By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News
Monday, July 9, 2018 5:06:01 EDT PM
MITCHELL’S BAY – The date for next year’s Canadian Tire Mitchell’s Bay Open is already set, and there’s a good chance the event will be welcoming a lot more competitors.
Tom Beaton, tournament co-chair, said this year’s post-tournament meeting will include a discussion about moving up to 100 boats for next year’s event.
“There’s a number of things we would have to consider if we bump up to 100 boats,” he said.
Beaton said this includes changing how the tournament manages parking trailers.
He said the marina at Mitchell’s Bay was designed when boats were smaller, but that has changed over the years.
“Now you’re talking $100,000-plus bass boats with tri-axle trailers,” he said.
Beaton said if they go to 100 boats that will mean having to abandon parking within the marina and signing an agreement with the municipality to use the park area for parking, that will include providing security.
“We might have to adjust our flights that go out,” he said, noting currently two flights go out at 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. each day.
Moving up to 100 boats could include adding a flight at 8 a.m. to help alleviate the congestion, he added.
“The interest is there,” Beaton said, citing the fact 85 boats registered this year and some teams had to be put on a waiting list.
The fifth year for the bass tournament wrapped up on Sunday, after being extended a day due to windy conditions that postponed Friday’s scheduled start, and proved to be another success.
“It was the biggest bag yet for the tournament,” Beaton said, noting the best 10 fish caught over two days by the winning team of Chad Wentzel and Bill Valberg was more than 50 pounds.
Chris Gebal and Mike Cylwa of Chatham had a great showing, finishing third.
Gebal said he missed last year’s event, “so we really wanted to have a good year this year.”
This was Cylwa’s first time competing in a bass tournament.
“It was learning experience all week, for sure, but it was a lot of fun.”
Cylwa was ready to go Friday, but understood the need to delay fishing for a day.
“It’s all safety, it’s what they’ve got to do . . . for everybody,” he said. “You’ve got to take what you’re given, that’s what fishing is all about.”
Beaton said, “we’ve always reserved Sunday as weather day, and this was the first year that we had to use it.”
Gebal is impressed with the quality of the tournament.
“It’s unbelievable how good it’s been put on,” he said. “It’s wonderful, the volunteers, the event, the people that put their heads around this and organize this, it’s phenomenal.”