With my 2003 season now behind me, I look forward to next season. Once again, I fished with many different anglers this year and gained more knowledge with each outing. Overall, I consider that my season was successful. Making the Renegade Bass Classic, along with with a strong finish for Petawawa Bassmaster Angler of the Year, fuels me even more towards the 2004 season. Below you will find a summary of my season with all the anglers I competed with.
30 May - 1 June Blind Anglers Tournament - Westmeath, ON - This tournament was a privilege for me to compete in. I was able to participate in the 15th annual Blind Anglers International Tournament (B.A.I.T.) sponsored by the Lions Club and hosted by Nangor Resort. What a truly great experience. The whole experience driving the weekends events was a sight gifted angler providing a boat and paired up with a vision impaired angler who otherwise usually doesn't get the opportunity to fish in a boat due their sight. Right from the moment that I attended the meet and greet on friday night until the closing ceremonies, it was a first class event.
I had the privilege of being paired with Jim Crain from Carleton Place, ON. What a genuine and sincere fellow he is. Once Jim and I blasted off out from Nangor resort into the small bays of the Ottawa River, the day never stopped being exciting. We both caught many small pike and as a bonus, we even landed a small sturgeon. The day was quite cool and windy, but that didn't dampen our spirits. Both Jim and I enjoyed our day on the water together and are looking forward to next year in hopes of drawing each other once again.
A special thanks go out to Bob Villeneuve of Stittsville, who was gracious in his role as Sheppard for Jim. Without his support (and the other Lion Sheppards), the Blind Anglers event would not be the success that it is.
Myself, Jim Crain and Bob Villeneuve
28 June Renegade Bass - Ottawa River, Rockland - this was Mike Augot and I first Renegade Tournament together. We were both looking forward to a great season together competing against some the finest anglers in eastern ontario.
Our day started of quite well, due to earlier in the year us being lucky and drawing the 1st position for take off for each tournament within the series. With a field of 71 competing teams, our first blast off position would allow us first crack at our opening spot. With Mike's Triton TR 20 225hp Mercury Optimax pushing us, we blasted off towards our first position of the day hoping for those huge largemouth that the Rockland area is know for. The day started off quite sunny and hot and pushing a high of 30C by mid day and no wind. With conditions like that, we figured that the fish would be holding tight to cover seeking shade and cooler water.
Within the first few casts, I had a huge blowup, set the hook, and unfortunately did not get the fish on the line. We both hoped this wasn't a sign for the day in front of us. We then worked this area a little longer with no luck and then left for some other areas that we had success on during our prefish. Through the remainder of the day, we concentrated our efforts in less than five feet of water with a mix of arrowheads and lily pads. Most of our fish came on slow presentations (jerkbaits, flippin jigs and creature baits). Both Mike and I lost two quality fish that would have gave us a much better bag - as it was, we ended up coming in with a five fish limit of 13.38 lbs placing us 24th in the standings. Aside from the missed fish, we were pleased with our results. Our goal was to come in with a respectable bag and keep within the pack to qualify for the year end Classic.
Next weeks tournament is on Mississippi Lake. We are both looking forward to this tournament. Hopefully the conditions will be right and we will be able to gain some ground in the standings with another consistent bag of fish. For full results visit the Renegade Bass website.
29 June Petawawa Bassmasters - Ottawa River, Arnprior - this tournament was our season opener for our Bassmasters chapter. It was the first time for our chapter to visit this section of the Ottawa River. It is know for being a tough body of water to compete on, however, it would allow for the anglers to truly test their skills on a even playing field.
I was paired for the days competition Ron Schultz. Ron is our "senior" fisherman within the club and great guy to be with for the day. As we blasted off, Ron pointed the way for me through the maze of islands and shoals into a back bay and we began targeting largemouth. The bay we started in was loaded with stumps, logs and pads. We had our limit by 10:00 and then the fishing shut down for us. We carried on for the rest of the day hoping to catch some more quality fish but we were unable to. After all was said and done, Ron and I ended up with only 10.38 lbs. Although we were disappointed with our weight, Ron and I had a great time together and look forward to the next time we draw each other for partners
5 July Petawawa Bassmasters - Ottawa River, La Pas - this tournament was the one everyone in the chapter was anticipating the most for the season. The promise of lots of quality largemouth to be caught were on every competitors minds. The weather was holding with a little overcast and light winds. Stu Saunders was my partner for this day and we blasted off down river to explore a few of the bays hoping they would hold some largemouth. As we pulled into the bay and started, we immediately landed a 2 lb fish and things were looking good. By 1030, we had our limit thanks to 3.5 lb largemouth that Stu landed. Now we decided to slow down and try to get some extra weight. We slowly caught more fish and ended up moving our bag up to our final weight of 13.75 lbs, placing us 7th for the days competition - one position away from a payday. Earlier in the day, I had a quality largemouth (over 4 lbs) roll off on my as it came across a weed mat - very disappointing since that fish would have increased our bag, but, everyone has the "one that got away" story. Once again, my draw partner Stu, made for a enjoyable day of competition. Congrats to the top three teams who had great bags, especially Clancy and Rick's bag of an incredible 21.42 lbs - they are great largemouth anglers.
12 July Renegade Bass - Mississippi Lake, Carleton Place - well, this was our second tournament in the Renegade series. Mike and I had a good prefish, locating some fish and establishing a pattern that we hoped would work for the tournament day. Saturday morning arrived and the day greeted us with high winds with a slight chance of showers. These winds proved to be quite a hinderance to the field of competitors who were anxious to load up on the bass that Mississippi Lake is known for - many veteran competitors stated that this was possibly one of the windiest competition days ever on the lake. Mike and I had a milk run of spots that we tried throughout the day. We were fortunate enough to catch a few fish at each location, however, the size was not what we were hoping for. Towards the end of the day, our flipping jig bite started to produce as the winds died down, but, it was to late for that. Mike and I ended up with a weight of 11.24 lbs (26th place) - although not a big bag, it allowed us to move up to 20th place in the overall standings, keeping us within striking distance of our goal of making the Renegade Bass Classic Championship. Congratulations to the team of Stephen Parisien (not me) and Andy Patterson on a great win on a tough competition day. For full results visit the Renegade Bass website.
13 July Petawawa Bassmasters - Ottawa River, Petawawa - today was the third tournament in the Petawawa Bassmasters series, being held out of our "home port" at the fine Jubilee Lodge facilities on the Ottawa River. The weather up until this day had been stormy and cold. Dock talk with everyone was that the smallmouth bite was good on the river. For this days event, I was teamed up with my former partner of many tournaments, Chuck Burley. We were hoping for success once again together. Our plan was to head for the largemouth bite in the bay and tough it out in there in hopes of a good bag. Our run down river was quite rough with high winds beating up the river. Upon arrival at our first spot, there were five other teams all staking out their piece water. Chuck and I started beating shoreline and nailed a quick fish early, but the bite quickly shut down. We then moved across the bay and started some shoreline casting there, immediately landing a 3.67 lb largemouth. It became our only shallow fish of the day. We decided to move deeper into rocks and weed and the day began to produce. Throughout the day, we caught approximately 15 bass and ended up with a bag of 13.98 lbs. Although not a huge bag, it ended up being the winning bag for the day. Both Chuck and I were quite happy since it was both of ours first tournament win in Ontario. In hindsight, I think that due to the unstable weather a few days earlier, the smallmouth on the river turned off and the largemouth remained aggressive in the shallow weeds.
19 July Petawawa Bassmasters - Muskrat Lake, Cobden - this was our fourth tournament of our chapter for the season. For today's tournament, I was paired up with first year chapter member Tim Atterton. We were both excited about getting a good bag of fish today and were anxious to start. The day was showing lots of promise for us as we blasted off down the lake to our first position. The lake was calm and we were hoping to get some smallmouth on a well known spawning flat. As it turns out, the smallmouth were no were to be found there, however, largemouth is what we ended up catching. We quickly caught three largemouth and made the decision to move and try a milk run of spots. We ended up getting more fish as the day progressed. Tim and I couldn't figure out if the fish were shallow or deep since we were getting strikes in both ranges. As our day progressed, Tim and I continued with a shallow water pattern and slowly increased our bag. Our best fish of the day (3.5 lbs) came when we had battery problems. As we were struggling with the batteries, we both threw out our lines. As we put our rods down, the water exploded near a set of pads. We both set our hooks, not realizing who's bait the bass had it. That was our best excitement for the day. As the day came to a close, we had no idea that the weights would be relatively low for Muskrat. With a bag close to 16 lbs winning today, everyone thought that 18+ would contend. As it was, our 13+ lb bag allowed Tim and I to contend, unfortunately, it was not enough. Another great day competing with another great Bassmaster member.
26 July Renegade Bass - Big Rideau Lake, Rideau Ferry - Our third stop on the Renegade Bass trails takes us to the bass rich waters of the Big Rideau Lake. I had not been on this lake since August 1997 and was really looking forward to fishing it once again. Mike had the chance to pre-fish the lake earlier in the week and had good reports to pass on. Tournament morning arrived and Mike and I blasted off down the lake to a large shallow weed flat close by to deep water (30 ft plus). The wind was up so our top-water approach was not an option at this time. We began spinnerbaiting and crankbaiting the flat with only one small fish for our first half hour of effort. Mike idled up to the top of the flat and we started to make another pass through. Our persistence paid off. By 0830 we had our limit and were culling. At one point on back to back casts we landed a couple 3 lb largemouth. We were excited now knowing that we had the remainder of the day to increase our bag. Later in the morning, we took off and went into a bay and checked some docks rock piles that Mike had fish on during the pre-fish - unfortunately, the fish were not there today. Another one of our stops had us shut down on a school of 3 pound smallies, but were not quick enough to land them and they were spooked away quickly. As time was running down, we finished at our starting point hoping to get another quality fish to up our bag. It paid off - we landed a close to 4 pound largemouth which really helped us. After all was said and done, Mike and I were quite pleased with our bag of 15.78 lbs and a 8th place finish for the day. More importantly to us was that we made a huge move in the standings, moving up into a tie for 10th place in the overall standings, getting us closer to a position in the Classic. Our next and final tournament with Renegade is at White Lake where we hope to have success again on what will be a tough competition day. For full results visit the Renegade Bass website.
9-10 August Pembroke Open Bass Tournament - Ottawa River, Pembroke - This two day tournament is one of the highlites of the Ottawa Valley tournament scene each year. This tournament has one of the largest competition fields in the Valley competing for a purse of $10,000, including a $20,000 tagged bass (which had been caught a few years earlier). My partner for this weekends tournament was fellow Bassmaster, Tom O'Neill. Tom and I had reviewed our maps previously and had come to the decision to initially target largemouth on the first morning and then guage the remainder of our day from there. Although it was a hot and tough first day, we ended up getting our limit and had a weight of just over 11 lbs - although only a average bag, it allowed us to remain in the top 20 and remain in contention for the following day. Day 2 arrived and we both decided to return to our first spot hoping to atleast get the same bag as yesterday - unfortunately it was a tough day for us. We barely caught our limit of largemouth, coming in with just over 9 lbs and finishing the competition 25th of 68 teams. Tom and I had a great time on the water and we were both glad to have that tournament behind us.
17 August Renegade Bass - White Lake - This was our fourth tournament for Mike and I in our Renegade Bass series. At the beginning of the day, Mike and I were sitting tied for 10th place overall in the series and hoping to move up a few more spots with a successful day on a lake that we have competed on quite often. On our pre-fish, we had located some shallow fish on some trees and blown in slop, so this is what we decided would be our pattern for the following competition day. Being 1st in the blast off, Mike and I arrived at our first spot and began. After the first hour or so, we were only able to land two small keepers. This began to set the stage for the remainder of the day for us. In hindsight, our decision to go shallow backfired on us - it wasn't until late in the day that we decided go deeper, but by that time our day was done. After all was said and done, we only weighed in a small bag of over 8 lbs and finished well near the bottom of the field for the day.. We were nervous due to the fact that we thought that we may have blown our chance at qualifying for the Classic. As we waited while the top 30 teams were named off, Mike and I breathed a sigh of relief when our name was rhymed off. We are now off to the 2 day Classic taking place on the Rideau River 6-7 September. It is a free for all for those days - the Rideau River is known for slop bass and huge bags in the fall - hopefully Mike and I will be the ones with those bags. Only time will tell. We are anxious and excited for the date to come. Congratulations to the 2003 Renegade Bass Team of the Year - Stephen Parisien and Andy Patterson.
23 August Waltham Open - Ottawa River, Waltham - The annual Waltham Open Bass Tournament is hosted by the Waltham Fire Department and it has the reputation of being a first class run event which always fills its 100 boat field. This was my first time taking part in this event and I was teamed up with a fellow Renegade Bass member, Kerry Clouthier. Kerry knows this stretch of the river quite well, so Kerry was to navigate for us for the day. The day was quite windy which we would all find out later affected everyones pattern. Our plan was to target largemouth and hope that we would get 5 quality bites over the day. Kerry and I ended up running over quite a few areas and our plan did not work out. We ended up with only over 8 lbs for the day. The biggest surprise for the day was that one of the competing teams caught the $10,000 tagged fish - the second time it has happened at this tournament. We are looking forward to nexts years event with hopefully better results.
24 August Valley Bass Co-Ed Tournament- Ottawa River, Petawawa - Today, my wife Faye and I, took part in the annual Co-Ed tournament hosted by the Valley Bass Trail. This tournament is unique in that only husband and wife teams are able to compete. We were participating along with many of our Bassmaster members and wives and Valley Bass families. Faye and I ended up going to Hazley Bay so that we would be sheltered from any wind that would come up during the day. It ended up being a tough day for us - we ended up only catching 2 nice largemouth weighing in at 6.4 lbs. Faye enjoyed the day (even though she didn't catch a fish) - she had a nap, read a book and watched the turtles - she is definitely not ready for the full time scene, but, she had fun. Congratulations to the winning team of Roy and Lori Hebert.
30-31 August Ontario Bassmaster Federation Qualifier - Lake Simcoe, Orillia
14 September Petawawa Bassmasters - members only - Mystery Lake Draw - this event was the final event of our chapter for the 2003 season. Round Lake was selected as the lake to serve two purposes - conduct conservation effort for the Ministry of Natural Resources and also have a members only tournament. The conservation effort for the ministry was to consist of each angler taking scale samples of each fish they catch and recording data on each fish, for which the ministry will use to determine age, populations and health of the fishery. This was the first time that the majority of our membership had been to this lake so we were all anxious to see what the lake would produce. We were not disappointed. Round Lake has a fabulous untouched smallmouth fishery. With it's many shoals and deep water, it is capable of growing many large fish. At the end of the day for weigh in, the final points were tabulated for the day as well as for the season. The big bag for the day belonged to Mike Augot with a weight of 19.54 lbs, followed by myself at 18.47 lbs and close by in third Tom O'Neill with 17.60 lbs. Big fish of the day wasa smallmouth caught by myself at 4.79 lbs with Greg Gervais with a smallmouth of close to the same size of 4.72 lbs. As well as the days weights, the final results of our Petawawa Bassmasters Angler of the Year were tallied. This years honour goes to my Renegade Bass partner Mike Augot - CONGRATULATIONS on a great season. Below are the final standings of our Petawawa Bassmasters chapter for 2003
4 October FALL BRAWL OPEN - Ottawa River, Petawawa - This is the second year now for what is becoming a Petawawa fall tradition. For this final tournament, I was paired up with my partner from Muskrat Lake earlier in the season - Tim Atterton. Together, Tim and I were hoping to take advantage of the schooling fall smallmouth on the river and hopefully be rewarded with a nice bag at weigh in time. Much like last year, the night before the tournament, a major cold front came through with high winds and rain. It had the makings of another challenging fall tournament on the Ottawa River. Tim and I ended up making a long run to try for some smallmouth that we had found during pre-fish. We ended up getting two early fish and then the remainder of our day turned slow. We made a decision to go from our first spot to a group of islands up river. In these areas, we were sheltered from the wind. As a result we came up empty handed. The wind started to subside, so we decided to once again make the long run back to our original start point. Immediately there, Tim had a huge hit that stopped him dead - he quickly hollered for me to throw my spinnerbait in behind his hit - we were rewarded with a smallie of close to 4 lbs. Tim and I continued to work this shoal in about 4 feet of water for the remainder of the day and gradually culled our limit and finished up with a 2nd place finish. Once again, Tim and I had a great day together on the water and are already geared up next year and hopefully make a run for the winners circle.
This site was last updated 01/09/06