Rainy Lake has always been known as a great bass spot. Now it will be known equally for its rough weather.
“With the rough weather and everything, we weren’t quite sure how fishing was going to be,” remarked David Lindsay of Kenora.
But it paid off in the end for Lindsay who, along with teammate and brother, Norman, of Sioux Narrows, led the first annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship from start to finish to win the $11,000 top prize here Sunday afternoon.
The duo caught 15 fish over the three days, tipping the scales at 41.94 pounds overall.
“That was some of the roughest weather I have ever fished in,” Lindsay noted. “The waves were just rollers and we didn’t know if our boat was going to hold together.
“We had our windshield break and it broke off and went right between us and almost hit us,” he added.
Al Lindner, of In-Fisherman fame, said two of the three days were the windiest he’s ever fished bass in his life.
“We knew the morning bite was going to be the important bite so we went right to the spot that we knew there was some nice bass, and it had been pretty consistent over the last couple of days for us,” Lindsay continued.
The pair did their fishing on the north arm near Alexandria Island.
“We had some consistent bass in that area and twister tails were working for us, and it was just having the right colour and right presentation with them,” Lindsay remarked.
“It just worked out for us.
“Even with the different weather [there was consistent fishing],” he continued. “We wanted to hit the spots where we knew we could catch bass, or have a chance to catch bass.”
Lindsay said they never reached the “panic” stage during the tournament, always having a few “keepers” in the boat by 10:30 a.m., and then just working on replacing the smaller ones.
“The pressure was usually off us by mid-morning,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lindner and his nephew, James, finished second in the tournament, landing 40.38 pounds of bass to pocket $5,500.
“The fishing was really good in practice,” the elder Lindner observed. “The wind really hindered, naturally, overall catch for everybody.
“If we get flat, calm weather, where guys can run and go where they want to go, you’ll see consistently better catches of fish naturally,” he added.
The Lindner family also took home third-place honours, with Ron Lindner (Al’s brother) and his son, Bill, finishing the three-day event with 35.24 pounds, just 2/100ths of a pound ahead of Denis Barnard and Clint Barton, the best local team.
The Lindners received $4,000 while Barton and Barnard got $2,500, plus another $1,000 for being the top local team.
“The last two days, Billy and I had no fish or practically no fish at noon every day,” Ron Lindner noted. “And we punt, we’d pull something different and managed to scrounge together 11 and a half/12 pounds at the end of the day.
“We’d just run around, run around, and we’d get one area where it was boom, boom, boom, boom and that was it,” he continued.
“And I’ll be back for that kind of tournament next year.”
Finishing fifth and winning $2,000 was the Emo-Fort Frances connection of Wayne Howard and Geoff Gillon.
Things looked good for the pair, who sat in third-place after the second day of competition. But their final day weight of 8.08 pounds was 16th for Sunday—and pushed them down to fifth spot.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
•Rod Kitchingham and Bob Duncan (both of Winnipeg)—34.24 pounds, $1,300;
•Fred Kelly Jr. and Edward Yerxa (both of Nestor Falls)—33.58 pounds, $1,200;
•Albert Trudeu (Ile Des Chene, Man.) and Gord Kameda (Dryden, Ont.)—33.20 pounds, $1,500;
•John Leistman and Bud Schmiginsky (both of Paynesville, Mn.)—33.00 pounds, winning a Magellan Trailblazer Global Positioning System.
The big fish awards, sponsored by Pinewood Sports, Mercury Outboards and Lund Boats, went to Ron/Bill Lindner ($1,000) for a 4.02-pounder on day one; Don Lamont and Mike Schamber of Winnipeg ($1,000) for a 4.18-pounder on day two; and Jim Klick of White Bear Lake, Mn. and Al Meline of Nestor Falls ($2,000) for a 4.50-pounder on the final day.
Big catch awards for heaviest stringer were presented to Lindsay/Lindsay, weighing in 14.62 pounds Friday ( $1,000); Greg Stahn (Devlin)/Theo DeGroot (Emo), weighing in 15.90 pounds Saturday ($1,000); and Jerry Miller (Winnipeg)/Scott Cook (Winnipeg), weighing in 14.44 pounds Sunday ($2,000).