Playing second fiddle was a tiresome tune for Dan and Josh Pollard.
After back-to-back years of finishing as the runners-up to Baudette's Les Morrison and Oliver Gibbins of Morson, the father-son duo flipped the script at the 18th-annual Emo Walleye Classic over the weekend and ended the reigning champs' title run.
The Pollards took home the $7,500 winners' cheque, and another $1,500 in earnings for other achievements, as the Emo natives' two-day total of 15.69 pounds was enough to secure their first-ever title together.
“It's worked out pretty good so far,” Josh Pollard said of his and his father's experience so far when they got into the hot seats on Saturday.
“Everything worked out pretty good this morning but I almost threw him out of the boat, but we're not gonna talk about that,” he chuckled.
Dan and Josh Pollard left the docks in fourth place on Day 2 after their initial haul landed them 6.78 pounds of walleye.
The duo then had a Day 2 haul of 9.18 pounds that knocked the defending champs out of the hot seats.
That haul also included the Day 2 second flight big fish—a 3.82-pound lunker.
“We enjoyed it and there's no better joy than fishing with your son,” beamed Dan Pollard after being declared the winner.
“This is great, we had a fantastic time and we'll go again,” he added, referring to competing in the tourney again next year.
“I'd just like to thank everybody who comes out and makes [the tourney] happen,” Josh Pollard chimed in.
“It's always good to get out with the old man for the weekend. I don't get to spend much time with him now as I used to, but it was a good weekend.”
Despite losing their title, it still was an impressive finish for Morrison and Gibbins as they left the docks on Saturday all the way down in 22nd spot after hauling in just 3.57 pounds on the first day.
A much better Day 2 haul of 11.24 pounds temporarily vaulted them into the lead with a two-day total of 14.99 before the top-10 boat parade started, where they occupied the hot seats until the Pollards weighed in.
Morrison and Gibbins also brought down the house with the biggest fish of the Day 2 first flight—and the tourney itself—when they pulled out a 6.78-pound monster.
The duo ended up walking away with the $2,500 second-place cheque and another $670 in earnings for other achievements throughout the tourney.
“Feels pretty good to finish where we did, we thought we were out of it,” Gibbins conceded, referring to just bringing in 3.57 pounds of walleye on the first day.
The weights for the rest of the 30-team field were all very close to each other this year.
Day 1 leaders Bill Godin of Devlin and Nolan Mann of Fort Frances wound up third with 14.53 pounds after reeling in 7.80 on the first day.
Ted Heyens of Stratton and Kelvin Caul of Devlin grabbed fourth place (13.20) followed by the father-son duo of Mike and Javyn Maxton in fifth (12.26).
The Maxtons also had the biggest fish of the Day 1 second flight, which weighed in at 3.44 pounds.
Jim Steele and Ed Bullied of Emo slipped from second after Day 1 down to sixth spot (11.90), but they did manage to have the biggest fish of the Day 1 first flight—a 4.23-pound lunker.
Riley Caul and Jon Barker, meanwhile, moved up three spots to seventh on Day 2 (10.81).
Father-son duo Todd and Kalin Grennier of Emo took eighth spot (10.41), Dennis Smith and Terry Allan were ninth (9.96), while Patrick and Greg Mills rounded out the top 10 (9.86).
Aaron Bisson and Chad Jack finished just shy of cracking the top 10 with a two-day haul of 9.74 pounds.
After sitting in sixth spot after Day 1, Frank Grunewald and Frank McWhinnie of Red Lake reeled in just 3.76 pounds on the final day to fall out of the top 10 with a 6.03-pound two-day haul.