Pretty tough day on the Columbia but some quality fish

I hit the Columbia on Sunday the 24th despite the East wind forecast. The forecast called for no more than 5mph but that is what they like to say to lure you in. It's always the same old story, "This time it will be different", "When I hurt you in the past I was angry", "I would never do that to you again".

My friend put it best. He said, "Fishing the Columbia river is like being in an abusive relationship with someone with a bipolar disorder. They love you one minute and then they are raging the next."

Sunday was no different. The wind would pick up and it would get rough, then just about when you felt like packing it in it would calm down and whisper, "I'm going to be nice now, go ahead further downstream..." Of course we can't ignore that siren's song :)

The day did not start out well for me. Maybe it is old age but when I looked at my alarm which was set for 4:15am from a few weeks back I thought, "Yep, that seems about right". I had actually wanted to set it for 4:45am not 4:15am. Of course I did not realize my mistake until I was eating breakfast and asking myself why is it so early. So, I ended up sitting around the house cursing myself for a half hour to start the day.

The really sad part is that I was wrapped up in berating myself that I lost track of the time and ended up leaving the house later than I wanted. Yep, that's the way to start your day.

I got to the river a little after first light and it just seemed like it took forever for me to get on the water. When I finally did make it on the water I promptly hooked a really nice bass on topwater that almost immediately buried itself in the weeds and pulled the hook. I fished that area for 15 minutes without a sniff.

My normal buddy had beat me on the water by a bit and I pedaled over to where he started. He had caught a couple of small fish before I got there. We fished that area together for a bit but neither of us had so much as a sniff once I got other there. So now it has been about 40 minutes and nothing to show for it. I kept seeing that black and white striped beast out of the corner of my eye but I just ignored it.

Finally at the third spot, after quite a few casts, I finally got my first fish on topwater. Whew! Felt so good to get the skunk off. It was not a monster but any first fish is a good fish in my book :) I threw that topwater for a while longer without any success. I decided to go back over the are with a spinnerbait. After just a couple of casts I picked up a respectable 16.5" 2lb 2oz bass.

Now that's more like it! However, I could not get another bite and my buddy drew a blank on that spot as well.

The next two spots we stopped at turned out to be fruitless like the Columbia river had me on an Atkins diet.

The next spot, probably our favorite, produced a ~14" bass for me on a spinnerbait on my first cast and then nothing. My buddy picked up one on a spybait about the same size but it was just slower than molasses. We then decided to split apart for a bit. After I bit I hear him whoop and looked over and saw him with a really nice one. He picked up a 19.5" on a spinnerbait. I hooked a really nice one on a drop shot but the hook pulled out almost immediately.

I left that spot and tried a few others but did not get a sniff. I joined back up with my buddy on the spot where I had lost my good fish and he said he had picked up a couple of fish on it. We both fished that area for a while and it occasionally would kick out a fish, and some of them were pretty decent.

My first bass of that spot was a nice 17.75" 2lb 14oz smallmouth which I caught on a drop shot. That was my best of the day to that point. I was pretty stoked. It was one of those orangish-colored smallmouth.

After a bit the wind picked back up and I just kept that drop shot in my hand. I find it to be one of the easiest things to throw into a stiff wind and fish with effectively. I made a long cast into the wind and let it hit the bottom I lifted it and dropped it a couple of times when I just felt that thunk that feels so good. I set the hook and knew I had a good one right off the bat. After a great fight including a nice jump at the kayak I was able to corral a nice 20.25" 4lb 4oz bass. Not the fattest bass but a nice fish.

After that there was a lull for a while and so I moved a little deeper and quickly picked up a fun sized fish ~14" and a dink on back to back casts on the drop shot. I thought I had found the promised land, but after those two I could not get another bite.

Eventually we left that spot. The wind was not too bad so we were lured further downstream to a nice hump we like to fish. I had some bizarre luck on that spot. The first fish I caught was when my drop shot weight got hung on the bottom. A slow pull will slide the line of the weight so I keep my hook. Well, when I pulled the lure free a bass smacked. I am not sure if it was on there while it was snagged or if it hit when it jumped free. No monster but a fun fish.

That same thing happened a second time but the hook pulled out during the fight. I think the fish on that spot were not very big. I did lose a couple more fish so I decided to try and change things up and switched my worm from green pumpkin to pink. On my first drop I caught a fish. Woo hoo! Of course I did not get another bite and eventually went back to green pumpkin.

Since that spot was not holding any quality we decided to move to another spot. That's were I picked up my last fish of the day. Once again, I just moved to some deeper water and on my first cast there, thunk. Not a monster but another nice 16.5" fish that was beautifully marked.

Once again I could not find a second biter. By then the wind had picked up some so we decided to go back to the spot where we had caught those good fish earlier. I got nothing and my buddy picked up a 13"er. About then the wind really picked up and it became pretty gusty. It was really hard to fish at that point and my buddy had to leave pretty soon anyway so we packed it in.

It was quite the slot back to the ramp but at least my drive behaved. We just plowed our way back, sharing stories, laughing and talking about the good days and the bad days. It took about 40 minutes of crashing through waves to make it back but that was a walk in the park compared to the last trip where I had to paddle back in those conditions and the good company helped to pass the time.

I ended up with 10 bass for the day which is pretty slow overall. Here is some video of the day, including a bit of the pedal back to the ramp at the end.

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