Just Not My Day

I was so excited to fish on Saturday on the Willamette. The forecast called for morning clouds and very little wind. Those are magical days on the Willamette, usually the topwater bite stays hot all day long. I could barely sleep in anticipation.

I got to the 10th street ramp before first light to met with a ramp closed sign coming down the hill. I drove to the ramp anyway and the parking lot was not blocked off. I checked the West Linn website and it said the ramp was closed. I debated about launching but then decided that it would be a bummer to come back to a ticket or worse to find out my car had been towed.

I thought about heading to George Rogers or Cedaroak but then decided to go to Newberg. Why I picked the furthest of the three I can only attribute to being really tired or maybe the kidney failure was affecting my thinking. Anyway, I headed off to Roger's Landing and got there a bit later than I would have liked.

I got unloaded as quickly as I could (which is not very quick) and started fishing. I made a few casts at a couple of spots that sometimes produce a few fish but did not see any signs of life. I went further downstream to the bridge and started fishing the rocky reefs around that area.

I was on edge anticipating a bite any second. After about 25 minutes the edge was starting to wear off. I could not believe I had not run into any fish yet, not even a bite. I kept working that area because when I started to go downstream to the next point a bassboat pulled up to it so I turned around and went back to try to wear the fish down into biting.

Eventually, I had a good strike on a spybait - that I missed. Luckily, a few turns of the handle and it was slammed again and this time it stuck. I landed a little pound+ bass. Not the lunker I was hoping for but at that point I was just happy to get the skunk off. I kept working all around that area when I saw some bass busting bait a bit upstream from where I was.

I pedaled as hard as I could to get to them when SPLASH! An osprey crashed the party and grabbed what looked to be a 2-3lb bass. It could not even take off with the fish and had to sort of half drag it over to the edge of the river. At least I got that on video! I thought that would certainly kill the bite in that area but a handful of casts later I added a second bass on a topwater. Just a small one but I had doubled my fish count :)

Shortly thereafter they started chasing bait about 20' in front of me. I made a couple of casts but I did not get bit. I could not believe it. That may be the first time I had a cast right on top of bass chasing bait where I came up empty, but that moment was a perfect synopsis of the day. I would swear I had to get bit and all I would get is more nothin'.

After that I hit a handful of spots that always produce. Now I have to describe them as almost always producing. I did pick up an occasional fish on the spybait or dropshot but never found a spot where they were stacked up like they should be. All I know is that I can tell you where they weren't.

It was late morning and I was trying to decide whether to just leave or head up around Ash Island. I decided I wanted the exercise so I went up and started throwing a vibrating jig below the island over top of the weedbeds there. I did not get any bass bites but I kept having good sized perch follow the lure to the kayak and then try to eat it. That was at least a little bit fun. I wished I had brought some panfish stuff and my ultralight.

I quite messing around there after a bit and decided I would head to a big reef that is a little ways above Ash Island. It is a good way to pedal but I figured I wasn't catching anything anyways. I ran into a couple of kayak guys on my way up and they said they had been having a really good morning. Lots of topwater action and the bite was really good.

That really hurts. You aren't catching anything but you can finally convince yourself that it is not your fault and that even though conditions are perfect they just aren't biting. Then the excuse you have been spending the morning firming up gets shot down. Just plain rude if you ask me :)

I started throwing topwater again and did miss two blowups but both times the fish hit once and left. I made it up to the reef and scratched out a couple more bass but nothing worth weighing or measuring.

As I made the long pedal back to the ramp I was still in disbelief that I had done so poorly under basically the best conditions of the summer. 7 bass with the big ones being a little over a pound. At least they all fight hard. I am still mad about it as I type this up. All I know is that the fish gods owe me big time and I plan on collecting that debt :)

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