Our first annual Columbia Basin Bass Club Championship is in the books, and thankfully, it was a success. Congratulations to our club champions: Robert Reid (Boater), Jordan Warren (Non Boater), and Jordan Gregory (Junior)…There were a ton of cool prizes given away. I want to thank personally all of the sponsors that helped make our championship a success: Pelican Fueling, Nixons Marine, Mar Don Resort, River Lodge and Grill, Rollarena, Griggs, Strike King Lures, Casting for Memories, Rod Busters Fishing, LLC, Great Harvest Bread, Three Rivers Tackle, Kistler Rods, Flat Out Fishing, Bass Kick ‘N Baits, Double “D” Jigs, Collegium Café, and Tim Demmon, Aaron Rice, Les Whitley, Rick Dopke and Jeff Grimes. Gees. I hope I am not forgetting anyone! We as a club owe it to these sponsors to support their products/services if we can. They really stepped up!
On tournament day, weather-wise it seemed to be a relatively stable day. Upriver it was fairly windy until roughly 2 p.m., then it calmed down. The fishing seemed slow for most, considering that pre fishing was better for many anglers. It’s difficult to speculate why the fishing was so difficult, but undoubtedly a lack of current, angler pressure during the week, continuing warm weather, and possibly even fewer decent fish because of limits being lifted, all contributed to what was generally mediocre fishing.
Below is a summary of the top anglers on championship day:
Robert Reid, 1st Place Boater Division – I went pre-fishing on Monday around Caseys and didn’t do very well, so I decided to lock through and go down by Irrigon. Throughout the morning I caught a lot of fish but only had about 10 pounds in the live well. At about 10:30, I found a spot that had them stacked up. It was a feeding frenzy that only lasted for about a half an hour. I caught all of my fish throughout the day on flukes. I want to thank Ben and Jordan for all of their hard work. You guys have done an outstanding job this year.
Mike Matkowski, 2nd Place Boater Division – I started out fishing topwater down by Hatrock and caught my first keeper on a topwater, Realis Pencil, which made for a good start. I ran points and banks with deeper water, some with weedlines, for several hours and had 4 keepers off topwater baits and a crankbait very early. I eventually started running many spots all the way up to Foundation Island and back down river as the waves got bad above Wallula Gap. I primarily threw Realis Crankbaits, a medium and deep diver, and a rattlebait, depending on the area. I also employed a Dobyns 702 dropshot rod with a 4 inch worm as the bite got much tougher later in the day.
Brian Oles, 3rd Place Boater Division – I caught my limit by 7 a.m., all on a swim bait. I then tried to cull the rest of the day. There is a community-hole that I saw at least 3 boats at. By the time I went there I pulled up on it and caught 2, 2+ pounders and culled my smallest fish. I tried to catch bigger fish the rest of the day but failed…the moral of the story: swimbait, swimbait, swimbait.
Jordan Warren, 1st Place Non Boater Division – This tournament was pretty challenging, but amazing. We started off fishing rip rap where I used a swim bait with my Mag2 Kistler spinning rod. When I saw both Ben and I were catching only a few small fish with similar baits I decided I wanted to fish a few feet off the rip. So, I used a green pumpkin spider grub on a lead head on the same Mag2 and switched the swim bait to my KLX casting rod. I started pulling bigger fish from the rip rap after the switch. We then moved to an area where I caught a bunch of weeds and Ben caught a few fish before we decided to move upriver further. Ben caught a few deep and I was getting bored because the fish weren’t interested in my grub in that area, and then our boat died. Once we got started again we headed to the Caseys area. Ben hooked a good looking fish, but it spit his hook several feet from the boat. Right after that I threw a lead head out shallow and after a few rocks I got the solid 4.04lb fish. After that I think I only caught two other ones before Ben caught another keeper alongside a ledge. As I was netting the fish I felt pressure on my rod so I set the hook and pulled up the 4.48lb fish also on the leadhead spider grub.
Jordan Gregory, 1st Place Junior Division – The tourney day went well. I got all of my fish on a drop shot and spook. Most of my fish were between 5 and 11 feet of water. I started shallow and I would see bait fish bust all over so I went out deeper and that’s where I got my “bigger” bites.
Thank you to everyone who came out and participated! Thank you to the anglers who put in the effort to qualify for the championship. Thank you to our sponsors! And, thank you to the people who helped make a successful championship possible.
Next month, we’ll have our Later Greater Open on the local river. It will be our final tournament of the year. It is both a fundraiser and charity tournament, so it would be awesome to have every club member to compete if at all possible! The competition will be stiff, but the monies raised will be for a good cause.