Two local teams among top 10

Are they even fishing on Rainy Lake?
“We’re on Rainy Lake, but you’ve got to really come looking for us if you want to find us,” said Guy Johnston.
Johnston and partner Doug Wright were the top local team at last year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, finishing in eighth place with a three-day haul of 44.38 pounds.
And Team #8 is off to a good start this year, weighing in 17.58 pounds yesterday to put them in ninth place after Day One. They fished around Kettle Falls, which is about 60 miles from the Ranier bridge.
“We only saw two boats all day,” said Johnston. “It’s pretty lonely where we go.”
The duo, who are 3.52 pounds off of the lead of James Lindner and Mike Hehner, had better stay sharp today as their weakest day last year came on Day Two.
But after catching 15 fish yesterday, with their first five in the live-well by 9 a.m., things are looking good that another top 10 finish this time around.
It was the tandem of Paul Jewiss and Mike Graham (Team #59), however, that so far hold the best hopes of having a local team capture the 2005 FFCBC crown.
It’s been four years since Steve and Kent Ballan hoisted the trophy over their heads, and Jewiss and Graham—with a first-day haul of 18.18 pounds that left them eighth place—are hoping to do just that tomorrow afternoon.
Still, they admitted to being surprised when weighmaster Paul Cousineau called out their total.
“We didn’t think it was that,” said Jewiss.
“We figured it was 16 [pounds] and a little bit,” he added. “We’d never thrown [away] a three-pound fish and today we had to because they weren’t big enough to make the bag.”
That bag was filled by 11 a.m. but an upgrade in the early afternoon gave the team, who are 2.92 pounds off behind Lindner and Hehner, a lift in weight—and lifted the hopes of spectators hoping to see another local team win the tournament.
“At first we were worried, but we hunted around long enough and we found the fish we were looking for and they co-operated today,” said Graham.
This is the sixth FFCBC for both Jewiss and Graham, but the first year they’ve fished together. And like Graham said before heading to the beer gardens for a celebratory drink, “We’re hoping things will continue the way they are.”
They left in the first flight this morning after being in the third flight to kick off the FFCBC yesterday.