Big Bass Challenge Winners

The Big Bass Challenge tournament hooked fishing enthusiasts in the 1,000 Islands region over the weekend – and awarded some big prizes.

According to organizer Garry Fisher, 274 anglers entered the tournament and brought in 372 fish to be weighed over the weekend. In total, more than 1,136 lbs of fish were weighed in, averaging 3.5 lbs each, Fisher said, noting the catch-and-release event is attracting more anglers every year.

Canadian fishing icon, Big Jim McLaughlin, said that amount is a positive sign for fish populations in the river. “It means the river is starting to climb,” he said, adding that catch and release plays a huge part in helping to protect the fisheries.Big-Bass.Big-Jim

Rick Stuart took home first prize from the Big Bass Challenge tournament of $2,500 for the largest bass snagged in the 1,000 Islands during the weekend. It was a close call for Stuart, who caught the 6.18 lbs. smallmouth on his last cast of the day on Sunday, on a Bass Magnet 2 lure.

Second place went to Lenny Devos, with his 6.04 lbs. catch. He earned a four-day stay at Misty Isles Lodge on the 1,000 Islands Parkway, in addition to $1,500 won for netting the fish of the hour three times on Sunday. Third place went to Andrew Brooke, who caught a 6.02 lbs. beast, and went home with a fishing package worth $300 from Wings Live Bait in Lyndhurst.

Perhaps the biggest prize of the weekend went to Gord Routcliffe, who won the hidden weight accolade. The secret weight was revealed at the Big Bass Challenge closing ceremonies on Sunday afternoon, awarded to the third person of the weekend who weighed a bass in at exactly 2.6 lbs. He won a travel voucher worth $2,000, in addition to a weekend stay in Gananoque, Thousand Islands Helicopter Tour tickets, and Gananoque Boat Line tickets.

“Fishing in the 1,000 Islands is world class,” said McLaughlin. “The fishing along the St. Lawrence River and into Lake Ontario is some of the finest you’ll experience.” McLaughlin points to his own big catch along the river recently, where he caught a 6.8 lbs. smallmouth, the largest he has ever hooked. Several weeks ago, up-and-coming angler Ashley Rae fished the 1,000 Islands for the first time near Gananoque and caught a healthy smallmouth over 5 lbs.

Fisher said he loves it when people discover the 1,000 Islands region as a fishing destination. He said the tournament plays a role in that, saying that the hourly prize of $500 for the biggest fish of the hour is a huge draw for participants. In addition, the tournament donated to charities over the weekend, including the Tim Horton’s Children Foundation, the Terry Fox Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston and Area and more.

“The 1,000 Islands is one of the best places to fish,” Fisher said. “This tournament is a great way to showcase both the quality of fishing and the hospitality here.”

Now, it’s on to the next fishing tournament in the 1,000 Islands coming up in October: the Big Bass Classic. For more information about either tourney, or to register, please visitwww.bigbasschallengecanada.com. To book accommodations or learn more about the host communities in the 1,000 Islands region, visit 1000islandstourism.com.

Fishing in the 1,000 Islands – just one of 1,000 points of view.

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