McBride and Ballan capture third Emo Walleye Classic title

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer

Last year, Doug McBride and Steve Ballan came up just short in the 2022 Emo Walleye Classic. They were less than a pound shy of the title.

If Bill Godin’s demeanour was any indication of last year’s runners-up’s fate for this year, things didn’t bode well for them. As McBride and Ballan tossed trinkets to the crowd, Godin sat reclined in the hot seat, sipping his Bud Light like he owned the place.

And as a four-time champion and perennial top finisher, who could blame him? He and Greg Swire finished third last year, and were eyeing a redemptive victory.

But McBride and Ballan had other ideas. They needed 9.6 lbs to win. They finished the day with 10.91, securing their third Walleye Classic victory with a two-day total of 23.19 lbs.

“[Godin and Swire] fished right beside us, and at 3:01, they caught their biggest walleye and then we knew it was gonna be really close,” said McBride. “And it was.”

He and Ballan only caught six fish on day two. The first two walleye were their biggest ones. McBride said they struggled to get their smaller fish, but eventually did. Their fourth keeper didn’t come until 2 p.m.

“We were sweating,” said McBride.

He said all the small things were in their favour. McBride said the weather, fishing, and equipment were all helpful.

“Emo tournament has been good to us,” said Ballan. “It feels great.”

They went upstream both days, and the fish were sitting in about 20 feet.

McBride and Ballan are part of a small crew dubbed “Iron Men” who have fished the Emo Walleye Classic every year since its inception.

2023 Emo Walleye Classic Standings

PosTeamDay 1Day 2TotalCaptainPartner
1112.2810.9123.19Doug McBrideSteve Ballan
2210.3211.5621.88Bill GodinGreg Swire
3328.3310.4118.74Mike MaxtonJavyn Maxton
4136.0212.3918.41Frank GrunewaldFrank McWhinnie
538.819.0317.84Jim SteeleJessica Steele
694.1912.7316.92Ted HeyensKelvin Caul
7304.3711.0315.40Cody DrennanRoss Steele
8146.538.4414.97Callum McCormickZander McCormick
9159.804.9614.76Keith WilsonBrian Wayash Sr.
10165.199.0414.23Riley CaulBrandon Marr
11411.362.5013.86Les MorrisonOliver Gibbons
12127.245.7913.03Grant SwireLeroy Wilson
13186.486.4312.91Jeannie SheppardJason Smith
14116.615.5912.20Ed CarlsonJason McQuaker
15238.024.0312.05Daniel LaevensDaniel Laevens Jr.
16256.325.3911.71Hannah Fritsch-MillsPatrick Mills
17226.314.9811.29Darwin ThompsonJesse Thompson
18334.886.3811.26Mike RedfordTony Flatt
19175.016.0611.07Travis RobMike Gagnon
2063.895.859.74Aaron BissonTony Bisson
21283.845.329.16Travis WoodErin Wood
22204.454.368.81Maverick SmithJaiden Van Dulmen
2353.924.618.53Jon BarkerTJ Barker
24243.544.187.72Carter RobinsonRyan Redford
2573.164.407.56Jaxon CalderSteve Halvorsen
26190.606.146.74Payne HunterShawn Brown
27341.415.296.70Dylan TessierEli Chambers
28353.702.996.69Edward CabralMaddie Redford
29103.912.456.36Terry WilsonJohn Spuzak
30261.135.166.29Dale HartlinKyla Hartlin
3182.253.355.60Dennis SmithTerry Allan
32211.063.564.62Tim NordinKarsyn Anderson
33292.971.284.25Roy MorrisonDax Kasper