Tessier and Judson take first Emo Walleye crown

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer
abradbury@fortfrances.com

Jim and Jessica Steele were firmly planted in the hot seats after a day one bag of 12.73 lbs and heaviest fish of 5.29 lbs but a monster catch on day two helped the third-ranked Dylan Tessier and Jeff Judson leapfrog them into the top spot.

Logs floated by the boats as they waited to be set off to fish on Friday morning, the river much higher than it would normally be after two full days of rain hit the region hard earlier in the week and the dam was opened.

The anglers would have to navigate waters full of dead heads and other hazards while searching for fish. Most of the anglers who spoke with MC Shane Beckett discussed the rough waters and miserable temperatures and lack of fish. Less than half of the 38 teams came back with a full bag of four fish on day one and 15 teams had no fish at all on day one. Tessier and Judson managed four fish on Friday with a total of 5.81 lbs which was good enough for third place.

Judson says they almost didn’t get good rain gear but they thought better.

“The weather was really bad but we figured it out,” he said. “We were gonna cheap out on the rain suits but then we went out and bought some.”

Tessier says they were struggling to come up with fish because of the weather and dirty water so the moved around a bit on the river.

“There weren’t very many places where we could catch fish,” Tessier said. “I kind of just thought to myself ‘you know there’s that creek down there, nobody’s gonna be down there.’ It was muddy water, real dirty, I didn’t know if I could find a fish or not but me and Jeff hooked into a couple big ones over the tournament.”

Around 10:30 in the morning on Saturday Tessier thought he was caught on a rock.

“I thought I was on a snag, so I was trying to break it off and all of a sudden the line just kind of started spooling and going,” Tessier said. “I told my partner, I said ‘you better get the net right now or we’re not going to be able to bring that in.’ He grabbed the net and scooped it in. We put it in the boat and we were hootin’ and hollerin’ so hard the fish almost jumped right out of the boat.”

“Dylan actually broke the net handle in half when he was reeling it in,” Judson added. “As soon as we got in the hot seats I didn’t believe that 27 incher was eight lbs.”

The fish was a 27 inch, eight and a half pound monster that was the biggest fish pulled out of the river on the weekend.

Having been third the day before they didn’t have long to wait in the hot seats. Second place coming into day two were Ted Heyens and Kelvin Caul with a 10.31 day one bag, however day two wasn’t as kind and they only brought in about four pounds on Saturday. After they got clear of Heyens and Caul it was only the Steeles left to beat.

In talking to Beckett throughout the evening the Steeles didn’t let on until near the end that they didn’t think they’d be able to get to the end. But they only pulled one fish from their live well after being towed into the Emo-Lavallee Community centre.

Tessier and Judson went home with the top prize of $6,700 as well as the young angler award.

After winning they thanked sponsors Mel’s Well Drilling , ML Judson Trucking and Muckin’ and Haulin’.