Perennial threats to win the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, Mark Raveling and Mike Luhman were sitting in an excellent position to finally break through after the first day of action yesterday.
The three-time runners-up, who finished in third place last year, weighed in an impressive five-fish bag of 19.73 pounds to vault into first place heading into Day 2.“We went to three of our best spots and never caught a fish, but we kept hitting different spots and we were able to catch a couple,” Raveling, who hails from Longville, Mn., said this morning prior to launching at the Sorting Gap Marina.
“Today it’s going to be bright and sunny, so it’s hard to say what is going to happen,” Raveling added.
“But hopefully we can catch them again today.”
One of the key factors that helped the pair grab the lead was a 4.82-pound lunker Luhman reeled in, which proved to the biggest bass on Day 1.
“It was a real tough bite, actually, and we only caught seven fish during the day, so we had no idea that we had that kind of weight,” admitted Luhman, who lives in Deer Park, Wis.
“That’s kind of our program, though, when we come up here,” he explained.
“We always try to swing for the fence and hopefully take home the title one of these times.
“We’re going to try and do that again today and see what happens,” he reasoned.
Sitting behind the leaders after Day 1 were Thunder Bay’s Glenn Leroux and Trevor Zimak, last year’s co-champions, with an 18.45-pound total.
“We were not expecting this,” Leroux stressed following yesterday’s weigh-in.
“Day 1 has generally been one of our weaker days, so to get a bag like this is something that we are quite happy with.
“We have a good little cushion so if we make a mistake, it won’t cost us too badly,” he reasoned.
“And if we can stay close to this weight for the rest of the weekend, that will be awesome.”
Having survived an issue with their boat’s steering on the final day of last year’s tournament, the Lakehead duo found themselves facing another problem around the halfway point Day 1 yesterday when their motor failed to start back up.
“Our battery went dead, so we had switch it out with one of the trolling motor batteries just to get it [the motor] back started,” Zimak explained.
“We left that hooked up and kept it running all day just to make sure it [the motor] would stay running and to get back to the shore.
“We tried to get the trolling motor started with the other battery, but that didn’t work, so we were fishing without a trolling motor all afternoon and we ended up using our motor to move around.
“But we were still able to catch a couple of fish, and we came in early,” Zimak added.
Ryan and Mike Teigen sat in third place with 18.31 pounds going into Day 2, with Jim Sandelovich/Karl Howells (17.25) and Bill Godin/Ralph Galusha (16.73) rounding out the top five.
The rest of the top 10 after Day 1 were Chad Johnson/John Janousek (16.71 pounds), Dennis Fiedler/Duane Anderson (16.68), Troy Norman/Jay Samsal (16.67), Jeff Gustafson/John Peterson (16.63), and Kurt Johnson/Pat Jeffries (16.10).
The other co-champs from last year’s FFCBC, Richard Rud and Jon Austin of International Falls, sat in 29th place after Day 1 with a 14.48-pound total.
Today’s weigh-ins will get underway at 3:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena, with the top 15 boats qualifying for the championship flight tomorrow.
Day 3 action gets underway at 7 a.m., with the final weigh-in starting at 3 p.m.
The 2012 champion will be crowned about three hours later.