MORRISBURG – Forty-eight teams descended on the Morrisburg Waterfront in the early hours of Saturday, August 19th for the Renegade Bass Tournament’s fourth qualifying event. Results from this contest, and the three previous, decide who the top forty teams will be for the Renegade Bass Championship.
Anglers fished from Iroquois to Long Sault from 7 a.m. until the 4 p.m. check in. Entrants were fixed on the 50 kilometre stretch of water as the gates were closed at the Iroquois Control Dam and anglers were not allowed to go through the locks.
“It was a mixed bag of weather,” said Michael Vandenberg, Renegade Bass president. “The winds picked up and the water had quite a bit of chop on it in the afternoon.”
The mixed conditions did not deter the anglers as they looked to bag their best five fish.
David Chong and Doug Brownridge won the day with a 23.99 pound catch and were the last to weigh in. They claimed the Q4 win and the $5,000 prize.
“There’s never a bad day on the river,” said Chong during the weigh-in. “We’re looking forward to going to Lake St. Francis.”
Andy Kinstler and Scott Lecky led the field most of the way in the weigh in with a 23.38 pound catch. They finished second winning $2,500.
“We didn’t start well,” said Lecky. “We salvaged our day in the last 20 minutes and caught our two biggest fish.”
Lenny Devos and Jeff Desloges finished third with a 21.65 pound catch, winning $1,500. The team is the defending Renegade Bass champion. The pair did win ‘Team of the Year’ at the Morrisburg tournament. They had the highest overall fish catch in the season.
Rounding out the top ten for the tournament day: Bryan Pollock/Troy Bresee – fourth; Jason Hynes/Adam Kropinski – fifth; Elisa Bernstein/Samuel Lauzon – sixth; Don Jones/Matt Laframboise – seventh; Jean-Charles Goulet/Maxime Lapi Gilbert – eighth; Paul Shibata/Curtis Richardson – ninth; Clancy Mulvihill/Jeff List – tenth.
Pollock and Bresee also won the biggest fish contest with a massive 5.88 pound small mouth Bass. Shibata and Richardson placed second with a 5.64 pound large mouth Bass.
Tony Sleiman and Caleb Alexander were third in the biggest fish contest, with a 5.58 pound small mouth Bass.
That team returned to shore an hour and a half earlier than needed. The pair discovered one of the fish in their catch needed to go back in the water soon. They weighed in early to get the score for the big fish.
“We knew the way our luck was running,” said Alexander. “It was better to come back and weigh in.”
Not all anglers had great days out on the river. Blake Orr and Matt Tooley, who previously won the Lake St. Francis tournament July 8th, and the Thousand Islands Open on August 12th, finished in 16th spot.
“We didn’t have a lot of action out there,” said Tooley. The team had a 17.7 pound haul.
“We supported the gas company today,” said Kevin McPhee, who along with teammate Christopher Voldock had an 11.56 pound catch.
All of the fish caught in the tournament are kept in the water as much as possible. Once weighed, fish are checked for hooks and other issues, then placed in a tank on a boat run by Renegade Bass. The fish are then released back in the river.
“Often times, fish are in better shape going back in the water than when they were pulled out,” said Rob Jackson, master of ceremonies for the tournament.
At the start of the day, anglers were greeted by members of South Dundas council and the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce.
“South Dundas really makes our tournament feel welcome,” said Vandenberg. “There is a real community feel here, the people come out and support us. It’s great. We couldn’t ask for a better spot.”
After the qualifier results were announced, Renegade Bass officials announced the list of 40 teams that are to compete in the Classic XXII season championship September 9th and 10th. This year it will be held at Lake St. Francis, with boats launching and weighing in at Cornwall’s Marina 200.