LAKE ST. CLAIR (June 27, 2016) – The Border City Classic catch / photo / release tournament is a unique affair. It’s a cross-border bass battle between the U.S. and Canada, held on opposing shores Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.
110 anglers vied for a spot on team North American for the 2016 Hobie Fishing World Championship, to be contested this December in Louisiana. One spot for the top Canadian and another for the highest finisher from the U.S. But that wasn’t all. National pride was on the line.
“The Challenge Cup started five years ago. The U.S. team has never won,” said tournament director Richard Ofner.
On day one of two, calm conditions greeted anglers on both side of the border. After day one, Tom Mullins from Michigan led all anglers with a three fish total of 58 1/2 inches. Dave Poole led the Canadian anglers at 57 inches. “U.S. hopes were up,” Ofner added.
Sunday was a different story with strong winds out of the south forcing all anglers to change their plan from Saturday. Dave Poole adapted very well finishing the day with 58 inches for a two-day total of 115. Poole won the event, scored the big bass, retained the Challenge Cup for Canada, and punched his ticket to the Hobie Fishing Worlds.
“It’s great. I was just online looking at the Hobie Fishing Worlds website. I think I’m going to have to make some connections. We don’t fish for those fish up here (redfish, sea trout and flounder),” Poole said of winning.
With the strong south winds affecting the American side more than the southern shore of Lake St. Clair, Tom Mullins finished the day with 51.75 inches, putting him in a three-way tie for third. As the highest finishing U.S. angler, he also earned his way onto Team North America.
“I’m still trying to take it all in but wow what a ride!” Mullins said.
It nearly ended in disaster when he dropped his phone into 12-feet of water. Mullins realized he hadn’t submitted all his fish to the iAngler Tournament scoring app. He quickly dove in, recovered the phone, and spent the next frantic hour emailing photos of his fish to another phone.
“It’s crazy and a once in a lifetime opportunity! I’ll have a lot of preparation and homework to do before the big day,” Mullins said of qualifying for the Worlds.
Canadian Tim Percy was second with 111 total inches. Canadians Rob Baginski and Stefan Jackson tied for third with Mulllins, with 110.25 inch of fish each.
Poole and Mullins join other tournament winners on Team North America. Team Captain Benton Parrott won the IFA Championship. Ron Champion and Matthew Scotch went one-two at the recent Hobie Bass Open. Eric Harrison won his way onto the team at the Jamaica Bay Kayak Classic. Only two more qualifying spots remain: the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour, Sarasota tournament on September 11, and the IFA Kayak Tour Championship on October 7-8, in Panama City, Florida.