Ward, Good in first place after Day 1

By Lucas Punkari
Fort Frances Times Ltd.

    An increase in wind speed from pre-fishing earlier in the week played havoc for many of the anglers on Rainy Lake during Day 1 of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship yesterday.
    But for the local team of Darren Ward and Sean Good, the condition changes ended up playing right into their favour as they jumped to the top of the table following the first day of fishing, with their five bass weighing in at 19.61 pounds.
    “We had a game plan set up for today, but once we saw the weather forecast we kind of hemmed and hawed over what we were going to do and how it might affect us,” Good, who is competing in his second FFCBC, explained.
    “In the end we decided to stick with our plan and suffer the consequences. But as it ends up, here we are now in first place,” Good added.
    Like almost every angler that talked to tournament master of ceremonies Paul Morrison on the stage at the Ice for Kids Arena, Ward also stressed about how the increase in the wind affected things for himself and his teammate.
    “None of us anglers could really deal with that wind, so in our situation, we just decided to stick to our plan from pre-fishing and try to fish some of our areas,” Ward, who is in his seventh FFCBC, explained.
     “But due to the wind, we just couldn’t hold on to those spots, so we resorted to some of our reserve areas that we went to during pre-fishing and we got some smaller fish.
    “Luckily though, those areas also held some giants for us,” Ward added.
    However, like any good fisherman, both Ward and Good were keeping all details about where and how they caught the bass to themselves.
    “We were finding them in the water,” Good joked.
    “This is a situation that we have never been in before, and we’re pretty happy about that,’ Ward added.
    “So we are just kind of keeping things a little low, and you know what, we are the unknowns and we’re trying to prove ourselves a little bit here, and we don’t want to hex ourselves for day two,” Ward reasoned.
    The second year tournament tandem were also surprised that their weight total was good enough to go to the top of the 95 team field, especially with the number of quality anglers who were right behind them in the standings.
    “Considering the company that we are in competition with, I was skeptical that we would finish that high,” Good said.
    “I knew we would be in the top 20, but I had no idea that we would be in first place at the end of the day.
    “When you see some of the names here like the Lindners and Joe Thrun, it’s quite a surprise for me to be in first place,” Good added.
    As the anglers launched from the Government Dock at Pither’s Point Park this morning, Good and Ward found themselves in the unusual position of having a target right on their back.
    But as they relished in their performance on Day 1 yesterday evening, the Fort Frances duo was ready for the challenge.
    “Everybody wants to be in the lead and that’s exactly what we are in this tournament for, to go out and win it,” Ward said.
    “Whether or not we win this tournament, we were the best on day one, and they can’t take that away from us,” Good added.
    Right behind Ward and Good in the standings were Scott Bonnema and Mark Fisher with a one day total of 18.04 pounds, while perennial contenders Mark Raveling and Mike Luhman sat in third place with a 17.92-pound haul.
    Richard Rud and Jon Austin (17.86) and Lauren Ras and Chuck Olson (17.45) rounded out the top five.
    The rest of the top 10 consisted of Troy Norman and Jay Samsal (16.74), Ron and Dan Lindner (16.48), Bill Sentor and Brian Durham (16.20), Glenn Leroux and Trevor Zimak (16.11) and Joe Thrun and Ben Miller (15.66).
    Defending event champions Dorian Lindholm and Bill Wilcox were in 55th place after Day 1 with a 11.50-pound haul, while Winnipeg Jets defender Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Meyers sat four spots back with 10.90 pounds.