Weights down at Shoal Lake

The awesome weather that graced us throughout September finally came to an end this past weekend while anglers were fishing the Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament.
Hot pre-fishing for many suddenly became tougher on tournament day and weights were down from past years as temperatures dropped and the winds blew.
Taking home first place were Winnipeg anglers Steve Ellie and Tom Hefford, who brought in the largest bass I’ve ever seen come out of Shoal Lake on Day 1—a 6.11 pound largemouth that helped boost them to an early lead.
Their Day 1 catch of 19.81 pounds, combined with 18.40 on a super windy Day 2, gave them a two-day total of 38.21 pounds.
Ellie and Hefford were able to bring in a mixed bag of largemouths and smallmouths on Day 1, and followed it up on Day 2 with a solid limit of “smallies.”
Hefford told me they spent quite a bit of time fishing largemouths on Day 2, especially after catching the giant on the first day, but noted they just couldn’t repeat any more big bites.
They were able to switch gears midway through the day, however, and kennel up a good limit of smallmouths—something that can be tough to do under the extreme weather conditions anglers faced.
Dennis Favreau and I took second place with a two-day total of 37.29 pounds, nearly a pound behind the winners.
We had a solid Day 1 catch of 19.66 pound that put us in second place, but had a much tougher second day and brought in only 17.63.
We had a mixed bag of largemouths and smallmouths over the weekend. It was a lot different than previous years as the warm weather had fish positioned in different places than they usually are.
Largemouths were not pulled out of the shallow water as much as they normally are while the smallmouths were not grouped up as much.
Third place went to the Kenora husband-and-wife team of Stuart and Diane Neniska, who tallied 37.06 pounds of largemouths and smallmouths.
Their 19-pound Day 1 catch included a monster 5.52-pound largemouth.
Diane told me she spent half of Day 2 driving their bass boat and 225 h.p. motor like a tiller so Stuart could fish because they had killed all the power in their trolling motor by about noon trying to hold in the wind.
The big fish on Day 2 also was a largemouth, caught by the team of Jay Samsal and Scott Dingwall. It weighed in at 5.05 pounds.
The big thing the top three teams all had in common was they had mixed bags of largemouths and smallmouths.
Both species were not grouped up as much as they normally are at this time of year, so anglers had to cover more water and fish a lot of spots as opposed to sitting on two or three spots all day, which is common for top finishing teams most years.
There also was a walleye tournament in Rainy River last weekend. Former KBI champs Oliver and Jason Gibbins won the tournament—and the $15,000 first prize—with a two-day total of 22.42 pounds.
There is one tournament weekend left in Sunset Country. A bass event is running out of Whitefish Bay in Sioux Narrows while a walleye tourney is planned at Northwest Bay on Rainy Lake.

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