‘Smallies’ prevail at Bassin’ For Bucks

Slow and steady won the race this past weekend at the 14th-annual Bassin’ For Bucks tournament in Sioux Narrows.
The Winnipeg team of Ted and Louise Stewner brought in big catches of smallmouth bass all three days of the tournament for a total of 54.85 pounds to win the top prize.
A full field of 120 teams competed in less-than-favourable weather conditions. But at the end of the weekend, there were a lot of smiling faces at this very well-run event.
The Stewners are not new to winning tournaments. In fact, they already won the Shoal Lake Bass Classic back in July while Ted previously has won many tournaments with his longtime partner, John Guzej, including the KBI in 1995.
Mike Reid of Sioux Narrows and I have fished the tournament together since it started in 1996 when we were 13 years old. We have had plenty of good days (as well as a few tough ones) over the years, but our first day this year is one we won’t soon forget.
We had a tournament record catch of 24.55 pounds for our five fish—all largemouth bass. The previous record of 22.73 pounds was set by Brian McNanney and Ken Ellis back in 2008.
Catches of 13.20 and 15.85 on days two and three gave us a three-day total of 53.60 pounds to claim second place.
The funny thing about our Day 1 catch was that we started the day fishing for “smallies.” We had caught some big smallmouths on the last day of practice and decided to start the tournament fishing for them.
But we did not catch any keeper fish in the first two hours, so we decided to see if we could catch a few largemouths. Within a few hours, we had five really big bass, including one that weighed in at 6.16 pounds.
We just got the right bites, and everything went our way. To put this in perspective, I have only weighed in one or two fish in tournaments on Lake of the Woods that were as big as the four biggest bass we had that day.
We caught our fish this past weekend on a Northland Jungle Jig tipped with a Slurpies Jungle Craw Chunk, a Trigger-X Flutter Worm, and X-Rap jerkbaits.
Something changed after Day 1, however, because we could not get back on the same quality of fish. The wind changed directions and that may have had more of an effect than we anticipated.
Regardless, our Day 1 catch made the whole year pretty special for us.
Third place went to Sioux Narrows residents and former champions, Joe Pritchett and Hiram Archibald, who brought in the largest catch on Day 2 of 20.85 pounds.
The largest catch on Day 3 was brought in by Kenora anglers Leo Heyens and Bill Straight, who reeled in 19.97 pounds.
Several other teams made big comebacks on the final day to get themselves in the money, including Dave Bennett and Mark Libitka, who had a catch of 19.14 pounds, Dave and Norm Lindsay (19.27), and youngsters Chris Mcdermid and Jeff Engstrom, who had 18.90 pounds to land them in ninth place.
Bassin’ For Bucks was the brainchild of Sioux Narrows anglers Chris Bell and Mel Geisbrecht, who started the event. Both have since fished the tournament and Mel did a great job as emcee this year.
This tournament fills up every year, and is one of the most popular bass tournaments for many Sunset Country anglers for a number of reasons.
The prize money, for instance, is spread out significantly among a large number of teams. Anglers are rewarded for large daily catches, as well as their three-day totals.
As well, several businesses in Sioux Narrows also sponsor special categories and increase the prize money significantly.
The fishing this time of year is good and the whole community of Sioux Narrows is very welcoming to all the anglers. This weekend definitely is one of the highlights of the year for me.
For full results, check out the tournament website at www.bassinforbucks.com

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