Manitoba duo wins Lake Despair bass tourney

Terry McClymont and Jaret Horbaiuk stood nervously next to emcee Lionel Robert this past Sunday as they waited for Day One “Castin’ For Cash” bass tournament leaders Pat Steele and Ralph Galusha to be towed into the weigh-in area.
Steele and Galusha were the last remaining challengers in the sixty team field who could overtake McClymont and Horbaiuk’s two-day total weight of 24.86 pounds.
The spectators roared as Steele and Galusha made their entrance, Big & Rich’s song, “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy,” blaring out of speakers at both ends of the stage.
As the challengers came to a stop in front of the crowd, Robert announced they would require 10.28 pounds to overtake the leaders and capture the title along with the $5,000 prize.
It was going to be close.
Steele and Galusha did nothing to ease McClymont and Horbaiuk’s anxiety as they pulled their biggest fish from the live well first.
“They pulled their big fish up right away and we thought we were in trouble,” Horbaiuk recalled thinking as he watched Steele and Galusha fill their basket with the day’s catch.
The crowd quieted as the bass were placed on the scale.
However, the silence was brief as those in attendance erupted in cheers when Robert announced the weight—9.42 pounds for a two-day total of 24.00 pounds.
McClymont and Horbaiuk could not hold in their elation as they jumped high on the stage, fists pumping in celebration.
“As soon as I saw the numbers light up there, I couldn’t believe it actually,” Horbaiuk said shortly after leaving the stage.
McClymont and Horbaiuk, who both reside in Winnipeg, put in two solid days of fishing during the tournament. The pair followed up their Day One weight of 12.58 pounds with 12.28 pounds on Day Two.
The results were somewhat surprising to McClymont, given the less than spectacular results they had achieved during pre-fishing late last week.
“We had a mediocre pre-fish,” he said. “We caught some fish but it was really hard to establish any sort of pattern.”
According to McClymont, the pair of Manitoba anglers overcame their struggles the old-fashioned way—through hard work and perseverance.
“We just woke up and did some fishing.”
For Horbaiuk, the win was particularly sweet given his relatively limited experience, a mere three years, fishing in competitive tournaments.
“It was amazing,” he said of the experience.
“It was my first time getting on to some fish and being consistent catching the fish. We got on to the cookie-cutter two-pounders and then we’d pull a three (pound bass) out of there every once in a while.”
Both anglers were also quick to credit their equipment with helping them to win the tournament.
McClymont and Horbaiuk made good use of their top-of-the-line boat to cover as much of the lake as possible in search of the big prize bass.
With the tournament win secured, the only question remaining to be answered was how the pair planned to spend their winnings.
“I think we’ve got some bills to pay because we’ve been out a couple of days,” Horbaiuk said.
“It’s going back into fishing.”
While McClymont and Horbaiuk celebrated their win, Steele and Galusha were left to wonder what could have been.
The pair of local anglers led the tournament after Day One courtesy an impressive catch of 14.58 pounds but could not duplicate their success on Day Two.
“We kind of bombed a bit today,” Galusha said of their performance during the second day of the tournament.
“We were kind of hoping to win but that’s the breaks.”
“I guess it’s better than nothing,” the soft spoken Steele added. “It’s pretty good.”
Galusha, who works as a guide on Lake Despair, said this year’s tournament presented some different challenges than in years past due to the unusually warm water for this time of year.
“The fish were not where they normally are,” he said.
“They were out a little deeper than we normally fish. Normally this time of year they’re on their beds—they’re just finishing on their beds.”
The difficult conditions on Day Two prompted Galusha to lower his expectations for the tournament.
“I was quite surprised,” he said of his team’s final standing.
“We were hoping for fifth or sixth.”
Steele and Galusha took home $2,500 as the runners-up.
Jon Evans and Gus McFadden took home third place with a combined weight of 23.54 pounds.
Evans and McFadden netted the big bag of the second day, an impressive 13.12 pounds, en route to collecting the $1,500 third-place prize.
The husband and wife team of Jodi and Carrie Shypit had one of the most consistent performances of the tournament netting weights of 11.42 pounds on Day 1 and 11.58 pounds on Day 2 for a two-day total of 23.00 pounds.
The combined weight earned the Shypits $1,000 for their fourth place finish.
Jeff Gustafson and August Collingson rounded out the top five with a two-day combined weight of 22.22 pounds.
The pair followed up their Day 1 catch of 9.52 pounds with an outstanding Day 2 effort of 12.70 pounds to claim the $500 fifth place prize.
The father and son team of Doug and Zack McBride were also awarded $500 for finishing in sixth spot with a total weight of 21.72 pounds.
Each of the teams that finished between seventh and fifteenth spot won $400.
Last year’s champions Wayne Howard and Jason Cain finished in ninth position, reeling in a two-day combined weight of 19.56 pounds.
Matt Redford and Jamie Krukowski earned $500 for bringing in the biggest fish Saturday afternoon with an impressive 3.96 pound bass—the largest fish netted throughout the course of the weekend.
Anglers Terry Dolk and Ray Ducharme earned the $500 big fish prize on Day 2 for their 3.78 pound bass.
Don Copenace and Greg Swire won a new trolling motor courtesy of Pinewood Sports for coming closest to the Hidden Weight.
The weight was set at 14.41 pounds prior to the tournament.
Swire and Copenace finished the two-day competition with a combined weight of 14.64 pounds.
The $400 prize for the top team with an angler under the age of 15 went to Grant and Dylan Swire.
Jodi and Carrie Shypit rounded out the cash winners taking home $400 courtesy their finishing as the top male and female team.