• Outdoors Column for Sept. 11, 2013

    Local resident and former Owen Sound Attack Hockey enforcer Adam Smyth shared the boat with his daughter Grace during the Grey-Bruce Bass Club tournament on Boat Lake last month.  Grace managed to land some nice largemouth bass to help the Smyth team bring five fish to the scales.As summer winds down, it seems that there would be a lull in the local outdoors world. The Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular has come and gone and the majority of inland lakes have seen the last of the summer season tourists. Boat launches are eerily quiet as many seem to think salmon fishing in the local waters of Georgian Bay has come to a stand still. Not so, as there is plenty of time left to target salmon in the bay. For local outdoorsmen, September marks the arrival of the fall hunting seasons, and if you’re a bass fisherman, the beginning of fall marks a “time of plenty” as smallmouth and largemouth bass alike put the feedbag on in preparation of the colder months ahead.

    For a bass junkie like myself and plenty of other local anglers, early September coincides with the Grey-Bruce Bass Club’s Championship tournament. The GBBC is now in their seventh season, and this past weekend marked the highly anticipated annual championship, which was held in Orillia on the waters of Lake Couchiching. The location for the event was drawn at random by club members in August, making this the first time Couchiching would host the event. After completing 11 events staggered throughout the summer season, club anglers converged on “Couch” to crown a champion over two days of fishing with the goal of bringing the largest two-day total of bass to the scale. Teams were required to catch five bass each day, which were kept alive and released after the weigh-in at Couchiching Beach Park. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass abound in Couchiching, and the teams proved that perseverance and angling “know-how” goes a long way in finding and catching fish in such a large body of water that many of them were not familiar with.

    Day 1 of the event on Saturday September 7th saw Owen Sound anglers Doug McEwen and Rob MacDonnell take the lead with a massive bag of bass tipping the scales at 19-8.6lbs. Palmerston natives Mike Hartman and Jamie Gutzeit were hot on their heels with a bag of bass surpassing the 19lb mark at 19-0.6lbs. Local Attack Hockey alumni Adam and Matt Smyth sat in 3rd place after day 1 with a sack of smallmouth bass that weighted 16-11.8lbs. The remaining teams managed to find limits of bass, but not the larger fish that were needed to be in contention on day 1 of the event. High winds and heavy rain greeted the anglers early Saturday morning creating difficult conditions for those who depended on sight fishing bass in shallow water. Couchiching is a large lake that runs north to south and strong winds from the south created large waves for angler who ran to the north end of the lake looking for fish.

    Day 2 of the event on Sunday September 8th brought blue bird skies and a north wind as the anglers left Couchiching Beach Park at 6:30am. At 3pm crowds gathered on the waterfront to watch the weigh-in as the teams arrived from the lake with hopes of winning the tournament and the prize money that goes along with the top 3 spots. The tides turned slightly as the leading teams did not find the large bags of bass that they did on the first day of competition. Day 1 leaders MacDonnell and McEwen were not able to hold on to their lead as their day 2 catch of 14-6.4lbs added up to a tournament total of 33-15.0lbs. Hartman and Gutzeit pulled off the victory with a day 2 limit of 15-1.0lbs and combined weight of 34-1.6lbs. The Smyth brothers managed to hold on to 3rd place with a day 2 catch of 14-6.2 and 2 day total of 31-2.0lbs. Day 1 overall “bigfish” went to Doug McEwen with a largemouth bass that weighted a staggering 5.12lbs. Day 2 “bigfish” was a 4.8lb largemouth caught by yours truly.

    The GBBC Championship marks the end of the 2013 tournament season for local anglers. Starting in July, the club hosted 11 events, many of which were held on local Grey and Bruce water bodies. These team events highlight the growing popularity of local catch and release bass fishing and drew the attention of many spectators at a number of local lakes. A percentage of club dues, tournament entry money and funds raised by the club go directly back into the fishery in a number of ways. The GBBC has undertaken boat launch repairs and educational signage at a number of lakes throughout Grey and Bruce. The club also encourages the involvement of young anglers in the area and strives to educate anglers and locals alike on the benefits of healthy catch and release bass fisheries in the region. The GBBC will host a number of late season fall events on local Bruce County waters this year. If you are interested in more information, contact Watson’s Tackle in Owen Sound, or Freiburger Communications in Tara.

    Grey-Bruce Bass Club Championship –final standings top 7 two day total

    1- Mike Hartman/Jamie Gutzeit – 34-1.6lbs
    2- Rob MacDonnell/Doug McEwen – 33-15.0lbs
    3- Adam Smyth/Matt Smyth – 31-2.0lbs
    4- Josh Choronzey/Jesse Pettingill – 30-7.0lbs
    5- Chris Barfoot/Steve Gibbons – 22-14.4lbs
    6- David Porter/Derek Skeen – 16-14.8lbs
    7- Sandy Beier/Matt Beier – 15-2.4lbs

    Grey-Bruce Bass Club Overall Angler of the Year Standings after 11 events

    1- Jamie Gutzeit
    2- Josh Choronzey
    3- Rod Freiburger
    4- Mike Hartman
    5- Warren Thomas
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