Games played on docks add to tourney

Fishing and poker; poker and fishing—the two go hand in hand like diuretics at a Victoria’s Secret summer fashion show.
And the dock at the Sorting Gap Marina perfectly encapsulated such a statement—especially when the top 10 boats after Day 2 started filtering their way to their designated spots on Saturday afternoon and then patiently waited to be called and pulled through the big tent.
The poker analogy took effect when they docked.
Anglers look at each other’s body language—scrutinizing for the slightest tell-tale sign that could uncover what kind of day they had. They scan them up and down and analyze every little move, every little whisper, and, of course, they ask the question—So, how did it go?
“James [Lindner] asked us that and we just smiled,” said Mark Libitka, who led after Day 2 with partner Dave Bennett and was docked right beside Lindner and Mike Hehner while they waited on Day 3.
“Whatever is there, is there, we said,” smiled Libitka.
But when you know you’ve had a good bag of fish, things get a little more difficult—especially when you’re in a position to win.
That’s what happened to Dave Lindsay while waiting at the dock (right beside Lindner and Libitka no less). And though he knew he had a decent bag (16.56 pounds, which gave him the eventual win), he’s competed in too many tournaments and knows how to bluff with the best of them.
And besides, Lindsay was told not to tell anyone how he did that day.
“We were actually told not to pass that kind of information around and just kind of keep it to ourselves to keep the suspense up because you mention one thing and then everyone knows,” said Lindsay.
But a tell-tale sign that always seems to a give away a team’s hand is the polygraph test that is administered. The reason why that is an indication of the way things might go is because FFCBC officials usually choose teams that they think will be in the thick of things.
Here’s what happens. Lionel Robert, who was instrumental in establishing the FFCBC and acted as the emcee for its first 10 years, goes around to each of the top-10’s live-wells to get an indication of who has what.
(Robert has an uncanny ability to look at a fish, or group of fish, and decipher the weight).
So he records his findings and then anglers are sent for the polygraph, which was held at La Place Rendez-Vous. Only one angler is needed from the team and the anglers who went after being notified were Lee Lindsay, Mike Luhman, and Norm Lindsay.
Lee and his son, Dave, won, Norm and his partner, Bill Godin, placed second, and Luhman, and his partner, Mark Raveling, came fourth.
But even before those tests are administered, the top-10 anglers don’t just have to deal with fishermen docked right beside them.
They also have to contend with other anglers, who already have weighed in or are still waiting to be weighed, and even the occasional bystander who always wants to get the inside scoop.
Like when long-time angler Joe Pritchett brought his mammoth frame to the dock and walked around asking anyone and everyone: “So, how was your day?”
And they all answer with one of the following: a). We’ll see what the scales say b). We’ve had better days c). Any day on the lake is a good day, or a personal favourite of many, d). Answering by raising your arms to your side and just shrugging.
Bennett chose d). when Scott Ourada drove by and asked him how Rainy Lake had treated him. He simply raised his arms to his side and then added with a smile, “You’re going to have to wait for the show.”
“People always ask me, ‘How was it? How did you do?’ and I always tell them, ‘Everyday is a great day,’” Bennett said.
And then there was Dave Lindsay, who chose to have a little fun with one angler who asked him from afar how he did through hand gestures.
The angler gave thumbs up or thumbs down to give Lindsay a choice to pick from. But Lindsay chose to shake his hands both ways suggesting, “Not really sure.”
The angler was not satisfied and then put his hands slightly together and then slightly apart, asking how big of fish he caught. Lindsay, in response, put his hands as far as they could go on either side, which suggested he had caught a 100-pound bass.
“You get a lot of people grilling you,” said Libitka. “We’re not used to all of this because we’re never been in first place before.
“The Lindners and Lindsays have been here before and they know how to deal with it,” he added.
Another thing Libitka and Bennett were not used to, but looked forward to, was entering the big tent as one of the top-10 teams—making their way through the masses to the sound of their own drum.
You see, another appeal of going through the tent is that the teams can decide what music they drive in to. Some teams make requests while others don’t.
Libitka and Bennett made a choice—Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
“It’s good and heavy,” smiled Bennett, who is 29 while Libitka is 34. “We want to get that crowd going, so we wanted something like that.”
Others, like Dave Lindsay, chose AC/DC’s “Who Made Who,” which was a well thought-out choice since Lee (Dave’s father) made Dave.
Lee Lindsay would have preferred some Willie Nelson or some other “old school country,” but didn’t care. He was just happy to share such a moment with his son.
And like all of the top-10 teams, they were just happy to be part of “the big show.”
“The tent was just awesome,” Bennett said afterwards. “The crowd was great and it was a thrill, and man, I’m still pumped.”