My fishing buddy John Peterson (Bemidji, MN) and I had some fun again this past weekend on Rainy Lake when we won the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship for the second year in a row. After finally winning last year the pressure was off for this year's go-around, but we still wanted to give it our best shot!
With Rainy Lake being four or five feet higher than it was last year, it was basically a different lake. Though we fished some of the same areas that we did last year, I don't think we caught any fish from the same spots as last year.
After a couple of tough practice days we figured out that there were enough big fish shallow to be competitive in the tournament. We're talking really shallow, like five feet and less. In the event I don't think we caught one deeper than four feet.
We basically covered ground with hardware (topwaters, spinnerbaits) trying to hunt down single fish living around rocks surrounded by weeds. In practice when the wind was blowing we caught them pretty good on spinnerbaits but in the tournament it was fairly calm every day and topwater baits were best.
I think 11 or 12 of our fish came on topwater poppers. The one I threw was the Jackall SK Grande. It's a relatively small bait, yet it's heavy enough to cast accurately into the holes in the weeds. We caught a few on a tube and hair jig as well.
A big crowd always shows up for the weigh-in on the final day at the FFCBC! Everyone watches intently as the final weight is called for our buddies Bryan Gustafson and Brandon McMillan, who we narrowly slid past on the final day thanks to our 20.20 lb catch.
Rainy is a beautiful lake, certainly right up there with Lake of the Woods as my favourite! It's remote for the most part with endless miles of shoreline and bays to explore. And there are smallmouths everywhere! And walleyes, pike and muskies. Here is a little river flowing in that we found...There is no place I'd rather be in July!
Many thanks to all the great volunteers that make this GREAT event happen every year! The anglers have a lot of fun!!!
Top 10 Standings:
|1||1||Jeff Gustafson||John Peterson||18.76||18.22||20.2||57.18|
|2||21||Bryan Gustafson||Brandon McMillan||20.29||19.47||17.2||56.96|
|3||58||Rene Cadene||Morgan Cadene||17.93||17.25||19.18||54.36|
|4||24||Dennis Barnard||Scott Gobeil||17.52||19.26||16.92||53.7|
|5||41||David Doty||Troy Ostby||16.99||20.78||15.89||53.66|
|6||3||Troy Norman||Jay Samsal||16.79||18.16||16.84||51.79|
|7||20||Chad Johnson||John Janousek||16.09||18.87||16.36||51.32|
|8||19||Steve Sandberg||Scott Sandberg||15.82||16.99||18.48||51.29|
|9||10||Glenn Leroux||Trevor Zimak||16.64||17.06||17.15||50.85|
|10||51||Jason Pavleck||Bill Walls||18.21||18.61||13.62||50.44|