Lost fish costs duo tournament

Bill Godin and Norm Lindsay were all smiles as they chatted with family, friends and fellow anglers following the 12th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship this past Saturday.
The duo stood beside the leaderboard, shaking hands with a large group of well-wishers, each of whom were eager to congratulate the anglers on their third-place finish at this year’s event.
And while both Godin and Lindsay were pleased with their performance and the result, in the back of their minds the thought of what could have been lingered.
The circumstances had certainly seemed ideal for the pair of anglers to capture their first FFCBC title together as a team.
They had experience from which to draw, having finished as the runners-up to Dave and Lee Lindsay last year, and after finishing in fourth-place the year prior to that—their first as a team.
Lindsay, in particular, had a wealth of experience from which to call upon having won the FFCBC crown on three prior occasions.
But most importantly, Godin and Lindsay had the advantage of leading the rest of the field heading into Day Three of the tournament courtesy a two-day combined weight of 36.91 pounds—half a pound more than the team Mark Libitka and Dave Bennett.
So what happened?
“We caught a lot of fish,” Lindsay said of the team’s final day of fishing on Rainy Lake.
“We just lost the one fish and it cost us the whole event.”
Day Three hadn’t started very well for Godin and Lindsay.
The wind had picked up overnight leading into the final day of the tournament, creating choppy waters and disrupting what had, up until then, been a stable weather pattern.
Whether it was the change in the weather or simply bad luck, both anglers struggled to find fish the likes of which they’d caught the previous two days.
According to Godin, they only had about 12 pounds of bass in their live well by 11 a.m., prompting them to change locations and try something different.
The decision paid off almost immediately.
Within minutes of casting his line at the new location, Lindsay had reeled in four three-pound bass.
The only problem was that they were fish the team did not need as they already had several bass of the same size in their live well.
As Godin culled some of the smaller bass, Lindsay cast his line once more. And once more he felt a bite on the line.
“I hooked one that didn’t feel any different than the others,” he recalled.
“All of the sudden a four and-a-half (pound bass) came sailing out of the water and spit the hook.”
Adding injury to insult, the hook sailed through the air and caught Godin who was hustling to the front of the boat to net the bass.
“I had turned around with the net and the hook came out of the fish and into my thumb,” he chuckled. “He (Lindsay) still had pressure and thought the fish was still on.”
Neither Godin nor Lindsay was able to hook another fish similar in size to the one that had gotten away by the time they were due to return to the Sorting Gap Marina for the final weigh-in.
However, the pair had managed to catch a reasonably good-sized bag, leaving them cautiously optimistic about their chances.
The tension mounted as the top 10 boats from Day Two were lined up to be towed under the tent for all to see.
“It was very nervous out there, and when they were announcing the weights, we thought, ‘Gee, this is going to be really, really close,” Godin recalled.
In the end, Godin and Lindsay would come up .32 pounds short of the winning team of Mark Libitka and Dave Bennett.
Afterwards, Lindsay was philosophical concerning the defeat and the fact that the “one that got away” could very well have vaulted his team into the lead.
“The thing is, with so many great fishermen here, you really have to be on your toes,” he said.
“This time a lost fish cost us but we’re going to learn from our mistakes.”
“We’re on the right track. We’re going to win this one of these times.”
Until then there’ll be a small corner in both men’s minds left wondering what could have been if the “big one” hadn’t got away.