It was the end of a couple of streaks Saturday at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Firstly, Dorian Lindholm, partnered with Bill Wilcox of Burleson, Tex., broke a string of visitor dominance at the tournament, becoming the first Fort Frances resident to hoist the trophy since Kent and Steve Ballan back in 2001.
“It feels great,” enthused Lindholm, whose three-day team total of 56.45 pounds topped runners-up Mark Raveling and Mike Luhman by more than three pounds.
“We’ve been looking for this for 11 years,” Lindholm added.
Secondly, the win by Team #4 ended the three-year winning streak of Joe Thrun and Jim Moynagh.
The duo, hailing from Annandale and Carver, Mn., finished 19th this year after managing just three fish weighing 8.14 pounds on Day 3.
The five-time FFCBC champs had rocketed from 13th place to second on Day 2 after bringing in the tournament’s big bag of 21.21 pounds, but everything fell apart on Saturday.
“After yesterday’s big catch, the only thing I was afraid of was being overconfident,” Moynagh said on-stage Saturday.
“I was quite certain we were going to bring in at least 17 or 18 pounds, but as soon as you start thinking like that, it’s going to bite you.
“And it did—and it bit hard,” he added.
While Moynagh and Thrun were doing their best not to read too much into Friday’s performance, even Wilcox, a pro on the BASS Tour and host of Honey Hole All-Outdoors TV, felt the pair had something up their sleeves Saturday for a fourth-straight title.
“Not with Thrun and Moynagh having 21 pounds the second day,” said Wilcox, who had finished in fourth place last year with Lindholm.
“They figured something out, so nothing’s taken for granted after that,” he added.
“I felt like they had the target, not me.”
One consistent area of success for Lindholm and Wilcox was a special spot that they had hit early on in the day to build up a reserve of fish.
Wilcox said the spot yielded four four-pounders right off the bat over the course of the three days.
“We had a starting spot we started each day and caught two from it the first day, one from it the second, and one the third,” he recalled.
“The rest of the fish we caught were all in different locations.”
Wilcox said he and Lindholm were fishing shallow areas with less than a foot of water, and found that topwater and spinner baits had brought them the most success.
As well, the team caught a bit of a lucky break with the flight orders reversed on Friday. They caught a good-sized fish late as the wind, which howled for much of the day, started to die down.
“The second day, the wind hurt us a little bit, but since we were in the last flight, we had a little later bite, so that helped us out, actually,” Wilcox remarked.
He added there wasn’t much good news for the team before the competition began, noting the pre-fish didn’t teach them too much in terms of location, although they were able to figure out a championship pattern.
“Our pre-fish was really tough, but we just got on a pattern and we stuck with that pattern,” Wilcox stressed.
“We would go to water we didn’t practice on but use that same pattern and catch fish.
“We’d find that same type of water, and it’d work not every time but most of the time,” he concluded.
While Lindholm was proud to be the first town resident to capture the FFCBC crown in nine years, he noted the field is wide open in coming years, adding it takes a great familiarity with Rainy Lake to jump into a competitive position.
“Anybody can win the tournament. It’s just a matter of looking around a lot,” he reasoned.
Raveling and Luhman finished second with 53.26 pounds, followed by Jeff Gustafson and John Peterson (52.24), Frank McClymont and Albert Trudeau (51.00), and Richard Rud and Jon Austin (50.08)
Rounding out the top 10 were Jim Sandelovich and Karl Howells (49.84), Al Lindner and Troy Lindner (49.49), David Skallet and Jim Merthan (49.43), Jason Pavleck and Bill Walls (48.52), and Kraig Dafcik and Kelvin Caul (48.42).
The big fish of the tournament was a 5.05-lunker brought in by Troy Norman and Jay Samsal on Saturday.