Consistency was the key for Mike Salvador and Jeff Swenson last weekend on Lake of the Woods.
Despite less than ideal conditions Sunday, the Sioux Narrows pair weighed in 12.98 pounds to go along their 12.56-pound total on Saturday to win the fifth-annual Morson Bass Classic and $3,000 first prize.
Finishing second, more than a pound back, was the team of John and Reuben Gibbins of Morson, who wound up with a 24.39-pound total.
Bill Godin and Pat Handorgan came third with 24.09 pounds, followed by Brian Paulson-Jules Gibbins (23.91) and Rick Savage-Frank McClymont (22.53).
Meanwhile, a pair of Fort Frances teams did well on the final day to move up the standings.
Gary Noga and Jeff Moen teamed up for an eighth-place finish out of the 35 teams with a two-day total of 20.22 pounds, which included a tournament-high 13.84 pounds on Sunday.
But their success didn’t come without a lot of hard work—and a change in philosophy.
“Saturday we started fishing in the weeds but they weren’t there so we moved to the rocks Sunday and it was amazing,” said Noga, fishing in his first Morson Classic. “We caught about 30 fish, and threw back about a dozen that were 15 inches [in length].”
Noga said the difference in the size between Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake (he also competed in last month’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship) made it tougher to fish at times, as did the high winds and rough water.
“We went through three trolling batteries by staying in the one spot,” he noted.
Their total Sunday included a 4.56-pounder, which just missed being the big fish of the day (a $500 prize won by Jeff Gustafson and Chris Savage with a 4.88-pound bass).
The big bass on the first day was reeled up by the Paulson-Gibbins team (4.50 pounds).
Another Fort Frances team—Dave Byrnes and Andrea Turgeon—also had a big day Sunday, reeling in 12.34 pounds to win the tournament’s most improved team award.
The pair were shut out on the first day after their motor broke down and they missed the weigh-in by a “good half-hour.”
“We had the fish but we couldn’t get back in,” said Byrnes, a guide at the Moonlite Bay Camp in Morson and fishing in his third tournament there.
“We had [the] five-fish [limit] on the first day,” he added. “If we would have had two good days, we would have been up much higher.”
And both Noga and Byrnes praised the tournament, saying it was well-run and has the potential to grow even bigger than the 35 teams that took part this year.
In other news, Fred Foulger and Dick Burns hauled in 13.13 pounds to be the closest to the hidden weight total (13.19), winning a 54-pound thrust electrical troller motor.