Locals put up big numbers

Nine Canadian teams travelled to Sturgeon Bay, Wis. last week to participate in the Sturgeon Bay Open bass tournament on Lake Michigan and put up some good results, with five of them finishing in the top 10.
The two-day, 200-team event was shortened to one day after high winds forced the cancellation of the first day. Tournament organizers were in communication with the U.S. Coast Guard and decided it was too rough to let anglers go out on Day 1.
Lake Michigan is like being on the ocean so when it blows up, the waves get very large.
I think they made the right decision, and most of the other anglers I talked to were happy to be off the water.
The top placing Canadian team, taking home third place, was made up of Bob Izumi and Derek Strub, both from southern Ontario. They had a six-fish limit weighing in at 30.89 pounds that earned them $9,000.
This was Izumi and Strub’s first trip to Sturgeon Bay, so for them to walk away with a top-three finish is pretty good.
Bill Godin of Devlin and Mike Salvador of Sioux Narrows earned fourth place with a catch weighing in at 30.35 pounds. The defending champs were one of just four teams to break the 30-pound mark, which is more than a five-pound average per fish (that is unbelievable!)
These guys faced some challenges throughout the week as some anglers followed them around to try and figure out what this Canadian team was doing to catch so many big smallmouth bass.
Norm and Dave Lindsay have been going to Sturgeon Bay for many years and have a bunch of top 10 finishes. They ended up in sixth place this year with a catch of 29.61 pounds.
My partner, Dave Bennett, and I managed to squeak into the top 10 with a ninth-place finish, weighing 28.20 pounds. Rounding out the top 10 was Terry McClymont of Kenora and Darrin Bohonis of Winnipeg with 28.03.
So what is the big draw for anglers from Ontario to drive for a day to fish for smallmouth bass when we have some of the best waters in the world right here in Sunset Country?
The first thing is the size of these fish. It is extremely hard to catch a five-pound smallmouth in Northwestern Ontario. In fact, I don’t think I have caught an honest five-pounder in the last three years.
On Lake Michigan at this time of year, these fish are common.
The second draw is a big tournament, the only one I have ever been to that can be compared with our big Sunset Country events—the Kenora Bass International and the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
The excellent results put up by anglers from our region is a testament to the quality of anglers we have.
Dave and I both caught the biggest smallmouth of our life one day last week practising for this tournament. We only wish we could have caught these fish during the actual event.
My big smallmouth was a 6.23-pound lunker I caught on a #10 Rapala X-Rap while Dave reeled up a 7.36-pound monster that he caught on a Northland tube.
But as good as the fishing was down there, I’m glad to be home. The more I travel to fish different places, they more I realize how spoiled we are to have the awesome variety of lakes that we do with multi-species options that cannot be matched anywhere.
For full tournament results from the Sturgeon Bay Open, check out www.sbobt.org

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