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Fishing tournament on the Saint John River lures in anglers from all across the region


It was all about bass fishing in Nackawic, N.B., for the May long weekend, with the second annual Destination Nackawic Smallmouth Open.

A total of 77 boats from Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia spent much of the day both Saturday and Sunday casting lines in the Saint John River hoping to hook enough smallmouth bass to earn them the grand prize of $15,000.

“We’ve got this resource and we want to share this resource with everybody and this is a great event to do it,” says Nackawic-Millville Rural Community Mayor, Tim Fox, who along with his wife organized much of the tournament.

“We have eight teams from Ontario this year, I think 23 from Nova Scotia and the rest are from around New Brunswick.”

Each day, anglers aimed to catch as many smallmouth bass as they could before the 4 p.m. weigh-in deadline, with the winner being determined by the overall weight caught over the two days. There was also a daily prize for the fisherman who could reel in the biggest fish or “lunker” of the day.

The weigh-ins, and awards ceremony were live streamed through the tournaments YouTube page.

Fishes are weighed at the Destination Nackawic Smallmouth Open. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)New to this year’s tournament was a youth derby on Sunday for young anglers to have a taste of tournament fishing. Over 30 youth 16 and under tried their luck from the shores of the Big Axe Marina, being broken up into three divisions based on age. The winner of those divisions was determined by the longest length of fish caught, no matter the type.

“We just wanted to bring a little more to it and we want to introduce the kids into the angling and give them a chance to see what the tournament anglers are going to do,” says Fox.

“We have 77 boats in the field this weekend, they’ll be coming in right after the kids get their awards so they will get to see the guys come in with the big fish and big bags of fish so it is exciting for everyone.”

Anglers prepare their fish to be weighed after coming into shore during the Destination Nackawic Smallmouth Open. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)Prizes were given to the top three finishers in each division, with most participants having a chance to take home some reward for their efforts.

The event was also a welcomed sight for local businesses, with hotels and restaurants filled with anglers in town for the event.

Fox says the tournament, as large as it was, served as somewhat of a dry run for the 5th annual Pan American Black Bass Championship taking place from September 25 to 29 at the marina. The event will be co-hosted by Nackawic and Fredericton.

“This facility we have right here, and I have heard it many times this weekend, we have the best marina on the Saint John River and maybe in the province,” Fox says referring to the Big Axe Marina.

He adds the Saint John River is renowned for its world class fishing, making it the perfect place for the tournament to be held.

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