Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Fourth win for Formosa and Saliba at 2012 Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Open

Orillia — As 100 boats and 200 anglers blasted off on  the calm waters of Lake Couchiching the morning of Oct. 20, many were surprised they had to deal with four-foot waves as soon as they entered Lake Simcoe. Some turned around and headed back for calmer waters while others prevailed ... carefully manoeuvring their bass boats to productive fishing waters they had found during practice period the week before.

The Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Open, hosted by the Aurora Bassmasters, capitalizes on one of the world’s finest smallmouth fisheries. As good as Orillia’s Couchiching is ... Simcoe is bigger and so too are it’s smallmouth bass.  In 2010, the winning team of Mark Moran and Joey Muszynski set the all- time Canadian record with an incredible 31.5 pounds worth of smallmouth bass. During that same BPS Lake Simcoe Open event, a Canadian tournament record 8.05 smallmouth bass was also weighed in.  

Like no other, the BPS Lake Simcoe Open offers hard core tournament anglers a realistic opportunity to win one of the highest cash payouts in the country, and at a time of year when records are made to be broken. In 2012, that 31.5 pounds was not surpassed, but the eventual winners of Bob Formosa and Jayson Saliba still amassed a huge sack of bass weighing in at 27.5 pounds, for a $20,000 first-place prize. They also tacked on the Shimano Pay to Play win for an additional $2,760. 

In second was the team of Matt Belzil and Jason Clay with 25.65 pounds of bass for a $6,000 cash payout. Third went to Kal Vaisanen and Bill Walker who had 24.3 pounds for a $4000 payout.
As title sponsor Bass Pro Shops has offered the greatest contribution both in cash awards and their marketing and organizational expertise. Additionally, platinum sponsors Jack Links Beef Jerky and were big players once again in 2012.  

Shimano supplied their live-release boat and in-water weigh-in system. Additionally, they kicked in $1,000 seed money for the Shimano Pay To Play pot.

Rapala contributed $2,000 towards the 36th X Spot award. Two teams tied for this — Wayne Izumi / John McGuigan and Niko Terpselas / Tony Colluci, so each team received $1000. Humminbird/Minn Kota supplied the top team using their products with $2,000 in cash.  Berkley Canada provided all teams with merchandise in their grab bags, and supplied $1,000 cash to Jason Godin and Anthony Burgess, the team weighing in the heaviest single largemouth bass at 4.8 pounds.

Mustang supplied four floater suits that were won by 16th-place finishers John McGoey and Mike Collins and 17th-place team Jason Reindeers and Jack Vandermeer. Maple Lodge Farms offered a charity BBQ during the weigh in; supporting companies like X Zone Lures and CL Lures provided prize packages.

Total cash payouts for the 2012 BPS Lake Simcoe Open were more than $41,400. This was better than a 100% payout in cash and prizes. Anglers paid a $400 entry fee to compete — with an additional optional $40 per team to enter the Shimano Pay To Play.

Competing anglers, sponsors, the host City of Orillia and the Canadian tackle industry all recognize the Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Open as the premier one day bass fishing tournament in the country.
One tagged bass was weighed in which was originally sampled as part of a five-year bass tagging research program spearheaded by the Aurora Bassmasters (2006-2010) in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources.  This fish was originally caught and tagged during a previous BPS Lake Simcoe Open – helping to show that catch and release and fizzing really does work.
The tournament organizers would like to thank the many volunteers from the Aurora Bassmasters who, along with support from several Barrie Bassmasters, helped make everything run so smoothly during the morning blast off and throughout the weigh-in. This year’s weigh-in was MC’d by BIG JIM McLaughlin who did an outstanding job entertaining the crowd and anglers.  Additionally, organizers would like to thank the Competitive Sport Fishing League (CSFL), led by Andy Pallotta and his wife Vita for their expertise, logistical support and tournament equipment.  

Both anglers and tournament organizers always love coming to the fish-friendly community of Orillia and appreciate their excellent no charge launching and parking facilities. A key figure who helped with so much of the behind the scenes work in Orillia was Doug Bunker of the Orillia Chamber of Commerce.
Thanks to member Cam Mitchell, the Aurora Bassmasters brought back the extremely popular Live Streaming video of the weigh-in event.   The 2012 weigh-in can still be seen at and A complete list of all standings can be seen on these two websites. Stay tuned for additional video production filmed by  Dave Creasy “The Video Guy Inc.”

By Wil Wegman, Conservation and Media Director, Aurora Bassmasters;

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