What an outstanding weekend in Kenora! The 31st Annual Kenora Bass International (KBI) took place last week from Thursday, August 9 through Saturday, August 11.
This three-day Catch & release bass tournament has been the city’s most anticipated fishing event for years, and continues to bring in the top anglers across Canada and the US. This year was no exception, with a full field of teams and jam-packed attendance. It is also important to acknowledge the fact that it encourages and welcomes new blood to the game, as we see new faces year after year.
More Than Just A Tournament
The KBI offers more than a competitive bass tournament to the participating anglers; it also offers a list of fun activities that the whole community can get involved in: daily charity barbecues, games, the “Ladies On The Lake” fundraiser, a KBI Kids tournament on the Saturday, live music entertainment, and the daily weigh-ins, when the angling teams come in with their bags full of bass to see who’s going to take the lead.
Saturday at 5 pm, the final day Top-10 Boat Parade through the tent is always a blast, with wall-to-wall spectators all eager to see who will be crowned this year’s KBI Champions. The kids get showered with candies and swag from the teams who get pulled through the tent in their boats, live-wells filled with their final day’s catch.
They pull out their catch and hold them up to the crowd before placing them in a bag filled with water—then up to the scales they go to determine their total weight. The music is cranked, competitors’ hearts are pumping, and the crowd is worked up with anticipation. When the final top two teams are on that stage and the final team places their basket of fish on the scale, you can almost hear a pin drop as the crowd anxiously waits for the emcee to announce the winners. It is truly something you need to experience in person.
“KBI is something that I think about all year,” says Jay Siemens, who with his partner Mark Tully finished fifth this year. “When I think summer, I think KBI. Facing off against some of the best anglers in Canada and the US on one of the best bass lakes in North America—no matter if it’s a year I do well or not, as soon as it ends, I’m already thinking about the next year. Whether you’re an experienced tournament angler or not, the only way to get better is by fishing tournaments, and I can’t think of a better tournament to enter.”
Vets and New Blood
This year’s Top 10 teams were a mixture of familiar and new faces, with last year’s champs Bill Godin and Leroy Wilson finishing in a very close second place. This year’s winners have never held up the renowned KBI trophy before—congratulations to the 2018 KBI Winners Scott Anderson and Craig Peterson with a total weight of 55.28lbs!
“Scott and I have fished tournaments in the Upper Midwest and Ontario for 27 years,” says Peterson, 2018 KBI Champion.
“Since joining the action in 2017, the Kenora Bass International has quickly and easily become our favourite event, hands down. Not only is it professionally and smoothly run by dedicated and kind committee members and volunteers, it clearly has attracted a field of high-integrity fishermen that make fishing the event so enjoyable. We cannot wait for KBI 2019!”
Volunteers and Sponsors
It takes a large and committed group of dedicated organizers and volunteers to ensure an event such as this gets pulled off so smoothly, and KBI has one of the best groups around. The number of sponsors is another piece of the puzzle that is essential to its success, with KBI’s major sponsors including Woodlake Marine, Mercury Marine, Alumacraft Boats, and Ranger, plus many, many others.
Compete or Participate in 2019!
Do not miss out on this super fun weekend next year which will be held on August 8-10, 2019! Bring your family and friends to the Whitecap Pavilion and join in on the excitement—no cover charge all weekend. As the KBI quotes: “But it is, in the end, about KENORA”—so be there, Kenora!