By Mitch Calvert, Fort Frances Times LTD.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Chad Buist and Rick Cooper of Fort Frances (Team #141) roared out from under the Causeway en route to the north arm of Rainy Lake this morning to begin the 15th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
FORT FRANCES—A field of 124 teams took to the waters of Rainy Lake early Thursday morning to kick off the 15th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Four-time winners Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun led the first flight at 7 a.m., and the rest of the teams followed suit hoping to knock the defending champs off the perch they’ve held for two-straight years.
Devlin’s Paul Jewiss and Mike Graham of Fort Frances (Team #19) always have fared well in the FFCBC and routinely rank among the best local pairings, but Jewiss was cautious going into Day 1.
“I wish I was guiding because it’s easier,” he laughed.
“Pre-fishing was tough with cold fronts, warm fronts, and the rain moving in and out,” he noted.
“Somebody will get them, though. They always do.”
The duo finished as high as 11th in 2006, and cracked the top 20 a year ago, but Jewiss said they haven’t come across a group of bass like they have in years past.
“We found a few fish, but one fish here, one fish there, so there will be lots of gas burned [today],” Jewiss remarked.
“Not bunched up like they normally are, [but] a couple of guys have found a couple of nice schools where the mayflies are,” he noted.
“You catch a couple of them and their bellies are just full of mayflies,” Jewiss added. “We were catching some topwater on a mayfly bite a couple weeks ago, but once the mayflies are gone, then where do they go?
“They haven’t been back since [in that spot] because I’ve been checking,” he chuckled.
A consistent 17-pound bag over all three days of fishing usually is the standard to compete for a top-five finish—and Jewiss said that’s what makes this tournament so difficult to win.
“Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad, but this is a tough tournament because you need three good days,” he stressed.
“You’re going to have to have 17 pounds each day and be around 50 pounds, which should put you in the top five.
“But some guys will do a lot better and a lot of guys will do a lot worse, and we might be one of them.”
Thursday’s weigh-ins began at 4 p.m. down at the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina.
Friday’s weigh-ins also will start at 4 p.m. while Saturday’s get underway at 3:30 p.m., with the top 10 boat parade to follow around 5.
Headline rocker Kim Mitchell, with opening act “Money Honey,” took to the stage under the big tent last night to kick off the first of three concerts being held in conjunction with the tournament.
“Whole Lotta Angus,” an AC/DC tribute band, plays Friday night while “Bon Journey,” which covers “Bon Jovi” and “Journey” tunes, is back by popular demand Saturday night.
Editor’s note: Times’ publisher Jim Cumming, fishing with John Maffei as Team #130, will be “tweeting” live from the water throughout the tournament.
His Twitter page can be accessed through the link provided on www.fftimes.com or directly at www.twitter.com/jrcumming
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)