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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Be smart out on the water

Two American anglers had quite the scare last week when they went missing for three days on Lake of the Woods during the first snowfall of the season.

It’s unclear exactly how the father and son ended up some 50 km up the lake from where they were staying at Buena Vista Resort in Morson.

Bass tournament season wraps up

The bass tournament season in Northwestern Ontario wrapped up over the weekend with the last few tournaments of 2018.

While the weather was not great, it's a long winter for those of us who enjoy chasing bass and competing in tournaments, so we get in all of the events we can before the end of the season.

The annual Frank McClymont Memorial Tournament took place Saturday out of WSL Marina in Kenora. Some 39 teams participated so it was a great turnout considering the cold weather.

Chilly weekend on lake

It wasn't exactly nice weather for bass fishing but it's a long winter here in Northwestern Ontario so for many of us who enjoy competing in these tournaments, we're fishing no matter what Mother Nature throws at us to get in all the fishing we can before another season comes to an end.

Some 25 teams fished the annual Shoal Lake Last Chance tournament this past Saturday and Sunday in strong winds, rain, and even some snow. The team count was down from most years but the forecast probably didn't help with motivating anglers to show up Saturday morning.

Weights tight at 'Classic'

For the past several years, the Crow Lake Classic bass tournament has been a fun, smaller event that attracted 20-something teams each year and consisted of mostly local anglers as well as a few out-of-town duos.

While the event has been going on for about 15 years, the Hanson family who operate Hideaway Lodge on Crow Lake took over running the tournament around 2010.

They are a great host for the tournament because they have a boat launch on-site and the out-of-town anglers have a place to stay in their cabins.

Great time in Sioux Narrows

It's been 22 years since Sioux Narrows' anglers Chris Bell and Mel Giesbrecht started the first “Bassin' For Bucks” tournament on Lake of the Woods there.

They wanted a three-day tournament that offered rewards for daily catches and aggregate catches, which is a great way to spread the prize money around.

That first year, the tournament started out with 38 teams competing. But it only took a couple of years to reach a full field of 120 boats, which it consistently gets year after year to this day.

Walleye action hot on area lakes

After a few weeks of my focus being on bass fishing, it was nice to get a break from the tournament scene last week to fish around home and catch some fish to eat.

I had a few guide trips booked and most of the clients wanted to fish for walleyes. I was quite excited to change things up and cook up a couple of shore lunches.

Success on Rainy Lake

The 14th-annual International Falls Bass Championship took place this past weekend and a full field of 60 teams competed for two days on Rainy Lake and the Rainy River.

The tournament has evolved over the years from the format it started with where teams competed on the U.S. side of Rainy Lake for one day and the Rainy River for one day.

Three years ago, the lake was opened up to include the Canadian side of the south arm of Rainy Lake with the boundaries being that boats could not go under any bridges.

We should have more appreciation for pike

As a bass angler, pike tend to annoy me quite often because when we fish for bass, we don't use leaders so they bite off our baits all the time.

And it seems like the more expensive the lure, the shorter its life span.

When we're bass fishing, it's usually the smaller pike that bite our lures and they're the ones that bite the baits off most frequently because they take wild swings at the lures.

Those are the ones we're going to call annoying. Bigger pike have much more precision when they strike and actually don't bite off your tackle nearly as much.

Another Forrest Wood Cup in the books

When everything wrapped up over the weekend at Lake Ouachita and Hot Springs, Ark., it could be called one of the hottest, toughest weeks of fishing I've ever seen.

In the end, Alabama angler Clent Davis rallied from 10th place on the final day with the largest catch of the tournament to claim the $300,000 first-place prize. His three-day total of 36 pounds was seven pounds more than his nearest competitor!

Off again to vie for the Forrest Wood Cup

As the Kenora Bass International tournament goes into its 31st year this weekend on Lake of the Woods, I will be down in Arkansas once again competing in the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita.

While I will miss fishing the KBI and competing against all of my buddies, getting to fish in Arkansas this week is something I worked towards all season on the FLW Tour so it's all good.

Some 56 anglers will be fishing in the Forrest Wood Cup this week and the winner is going to take home a $300,000 payday!