MN B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament of Champions
Posted at: 09/11/2012 8:42 PM
| Updated at: 09/12/2012 11:21 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Every year, the best bass anglers in the state gather for a fishing shootout. It's the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Tournament of Champions, and this year, they came to Island Lake in Duluth. This is the first time the tournament has been held this far north, and Douglas Pirila of Proctor was instrumental in making it happen.
"Hopefully it lets people know that bass fishing is getting bigger and bigger up here," Pirila said. "There's people around who do it and there's clubs they can join."
Al Ansell hails from Moose Lake and was happy to be able to compete in his backyard.
"It's nice to see they did want to come up here and see what we have to offer around the Duluth area," Ansell said.
But home lake advantage only went so far because bass, especially small mouth, are unpredictable.
"It doesn't matter where the tournament is, somebody is gonna find them," said Tim Allen, the tournament director. "You gotta put your time in on the water and actually see if the way you like to fish works. If they way you like to fish doesn't work, then you have to be adaptable and use a different skill set."
Scouting the lake is critical, but for fishermen like Tom Kiefer, sometimes the most effective strategy is retracing your steps.
"I just went into different areas where I had fished previously and I switched baits up and it worked for me," Kiefer said.
The top 12 will move on to represent Minnesota at the northern divisional tournament in South Dakota next year. That list includes Ansell and Kiefer, who placed second and third.
"It's been tough but I've been able to squeeze out some fish, so I'm happy I got that," Kiefer said.
The local bass clubs hope to see more tournaments venture to the Northland in the future.