Nyberg, Ballans earn ‘KidPro’ title

Dan Falloon

Kent and Steve Ballan already have a Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship crown under their belts.
Now they have a Safeway KidPro title to add to it.
The Ballans, teamed up with kid angler Damon Nyberg, hauled in 11.91 pounds in their three-fish bag, including the day’s big fish of 4.46 pounds, in the 13th-annual edition of the event.
Pro Bryan Gustafson helped youngster Michael Albanese to a second-place finish with 11.35-pound bag, including a 4.13-pounder—the third-largest fish of the day.
Jonah McCormick, fishing with pros Trevor Gudyeran and Dean Tacknyk, wound up in third place.
The second-biggest fish was hauled in by the 14th-place team of pros Paul Jewiss and Mike Graham with Kassidy Fryer, who brought in a 4.29-pound lunker.
The Ballans, winners of the FFCBC back in 2001, took Nyberg along the south arm, where they hauled in seven bass primarily using jigs and soft plastics—and made the ones they caught count.
“Today was really good. Today was an awesome day,” enthused Steve Ballan, who has fished the KidPro with his brother eight times.
“One was under 12 inches and all the rest were ‘weighers,’” he added.
“We had one smaller one, but four that were 18 inches and over.
“It was a good day,” he reiterated.
The Ballans are hoping their display of goodwill in fishing the KidPro doesn’t have a negative impact on their performance in the main tournament when fishing kicks off this Thursday morning from the Sorting Gap Marina.
“Apparently, traditionally, whoever wins the KidPro tournament usually flops in the big tournament,” Steve noted.
“We’re out to break tradition this year,” he vowed.
In all, 29 kids participated in the Safeway KidPro this year, with 27 teams of anglers taking them out onto Rainy Lake.
Full results can be found on the FFCBC’s website at www.canadianbass.com
A photo gallery of photos taken by the kids will be posted later in the week.