Byron Sharp and his cousin saved all their best fishing for when it mattered most.
The Stratton resident and Winnipeg-based relative, Jon O’Connor, set an all-time tournament record with a total haul of 57.04 pounds to cruise to victory on Saturday in the 141-team field at the 2015 Kenora Bass International.
“Our pre-fishing was terrible,” chuckled Sharp, who combined with O’Connor to zoom past Day 2 leaders Oliver and Jason Gibbons of Sleeman (52.75) with a final day’s weight of 18.86 to win by 4.29 pounds to take home first-place earnings of approximately $23,000.
“We had nothing over 2.5 pounds the whole two days. We’d have been happy to pull in 13 pounds on the first day, never mind 18 (actually 17.78),” he added.
The Gibbons tandem held on for second, while Dave Bennett (Longbow Lake) and Mark Libitka (Kenora) were the only other team to crack the 50-pound mark in finishing third (50.73).
Defending champions Bryan Gustafson of Fort Frances and teammate Jamie Bruce of Kenora ended up in eighth with 47.45, including Saturday’s biggest haul of 19.26.