Two-time champs grab early lead Moynagh has big first day in FFCBC return

By Justin Holmes
Fort Frances Times

Jim Moynagh, partnered again with Joe Thrun after a five-year layoff from the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, returned with a bang yesterday—leading the tournament with a 20.92-pound haul on Day 1.
“It was a special day the way things unfolded,” Moynagh said. “It was nice to see. It was our best day we’ve had here this year.
“We’ve had a couple decent practice days, but nothing like this,” he added.
Moynagh said he and Thrun, both from Minnesota, can’t have any complaints being in the top spot—and noted they landed all of the big bass they had hooked.
“These smallies, they’re real scrappers. They’re known for coming off the hook and they’re gonna get off the hook,” he remarked. “We got the right ones in the boat today.”
Moynagh and Thrun won back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999, as well as five top-three finishes over a span of six years. Despite that pedigree, the duo admitted being in top spot after the first day was a bit of a surprise.
“I didn’t expect to do this good today,” Thrun said. “So if we do something close to this tomorrow [Friday], that’d be a bonus.
“There’s a lot of guys who’re really good fishermen who’re going to come in with really good bags [Friday], so by no means are we comfortable with what we have,” he stressed.
In second place after Day 1 was the local duo of Guy Johnston and Doug Wright, who brought in 20.53 pounds.
Johnston said that with the strong first-day total, they expect to compete for first place.
“Oh, yes,” he said. “With the fish that we had in the pre-fishing, hopefully the weather stays stable. The fish aren’t going to go anywhere.”
He said he and Wright moved around the lake very little and stuck to the game plan they’ve had every year—this time it’s just been paying off in spades.
The third 20-pound bag of the day belonged to Brad Rassmussen and Gordon Fothergill of Minnesota (20.01).
Also in the top five were Wayne and Dean Howard with 19.63 pounds, followed by Morgan Cadene and Doug McBride at 19.27.
Rounding out the top 10 after Day 1 were Glen Ward and Mark Wilson (19.25), Mike Luhman and Mark Raveling (18.99), Alex and Darrell Keszler (18.96), Ted Olson and Bob Hell (18.90), and Chad Adrians and Caleb Colwell (18.90).
Defending champs Mark Libitka and Dave Bennett still are in contention after the first day, sitting in 21st place with a 17.48-pound total.
The big fish of the day—5.15 pounds—went to Wisconsinites Scott Ourada and John Allen, who’s 18.31 total left them in 14th place.
A total of 648 fish were caught yesterday, weighing a total of 1,885.59 pounds.
Tournament conditions were marked by heavy cloud cover, which did not recede until the start of weigh-in, and periodic showers. While Johnston laughingly denounced conditions on the lake as “terrible,” Moynagh said he enjoyed it.
“I spend so much time out in the sun, if I can get a little shade from the sun, I’m all for it,” he remarked.