Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bennett and Libitka Win the 2011 KBI

The KBI, which is now actually the Shaw Kenora Bass International, so the SKBI wrapped up with an exciting finish. The two leaders after day two were only 0.01 lbs apart. They were the last two in the parade of boats and the anticipation of who would win was high. Both teams seemed happy with their catch and both said they caught some largemouths. Dave Bennett and Mike Libitka were first to weigh in. They had a total of 17.91 lbs. Jeff Gustafson (Gussy) and Chris Savage were next, would they have enough? The bass were weighed and the crowd watched on. It was not, however, enough to topple Bennett and Libitka from top place which earned them over $22,600.

Anglers on Lake of the Woods Waiting to Get Weighed-In

Day one started out to be a beautiful day. However as the morning progressed ominous clouds began to appear over Lake of the Woods. The rain came and pounded the lake for a few hours. Not to have their spirits dampened by the storm, the anglers pushed on. The afternoon in Kenora cleared up and it turned quite hot. I thought maybe the weather might have really made the fish hard to find but as the anglers started to weigh in I saw they made out just fine. Many familiar names were found in the top 10 on day one. Alex Keszler and Wayne Wagner were first after the first day of bass fishing on Lake of the Woods. Gustafson and Savage who have won top place in the KBI twice before were in fourth place. Brian McNanney and Matt Rydberg of Sioux Narrows who won the KBI in 2009 were in second place with 18.76 lbs. A total of 1551.43 lbs of smallmouth and largemouth bass were caught on the first day the Shaw Kenora Bass International. The biggest bass of the day a 5.05 pounder was caught by Behn Carlson and Jon Pearson both of Kenora. Alex Keszler (Winnipeg, MB) and Wayne Wagner (St. Andrews, MB) had the biggest catch of the day with 18.79 lbs.

As it does in most fishing tournaments, the leader list changed after day one. Gustafson and Savage had a second solid day with 16.42 lbs, enough for them to take the lead. They took the lead by only 0.01lbs though! What a close tournament so far. Friday was a hot day in Sunset Country and the total amount of fish caught was slightly down with only 631 compared to 657 the day before. The biggest bass of the tournament was caught on day two though. Joe Pritchett of Kenora and Hiram Archibald of Sioux Narrows landed a 6.02 lb largemouth bass to have the honour of biggest fish for day two and the biggest fish to come out of the tournament. The catch also pushed them into having the biggest catch of day two - 18.33 lbs.

Catch of the day!

Day three of the Kenora Bass International started out cooler than the other days and was cloudy and probably very comfortable on the water. There was chatter about town today. Who was going to win today? I know there were many friends and family hoping for their favourite to win. The crowd was larger today down at the Harbourfront and the tent was jam packed as the anglers were having their bass weighed. Jess Swenson and Mike Reid had a great day with a catch of 18.68 lbs and a three day total of 47.83 lbs. They were in the hot seat, the ones to beat, as the boats paraded into the tent. Boat after boat weighed in and they were still at the top. It all came to an end though as the last two boats pulled through the tent. The Bennett and Libitka team took the top seat after weighing in at 17.91 for day three. Gustafson and Savage came up short with a total of 17.76 lbs. The lost by 14/100 of a pound. That must sting, but not as much as in 2009 when they lost to McNanney & Rydberg by only 0.02 lbs. They are all good sports though and seem to wish the best for each other. Bennett and Libitka's three day bass total was 50.67 lbs. Bennett and Libitka had the biggest bass of the day, a largemouth weighing in at 5.44 lbs. Jay Samsal of Kenora and Troy Norman of Fort Frances had the biggest catch of the day (and of the tournament) with 18.92 lbs.

There's a friendly competition between Team Canada and Team USA each year. This year, Team Canada took top honours with 210.41 lbs. The Team USA had 206.86 lbs. Better luck next year guys.

All Bass Are Carefully Released Back into Lake of the Woods

During each day of the tournament 83 children participated in the KBI Kids Fishing Tournament. Day one's fishing was cut short by the storm, but the following two days had great weather. There were lots of prizes for everyone. It really is a great time for the children - the future of SBKI was right there on the docks on Lake of the Woods. I am sorry I don't know the name yet of the boy who won, but he has taken top honours 3 times at the Kids KBI. Look out Gussy!

One last thing to note is a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers. It is a huge effort to put a tournament on of this size. Great job Directors and volunteers. The Top 10 Boat Parade was televised live today on Shaw.  You can see it again on Shaw Sunday evening in case you missed it.

Visit the KBI website for a complete listing of the overall standings and tournament results. If you are interested in other fishing tournaments in Sunset Country, visit our fishing tournaments in Northwest Ontario page.

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