ORILLIA, Ontario — High winds caused the postponement of the Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Open Oct. 30, but the tournament went on the following day.
Fifty-six teams entered the tournament for the chance to have their names engraved on the Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Trophy. Matthew Holland and Patrick Campbell won that honor and the tournament’s top prize of $10,000 by catching five smallmouth weighing 26.60 pounds. Derek Strub and Mike Desforges finished second with 26.49 pounds and collected $2,000. Finishing third and earning $1,400 was Jacques Patry and Greg Amiel with 26.09.
Bites were slower in this year’s event compared to previous Simcoe Opens, but the quality of bites was better according to Johnny De Bartolo, media director for the Aurora Bassmasters, who credited the calmer winds.
The Aurora Bassmasters B.A.S.S. Nation club has been hosting this tournament since its inception 15 years ago. The event originated as a retirement tournament for a club member and later developed into the Crackle Cup in 2001. The Aurora club touts the tournament as the only annual one-day event in Canada in which anglers have a guaranteed chance to win a first-place prize of $10,000.
The tournament holds the distinction of setting an Ontario record for the heaviest five-fish limit of smallmouth. Mark Moran and Joe Muszynski set the record in 2010 when they won the Simcoe Open with 31.50 pounds.
“Although we have not seen a limit like that since, the weights have been steadily climbing toward that for the last three years,” De Bartolo said.
Despite the postponement, Scott Cochran, club president, said he was pleased with the outcome of the event.
“None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the dedication and hard work from the volunteers of the Aurora Bassmasters,” Cochran said. “After the event was postponed on Saturday due to a high wind warning, the event went on the following Sunday. Not one angler was disappointed by this decision as they know that safety is our No. 1 priority. Thank you to the anglers who competed and the sponsors who supported us.”
Club members who helped run the tournament included Tom Ballentine, Rick Lewis, Dave Meadows, Herb Quan, Wil Wegman, Paul Bassi, Gary Smithers, Sid Haines, Quintin Van Resnburg, Steve Basnicki, Mike Otani, Peter Savoia, Todd Timmleck, Cochran and De Bartolo.
The date for the 2017 Simcoe Open will be announced early in the new year, De Bartolo said.