Jeff Hughes and Terrance Yuschyshyn have won the 2016 Moose Lake Walleye Classic. It was deja vu for both Bonnyville men who had each previously won the three-day fishing tournament in the past, but never playing together. Along with bragging rights throughout the fishing world, Hughes and Yuschyshyn each took home $20,000 and the satisfaction in knowing the tournament helps the Elk Point Lions Club raise money for those in need.
Hughes explains he and partner Yuschyshyn are seasoned fishermen, “we’ve each won the tournament before, but never together.” The competition takes the 4-day total weight. The first night the men took the day money for best weight, then placed in the top five for the remainder of the days. They also bought themselves in the Kalcutta, which is essentially an auction that allows participants and/or the general public the chance to bet on which fishing team will win. Hughes and Yuschyshyn were confident in betting on themselves and it worked out to the tune of $20,000.
“I’ve seen some Joe-Blows go out there and win tournaments, but really that’s a fluke. You have to know what you’re doing and there’s a certain amount of luck.” Luck mixed with etiquette, explains Hughes, “people will see where you’re fishing and if your pulling good fish they may come up and fish right on top of you; but there’s certain unspoken rules. Like if someone has a certain spot, you tend to back off and let them fish.” Hughes said his team came across a similar situation on day two of the tournament when another boat was in the same spot they had fished the day before. “We were getting good fish there, so we weren’t going to give it up. We were practically fishing from under each other’s boats.” The Hughes-Yuschyshyn team prevailed.
“It does get very competitive,” says Hughes, who’s team beat out 109 other fishers ,”and there’s a certain amount of luck; there’s always luck in fishing.”
The Walleye Classic was formerly held on Moose Lake by Hughes’ father, Sean. “Dad held it for a while when he volunteered for Beaver River Fish & Game,” the younger Hughes says fishing is a family business and grew his passion from his father. The tournament went on a couple years’ hiatus after the Beaver River Fish & Game stopped hosting it, then returned four years ago when the Elk Point Lions picked up the responsibility. The tournament is a money maker for the club, with all money raised going to the charity.