Brad Leveille, Ben Dewar take top honours in Lake Kagawong bass derby

Brad Leveille, centre, was the winner of the Kagawong Bass Derby with the largest bass that weighed in at 5.82 pounds and set a new record. Pictured presenting the Joshua Montgomery trophy are Mitchell and Kenley Montgomery.

PROVIDENCE BAY – It seemed only fitting that on the 30th anniversary of the Lake Kagawong bass derby, a record would be set for the largest bass and the musicians, the Islanders, would play for the 20th year for this event.

This derby was started by Herbie Colette, Lewis Hartley and Bud Weadick in memory of Steven Shank Vincent who was an ardent fisherman.

Sixty-five participants entered the derby this year, up three teams from last year, and Spring Bay Fish Club president and organizer Linda Taylor noted the high winds in her welcoming remarks at the Providence Bay hall following the derby. “You had to hang on tight to your boat,” she said, “so you didn’t get blown away.”

Ms. Taylor, along with her husband Bill and a large number of volunteers, has organized the derby for over 20 years. These volunteers include Rollanda Tovey who moved from Sudbury to the Island in 2003 and who either makes a beautiful quilt or has one donated either by the Happy Quilters of Gore Bay or the Island Quilters Guild for a draw. Ms. Tovey is past president of the guild. Other volunteers included John Tovey, Steve St. Pierre and Tony Weadick as the chefs for the fish supper, Bill Taylor manning the bar and Yvonne Bolduc of Cambridge selling tickets at the door along with Joan Vincent-Brough.

All monies raised at the derby goes to the national charitable organization, the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada that brings hope and laughter to children with serious illnesses. Ms. Taylor and her daughter, Diana St. Pierre of Espanola, are the wishes granters for Manitoulin and the North Shore for the charity. This year, $500 is donated to a young girl in Gore Bay for medical expenses. The money raised last year and donated to Starlight totalled $4,500. A few years ago, the money raised on Manitoulin helped the purchase of an entertainment unit, valued at $7,500 that was placed at Health Sciences North in Sudbury on behalf of the Kagawong bass derby. This unit includes a flat screen television, a DVD player and a Nintendo Wii to be used by children in that hospital.

Carly Raffie of Markham was this year’s representative of Starlight and she was effusive in her praise of the fishermen who participate in the derby, the hard work of Ms. Taylor and the many volunteers and noted that the money raised not only helps someone on the Island, but helps right across the country. Ms. Raffie is with Starlight’s Fund Development Team. Accompanied by Alan Parker, this was the couple’s first visit to Manitoulin and Ms. Raffie said. “We love it. It is beautiful.” They plan on returning.

The Starlight Foundation has a presence in 130 hospitals across Canada and grants 50 wishes each year as well as stuffed animals and other items that help to make a child’s hospital stay less scary.

Ben Dewar was the winner in the ‘three perch caught by a youth’ category. He is pictured receiving the Art Breathart Memorial Award with Art’s wife Marilyn and his grandson Arthur Breathart. photos by Betty Bardswich

The winner of the tournament with the largest bass coming in at 5.82 pounds was Brad Leveille who was awarded the Joshua Montgomery Trophy. The largest perch, at 1.21 pounds, was caught by Peter Terp and he was awarded the John Wright Memorial Trophy. The largest fish other than bass caught by a female was brought in by Connie Kivaho and she took home the Barb Weadick Award while the same category, but caught by a male, winner was Peter Terp who was awarded the Bob Haskett Memorial Trophy for his perch.

Winning the Steven Shank Award for the largest weight for six bass was the team of John Kada and Brad Leveille who had a combined weight of 24.73 pounds. Second in this category was team 13, Reg McAllister and Jack White with a weight of 21.58 pounds and the third place winners were David and Katherine Pearson who had a combined weight of 21.20 pounds. Dewar took home the Art Breathart Memorial Award in the three perch by youth category. The mystery weight Nora Weadick Trophy was won by Lauren and Tyler Inkster with a weight of 4.01 pounds. The mystery weight had been set at 4.02 pounds.

For more information about Starlight on Manitoulin, including wish granting for children, contact Ms. Taylor at 705-282-2273. For Espanola and the North Shore, contact Ms. St. Pierre at 705-869-7512.