Cannington duo finish fifth in international bass fishing competition

A pair of Cannington residents posted a Top-5 finish in an international bass fishing tournament last month and helped propel Team Canada to a silver medal.

Phil and Stephen Hegarty finished fifth in the recent Black Bass PanAmerican Championship on Lake Okeechobee in Florida, finishing fifth following a haul of 12.46 kilograms – little more than a half-kilo from earning a spot on the podium.

“Phil and I have become quite competitive in local bass tournaments, and have had experience on Lake Okeechobee. So when Canadian team captain Bob Izumi called us and asked if we would be interested we jumped all over it,” Stephen said.
“We love to fish and the competitive side that tournaments bring. So to represent Canada on one of the largest stages bass fishing has to offer was a true honour.”

Father/son duo Roland and Scott Martin of the U.S. claimed the individual team gold medal, followed by countrymen John Cox and Keith Carson, while Canada’s Cole Bailey and Bruce Leeson took bronze.

The American team won the overall gold medal, followed by Canada and Costa Rica with bronze.

“The Canadian team worked well together sharing information about, baits, locations and patterns,” Stephen said.

Sanctioned by the PanAmerican Sportfishing Delegation and hosted by USA Bass, the tournament featured a total of 22 teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. It was organized as part of an ongoing inititiative to have bass fishing included in the Summer Olympics.

“Whether it gets there or not, being part of its inaugural event with a Canadian flag on my shirt is an experience I will never forget,” Stephen said.

Team Canada photo courtesy of Fishing League Worldwide.

Stephen Hegarty

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