Godin and Mann take first-ever MFN Bass Championship title

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer

Lake Despair Lodge’s Bill Godin has proved once again that he owns the local fisheries. This past weekend, he and Nolan Mann took to Rainy Lake to compete in the Mitaanjigamiing First Nation Bass Championship.

Never heard of the tournament? That’s because this is the first year it’s run. Godin and Mann topped 20 other teams with an 18.21-lb bag, crowning them the champions of the one-day contest.

“The win felt great especially being the first one under my belt,” said Mann. “Although it wasn’t a huge tournament, it felt good to get the first win for myself.”

Mann and his parents live on Despair and are all good friends with Godin.

“I’ve known Bill for as long as I can remember,” said Mann. “I’ve spent a lot of my younger years pre-fishing with him for tournaments around the district.”

The two of them have fished the Emo Walleye Classic together, and last year, competed in the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, placing 26th of 90 teams.

“Nolan has fished with me in a few other tournaments,” said Godin. “He’s fun to fish with and a good fisherman.”

“Throughout the years, Bill has taught me the majority of the skills and techniques I use to date,” said Mann. “He has one of the best track records around and it shows — every time we share the boat I learn something new.”

Godin said the day started slow, with no fish on their first two spots, but by 11, the pair had a “decent limit” in the boat.

“We had an alright limit but nothing special,” said Mann.

From there, they just spent their time upgrading fish.

Bill Godin and Nolan Mann hold up part of their tournament-winning bag at Mitaanjigamiing First Nation on Saturday, August 12, 2023. The pair brought in 18.21 lbs, which was enough to beat 20 other teams. —Lake Despair Lodge Facebook photo

“Nolan threw his topwater out, then took a break — I think he was looking for a sandwich. I had to tell him a fish grabbed his bait,” said Godin. “He got it in and it was the biggest fish we caught — 4.34 lbs.”

Mann and Godin won $4,150 for their first-place finish and split another $680 cash prize for biggest bass with Darrin and Glenn Ward.

Matt and Alyssa Goldamer finished in second place, while Callum Galusha and Dan Vanderbrand came in third.

“For the first Mitaanjigamiing tournament, it was very well put together … all the volunteers planned and executed everything very well. We’ll definitely be returning next year,” said Mann. “All around, it was an amazing tournament … and an amazing time in the boat with Bill.”

First Nation manager Ed Morrison says Mitaanjigamiing intends to host the tournament annually for years to come.

“The tournament was well run and we will look forward to coming back next year,” said Godin.