The anglers are busy pre-fishing up a storm as this weekend’s sixth-annual Morson Bass International tournament is set to get underway.
While the number of teams was down last year (from 34 in 2008 to 26 in ’09), event co-ordinator Nancy Miller said they lowered the entry fee from $500 to $400 and are hopeful they’ll see at least 30 this year.
“Hopefully, with the economy the way it is this will help encourage more people to get involved,” said Miller.
On the other hand, if team numbers stay about the same, that means there will be less prize money in the pot.
“For every 10 teams we lose $1,000 in prize money,” Miller explained.
Last year’s champs, Bill and Almer Godin won $3,500. However, an increase in the number of teams could offset the loss in registration fees.
The MBI had 15 paid teams as of last Thursday. But as in previous years, many anglers do not officially pay until the rules meeting on the Friday.
“We will accept registrations right up to that point,” said Miller.
The tournament gets underway Saturday morning. Breakfast will be available at the government dock, with boats checking in at 6:30 a.m.
The anglers then will head out on Lake of the Woods at 7:30 a.m. to return at 3:30 p.m. for the Day 1 weigh-in, which is open to the public.
Concession stands, a silent auction, and a beer garden open at noon under the big tent.
The auction features many unique items this year, including an autographed MBI T-shirt by famous female race car driver Danica Patrick and a wood-carved Harley Davidson replica.
Back by popular demand this year is a walleye fish fry at 5 p.m., served by the Bergland recreation committee.
New to the tournament is free entertainment under the tent from 6-8:30 p.m., featuring live music by the Nighthawks.
On Day 2 (Sunday), the boats again will leave at 7:30 a.m. but return a bit earlier for the final weigh-in starting at 3 p.m.
The top five boats from Day 1 will be saved to the end of weigh-in, then paraded through the tent.
Meanwhile, Spruce Creek Golf Course will be holding a golf tournament Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. for anyone not fishing or participating in other activities that morning.
Call the course at 488-9706 for more info or to register.
Also new to the MBI this year is its emcee. Vaughn Murray of Rainy River will be doing the honours.
Miller said he should be really entertaining—and has been known to do a really good Elvis impersonation.
“Maybe he will sing an Elvis tune or two for the crowd,” she remarked.
Before the boats return on Day 2, another fishing tournament will take place at the dock. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. is the always-popular Kids’ Mini-Tournament.
It often has more participants than the adult tournament, and is free to enter.
Kids must be 14 and under and able to hold a fishing rod, be accompanied by an adult, and wear a life jacket.
Concessions, the silent auction, and beer garden re-open at noon on Sunday.
Miller said all is in place for the weekend except that they need some volunteers to help erect and take down the tent.
It will be going up today (Aug. 25) at 6 p.m. and then dismantled on Monday (Aug. 30).
Call Miller at 275-5528 if you would like to lend a hand.