After coming oh so close—third, fourth, and fifth place finishes the past four years—Rene and Debora Cadene blew the doors off the Atikokan Bass Classic last weekend.
The day one leaders brought in a 24-pound bag on Saturday to push their two-day catch to 46.88 lbs, the most ever for the ABC and over four and a half pounds ahead of the runners-up, Austin and Shaina Loew.
The couple had the biggest single bass of the weekend on Friday and came in on Saturday needing nineteen and half pounds to claim the title. When they started hauling out one monster after another from their live well, it became pretty clear they had had a very special day on the Floodwaters. We suspect they were throwing back four-pounders that afternoon.
As near as we can tell—our Progress records do not include all single day totals for the 12 years the ABC has been held on the Floods—the 24-pound bag is the biggest one day catch ever. There is no doubt their two-day total is the all-time best.
They are the first Atikokan team to win the title since Todd and Steve Bryk in 2013, and it was pretty obvious the full house under the Big Tent were hoping for home town win.
Dave and Eric Williams were atop the leader board after the first one hundred teams were in on Saturday, but were knocked off that perch by Bryan Gustafson and Jon Austin (2014 champs) who weighed in a 22 and-a-half pound bag.
When brother and sister Austin and Shaina Loew—in third after day one—started pulling out one big one after another, the crowd heated up, and exploded when their 20.91 lb total put them into the top spot.
These two young people have grown up fishing the Bass Classic. Austin was amazing veteran anglers with his skills in 2010, when he was going into grade five and fishing the tourney with his grandfather Larry Loew.
They had a number of good finishes over the years, including seventh in 2012 and ninth in 2016.
Shaina, a couple of years younger than Austin (she is heading into her senior year at AHS) has been fishing the tournament with her father Jody. In 2015, they bested Larry and Austin (31 pounds to 29), and did it again last year, finishing seventh overall (Larry and Austin were 14th).
They obviously make a formidable pair as a team.
When they stayed in first after Dany Michel and Travis Schallock (2016 winners) weighed in, it ensured that for the first time a woman's name would appear on the ABC champions' list.