MANITOULIN – It seems like a lifetime since we went into lockdown at The Expositor Office. March turned into April and then blurred into May. Tough decisions had to be made and with no possible avenue to hold what has become one of Ontario’s premier fishing competitions, The Manitoulin Expositor Salmon Classic (MESC) was cancelled for 2020.
The cancellation was not an easy decision and was one of the hardest choices I have ever made. The Classic has become my vision and passion come to life.
I fielded hundreds, if not thousands of texts, emails and calls from anglers since the cancellation was announced. Most were understanding and offered encouragement during these difficult times. I thank everyone who has reached out and continue to do so. It means more than you know.
Fast forward to the middle of June. Aaron ‘Bone’ Case and I were out fishing South Bay for salmon, and he mentions how terrible it was not to have The Classic this year. “Why don’t we host one? The Ontario Fishing Guys?” he pondered.
With this quick remark, The Manitoulin Shootout was born. Bone and I have tossed around this idea in the past. We are both very competitive and jump at any opportunity to pit ourselves against good anglers. Now, this is not a replacement for MESC. It is merely a stop-gap, and who knows, if all goes well this might lead to more weekend tournaments that Bone and I host.
We know that The Shootout will not have the angler numbers that MESC boasts nor the considerable prize money. However, it will be stiff competition. The who’s who of the Northern Ontario salmon world have already confirmed they are coming. This is what we are after. We want the best on the water for bragging rights.
You don’t have a month of trolling every day to hook into a big fish, just a day and a half. This derby is where the rubber meets the road.
Let’s go over some of the ground rules.
The Shootout takes place on August 15 and 16 and tickets are $50 per angler. The start time is 12:01 am on Saturday, August 15 and scales close at 2 pm on Sunday, August 16.
The Shootout is a salmon-only derby. No trout will qualify, and the heaviest salmon will take the bragging rights.
Much is the same as MESC; you may fish anywhere within the territorial waters of Manitoulin. However, there will only be two weigh-in stations—one at South Bay and one at Providence Bay. The scale hours have yet to be determined, but they will be open late on Saturday night to accommodate the sunset bite.
The prize money has the potential to be substantial.
The prize money breakdown is 1st place, 50 percent of ticket sales; 2nd place, 20 percent of ticket sales; and 3rd place, 10 percent of ticket sales. The remaining 20 percent will be divided evenly between Manitoulin Streams, Little Current Fish and Game Club and Gore Bay Fish and Game Club.
Tickets will go on sale July 28 and will be available only at The Manitoulin Expositor Office in Little Current, Moxy’s Bait and Tackle in Lively and Up Top Sports in Mindemoya. All ticket sales are cash only.
We are hoping to attract 300 anglers; This will make the prize money respectable with a potential $7,500 for first place and give our local fish and game clubs and Manitoulin Streams a bit of much-needed cash for their coffers.
Tell your friends, fishing buddies and everyone you know. Let’s give everyone a little something to look forward to.
In this day and age, we can all use a little bit of fun.
For more information, contact Mr. Patterson at 705-368-2744.