Now That's How You Celebrate the 4th!!

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I hit the Columbia out of Stevenson, WA on the 4th. The day did not start out well. The day before when I loaded my kayak into my truck I decided I wanted to reorganize some things. Well I stupidly forgot to strap my kayak down into my truck while being thus distracted. I have to tell you I may not have been too awake when I pulled out of my street at 3:30 in the morning but when I had the BANG and saw my kayak on the street that definitely shocked me full awake. Let me tell you that the kayak is much heavier carrying it uphill at 3:30 in the morning than it is later in the day!

I did a quick feel and it seemed OK so I decide to venture forth. When I got to the ramp I did another inspection and it passed muster again so I decided to launch and just check inside the hull every 15 minutes or so for the first hour just to make sure I was not taking on water. Good news is that the kayak is fine but my ego is a little bruised. I won't be laughing at the videos of folks dropping their boats on the ramps for a while :)

Well, enough about my stupidity lets get to the fishing. I am really glad my kayak was OK because it ended up being an almost perfect day out on the river. The gorge is well known for its wind but on the 4th it was one of those unicorn days where it was glassy calm almost the entire day.

I started out throwing topwater and on the first spot I had a massive blowup with the fish coming out of the water and it never touched the hooks. I followed up with a swimbait but I guess that fish just was done. At the next spot I missed another good blowup on the topwater. They were hitting it so violently and yet somehow doing everything except grabbing the hooks. After that I switched to a swimbait for a bit and finally was able to get my first fish of the day which turned out to be a really nice 17" bass. It took a while but that was a great fish to start the day on.

I kept the swimbait in my hand for a while and picked up a few more fish. I would occasionally cycle through some other things but the swimbait was what was producing so I kept in my hand. Once the sun got a bit higher I tried a crankbait for a bit and picked up a nice 17.25" bass on that. However, that ended up being my only crankbait fish but I have to admit I did not throw it all that much.

Eventually I made it out to one of my favorite humps and the magic really started to happen. I saw some bass chasing bait so I picked up my trusty spybait and went to work. As soon as I got to the front edge of the hump it was game on. I racked up 11 bass of that one spot including several really nice fish (an 18" and 19.25" 3lber). That were just smacking the bejeezus out of that thing for about an hour. When that slowed down I tried the topwater again and I had 3 or 4 nice blowups before catching my one and only topwater fish on the day. After they stopped biting the topwater I picked up my Ned rig and caught another few fish.

The cool thing was watching the bass chase bait. I had one bass harrying a smolt along the surface right near my kayak. It started out about 10' in front of my and came straight at me and then they both veered off to my right. In the clear water I could see the smolt racing along the surface and the bass a few feet behind tracking its every move. I have expected to hear David Attenborough to start narrating as I watched. So cool to watch.

Throughout the day I would see bass chase bait and was often able to get there in time to capitalize. That is probably the most exciting fishing that I get to experience. As the day wore on the fish were at the surface less and less and it became more of a drop shot bite in 20-25' of water. Even those bites on the drop shot were really aggressive. Some days you don't even feel the hit, there is just weight when you lift. On the 4th my line would jump like crazy when they chomped on my drop shot.

I eventually even went back to the spybait. Counting it down to the bottom before beginning my retrieve. That was working well and I was picking better fish that on the drop shot until I hung up on something. Usually I can just pedal upstream and pull it off of whatever it is stuck on but not this time. After a couple of attempts I tried to remember where my lure knocker was in my tackle bag. I would pedal upstream a bit and then turn around and dig through my bag but I could not find (later I remembered that is my hull storage hatch). I have not used that thing in many years since I usually can reach a hung lure with the telescoping lure retriever.

Anyway, I decided I was not going to get my spybait back so I clamped my thumb on my spool and started pedaling upstream to break off. Well in keeping with a magical day on the water the lure pulled free and was immediatlely walloped by a nice bass! Just unbelievable. I actually left all the footage of my going through this on the video since it was so wacky.

To put the icing on the cake. The day was getting really hot (low 90s) and without a cloud in the sky I was starting to feel it and that is really bad for my condition. I decided to fish one more spot and on that last spot I caught my second 19.25" 3lb smallmouth. Then to make things even better as I started to pedal the mile and half back to ramp the wind kicked up a bit and that breeze felt like pure heaven. What a day! Here are some pics from the day and my video.

I finished with 45 bass. Best 5 were 91.25" and I had 6 of 17" or more and ton in the 14-16" range. Just an incredible day!





... and smallmouth burting in air









Another action shot


Last fish of the day


 
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That sounds like an all-time epic day. Really enjoyed reading your report.
 
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I think that was my best day on the Columbia for numbers and the quality was really good as well. Of course now my next trip is going to be disappointing :)
 
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