After an exciting year of competition in all the events I took part in, I am really looking forward to my 2004 season. On the team level, once again Mike Augot and I will attempt to qualify for the 2004 Renegade Classic, hoping to improve on our results from the 2003 season. On the individual competitions within our Petawawa Bassmasters Chapter, I hope to once again stay in the hunt and make a run at the Angler of the Year title and qualify for the Ontario BASS Qualifier. In addition, I hope to have a successful 2 days of limits while competing at this years OBF Qualifier on the Niagra River and earn a spot on the Provincial team for 2005. All in all, 2004 is shaping up to be another exciting year for me.
4-6 June - B.A.I.T. (Blind Anglers International Tournament) - Once again, I was lucky enough to be invited back as a participant in the 2004 Blind Anglers International Tournament in Westmeath on the beautiful Ottawa River, staged once again out of the first class resort facilities of Nangor Resort. The weekend started off with the meet and greet supper at the community hall where we met up with our sight challenged angler. This year, I was lucky to fish with my Mike, my new friend from Kingston. We had a great time at the dinner getting to know each other and were looking forward to our days fishing the next morning. The next morning, once I had the boat in the water ready to go, I waited for my turn to come to the dock to pick up Mike and head out on the river. Once Mike and I were ready to go, we took off up river and started throwing spoons and stickbaits, hoping for some late spring pike or walleye that might be hanging outside some bays. We started off slow, but eventually caught a few small pike to keep us excited for the day. The highlight of the day was early in the afternoon when we were in a back bay. Over to the left of us about 50 metres was Mike Lemoine and his partner. Mike and his partner had a huge pike strike their bait and immediately launch itself out of the water. To my surprise, my partner Mike says "WOW - is that ever huge". I started laughing with Mike and realized that he was reacting to the sound of the pike splashing back into the water, while I was excited with the sight of the leaping pike. I commented to Mike on how excited he was by hearing the fish, not seeing it. He was caught up in the atmosphere surrounding the moment of a large fish caught in such close proximity to us. After a great day on the water, we enjoyed a final refreshment together and retold our stories to others on the great day we had. We are both looking forward to next year to meet once again and create some more fish stories.
27 June - Petawawa Bassmasters - Ottawa River (La
Passe) - Full Results (click
here) - This tournament was our opening tournament for
the Petawawa Bassmasters series. For
this tournament, I was paired up with first year member Jamie Holt.
After having a great day prefishing and raising some quality fish (no
hooks), we we’re excited about starting our season off with a good bag of
largemouth that this section of the
3 July - Renegade Bass - St Lawrence River -
here) - Well, our 2004 Renegade Bass season was now upon
us. Both Mike and I were anxious for
this series opener all winter and we were hoping to follow up on our success
together from the previous years tour. This
opening tournament had us staging out of the town of
4 July - Petawawa Bassmasters - Ottawa River (Petawawa) -
Full results (click
here) - This tournament was out of our home port in
Petawawa (Jubilee Lodge) and I was teamed up with Rodney MacFarlane.
This was the first time that Rodney and I had been partnered up for a
tournament, and we were looking forward to this event.
This section of the
18 July - Petawawa Bassmasters - Lake Kaminiskeg - Full results (click
here) - Our third tournament in our Bassmaster series has
brought us to Barry’s Bay on
24 July - Renegade Bass - Rideau River -
here) Mike and I have now arrived at
7 August - Renegade Bass - Ottawa River (Rockland) - full results (click here) - Well, Mike and I come into this event well aware of the potential this location has for producing big bags of largemouth bass, so were anxious and optimistic that we would be able to get a decent weight that would put is back into contention for a Classic position. I was only able to get out for one pre-fish day, so Mike had to go out a couple days ahead and scout out some area's that looked promising. After two good days of prefishing, Mike had been successful in locating some quality fish - both in size and numbers. Blast off came on saturday morning and away we went into a back bay and started our day. Within our first five minutes, Mike sets his spinnerbait hard in shallow water and we were excited thinking that we had come across quality fish - to our disappointment, it was only a pike. Our day only got worse from there. We ended up not catching a bass the entire day - this is the first time that we have both never caught a bass in a competition. We were very disappointed, especially with the fact that we were now out of contention for a Classic position. The day was very tough for all competitors with many veteran anglers commenting on the severe cold front that had affected most people who were targetting shallow fish (this was the case for Mike and I). As usual, though, someone always figures out the day and congrats to the team of Jack Levert and Jim Palmer who did just that with a 18.18 lb bag.
14 August - Petawawa Bassmasters - Clayton/Taylor Lake - full results (click here) - This is the last open tournament of our Bassmasters series and has led us to the small lakes of Clayton-Taylor. This lake never disappoints people with the quantity of bass to be caught. For this tournament, my non-boater partner for the day was Marty Gutzman. Marty and I had a great day on the water, catching over 30 bass that day. We stayed shallow for the whole day in a small bay working rice, pads and stumps. Marty and finished the day with a weight of 13.15 lbs, good enough for 7th overall and 3rd within our club points. Marty and I are looking forward to next time we team up, hopefully with just as many fish and better weight.
21 August - Renegade Bass - Big Rideau Lake - full results (click here) - The final tournament of the Renegade Bass trail has us competing on the great fishery of Big Rideau. For this event, Mike was unable to attend (on holidays with the family in Newfoundland) and I was able to link up fellow Renegade member Stephen Barabash. Stephen and I started competing in bass events at the same time years ago in similar small boats, so we had lots in common with how we got to where we are today. Even though Mike and I were out of the Classic race, Stephen and I were both anxious and excited about this body of water - we both have had past success on the water here with our previous partners and we hoped that we would be able to draw on those successes. Our day started bad when we arrived at the launch and the starting battery was dead (couldn't even take off the transom saver). For the morning, we relied on booster cables to get us going to each spot - maybe this was a sign of things to come. We started our day looking for a bag of largemouth and decided to later go for some smallmouth on the open lake. Our first largemouth of the day was a 3+ that hit a flippin jig on my G-Loomis rod - the excitement of it was not the size but in the fact that Stephen had to do a balancing act leaning over the side, reaching under a log and lipping the bass from under the log. The bass had wrapped around a knot in the wood and it was the only way we could get the bass in the boat. We continued to boat a few more largemouth and our bag slowly grew. We ended up in the main lake on a point/shoal coming from an island. Once there, a few quick smallmouth were landed until Stephen hooked into a beauty 4.2 lb smallie on a football jig and twin-tail spider grub. That fish pushed our bag up to 15.48 lbs and placed us 5th overall for the day - a great way to finish up our otherwise disappointing Renegade season. Thanks to Stephen for stepping up and filling in for Mike - it was a great day. Congrats to the team of Jeff Nicholson and Mark Boisclair with 17.45 lbs narrowly beating Steve Barnett and Trevor Cheney who had 17.44 lbs - in fishing, ounces is everything.
28 - 29 August - Ontario BASS Qualifier - Niagra River, Chippewa - This years qualifying event to make Team Ontario was being held out of Chippewa with access starting on the Upper Niagra River and leading out to Lake Erie. I was quite excited about this event since it was going to be my first time on this incredible fishery. I had done quite a bit of research all season leading up to the event trying to learn as much as I could about the area. Special thanks to Jeff Barber (for loaning of map) and Erny Janzen (for a lake orientation and seasonal pattern tips). We all knew that the fishing would be tough - the week prior, CFT had a two day event here as well as FLW Everstart was currently running their event with a 175 team field. I had a very successful pre-fish for 2 1/2 days landing 2 over 4 lbs and each day I had 14 lbs plus. Going into the competition, I was optimistic that I could hopefully get atleast 12 lbs plus a day to remain in contention for a Team Ontario position. On day one, my draw partner was Bob Phillips from the Kingston chapter. We were the second last team to trickle out and did not start fishing until 7:50 am. We ended up spending the day drifting shoals in 30 - 40 feet of water on Lake Erie dragging tubes much like the majority of the other competitors. At the end of the day, Bob had his limit and I only had 3 fish for 6 lbs. I was disappointed with the results but had a great day with Bob. Although it was a small bag, I was excited about day 2, knowing that the possibility was still there that a 15 lb+ bag could still be caught. For day two, my draw partner was Peter Typer from the Port Colborne chapter. We were in reverse blast off order this day so we ended up benefitting with atleast an extra 20 minutes fishing. Peter had a good day one so he was close to qualifying. Peter and I decided on doing the same thing we both did on day one and hope for success. Peter ended up getting his limit with 10 lbs plus. Once again, I only ended up with 3 fish for almost 9 lbs. My only down moment was that I snapped a 5 lb plus smallie right at the net (I know I know - their all big, eh - Peter will vouch for me). With that fish, I would have made the final position for Team Ontario. Oh well, we all have "the one that got away" story. Again, I had another great partner for the day fishing with Peter - he ended up finishing 14th overall making him the 2nd alternate for the team. After all was said and done, I ended up in 20th position overall and will have to start all over for next years event on the Bay of Quinte. A final well done to the Niagra area Bassmaster chapters for all their volunteer work to run a smooth provincial event.
4 - 5 September - Renegade Bass Classic 2004 - Mississippi Lake - Unfortunately, Mike and I did not qualify for this years Classic. I wish we could have been there, since Mississippi Lake has always been one of my favourite lakes to compete on. Congratulations to Classic 2004 winners Art Cunningham and Wencell Spence. Hopefully next year will see us in the 2005 Renegade Classic.
18 September - Valley Bass Hawgin for $$ - Muskrat Lake - This annual tournament hosted in the fall by Valley Bass Trail is one of the highlite events in the valley. It is run on the concept of the largest and second largest bass each hour win $500.00 and $100.00 respectively. The field routinely fills early with all anglers excited. This year, I teamed up with fellow Petawawa Bassmaster, Tom O'Neill. This was my first time this season fishing with Tom in his new 929 Nitro, and we were both anxious to do well on the water today. As the day progressed, Tom and I landed many fish, however, none were of enough quality/size for us to win one of the hourly prizes. Oh well - maybe next year. It was still another great day of fishing on one of our top valley lakes.
23 - 25 September - FLW Everstart Series - Lake Champlain, USA - This event was the highlight event of my season. I had registered for this event in December 2003, hoping for a draw position as a co-angler. As luck would have it, my name was drawn. I was very excited and anxious heading into this event. This was going to be my first tournament at the international level, taking place on one of the top smallmouth lakes in North America. I arrived in Plattsburgh, NY on monday evening and met up at the cottage with fellow Canadian anglers Ivan Taylor, Mike Halliday and Charles Sim. Being bunked up with them for the next few days was going to be great. I was looking forward to hitting the water the next day for a pre-fish with Charles, however, he had motor problems and spent the remainder of the day scrambling to things in place for the following competition day. At the tuesday evening registration, I was impressed with the first rate show and slick operation that the FLW Everstart staff were running. The showcase of sponsors and talent in the arena was very impressive. There were 400 anglers and co-anglers attending this event. For day one, I was paired up Paul Kimball. That evening, Paul went over his game plan with me and stated that he had located some quality fish on his prefish, but, he mentioned that the current cold front was probably going affect those fish. As it was, Paul was right in his observation. After a full competition day riding in his Triton TR21 225 Optimax, Paul only was able to catch three fish for a weight of 8 lbs 13 oz. Myself, I was only able to catch two smallmouth weighing in at 4 lbs 15 oz. I enjoyed my day with Paul and we both wished each other luck with our day two partners for the following day. For day two, I was paired up veteran Everstart competitor, Jack Gifford. Jack's co-angler from day one was in first place, so Jack smiled at me and said he would do his best to put me onto some quality fish as well. As I boarded his 520 Ranger 225 Optimax, I was excited in anticipation of getting some quality smallmouth. We raced down the lake into a large bay and proceeded to throw spinnerbaits and crankbaits on the open flats. We both caught an early fish to break the ice. The hi-lite of my weekend was on this 2nd at 8:05 am. My pro (Jack Gifford) and I had double header 3 lb+ smallies on. Jack yells for the net and I can't get it since I have a fish on also. Suddenly, my smallie jumps off, I drop my rod and I run up front to net his fish. As that happens, Jack boots one of his rods overboard and I lunge for it. As I grab it, he yells that my rod is going also - another smallie had hit the tube and had pulled it overboard. I reach for my rod and into the pool I go. As I come up for air, I am now treading water with two rods in my hand and a net. I throw both rods on the deck of Jack's Ranger and then, to his surprise, I throw the net AND his 3.5 smallie. I then huffed and puffed my way back onto the boat and we both shake hands and laugh. When we get on stage later, the tournament director gets me to retell the story and the audience was laughing and clapping. One guy even joked that the fish shouldn't count because I left the boat. Jack was a great pro to fish with and we struck up a friendship for the future with this "swim" as a memory for future events. I would (will) do another one of these FLW events again. It is a first class run organization right from registration until finish. Thanks to Charles, Ivan and Mike for the great time down there - can't wait until next year.
26 September - Petawawa Bassmasters - members only mystery lake - Our final event of our Petawawa Bassmaster season has taken us to Lake Clear. Lake Clear is known for producing huge quality smallmouth in the fall, however, it is equally known for being a tough lake to catch your limit. This event was conducted in the same format as the Ontario BASS Federation qualifier, where boaters/non-boaters are randomly paired off and each angler is responsible for their own five fish limit. In addition, we were to take scale samples of each fish caught and submit the data to the Ministry of Natural Resources for them to add to their studies of area smallmouth. This final event was also being held to determine the tight race for the angler of the year. Heading into the event, Tom O'Neill was holding a slight lead over Mark Miller, making the next eight hours an exciting day for those two. For this final event, I was paired up with Brett Miller. This was our first time fishing together, so we quickly got to know each other and proceeded to chase those Lake Clear smallies. As was expected, fishing was tough. I managed to catch my limit and cull a few fish while Brett had a good bag going but was unable to round out his limit. At the end of the day, all 18 anglers arrived in for the final weigh in. I ended up finishing the season on a high note, taking first place that day with a individual bag of 14.27 lbs. Big fish of the day belonged to Stu Saunders who landed a 5.53 lb smallmouth - what a fall beauty. Congratulations goes out to our 2004 Angler of the Year, Mark Miller. Mark narrowly edged out Tom O'Neill this day, thanks to his 2nd place finish on the day which allowed him to gather the needed points to put him over the top. Another great year gone by for the Petawawa Bassmasters. We are all looking forward to next year.
2 October - Petawawa Bassmasters Fall Brawl - Ottawa River (Petawawa) - Once again, the 3rd Annual Fall Brawl was upon us. For the third year in a row, the Fall Brawl was held on the Ottawa River in Petawawa and once again we were met with hurricane like conditions - 40km winds, rain and cold. Because of the conditions, most anglers stayed home and only 9 brave teams ventured out for bags of smallies. Much like everywhere else in the fall, the smallies usually are putting on the feed bag and fattening up. This year, I was partnered up with Steve Parsons. We ended up doing a milk run of spots through out the river trying to get a respectable bag in the nasty conditions. After the skies had finally cleared and the wind had settled down, Steve and I were able to bring in a respectable bag of 13.91 lbs, placing us in third and giving us a small cheque. Congratulations to Gary Barker and Chris Beaupre who won the days event with a final weight of 15.65 lbs. Honourable mention goes out the whole field, who for the third year in a row, battled the elements trying to conquer the fall Ottawa River. Hopefully next year we will be blessed with great weather and have a much larger field for what is now known as a annual fall competition.
Well, another successful and fun year has passed by once again. Special thanks to the following:
This site was last updated 01/09/06