Former champs earn third bass crown Moynagh, Thrun lead wire-to-wire at annual FFCBC

By Justin Holmes
Fort Frances Times

Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun led on Day One and never lost a step en route to their third title at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship on Saturday.
Their three-day total of 58.36 pounds was almost two pounds more than the second-place team and just short of the 58.62-pound tournament record set, fittingly enough, by the two Minnesotans back in 1998.
Thrun credited their 20.92-pound bag on Thursday as being key to the victory, calling it “probably our best day ever of all tournament and practice put together.”
“It was truly amazing,” he added.
Moynagh agreed, but said even after that day the victory wasn’t secure in his mind.
“You know, waiting in line, I was just squirming like a worm on a hook ’cause I didn’t know,” he laughed.
Moynagh admitted his history at the FFCBC— which now includes six top-three finishes out of his seven years on Rainy Lake—put some pressure on him to excel.
“I’m very proud of our finishes here,” he said. “The best track record of my finishes is on this lake. I didn’t want to blemish it.”
As tremendous as his record is at the FFCBC, Moynagh said this is his first tournament win in a number of years—and it was good to do it on what he calls his favourite lake.
“I wanted to make some noise and let the fish know I’m back,” he remarked. “And the fish like me here, they really do.”
Coming in second was Ted Olson (Littlefork) and Bob Hell (Duluth) with a 56.43-pound total. The duo were the model of consistency—bringing in bags of 18.90, 18.90, and 18.63 over the three days.
“Every big fish we had we laid,” Hell noted. “That doesn’t happen out here at all.”
In the third spot was the Fort Frances team of Guy Johnston and Doug Wright. They weighed in two of the best bags of the weekend—20.53 on Thursday and 19.24 on Saturday, marred by a 15.90 total on Friday, largely due to mechanical issues.
Wright said his experience being pulled through the tent as a member of the top 10 after Day 10 was unequalled.
“You see that local crowd and that’s what it’s all about,” he enthused. “I wish every angler could see or experience that. It’s a great feeling.”
Janice Wickham and Dave Lindsay had the big catch Saturday with 19.59 pounds and ended up in fourth place.
The couple had the highest finish of any team that had entered the tournament through the draw, although it should be noted Lindsay is a three-time former champion.
Rounding out the top 10 were David Skallet and Jim Merthan (53.69 pounds), Bill Godin and Norm Lindsay (53.25), Hiram Archibald and Joe Prichett (52.95), Jim Sandelovich and Karl Howells (52.87), Pat Jeffries and Kurt Johnson (52.84), and Chad Adrians and Caleb Colwell (52.36).
This year marked another first in tournament history when Mandi Olson, along with her partner and dad, Ken, were sitting in fourth place after Day Two—earning her the distinction of being the first woman in the top 10 parade on the final day, which she said was “very important” to her.
Unfortunately, the team only managed a 12.5-pound bag on Saturday and ended up in 25th place overall.
Scott Walsh (Ely) and Heath Iacarella (Ramsay, Mn.) had the big fish of the day Saturday at an even five pounds.
Wisconsinites Scott Ourada and John Allen landed the big fish of the weekend—a 5.15 pounder on Thursday.
All in all, 137 teams entered the tournament for a share of the $171,250 in prize money, of which Moynagh and Thrun took home the $50,000 winner’s cheque.
The top 34 teams finished in the money, with the top 90 automatically qualifiying for next year’s FFCBC.
The tournament, which ran for its 13th year, was supported by several other events during the week, including the “KidPro” tournament a week back on July 22, “Quest for the Best,” a casting accuracy contest, Daytime Land, concerts, and other entertainment.