Local brothers Steve and Kent Ballan proved you don’t need a big boat to catch big bass.
The duo entered the1999 Dingwall Ford Bass Tournament on Sunday in Dryden with just 14-foot Naden aluminum boat powered by a 20 h.p. Yamaha.
But it was more than adequate as they hauled in 14.56 pounds of bass to finish in second place out of the 50 boats entered.
“It was the smallest boat in the tournament,” said 23-year-old Kent Ballan.
Steve Ballan has fished many area tournaments, including the Fort France Canadian Bass Championship, but this was only their second tournament together.
The Ballans entered the tournament “a little disheartened” after they failed to land a bass while pre-fishing Wabigoon Lake on Saturday. But after talking to Dryden angler Gord Kameda, they decided to fish Trap Lake instead (a small clear lake just off Wabigoon).
Kameda had said Trap was similar to Rainy Lake—the brothers’ usual haunt. And the tip paid off.
Not only did they collect $1,000 for second place, they also earned $500 for reeling in the biggest bass (4.3 pounds).
“The fish were biting really slow. We had to slow down our presentation,” Kent Ballan recalled. “It was just pure luck that they were in there that day.”
The Ballans were third to weigh in, and held first place for more than an hour before Kevin Kameda of Winnipeg and Dryden’s Greg Desautels knocked them off the podium with an even 15 pounds.
Mike Finlayson and Rob Vlassoff of Dryden finished third while Troy Mann of Fort Frances, teamed up with Dryden’s Keith Kellar, wound up fourth.
Three other local teams finished in the top 30—Rod Halliday and Dan Smeeth (18th), Robert Chabot and Norman Wood (22nd), and Rick Socholotuk and Tracy McDonald (26th).