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Monday
Jun262017

2017 FLW Tour Season - Part 1

I apologize to everybody because it's been months since I have updated things here!  A lot has happenend since I last posted in December...been through the entire FLW Tour season, had some good ice fishing days and few successful wolf hunters.  I'll try and get everything updated over the next week or so!  

Tour Stop #1: Lake Guntersville, Alabama (Early February)

The first stop of the season went well.  Despite some super tough fishing, I was able to grind out a limit each day en route to a 22nd place finish, only ounces out of the top 20 cut.  I was super happy to get out of this one with a decent finish. I caught a few fish on a Jackall TN70 lipless rattle bait and a few flipping a Northland Impulse Dipstick.  

After the Guntersville tournament I had a day to burn up so I went down the road to Lewis Smith Lake to catch some big spotted bass.  We have visited Smith Lake for Tour events twice since I've been fishing and it's one of my favourite lakes in the South so I was excited to get out there.  I ended up catching a few big spots out deep on swimbaits and drop shots so it was a fun day.  

The day I went to Smith was the day of the Super Bowl and it was rainy so I pretty much had the lake to myself.  My boat this year is the new Lund 2075 ProV Bass and it has been awesome to fish out of.  Runs great, has a ton of storage, looks good, I love it!  

Tour Stop #2: Lake Travis, Texas (mid-February)

After Alabama I made my way to Texas to get ready for the next event at Lake Travis.  I had a couple days of fun fishing with my pal Jeff Sprauge, one of my FLW Tour competitors.  He took me to an awesome lake and showed me how to catch a few fish...good times!  

My brother Ben came down to Travis to practice with me and we had a great time and caught some nice fish.  We ended up getting on a deep program and that was where we caught all of our fish.  This was the big one of the trip and six pounder that Benny caught.  

Aqua-Vu is one of my new sponsors this year and using a camera while practicing at this event was very helpful for distinguishing what I was looking at on my Humminbirds.  One school of fish I marked that I thought were all bass turned out to be a big group of gar.  This camera was able to show me which brush piles had fish in them, it was fun.  

This ended up being a great tournament and I finished up in 13th spot, leaving me sitting in 5th place in the points race through two events.  Little did I know, the season was about to start going downhill.  

Tour Stop #3: Harris Chain, Florida (mid-March)

I went down to Florida a couple days early to warm up at Lake Toho and while the fishing was not fast and furious I did manage to catch a couple of big ones minutes apart one afternoon.  That is a seven and an eight pounder right there!  This is why fishing in Florida is so fun, any flip can kick out one of these things!  

My practice for this tournament was not bad...my travel partner for the season and my best buddy on Tour is Brandon McMillan from Florida so he gives me some good direction in the Sunshine State.  I love fishing down there but my tournament results are all over the map.  Heading into this one I was looking forward to the event. 

While I caught some decent fish at this one I ended up falling a little bit short of cashing a check and ended up in 72nd spot...not great but not horrible I figured.  I had gone nine events in a row where I finished in the money so I figured I was due for a tough one.  

Monday
Dec192016

A fun hunting season

The 2016 hunting season just wrapped up for us this past week (on Dec. 15).  All in all, it was a pretty fun season.  Grouse hunting was incredible and the deer numbers are starting to improve after a couple of tough years there.  My pals and I did a moose hunting trip just last week to finish off the season and were lucky to tag a big cow, so we'll be eating good this winter!  

These beauty birds are plentiful across the region - FUN to hunt and very good to eat.  

My buddy Jaxon Savage with a big smallie he caught on a fall fishing trip.  Fishing was great this fall for bass, crappies and walleye.  The ice is just about ready to go so I'm looking forward to getting out there to catch a fresh batch of walleye for dinner!  

Scott Bonnema tagged a nice buck in October.  The warm weather this fall seemed to slow daytime activity down a bit but overall the deer numbers seem to be improving.  

My 20 foot Lund Alaskan is great for getting out to hunt on Lake of the Woods no matter what the weather conditions are like.  And it works pretty good for hauling deer around!  

In early November I got out with a few buddies and had some fun duck hunting out on Lake of the Woods.  I love it but damn, do I need to practice!!!  I miss a lot.  Here is a nice batch of ring bills that kept Tikka busy. 

Keith Beasley from Canada in the Rough (TV show) with a nice buck that he harvested in November.  They filmed a Sunset Country deer hunt that'll air early in 2017.  

While I didn't capture photos of any giant bucks this fall there were a lot of quality bucks like these two.  If most of them survive the winter we have a lot to look forward to next fall and in the years to come.  We are off to a great start for this winter with little snow on the ground and we're already into late December.  

Our late season moose hunt was a lot of fun as usual.  It was SUPER COLD the whole time we were there but it had the moose on their feet.  We saw several animals and ended up tagging a big cow.  Here, Dennis Favreau, Sean McAughey and I pose with the moose on it's way out of the bush.  

Tuesday
Nov152016

Fall time in Sunset Country

It's been plenty busy around here over the past couple months as you can see by how long it's taken me to throw a little update on here!  Needless to say, I love fall...the fishing, the hunting and the time around home.  I'm on the road for so much of the year so it's nice to get to hang around home, especially during this great season.

Back in early September I fished the Bassin' For Bucks tournament in Sioux Narrows with my buddy Mike Reid.  We had a good tournament and finished third, for the third year in a row!  We have fished this tournament together since its inception way back in 1996.  We were like 13 years old and fished out of a 14 foot Lund with a cooler for a livewell that first year!  www.bassinforbucks.com 

Also back in early September I got to spend a day on Lake of the Woods with my friend Bob Izumi, his son Darren and a crew from Cuda, makers of really nice fishing accessories like knives and scissors.  We caught a bunch of walleyes, had a great shorelunch and then caught a bunch of lake trout in the afternoon.  It was a good day!  

In mid-September we took a trip out to Lake Nipigon to film a couple of TV shows, one on the Nipigon River for these beautiful brook trout and one for salmon on the same river, below the dams on the Lake Superior side.  This was an incredible trip!  Here, our fishing guide (and good friend) Gord Ellis poses with a Sean McAughey and I for a picture.  
We stayed at Quebeck Lodge in Red Rock for this trip and the accomodations were top-notch, it really was an amazing trip all-around!  

These really are some of the most beautiful fish on the planet.  If you want to plan a trip, contact Ray at Quebec Lodge/Nipigon River Adventures - http://nipigonriveradventures.com

Here is a big salmon from the trip as well!  Look for a couple of awesome TV shows to air this coming winter - Fishing with Gussy

We have some great fall bass tournaments around Lake of the Woods/Shoal Lake in the fall and I absolutely enjoy fishing in them.  Here Dennis Favreau and I hold up a really mediocre catch of largemouths from Shoal Lake...it was not my year out there.  I spend a ton of time there and have had a lot of success but things just didn't click this year...still it's my favourite lake to fish tournaments on!  Already can't wait for next year! 
Congratulations to my buddies Jay Samsal and Scott Dingwall on the win at Shoal Lake!

In late September my friend Bob Mahoney from Shimano came up to spend a couple of days in NW Ontario and we had a couple days of great fishing.  Here is a great shot he took of Bryan Gustafson and I with some big bass!  

Bob and I got into some awesome lake trout one afternoon on Lake of the Woods and caught a bunch!  Here is a nice one he caught.  

We have so many AWESOME fishing opportunities across Northwest Ontario's Sunset Country Region and a lot of great places to stay!  To plan your dream fishing trip, visit https://visitsunsetcountry.com 

Tuesday
Aug302016

Where does the summer go!?!? 

In early July, Sean McAughey and I fished the Lake Despair Castin' For Cash Tournament and ended up having a decent tournament, rolling out with an 8th place finish.  We struggled the first day then had a great second day to cash a cheque, so that was good! 

The next weekend I fished the Shoal Lake Bass Classic with my buddy Karl Engstrom.  This is my favorite lake to fish tournaments on and usually the results are good but we had a tough one and caught a bunch of medium sized fish - we missed the money here!  

Later in July we had the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championships on Rainy Lake - this is one of the premier team tournaments in North America - always one of my favourite weeks of the entire year! 
John Peterson and I had a couple of mediocre days then a strong third day to end up with a ninth place finish.
www.canadianbass.com

In early August my Dad and I hit the road for Alabama so that I could compete in my first Forrest Wood Cup event on Wheeler Lake.  It was great that my Dad could come with me to help with the big drive and practice with me.  

It was awesome that my Dad could share the experience with me!

My buddies Cory Johntston and Brandon McMillan - we all stayed together for the week, along with Cory's brother Chris...we had fun all season long so it was great that we could all share our first Forrest Wood Cup experience together!  

After a great season and getting to this tournament, I had a tough event, finishing 44th out of the 50 boat field, but the experience was awesome!  Can't wait to get back!  

Having some fun in the weigh-in line with the GOAT (the Greatest Of All Time) Andy Morgan!!!  

In mid August I got to spend a few days on Rainy Lake with Scott and Roland Martin!!!  We filmed a couple of episodes of Scott's program, The Scott Martin Challenge and had a great time!  

Wednesday
Jun292016

Busy, busy May and June

The past couple of months have been a blur, lot's of time on the road with a couple weeks mixed in around home, I'm happy to be back around home now for a while.  

The FLW Tour regular season came to an end last week at Lake Champlain in New York.  It has been a great season for me and it was pretty cool to be in the mix for Angler of the Year heading into the final event.  A 29th place finish at Champlain landed me in 5th place overall in points, so I have qualified for my first Forrest Wood Cup and my first Toyota Texas Bass Fest event in 2017, so I'm very happy.  The Cup takes place in early August at Wheeler Lake in Alabama and will be the biggest tournament of my career by far.  I can't wait! 

 

I had some good friends from home who came to cheer me on at Champlain, which was pretty awesome! 
(L-R Sean Lougheed, Chad Reynolds, Laura Stasiak, Jeff Gustafson)

Champlain is a great lake with a pile of fish in it and I choose to spend most of my time smallmouth fishing.  It worked out pretty good with a 29th place finish, so I was happy!  I caught a bunch of fish each day.  

Loading up the boat after a long day of practice at Champlain!

 Kentucky Lake did not go quite as well but I was very fortunate to end up in 50th place and earned the last $10,000 cheque!  So I'll take it!  It's a great lake as well and I probably had the best practice I had all year for this one, things just didn't work out that great in the tournament.  A friend of mine made me some really nice hair jigs for this one and they worked!  

My Dad came along to practice for this one with me and caught his biggest bass...so he was jacked!

Before Kentucky Lake I was home for a few weeks and got to have some fun catching bass, walleye and crappies...I was eating good!  We have the best fishing on the planet right here in Ontario's Sunset Country Region.  

In mid-May I teamed up with my buddy, FLW Tour mega-star Cody Meyer for the annual Sturgeon Bay Open tournament and while we had a mediocre 32nd place finish, we managed to squeak into the prizes and got our money back.  We'll be back next year!  This is one of my favourite tournaments to fish every year.  

The first week of May I was at Pickwick Lake in Alabama for the fourth stop of the season and came out of there with a decent 32nd place finish.  It was the toughest fishing of the entire year so I was happy that I avoided a bomb there!  

I'm really looking forward to the upcoming bass tournaments that we have here in Sunset Country over the next few months, they are some of the best open, team tournaments in North America...I'll have my next update a lot sooner, I promise!