Well, tournament number three is in the books! What a day! I think our club made a great decision in starting early. All in all, it didn’t seem to get too hot until the afternoon, and thankfully we had a little breeze to cool things down, and shade at the weigh-in! Judging from dock-talk, the fishing on tournament day wasn’t as good as in previous weeks. Water level fluctuations and air temperature variations seemed to create some difficult situations for some anglers. It could also be argued that fishing has become slightly more difficult in the local pool because of individuals catching and keeping fish. I must emphasize again, and I will continue to promote, the conservation of the bass species on our river. If meat fisherman are reading this article now in hopes of gaining tips so that they can kill more fish, I do not condone that behavior. If that’s you, I tell you now: you are a part of the problem! Please become part of the solution, I urge you!
For those individuals who were concerned about the Park Ranger and Oregon Sheriff, I actually have only good things to say about them. They were very polite and happy our club was there, and will be fully welcoming us back in September! There was just some miscommunication that took place, and we cleared it up. I had previously called the Oregon Sheriff and Oregon State Parks notifying them we were having a tournament, but word did not get out to the appropriate sources so they were caught off-guard. With contact information now in hand, this mishap will be avoided in the future, so all is well!
I would like to publicly thank Jordan Warren for doing a great job as the Secretary/Treasurer. She has A LOT on her shoulders at Club Meetings, Driver’s Meetings, and on Tournament Day. The calculations and records can be very chaotic and difficult, especially after a very, very long, hot day on the water! I apologize for any errors, the time it takes, but appreciate your patience and understanding. I must emphasize that any help we can give her recording weights will greatly speed things up and help to minimize errors.
So, it was a good turnout! We had 33 competitors, around 19 boats…10 largemouth and 127 smallmouth were weighed. Only 1 fish died! Our average fish weighed 1.83lbs. It seemed to be sort of feast or famine out there, and the fish were in all stages! We paid out $1,352.00 in cash (options and 1st- 4th place), in addition to $23 won by Fred Settles in the 50/50 Raffle. The Dobyn’s Rod was won by Mark Westcott, who was the only individual to weigh a limit of largemouth. Ben Hanes won the Mystery Tackle Box, and Aaron Rice won the Lucky Tackle Box. We also gave out gift certificates to 1st – 3rd place in the Junior Division. Combined, we paid out almost $1,568.00 in cash and prizes! Below are the top 10:
1st – Jake Anderson – 19.75lbs. and the Big Fish of the Tournament – 4.64lbs.
2nd – Ron Mace – 19.32lbs.
3rd – Richard Shaff – 17.07lbs.
4th – Amy Mace – 16.47lbs.
5th – Ben Hanes – 15.52lbs.
6th – Aaron Rice – 13.39lbs.
7th – Jimmy Taylor – 12.03lbs.
8th – Mike Matkowski – 10.95lbs.
9th – Brian Oles – 10.54lbs.
10th – Mel Williams – 10.24lbs.
The following is a breakdown of the top 3:
Jake Anderson, 1st Place – I’d never fished hat rock before and had 1 day to pre-fish the weekend prior. Being in a smaller sized boat, I always make it a priority to focus on finding areas to fish near the ramp. Even in a bigger boat, it’s a good idea as it gives you a place to throw a few last minute casts before weigh-in, or if you suffer motor failure it gives you an option to save your day. Using Satellite images in conjunction with my Navionics chip, I was able to identify a likely flat within a mile from the ramp that appeared to have the best looking spawning contours in the area. In the windy conditions of practice a spinnerbait with a hook bent over told me where fish were positioned. I definitely saw smallmouth chasing some small shiny baitfish, so I knew that even if conditions weren’t windy in the tournament, I could use a spinnerbait to catch them in low light, then change once the sun came up higher.
I was able to catch a decent limit of 15lbs or so near the ramp on the large spawning flat. At that point it was time to decide if the flat had enough better fish to grind out a win, or if I needed to run upriver to find a big bite. With a north wind, I knew the pool would be flat enough to get to largemouth territory up closer to Pasco. If the wind had been prevailing out of the SW, I would not have gone due to large waves being likely. The run paid off and I found some largemouth in areas that historically hold them this time of year. These backwaters are really hit and miss as some of them have poor water quality and stale fish, while others have fresh fish and cleaner water. Another club angler came in about 20 minutes behind me, and showed incredible restraint and sportsman-ship in allowing me to have a small section of bank he knew held some good fish.
This scenario speaks to the luck factor with regard to timing. If I had gone to that area an hour after I did…that fish would have taken a ride in someone else’s boat. It also speaks to how our club has an opportunity to be different in a day an age where sportsman-ship and respect can be fleeting in competitive situations.
Ron Mace, 2nd Place – I caught them shallow on tubes right by the launch. It seemed we found a group of pre-spawn fish, and we were throwing plastics in the morning when it was calm, and when the wind picked up in the afternoon we threw crankbaits. The fish seemed to be feeding on crawdads, and minnows in the afternoon. We didn’t really go very far. The fish all seemed to be up shallow, it was just a good day of fishing!
Richard Shaff, 3rd Place – We fished from Hat Rock to the Snake River, and back-covered many spots with reaction baits. Topwaters and spinnerbaits worked well early catching some better fish, rattlebaits all day long worked well, and tubes caught fish. We focused on spawning flats and areas where the post-spawn fish transition to their summer areas.
Thank you again to everyone who came out and braved the heat! And, thank you all again for your patience and understanding during the weigh-in and calculation periods. Our club is getting very big, so that’s pretty exciting! Our next stop is at Potholes, where we will have our Family/Team/Couples Tournament! This is an AOY points-event, but the format will be slightly different than normal. Stay tuned for more to come on that! July historically is a good time of year for Potholes, but the reservoir can be very hit and miss, because as we know, largemouth can be moody and disagreeable….The one thing we have going for us, though, is that the fishing pressure should be light. There are no other tournaments scheduled on our weekend. There is a Limit Out Marine Big Bass tournament at Potholes the week before, where fish will have been caught, but not too many relocated, so I do not anticipate the fish will be too beat up. Please remember we have a club meeting on June 28th of this month at Kennewick Ranch and Home at 6:00 p.m., where we’ll have Mike Matkowski presenting on summertime bass fishing.