Badlands Bass Bandits hold New Johns Lake Fishing Derby

Posted: Oct 16 2020
Outdoors/Staff Writer, Minot Daily News

ND Water October 2020

WASHBURN – It was hot and windy, but that didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of a fleet of bass fishermen that left the starting point at 6:30 a.m.

The launch site was the ramp at East Park Lake. From there, tourney anglers could choose their preferred spots on the GDU Chain of Lakes. To the east was Hecker’s and New Johns and connecting stretches of the McClusky Canal. In the opposite  direction was West Park Lake and inviting sections of the canal.

When the boats returned for the 2:30 p.m. weigh-in there was the usual friendly chatter among anglers who were competing against each other while on the water. How was your day? Any big ones? Lose any? Where’d you go? What did you use?

The talk continued as anglers brought their bags of bass to the scale. The biggest bass of the day was caught by Alex Martel, a 15-year-old bass angler from Christine who was joined in the boat by his father, Dan. The big bass came moments before time expired as the pair fished out the final minutes a few yards from the ramp.

“We caught only five fish today, but three of them were pretty nice,” said Alex Martel. “The last two came in the last two hours fishing shallow around the cattails off a drop shot.”

Martel’s final fish weighed a whopping 4.79 pounds, good enough for best bass of the day and boosting the team’s three-fish limit to 11.09 pounds and fifth place. The big bass was the second heaviest ever caught during a Bandits event at  New Johns since the club was formed in 2006.

“It took a long time, but we caught that last fish, the big one, two minutes before quitting,” said Dan Martel. “That was
a nice catch. We had been kind of disappointed.”

Alex Martel has the bass fishing bug. He fishes the junior tournaments in the state and branches out on occasion to mix it
up with the veteran anglers.

“I started off walleye fishing,” said Alex Martel. “Now bass fishing is fun and I catch more and more bass.”

Dan Martel says he got started in bass fishing because of his son’s passion for the sport.

“I just follow along. He’s a lot better bass fisherman that I am. He shows me how. He got me going and it’s interesting because if I miss a fish or don’t net it quite right, I get a piece of his mind,” laughed Dan Martel. 

It was a family affair in another competitive boat too, a team that consisted of Tony and Paul Reinbold and Hayden Bader. Tony is Paul’s father and Hayden a grandson.

“We had a couple big ones that bit right away and then we’d go for hours, but all in all it was pretty darn good,” said Tony Reinbold, South Dakota. “It was nice, probably the best I’ve done here. We found out if we went down a shoreline and were catching little perch we started moving out to deeper water and, sure enough, that’s where the bigger bass were.”

The winning team was the husband and wife combination of Justin and Cami Enney from Dickinson. The Enney’s three
best smallmouth bass weighed 12.07 pounds. Their big fish was 4.17 pounds.

“Today was a good day,” said Cami Enney while waiting for the official weigh-in. “It was nice outside and we were able to catch a few fish.”

“I started out slow,” added Justin Enney. “We moved around a bit. We didn’t catch a lot of fish today but the ones that we caught were pretty good.”

After the weigh-in and the awards were handed out, as is customary at Bass Bandits events, the top three teams were asked to “spill the beans.” That is, share with their fellow anglers what they did and what they used during the day to
catch their fish.

“I like this group. I learn from it,” said Justin Enney. “They are a lot of fun.”

One largemouth bass was caught during the event but it was not big enough to bring to the scale and was released, as
were all the smallmouth bass caught during the tournament.

The next Badlands Bass Bandits event was held at the cabin site ramp at Lake Audubon on Aug. 15.

(Permission to reprint received from Kim Fundingsland, Minot Daily News)