A pair of faces were all smiles Saturday afternoon at the 24th-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Bryan Gustafson and Brian McNanney produced a three-day haul of 51.57 pounds to claim their first-ever FFCBC title in front of a joyous crowd under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina.
Gustafson, a former local resident who now lives in Kenora, and McNanney of Sioux Narrows jumped from seventh place on Day 2 to first with an 18.5-pound bag on the final day to dethrone back-to-back defending champs Troy Norman and Jay Samsal.
That was just under half-a-pound better than runners-up Joe Thrun of Annandale, Mn. and Jim Moynagh of Carver, Mn. (51.28), who won the tourney back-to-back-to-back in 2007-09 and also back-to-back in 1998-99.
Gustafson and McNanney previously had been victorious at other tournaments, such as the Kenora Bass International (KBI).
Taking third was Jason Cain and Wayne Howard of Fort Frances (50.33), who held the lead after Day 2 but only managed 12.88 pounds on Day 3.
Dean Smith of Sault Ste. Marie and Jay Kelly of Thunder Bay were fourth (49.87) while former FFCBC champs Glenn Leroux and Trevor Zimak of Thunder Bay rounded out the top five (49.31).
Kurt Johnson and Pat Jeffries finished sixth (49.05) while Richard Rud of International Falls and Jon Austin of Blaine, Mn. wound up in seventh (48.26) after leading the 94-team field after Day 1.
Caleb Cowell of Green Bay, Wis. and Tim Klug nabbed eighth spot (47.64), followed by Larry and Todd Bollig in ninth (47.04) and Stuart and Diane Neniska of Kenora in 10th (46.68).
Norman and Samsal ended up in 11th place with a 46.61-pound total.
And former champs Jeff (“Gussy”) Gustafson and John Peterson wound up in 13th place overall with 46.26 pounds.
They had been sitting in fifth place after Day 1.