This year’s FFCBC the most fun yet

Bass anglers from all over North America converged on Rainy Lake this past weekend for the 16th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
In the 11 years that I have fished this event, I had more fun than I can ever recall.
The weather was great all week, the fishing was pretty good, and the anglers who did participate were treated to a great event by the tournament organizers.
Before the tournament even started, it was nice to see that the parade of boats was brought back this year. The number of spectators who show up for this parade through the downtown is incredible.
My partner, John Peterson, has fished tournaments across North America for many years and he was absolutely astonished at how many people come out to support the anglers and check out all the boats.
It really adds a unique element to the FFCBC for spectators.
As for the tournament itself, I thought the new venue inside the Memorial Sports Centre was great. The weigh-ins each day were well-received by the anglers and the organizers found some comfort in not having to battle the weather.
It was a little bit hot inside for the final weigh-in on Saturday, but it would have been hot under the tent down at the Sorting Gap Marina, as well.
The crowds were good and the whole set-up was a lot of fun.
The fishing was considerably better than last year for most anglers as weights were up across the board. I think the pre-fish was tough for many anglers, but fish seemed to start biting a little bit better once the tournament started on Thursday morning.
The fishing has changed in the last few years from what it was like four or five years ago, but there still are a lot of bass in Rainy Lake.
Taking home first place with a three-day total of 56.45 pounds was the team of Dorian Lindholm from Fort Frances and Bill Wilcox from Texas.
They were consistent over all three days, never bringing in a catch under 18 pounds. And in the end, they found themselves more than three pounds ahead of the second-place team of Mark Raveling and Mike Luhman, who had a three-day total of 53.26 pounds.
John and I were fortunate to bring in the largest catch on Day 3 at 20.54 pounds to jump from 17th position to finish third. We made some adjustments on Saturday that paid off as we improved our catch considerably.
We actually fished shallower than we did the first couple of days, and that was key in getting our baits in front of bigger bass.
We caught fish on a variety of baits over the weekend, but for the most part on fast-moving, reaction baits. When it was calm, we fished a lot topwaters, and when the wind blew, we threw spinnerbaits.
We mixed in some jigs to add a little finesse to our presentation and they put a few fish in the boat each day, as well.
The large catch on Day 3 definitely was one of the highlights of all the tournaments that I have ever fished.
The big shocker of the weekend had to be when perennial champs Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun, the second-place team after Day 2, weighed in only three fish on Saturday.
I have to be honest, after they weighed in the largest catch of the tournament on Day 2 (21.21 pounds), I did not think the rest of the field stood a chance on the last day.
The three-time defending champs have been so dominate on Rainy Lake in recent years that I truly thought everyone else was in big trouble.
Well, they proved that they are human on Saturday when they came to scales with only three fish for 8.14 pounds to land them in 19th spot overall.
They were very humble and well-spoken on stage. They simply made note that it was someone else’s turn this year and that they finally made some bad decisions on Rainy Lake.
Just so everybody knows how hard these guys work, after the tournament weigh-ins were completed Saturday, Moynagh launched his boat and went back out on the water for a few hours before dark to try to learn where they may have went wrong during the day.
That is dedication!
The biggest surprise of the weekend also happened on Saturday when Al Lindner and his son, Troy, brought in three big largemouth bass to the scales as part of their 19.80-pound catch.
There have been a few small largemouths weighed in in years past, but none that had much impact on the final standings like these ones did.
Al also mentioned to me that he caught a number of big largemouths in practice, as well. Surely this could get people looking a little bit harder for them next year.
All in all, the FFCBC was a success. The whole week in Fort Frances is one of the highlights of the entire year for me and many other anglers. I already can’t wait to get back there next year!
A big thanks to all the volunteers who work so hard to make this one of the finest bass tournaments in North America.
Next up is the Kenora Bass International. Look for my pre-tournament report next week.

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