‘Smallies’ win again on Shoal Lake

It almost could be called the year of the smallmouth in Sunset Country as most of the tournaments, even those on waters with largemouths, were won by anglers targeting the more plentiful smallmouth bass.
This past weekend on Shoal Lake, 51 teams took part in another fun event that saw a lot of good catches come across the scales.
Kenora anglers Dean Tacknyk and Trevor Guderyan won the tournament with a two-day total of 38.57 pounds for 10 bass. They took advantage of the beautiful weather on Saturday and brought in a 20.28-pound catch, which included big bass of the day and the tournament—a 4.81-pound “smallie.”
Day 2 brought really strong winds that provided a bit more of a challenge for all the teams. But Guderyan and Tacknyk backed up their big catch with 18.29 pounds.
My partner, Dennis Favreau, and I finished second for the third year in a row at this tournament. We usually focus on largemouths at this event, but we were not catching a lot of big ones in the days leading up to the tournament.
We started fishing for largemouths on Day 1 of the tournamen,t but made a move after about halfway through the morning because we were not getting any big fish. We chose to focus more on smallmouths—and it paid off.
We were consistent, bringing in two bags weighing 19.28 and 19.15 pounds for a two-day total of 38.43 pounds, only .14 of a pound behind the winners!
We caught most of our fish on a Northland Mimic Minnow jig tipped with a five-inch Trigger-X Minnow and a #14 Rapala Husky Jerk.
Third place went to the Winnipeg team of John Guzej and his son, Marc, who had a haul of 37.90 pounds.
John has fished tournaments in Sunset Country for years and has a lot of wins under his belt. But this was his first time bringing his son along, so it was nice to see them have a good finish.
Fourth place and fifth place went to the Winnipeg teams of Wayne Wagner and Darrell Keszler (37.57 pounds) and Alex Keszler and Amanda Keszler (37.42), respectively.
Other notable catches on the weekend included that of Day 1 leaders Donny Redsky and Brent Bruyere of Shoal Lake, who had a mixed bag of smallmouths and largemouths that weighed in at 21.30 pounds.
They brought in only 11.59 pounds on Day 2, however, to finish just out of the money.
Sixth place went to the Sioux Narrows team of Brian McNanney and Matt Rydberg thanks to the big catch on Day 2 of 20.57 pounds.
Their two-day total of 37.24 pounds left them only a little over a pound out of the lead.
The big bass on Sunday was a 4.56-pound largemouth caught by the Kenora team of Jackie and Darren Neniska.
There is one more Sunset Country bass tournament left to finish the season this weekend out of Whitefish Bay in Sioux Narrows. It was at this event last year that the biggest bass and the biggest five-fish limit I’ve ever seen were brought in—a seven-pound, 10-oz. largemouth and a 25-pound bag.
There likely will be more giant fish brought in again this weekend.
I am going to miss the Whitefish Bay tournament this weekend. I travelled to Cornwall, Ont. on Monday to spend the week pre-fishing for a big tournament on Lake St. Francis this weekend.
The tournament is called the Berkley B1. It is a two-day team event on a large body of water that is part of the St. Lawrence River. There are huge smallmouth bass in this water so hopefully we can find a few of them.
I am fishing with a good friend, Derek Strub, who is one of the best smallmouth anglers in all of southern Ontario.
Look for my report on this event next week.

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