Shoal Lake great place for a tourney

The 20th-annual Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic took place over the weekend, with 75 teams vying for the $12,000 first-place prize.
Area anglers love this two-day event because Shoal Lake has some of the best bass fishing in the region.
It also is a big body of water, which makes it a great place to have a tournament.
Kenora anglers Bart Stebnitsky and Darren Marcine took the lead after Day 1 with 18.34 pounds of smallmouth bass.
However, they were unable to hold off the second-place team after Day 1, Dave Kobelka and Kendrick Penasse, whose two-day total of just under 35 pounds landed them in first place after fishing on Sunday.
Kobelka and Penasse also caught the big bass of Day 1—and of the tournament—when they reeled in a 4.75-pound smallmouth early on Saturday.
Kobelka actually owns a resort on the lake and Kendrick is one of his guides, so they know the water well and were able to put things together this past weekend.
Second place went to last year’s SKBI champs, Dennis Mandamin and Jason Carpenter, who finished about a pound back.
There was a tie for third place between Dean Smith and Jim Gustafson (my dad) and Dan Kelly Sr. and Dan Kelly Jr.
The big bass of Day 2—a 4.42-pound smallmouth—was caught by the father-and-son team of Kurt and Kody Dafcik.
Chris Savage and I have had a pretty good run at this tournament the past few years, but we couldn’t put it all together this past weekend and ended up with a 17th-place finish.
We spent a lot of time chasing largemouth bass and they just didn’t want to bite for us this weekend. We were happy with the weather conditions—the fish just didn’t seem to want to co-operate.
In watching the bags of fish come to the scales, there were a lot fewer largemouths that came in than in the past few years.
We scraped together 15.87 pounds on Day 1 and 15.19 pounds on Day 2, and finished about a pound out of the top 10.
We did catch one nice largemouth on Sunday that weighed around three-and-a-half pounds. Otherwise, the rest of our fish were smallmouths, which we caught on some samples I had of some new soft plastic lures from Northland Fishing Tackle.
They have a whole new line of baits coming out called “Impulse,” which are loaded with scent and have some nice shapes. Chris also caught a few nice smallmouths on a new Rapala topwater bait called the “X-Rap Pop.”
A big thanks to Gerald Lewis and his wife for running another great tournament. Gerald has been in charge of running the tournament for many years and announced Sunday that he would not be doing it any more.
Fortunately for the anglers, he did say there would be new people coming on board to run the event so it will take place in 2012.
Next up for me is the “Castin’ For Cash” tournament this coming weekend on Lake Despair, north of Devlin. August Collinson and I are fishing it together for fifth time and looking to improve on our 16th-place finish from last year.
Tournament organizer Bill Godin told me earlier in the week that there still were a couple of spots open for the weekend. Action takes place Friday and Saturday.

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