Godin reels in second KBI crown
Jeff Gustafson was staring an impressive double right in the face.
But when the weather calmed down on the final day of the Kenora Bass International (KBI) tournament on Saturday, the Kenora angler and reigning Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship (FFCBC) winner blinked.
“I knew it was going to be tough, especially with ‘Gussy’ there in his home water,” said Godin, who last won the event in 2006.
“Leroy and I figured he was going to bring in 15 or 16 pounds at least, which meant we needed 18.5 pounds to even have a chance,” he added.
Godin and Wilson topped that mark, netting the big catch of the day with 18.60 pounds to finish with a three-day total of 52.50 pounds. That was good enough to hold off two Sioux Narrows combinations, with Brian McNanney and Matthew Rydberg .98 pounds back at 51.52 and Jess Swenson and Michael Reid placing third with 49.82.
Gustafson and partner Chris Savage from Keewatin, who led through both of the first two days, ran into still waters on Day 3 and only collected 11.10 pounds to plummet to ninth place with a total of 47.51.
“Brian and Matt gave us a good run,” said Godin, who shared almost $25,000 in prize money with Wilson. “They had us worried.
“There’s lots of young teams coming out now that are doing some really good fishing. I would have been happy just winning the 100 years and over division,” laughed Godin, who did just that, as well as prize money for being the top Mercury team and having the second best catch of the day on Day 1, when they brought in 18.44 pounds.
That was offset by a mark of 15.46 on Day 2, which provided Godin and Wilson with a variety of difficulties.
“It was pretty windy on Friday and that kept us from getting out to our regular spots,” said Godin.
“We also blew a blade on the (propeller) and that put us behind schedule and cut a couple of hours off our fishing time,” he added.
Godin said water levels were about normal for this time of year, although he noted they are somewhat higher than the last few years. He credited his and Wilson’s preparation with having much to do with their success.
“We had a really good pre-fish and caught a lot out there,” said Godin. “We were confident going in that we could do good.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Godin is already preparing his boat to head out for the Atikokan Bass Classic this weekend, followed by the International Falls Bass Classic on Aug. 23-24.
“We’re not about to slow down, although we probably should be,” he chuckled.
The Morson pairing of Jules and John Gibbins came in fourth overall with 49.45, while Oshawa’s Mike Miller and Scott Bonnema of Zimmerman, MN took fifth spot with 49.27.
The top Fort Frances finisher was Troy Norman, who teamed with Kenora’s Jay Samsal to come in 17th place with 44.57. Norman and Samsal were coming off a third-place showing in the FFCBC last month.
A total of 129 teams participated in this year’s KBI, with 1,793 fish weighing a combined 4,634.80 pounds reeled in by anglers.
In the Can/Am Challenge, pitting five pre-selected teams from both sides of the border against each other, Canada came out on top with its teams racking up 224.77 pounds, easily besting the U.S. total of 181.48.