Plenty of tournament fishing ahead in 2012

As we welcome in the New Year, it always encourages us to reflect back on the previous one and the good times we had, as well as look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.
The interesting thing about fishing is the mind always allows us to use our imagination and think about great fishing that might be available on a new lake or a favourite spot.
I’m always thinking about places to fish on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake that I’ve never fished before. I usually relate my thoughts to bass fishing and am always thinking about new areas to fish when the big tournaments roll around.
For those of us who enjoy fishing in bass tournaments here in Sunset Country, we have plenty to look forward to in 2012. The annual Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic, which has taken place on the first weekend in July for the past 20 years, is moving its dates for 2012.
This year it will take place on the second weekend of the month (July 14-15). The reason for the change is to get the tournament away from the bass spawn.
Usually bass are done spawning by the middle of June but due to some late winters over the past few years, the tournament has fallen during the peak of the spawn.
This is an issue that has occurred on some of the bigger lakes in our region. I think it’s a great move by the tournament organizers at Shoal Lake and something that most of the anglers will support.
Meanwhile, the “Castin’ For Cash” tournament on Lake Despair, which usually is held on the second weekend in July, will switch spots with Shoal Lake and will run on the first weekend (July 6-7).
This is a super-fun event where the whole family can have fun at Lake Despair Lodge.
In other news, Shimano and G. Loomis have stepped up and are offering anglers a pretty good incentive to use their high-end rods and reels in area tournaments in 2012.
These companies are giving out contingency prizes at the three biggest events in the region: the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, the Shaw Kenora Bass International, and the “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament in Sioux Narrows.
There are two programs—one from Shimano and one from G. Loomis—and they are pretty simple. For instance, anglers must purchase a rod, reel, and a spool of Power Pro line to be eligible for the Shimano program.
Fill out the application form available at the retail location where you make the purchase and the top finishing team at each event will win an extra $1,000 to be spent at the retailer where you made the purchase.
If you win the tournament, you’ll earn $1,500 to spend at the retail location.
The G. Loomis program is similar. Purchase a G. Loomis fishing rod and you are eligible to win $1,500 if you catch the overall big fish at any of these events.
The only catch is you must purchase these rods from a Canadian dealer in their store (online purchases don’t qualify).
The retail locations will be able to provide you with an application form, or you can find the forms and information for these programs on the respective tournament websites.
The Shaw Kenora Bass International is going into its 25th year, so it will be a special tournament this year. It also will be held for the first time under the HarbourDome Tent.
Kenora’s tourism specialist, Heather Paterson, has guaranteed me that it will be the best top 10 boat parade ever to finish off the 2012 event.
The new site looks great; I can’t wait to see how things play out.
On a personal note, my tournament season is going to start extra early in 2012. I’m signed up to fish four FLW Tour open tournaments and the first one is at Lake Okeechobee in Florida in early February.
I have a new boat and am working hard to get it ready to hit the road at the end of January. The other three events are later in the year on the Detroit River (Michigan), Wheeler Lake (Alabama), and Sam Rayburn Reservoir (Texas).
I’m very excited to fish at the top level in competitive bass fishing. It’s a lot of travel, but it’s a great opportunity and something that I’ve dreamed about doing for a long time.
Bass wishes to everybody in 2012!

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