Fish frenzy
A big crowd enjoyed the sunny day in Morrisburg to watch the 48 teams compete in the Renegade Bass Fishing tour on Sat., Aug. 19.      Sawyer Helmer photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
MORRISBURG – The Renegade Bass Fishing tour splashed through Morrisburg over the weekend of Aug. 19 and 20. The annual tour visits the South Dundas community every year during the season to test the waters and try their luck at reeling in the biggest catch.

Ed Hand of Ottawa and an organizer of the Renegade Bass Fishing tour estimated the group has been visiting Morrisburg during the tour for approximately 20 years. Hand explained that the spectator turnout is one of the many reasons why Renegade likes Morrisburg. Even when weather is unfavourable, locals line the shoreline to watch the pros.

Overall winners Doug Brownridge and David Chong weighed in at the very end of the day to take home the prize with 23.99 lbs worth of bass. Sawyer Helmer photo

This year saw 48 teams compete in the final qualifier before the final tournament in Cornwall, in three weeks time. In previous years, the tournament hosted many more teams, however numbers have been declining due to the many organizations available to pro fishers. Hand was confident despite the declining numbers, saying, “We might not be the biggest but we are the best.”

This is because Renegade ensures the safety and health of the bass is of the utmost importance. Irrigated freshwater tanks are used to house the bass before weigh-in, after which they are loaded onto a live-release boat to be released back into the St. Lawrence River. Renegade ensures each bass is released in an optimal location for their characteristics.

The entire day was filmed by a professional crew with the World Fishing Network and will start airing in December. Morrisburg will be featured during one full episode from the day’s recordings.

Chamber of Commerce Administrator Geraldine Fitzsimmons and President Tom Morrow explained how important the event is to Morrisburg for promotion and economic development. The Chamber aims to make the event bigger each year. When the boats kicked off at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning they were each given a bottle of water and granola bar courtesy of the Chamber and were welcomed by Mayor Evonne Delegarde.

Winners of the Morrisburg qualifier were awarded $5,000 and the top 40 teams will go on to the final tournament in Cornwall for a grand prize of $65,000.

Biggest single catch went to Bryan Pollock and Troy Bresee for 5.88 lbs, Team of the year went to Lenny Devos and Jeff Desloges and overall winners were David Chong and Doug Brownridge with a total catch of 23.99 lbs.

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