Looking to get your fishing fix before fall hits?
While the fifth-annual International Falls Bass Championship may be one of your last opportunities to do so—with plenty of anglers from this side of the border sure to be in the hunt for the $10,000 top prize at this weekend’s two-day event.
Dave Bennett and Mike Salvador of Sioux Narrows will be back to defend their crown from last summer, which they won with a two-day total of 27.08 pounds.
Devlin’s Doug McBride and partner Tom Forstrom finished second (25.14 pounds) while Times columnist Jeff Gustafson (Kenora) and partner Scott Dingwall (Dryden) took third with a 24.72-pound haul a year ago.
Gustafson and Dingwall have finished third the last three years after winning the inaugural IFBC in 2005.
Bill Godin of Devlin won the Morson Bass International earlier this month while fishing with his father, Almer. He finished fifth with partner, Norm Lindsay, last year at the IFBC and now returns to the tournament with Ralph Galusha.
“We ran quite a ways down the river, didn’t catch a lot of fish, but we caught some pretty nice ones,” Godin recalled of last summer’s strategy.
The two-day tournament, which runs Friday and Saturday, features a unique twist, with half the teams fishing on the Rainy River on Day 1 and the other half on Rainy Lake—only to have the roles reversed on Day 2.
“At the rules meeting, they take the first and second team from the year before and flip a coin, with odd numbers going one way and even numbers going the other,” Godin explained.
“We were fortunate to get the river the first day [last year] because a lot of guys really struggled on the river that second day with the high winds straight out of the west,” he added.
“At least on the lake you could hide away from the wind a little bit.”
“We usually do better on the lake,” echoed Gustafson. “It’s tough for most guys, so we can usually scrape it out there and catch up on a lot of other teams.
“Unfortunately, we have had a tough time on the river the past few years but hopefully this year we can get it going a little better,” he added.
Godin said the rules don’t allow you to think too far ahead when it comes to fishing strategy.
“You have to decide the night before on what your game plan is going to be,” he remarked. “Though you don’t have to go far to catch fish on the river, you can go very close to take-off and find some.”
Godin said the tournament has some distinct differences from its Canadian counterpart, the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
“It’s a lot different—the fishing is tougher over there [in the United States], isn’t as many fish on that side,” he noted. “I think it’s the rock conditions and rock formations over there that are a lot different from on the Canadian side.”
Godin competes in more than a dozen tournaments over the summer fishing season, and said the Falls tournament is just another example of the first-class events hosted in these parts.
“It’s a good format, fun tournament and they do a great job running it,” he enthused.
A field of 60 teams once again signed up to vie for the $30,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Falls’ angler Jason Pavleck caught a tournament-record 6.24-pound largemouth bass last year.
The two days of fishing are complemented by three days of entertainment under the big tent at Smokey Bear Park in the Falls.
A teen idol contest kicks things off tomorrow at 3 p.m., the “Killer Hayseeds” take the stage Friday night, and then the “Brat Pack Radio Supershow” closes things down Saturday night.
As well, the second-annual “Early Iron Car Club Show” will take place Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.