What a tournament! Thank you to all who came out on Saturday, and battled the morning waves! We made some difficult decisions as a club for this tournament, but in the end I’m glad we made the ones we did. Everyone made it in safe, as the day wore on the weather got nicer, and a lot of nice bags were brought to the scales!
All in all, we had 24 competitors, and 2 buy-ins. 98 Smallmouth were brought to the scales that weighed, on average, 2.295 lbs. each! Better, yet, 98 smallmouth were all released alive. We paid out $913 in cash (options and 1st-3rd places), in addition to the $52.00 50/50 Raffle won by Chris Mosher, $5.00 gift card won by Chris Mosher, the Dobyn’s Rod won by Ramona Settles, Lucky Tackle Box won by Mel Williams, and the Mystery Tackle Box won by Drake Ofsthun! Combined, we paid out almost $1,200 in cash and prizes, and a lot of people won something. Below are the top 10:
1st – Ben Hanes – 19.71lbs.
2nd – Rick Dopke – 17.91lbs.
3rd – Robert Reid – 17.13lbs.
4th – Drake Ofsthun – 16.90lbs.
5th – Mel Williams – 14.40lbs.
6th – Stephen Burrus – 14.37lbs.
7th – Brian Oles – 14.14lbs.
8th – Mark Westcott – 13.73lbs.
9th – Jordan Warren – 13.73lbs.
10th – Lloyd Ingram – 12.22lbs. – Also won Big Fish of the Tournament, 4.40lbs.
The following is a breakdown of the top 3:
Ben Hanes, 1st Place – I did not pre-fish, so I feel very blessed to have done well. Basically, my day broke down as follows: Before launching, I surmised I did not want to compete with the Oregon Bass Federation guys in Paterson (for largemouth), so I ruled out largies, even though I wanted to fish for them. So when I launched, I immediately noted the water temperature, at about 54 degrees. This is typically a “mid-Spring” temperature, so even though I figured there would be bass on beds way back in the sloughs, there were still fat pre-spawn fish to be caught in the main river. So, that’s pretty much how I let my day unfold; I targeted pre-spawn smallmouth bass. I just followed that logic, and hit main river points and contour edges (i.e. steep edges/migratory routes to spawning areas) with crankbaits, spider grubs, and swimbaits. For those of you who were at my presentations at Richland Rod and Gun Club and CBBC, I hit many of the locations mentioned, and followed the exact same migratory patterns I spoke about, and even used the same baits that I put on the Powerpoint…I can honestly say things rarely go THAT smoothly, but it was very textbook, and it was a good day. I feel lucky, fortunate, and blessed!
Rick Dopke, 2nd Place – I couldn’t really fish where I wanted (McCormick area) because of the wind. I was hoping to find them on beds in that area. However, I fished a spot by the Blalock Islands I had not fished in two years. It was a small flat 2 to 3 feet deep with a small drop-off into 8 feet. Everything I caught was on a rattle trap, burning it close to the surface. I tried other baits but it seemed they wanted it moving really fast. I got really lucky because I caught probably 20 fish in two hours, later in the day. I got some hits on the flat but most came as soon as it went into the drop off. It was a crawdad-colored rattletrap.
Robert Reid, 3rd Place – I was throwing shallow running crankbaits, Texas-rigged grubs, and tubes; fishing secondary areas in Paterson, and main river stuff around the Blaylocks, along with small drop-offs in McCormick.
Again, thank you to everyone who came out! Our next stop is our Moses Lake Team Qualifier, and I am expecting a good turnout, along with some potentially very big bags brought to the scales! The driver’s meeting for this event will be held at Kennewick Ranch and Home, Thursday May 5th, at 6:00 p.m. Registration will also be open for a short time on the morning of the tournament, from 5:00 – 5:30 a.m. We look forward to seeing you all!