre-fishing ventures around Despair, Footprint, and Jackfish lakes this week.
“We’ll figure out [this] Friday where our first five holes will be. Hopefully, we’ll be there first,” he added.
The pair bagged 21.05 pounds of fish last July to take home the $5,000 grand prize and have their names engraved first on the Mark Hopkins Memorial plaque.
“We had two spots that we caught all our fish [last year]. We’ve really broadened our spots this time around,” said Woodgate. “[But] we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We’d like to finish in the money [top 10].”
Second place is worth $2,000, third place earns $1,000, fourth gets $500, while fifth to 10th wins $300.
Denis Barnard and Peter Van Drunen, last year’s runners-up, also will be back along with all the top 10 teams from a year ago.
Despite the fact his docks were submerged under almost 20 inches of water for much of last week, Lake Despair Lodge owner Bill Godin said there was no thought to cancel or postpone the derby.
“No [doubt] at all. We watched the levels closely,” he remarked. “It’s going to be a little wet at the launch [but] there’s going to be lots of volunteers helping out.
“It’ll be all right.”
The fish fry Saturday evening again will be one of the main attractions on shore. It starts at 6:30 p.m., with tickets costing $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
Only 500 tickets are available.
Food booths and taped music featuring deejay Paul Morrison also will be back.
Among the new features this year are $300 prizes for “big fish” of the day Saturday and Sunday, a fireworks display Saturday night, and the signing of Lionel Robert as emcee for the weigh-ins.
“I like how things have been going,” said Godin. “If you look at the list [of anglers], you’ll see it’s more family-oriented. But at the same time, there’s some good competition—a really mixed field.”
“It’s a lot more relaxed [than the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship],” agreed Wood-gate. “Lots of people are there to have fun . . . we enjoy ourselves, too.”
Here is the order of launch Saturday morning (drawn at random):
Teams #1-10
1. Almer Godin/Brad Godin 2. Randy Kirk/Dave Evans 3. Paul Jewiss/Dale Strachan 4. Ralph Galusha/Pat Steele 5. Vince/Van-ce Allan 6. Ted/Clint Beck 7. Jerry Elliot/Gord Johnston 8. Gord McBride/Justin Armstrong 9. Kel-vin Caul/Ted Heyens 10. Robin Anderson/Jeff Kreger
Teams #11-20
11. Steve Gagne/Ron Bridge-man 12. Cory Calder/Dave Wood-gate 13. Mike/Cody McKinnon 14. Doug/Bill Witherspoon 15. Mark/John Perkins 16. Dawn Kroeker/Sherry Potter 17. Darrin Ward/Mike Mihichuk 18. Murray Alexander/Ken Noble 19. Zack McBride/Josh Armstrong 20. Corey/Frank Curtis
Teams #21-30
21. Robert/Michael Badiuk 22. Brian Halverson/Terry Dolk 23. Ray Ducharme/Buzz Grennier 24. Pat Cross/Keith Cates 25. Allan Wolanicki/Doug Jorgenson 26. Grant Swire/Rod Woodgate 27. Dave Byrnes/James Asplund 28. Butch Godbout/John MacDonald 29. Guy Johnston/Jamie Eliuk 30. Mike Graham/Andrea Turgeon
Teams #31-40
31. Shawn Ossachuk/Dean Morken 32. Darryl Begin/Peter Badiuk 33. Bill/Jay Albright 34. Dennis/Glen Smith 35. Jody Shypit/Dale LaBelle 36. Tim/Ryan Mutz 37. Mark Wil-son/Glen Ward 38. Denis Bar-nard/Peter Van Drunen 39. Rick/Myrna Cooper 40. Bob Chabot/Norm Wood
Teams #41-50
41. Dallas Mosbeck/Jason Caul 42. Rhonda Hyatt/Kelly Lengyel 43. Dan/Nadine Rutledge 44. Mike/Irene Baranowski 45. Le-roy/Michael Wilson 46. Doug Mitchell/Marty Koopman 47.Mel Giesbrecht/Chris Bell 48. George Chabot/no partner 49. Ron/Peter Martinuk 50. Curtis Hoard/Albert Ellman
Teams #51-54
51. Wayne Howard/Jason Cain 52. Neal Webb/Earl Lockman 53. Bruce Ness/Brad Carlson 54. Cory/Lance Lindal