I had a great day going...

I fished the Columbia on the 9th from about 6:45am until about 11:30am. I was having a great day until my Hobie drive failed and I had to cut the day short.

I got to the water before sunrise but as I got ready I thought I had dropped my keys and spent 10 minutes looking for them everywhere. Of course in the end they were right where they were supposed to be :( I am not sure how that happens. They place I looked first is right where they were but I did not find them until I looked there for a third time. Well after that little adrenalin rush I was ready to hit the water. All the wind forecasts for the day were calling for light winds from the East that would transition to light winds from the West by the end of the day.

I was stoked to have some an awesome forecast!! I started fishing and in short order had one destroy my Choppo about 2' from my kayak. Let me tell you that is way better than a cup of coffee to wake you up in the morning! I landed that fish. It was not huge but maybe a 14" or so and chunky. The fishing was a bit annoying because there was lots of pieces of grass floating everywhere. Probably every other cast would get fouled. I am not sure why there was so much broken off grass.

I worked that area for a bit longer but could not buy a second bite so I moved to spot number two. This spot also had an annoying amount of grass floating around it so I just fell into a rhythm of cast, retrieve, clean of the lure. In the low light it was hard to see the floating grass but my lure had not trouble finding it all :)

The areas near shore are all quite weedy right now but there are some isolated rocky/gravelly spots. I made a cast to where I knew one of those was and within a crank or two of the reel handled I had an explosive strike on my choppo!. I set the hook and I knew for sure that this was a big fish. I leaned on it pretty hard and only managed to put a deeper bend in my rod. Oh yeah baby! Then the fish changed tactics and charged at me. For a heartbeat I thought I had lost it but I reeled like a madman and was able to put the pressure back on. The fish then made a beautiful jump just to let me know it was still on :) I got the fish near the kayak where it made a handful of runs, just ripping the drag on my reel. I made sure I did not reach for the net too soon (a mistake I have been making). I kept a good amount of pressure on the fish and just worked it back and forth as I worked it to the surface. I got it to the top and was able to slip my net under a beast of a smallmouth. Just in time too, the lure fell out when the fish was in the net. Whew! The fish was 20.5" long and was a fat 4lb 15oz. - I tried to wish it to 5 but it just would not go :)

Catching a pig like that on topwater was just awesome! After I landed that guy I went back to that same spot and fished it from a few different angles but did not get another bite. I worked my way out that point past to the deep edge of the weeds alternating between quite a few different baits to try to find a wad of fish. Eventually I worked out past the deep edge of the weeds and found a group of small fish in 15-20' of water on a drop shot. Unfortunately these fish were all on the small side. After catching 5 or so I decided that I could sit there and catch dinks all day long or go and look for some bigger fish. That was an easy decision. The one cool thing was this guy who had what looked like a decent sized perch sticking out of his gut but still wanted my drop shot.

The next spot I wanted to hit was occupied so I kept heading downstream. I stopped at a spot and caught a perch on the drop shot. I was getting tons of bites but they all felt perch-y so I moved again. A bit further down I fished a spot that had been producing a good fish each week. That spot is similar in nature to where I caught the big fish earlier so I was excited to fish it but I only landed another smallish bass (maybe a pound). I worked that area for a while but could not buy another bite. So on I went.

The wind had now picked up quite a bit. In that section of the Columbia an East wind quickly develops rollers. That is a bit annoying to fish in but my kayak handles them just fine. I saw a boat that was anchored up across the river pull anchor and head in as it got rougher, but I stayed.

I got to my favorite spot on the river. I just knew I was going to have a slay fest. I fished that area with swimbait, spy bait, and wobblehead. I went over that spot three times figuring I might just be missing them due to the rough water but I could not buy a sniff. I was both stunned and bummed by that turn of events.

I eventually gave up on that spot and went to another spot that gets fished hard but is still usually a good spot. This spot is closer to shore and downstream from a massive weed bed. I was back to the problem of trying to fish around and through all the floating pieces of weeds. I gave up on treble hook lures pretty quickly and went to switching between a drop shot and a swim bait. With the drop shot I just made very short flips to clean water. With the swim bait I could sometimes jerk the weeds off when I felt it get fouled and get mostly clean retrieves.

The "normal" part of the structure where I usually have success was dud. I kept working upstream along the the weedbed for a bit. I figured with the wind blowing pretty good now and quartering into the weedbed that that there might be fish swimming along the edge waiting for bait to blow into it. That turned out to be a smart call because on one of my casts along that edge my swimbait got smoked.

I had another really good fish one!! I carefully fought that fish which was tougher now due to the wind and the chop but I just tried to keep my cool and remain calm. I once again kept good pressure on the fish and was able to eventually where it down and get it to the surface. I was able to slip my net under another beast of a smallmouth.

This guy was 19.75" long and weighed 4lbs on the dot. Two four pound plus fish in a day is a good day in my book!! I thought maybe I was going to slay them along that weed edge but once again this fish seemed to be by itself and I could not buy another bite. I am not sure if the fish were just moving around fast and I was happening to briefly cross paths with them or if these big fish were flying solo. It seems to happen a lot in the fall though. I don't find them grouped up as often as I do in the summer.

Anyway, after fishing that for a while and not picking up another bite. I moved again. The cool thing is that they wind which had been picking up died down to a gentle breeze. I was feeling so smart for not leaving when it had become rough earlier. I fished another favorite spot with the swimbait and hooked a decent fish (maybe pound and a half). I got it next to the kayak and decided not to net it. As I was trying to grab it the fish shook off. I touched though so I count that as a catch :)

I was excited though because I say another fish following that one when I had next to the kayak. I thought maybe I had found a spot where they were loaded up but nope. I fished that spot with a variety of baits, depths and speeds but I could not get a second bit. It just seemed like that kind of a day.

I moved to the other side of the structure and after trying a few moving baits I picked up a drop shot. On my first cast with the drop shot I had barely moved it after it sank to the bottom when I felt a fish pick it up. I set the hook and could feel that this was once again a good fish. After a good battle, with that fish taking drag at will for a while, I was able to wear it down and land it. I said that looks like it might weigh 2 and half. I guess catching those 4+'s had warped my perspective because it was a nice 18.5", 3lb 2oz bass.

I pedaled back to the spot and cast again. Once again as soon as my drop shot hit the bottom a bass grabbed my drop shot and it was game on. After a spirited tussle I landed a 16.75" 2lb 11oz bass.

I went back to the spot and after fishing it for a bit I picked another bass. I did not weigh or measure this guy but he was probably around 15". The good news is the bite was on the bad news was that the wind was picking up. On my next cast I snagged up and had to re-tie. I decided to replace my entire leader since it was feeling kind of rough. In the time it took me to do that the wind had really picked up and I was back to fishing in high wind, whitecaps and rollers. I hooked a nice fish (probably 2-3lbs). I put a lot of pressure on that fish and tried to land it quickly due to the waves. It came up to the surface and was able to shake the hook in a half jump. I was dumb for trying to horse that fish in and got what I deserved.
Top Bottom