Former champs top field at EWC

Joey Payeur

It was a wide-open horse race until Les Morrison and Oliver Gibbons concluded the day by morphing into Secretariat.
After three-straight third-place finishes, the duo found their way back to the pinnacle Saturday by claiming the $5,000 top prize at the 16th-annual Emo Walleye Classic.
They won their first EWC title in 2013.
“I told him we’ve got to do better than third this year,” the Baudette-based Morrison laughed about his pre-tournament discussion with Gibbons, who hails from Morson.
Dan and Josh Pollard of Emo were in line to set an all-time low in terms of a winning haul at the tournament–with their mark of 11.22 pounds outdoing the 11.32 put up by Bill Godin and Ralph Galusha in 2010.
But Morrison and Gibbons abruptly ended the suspense by holding up what easily were the two biggest fish caught by anyone all weekend at the end of the top 10 boat parade in the 33-team event.
The pair of lunkers, including the big fish of the tournament at 7.22 pounds, gave Morrison and Gibbons the biggest bag at 14.90 and a two-day total of 22.03–the fifth-best total in EWC history.
As well, the margin of victory (10.81 pounds) was second-biggest all-time behind only the 11.28-pound gap between Doug McBride/Steve Ballan and Dale LaBelle/Wayne Angus back in 2005.
Morrison and Gibbons also had the big fish on Day 1, a 3.84-pounder, en route to being the leaders at the halfway point at 7.13 pounds ahead of the Pollards (6.46).
Another father-son team were right behind the Pollards as Emo’s Todd Grennier and his 10-year-old son, Kalin, landed in third (10.68).
Jim Steele and Ed Bullied of Emo took fourth place (10.43).
Emo’s Aaron Bisson and Chad Jack from Fort Frances were the only other team to reach double digits in finishing fifth (10.32).
Red Lake’s Frank Grunewald and Frank McWhinnie were sixth (9.83), followed by Ryan O’Connor and Patrick LeMaistre in seventh (9.66).
Yet another father-son tandem in Emo’s Dale and Curtis Hartlin captured eighth place (9.60).
Rounding out the top 10 were McBride and Ballan (9.39) and Keith Wilson and Roy Morrison (9.20).