Young anglers deemed ‘Good Samaritans’

Whether or not a team will be disqualified for coming in late at the end of the fishing day is an issue that often comes up at tournaments and is the source of much contention.
The general rule that if a team is late for check-in, they lose their weight for that day, as was the case at this year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Tournament when Team #26, Joe Prichett and Hiram Archibald of Sioux Narrows, came in one minute and 30 seconds late due to motor trouble.
One argument is that under extenuating circumstances, the rule should be more flexible, as long as a flag boat has spotted the anglers and is with them before the deadline, to ensure that they are not continuing to fish.
The other school of thought is that rules are rules, and must be adhered to under all circumstances.
It seems that the bigger the tournament, the more strict the rules.
Last year in the Atikokan tournament, a similar situation occurred in which one of the teams came in late because they stopped to help another team.
Luc Levesque and Ron Gervais of Kapuskasing were on their way back to shore when they saw a stranded boat.
Levesque said that he knew the potential repercussions, but that getting the team back safe was the priority over weighing in his fish.
So they loaded the two anglers and their fish into their tiny Evinrude boat (the smallest boat in this year’s FFCBC) and gunned the 30 horsepower motor flat out to get them back for the weigh-in.
They arrived four minutes late and were almost disqualified. But instead of being penalized, they were deemed “Good Samaritans” and allowed to have their catch weighed.
“To me, it was more important to pick-up people who were stranded than to get in to weigh our fish,” said Levesque. “We knew the possible consequences, but, who knows, it may happen to us someday.”
And their humanitarian streak did not end there.
The duo went on to win $350 for the Big Fish of the tournament, but they did not pocket their winnings.
Instead, they gave the money to a young man who they had befriended over the weekend—a young man in a wheelchair who had been crippled since birth.
“His outlook on life is 90 percent better than most people who do have the fortune of running around on two legs,” said Levesque. “He’s quite the fella.”
Levesque asked the audience “I don’t know if I’m allowed to do this, but I’m giving the money away,” recalled Jo Olsen, whose husband fished in the tournament and was one of the stranded anglers saved by Levesque and Gervais.
Olsen said her husband called the act “one of the most touching things he’d ever seen in his life” and that it brought a tear to his eye, and to many others in attendance.
“I gave it to him because of the way I felt, not because I wanted anything for it,” said Levesque, who was reluctant to be interviewed about it.
They decided to give the money to the young man, Jeff Carlson, 19, so that he and his father could participate in the tournament in Atikokan this year, and the family was so touched that they have offered the pair their cabin to use during the tournament.
“That’s what fishing is all about,” said Levesque. “If more fathers would spend time with their kids on the water, there would be a lot less problems in the world.”