Monster bag earns ‘Bassin’ victory

?Play the game and you can be rewarded.
That’s what Rob Horley and Jim Fadden, both of Sioux Narrows, did on the weekend as they captured the 13th-annual “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament there.
They played with largemouths and hit the jackpot as they brought in the largest catch of the tournament (20.29 pounds)—vaulting from 36th spot to start Day 3 to earn first place with a three-day total of 47.82 pounds.
“Bassin’ For Bucks” is the favourite Sunset Country bass tournament for many local anglers because of the unique format that offers rewards for the top six daily catches over the three-day event, as well as the top 20 overall.
The 120 teams that participate in the tournament enjoy the laid-back atmosphere in Sioux Narrows, as well. The whole community does a fantastic job of hosting all the anglers and supporting the event.
Largemouth bass truly are unique in Lake of the Woods because they are at one of the most northern points of their range.
Although they are found in much smaller numbers than smallmouth bass in the “Woods,” it’s become evident over the years that they consistently factor in most of the top bass tournament finishes.
The big difference between the two species is that the top-end size of largemouths is a little bit bigger. And it was not surprising that the big fish each day of the event was a largemouth.
Horley and Fadden brought in average catches on the first two days, but credited their monster Day 3 bag to changing up the area they were fishing and having a lot of patience.
Horley told me they went to an area on the final day that they were confident held big fish and fished really slow. Eventually things came together, they got the right bites, and put them in the boat.
Second place went to a pair of smallmouth aces, Kurt Dafcik and Pat James of Kenora, who were narrowly ousted in the end. Their three-day total of 47.42 pounds included the big smallmouth bass of Day 3 that weighed in at 4.41 pounds.
The leaders after Day 1, Mike and Steve Salvador from Sioux Narrows, ended up third place with a three-day total of 47.39 pounds. They brought in a mixed bag of largemouths and smallmouths—and came close to winning their first “Bassin’ For Bucks title.”
They’ve been close a number of times over the years and will get their turn soon.
The big bag on Day 2 was brought in by Dave Bennett and Mark Libitka (Sioux Narrows/Kenora), which weighed in at 17.81 pounds. The big catch on Day 3 was the 20.29-pound bag that Horley and Fadden flopped on the scale.
Each team won $2,000 for the best daily catches.
My good buddy, Mike Reid, and I fished together this weekend and had a tough go. We focused all our efforts on largemouths and had a hard time getting it going.
We caught a fair number of fish each day, but they were not the right ones. We made a big mistake on the first day when we left our smallmouth tackle at home and decided to focus totally on largemouths—despite the fact we were not catching largemouths all that great in practice.
I get to learn my lessons the hard way, but we’ll be back on track next year.
Finally, I want to give a big thank you to Paul Morrison of Fort Frances. Paul has been the emcee at all of the big bass tournaments in Sunset Country for the past few years and has announced he’s going to retire.
You do a great job, buddy, so on behalf of all the anglers and spectators at the tournaments, thank you!

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