Prez Says Dog Days Recap

Our 2016 Dog Days event is definitely one that I personally am glad to have in the books, with everyone safe! I would not be exaggerating in saying weather-wise, it was our most difficult tournament of the year. The wind was blowing heavily in the morning around the Boardman/McCormick area, creating dangerous waves that ultimately funneled anglers into safer portions of the river until the wind wore down around noon. Other than the weather, it was a good event, although it was highly pressured on tournament day due to a large number of NWB pre-fisherman. Many anglers said their weights were down, undoubtedly due to angler pressure and heavy winds. But still, many fish were caught, some good bags were brought in, everyone made it in safe, and the afternoon turned out to be beautiful.
Despite the weather, it was a good turnout. We had 31 competitors and around 18 boats. We paid out over $1,150 in cash, along with some prizes! Donny Biagi won the Lucky Tackle Box and Jordan Warren won the Mystery Tackle Box.
Going forward, we may re-evaluate our strategy in planning tournaments before NWB tournaments, which we originally tried out this year in hopes of recruiting more participants. It doesn’t seem to be working, and I’ve heard some guys don’t want to stick their fish a week in advance or give up their spots to watchful eyes. We are also going to change the weigh-in process, which will be discussed at the next club meeting.
The Angler of the Year Race came to a close, with a nail-biting finish. Rick Dopke and Mel Williams came in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Ben Hanes barely captured the title. It was a dog fight to the end! On the women’s side, Jordan Warren won for the second year in a row. In the Junior Division, Mackenzie Reed was consistent and fished nearly all of the tournaments, and won.
Below is a breakdown of a few of the top anglers:
Randy Mittleider – 16.47lbs. -First thing in the morning, I tried to fish a bank out of the wind and caught some small fish. Around 7:30am ventured out into the big stuff, to myprimary spot…a main river hump. Fished Carolina Rig 10-25 feet, probably caught my limit within an hour. Headed down river to couple of other banks and just caught smaller fish; I wasn’t able to cull. All of my keepers came on the Carolina Rig, Lizards, and Senkos. Just finished out the last 2 hours of the day on the main river hump and culled one fish there.
Ben Hanes – 15.62lbs. – This was, unfortunately, one of my most difficult tournaments in recent memory. I felt like I made a few bad decisions. To avoid wind, I started out on a flat by Irrigon that turned out to be a dud, when the day before it had some quality fish. I think the weather had pushed the fish out, or my timing was off. I gradually moved downriver and continued to fish shallow, and I started losing a lot of fish. They were short striking or jumping and coming off, and a few were quality fish that would have won the tournament for me. I am not exaggerating, I probably lost 15 fish in 2 hours. What I am most disappointed about is that I didn’t make adjustments to compensate, and my attitude quickly went downhill. I knew I had to do well to get angler of the year, and I typically execute in Boardman very well, so I became discouraged…I’ve learned over the years that there’s nothing more important in fishing than keeping a positive attitude. I begrudgingly told myself that I knew I could get at least 15 pounds, somehow…But as each hour went by, I lost more fish and Jordan was catching more and more fish around, behind, and in front of me. Worse, I found the further down river I went, the more boats I saw, until around the Blaylocks nearly every spot was being hammered by waves and NWB pre-fisherman, and CBBC anglers. It brought me back to the “good ole’ days.” It was then I just decided that I was competing against the elements and moody fish, and my wonderful, sweet co-angler, who was sticking it to me. I decided to be a little risky and move further downriver, in order to fish some deeper structure (because it seemed like the shallow bite was off), and away from other anglers.
My move proved to be the right one. I caught a lot of fish on a deep rockpile fishing a spider grub and drop shot. I was finally able to secure a half-way reasonable limit, and thank goodness, by then the wind had died down somewhat, the weird front had past, and it was getting warmer. I knew with the change in weather, good fish were likely to move shallow, so that’s where I headed. When it seemed like a lot of guys were fishing deep, I was cruising around in water that was sometimes less than a foot deep, and catching good fish here and there. I tried to focus on clean-quality water with good rock, and weed patches with gravel around. Multi-directional drop offs next to shallow water were also key. I can’t emphasize enough either, that big fish this time of year prefer openings in weed patches. I caught my last good fish around 2:00 p.m., and I felt like I wished the tournament would go another hour beyond 3 p.m. In the end, I just came up short. Props to Randy Mittleider!
Jess Lytton – 14.20lbs.– A lot went through my head the first 10 minutes of takeoff thinking about where I should go, as I had never fished Irrigon. The wind was horrible and the waves were huge. I found an Island not far upriver where I caught my first good keeper on a drop shot. We fished there about an hour then we shot down river. We found a nice rock pile along the bank where I soon landed 4 big keepers and that’s where we finished the rest of the day!
Jordan Warren – 13.73lbs. – Ben drove us to a flat/point where I started fishing with a chartreuse and white spinning bait. I caught two small smallies there. I also worked the edge of an underwater point that also seemed to work out to a road bed. I used my spinner bait whenever we were working in shallow clear water, fanning out my casts from the front of the boat working around to the back (where I am banished to). While working deeper waters (18-28ft), I used a green pumpkin football head jig and dragged it slowly across the bottom, bumping rock, wood, and underwater structures. That’s where I picked up A LOT of fish. Throughout the day, I think the chartreuse/white combo and the green pumpkin were my ultimate go-to’s as the swim bait (blue and white) didn’t seem to work as well for me for bigger fish. I also caught my first walleye, I told Ben I was so freaked out (I mean have you SEEN their teeth?) that I almost threw up!
Club Championship:
On September 10th the club will host its first annual Columbia Basin Bass Club Championship. We have already secured a few sponsors for this event, including 2 free seats on a guided trip with Flat Out Fishing. This guy is the best steelhead angler that I know of locally. I typically steelhead fish in the colder months, and regularly run into him. I consider myself a good steelhead fisherman, but this guy is ALWAYS on them. He has a true talent, and I believe his tactics for steelhead fishing can be applied to bass fishing as well, particularly for smallmouth in current.
There will be more details to come on the Club Championship. Please pay attention to the Facebook page closely, as I’ll update it regularly as we secure more sponsors and such. Also, don’t miss the driver’s meeting! We will be revealing the super-cool trophies in advance! And, we need to get boater, non-boater pairings straight before the event! There’s so many details I’d like to cover; prizes, format, sponsorships, payouts! In short, everyone will get prizes. There will be a 1 in 3 payout to BOTH the boaters and non-boaters. 200% payout to boaters, 80% to non-boaters, and options. I expect the 1st place boater to get upwards of (possibly) $1,000, and the top non-boater around $250. Lots of people will be cashing checks! It’s a reward for everyone who chose to fish our club, and stick it out the whole year.
Below is a list of the anglers that are qualified to fish our Club Championship:
Men’s Division:
Ben Hanes
Rick Dopke
Mel Williams
Mark Westcott
Brian Oles
Dick Coffey
Steve Burrus
Fred W Settle
John Squillace Sr.
Matt Floyd
John Flores
Don Baker
Mike Matkowski
Kevin Mayton
Drake Ofsthun
Robert Reid
James Castillo
Lloyd Ingram
Curt Ryan
Todd Ryan
Tim Demmon
Women’s Division:
Jordan Nicole Warren
Amy Mace
Ericka Rice
Jaime Moore
Ramona Settle
Becky Floyd
Junior’s Division:
Mackenzie Reed
Reed Ofsthun
Victoria McConnell
Jordan Gregory
Josiah McConnell
Caden Reid
Jacob Anderson
Tucker Stephens
Boardman sometimes doesn’t play fair, and in the end I’m glad we moved the tournament location to Irrigon, as I’m certain we may have otherwise encountered safety issues, or people just turning around and choosing not to fish. That section of the river can be unforgiving, but it can also be great fishing, and it’s a good place for club anglers to hone their skills. Thank you to all who came out and braved the conditions. Our next club meeting will be on August 30th, 6:00 p.m., at the Kennewick Ranch and Home. Dave Kromm, perhaps the most decorated/accomplished angler in the Tri-Cities, will be our guest speaker. Also, on September 8th, 6:00 p.m., at the Kennewick Ranch and Home, we will have our Championship driver’s meeting. Don’t miss it!

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