Rackin' and Stackin' Them

I hit the Columbia on Sunday, October 9th. My previous two outings had been pretty luke warm, only catching 10 and 11 bass. I had a mindset going out that if I caught over 10 bass I would have to be happy with that. I left the ramp and started heading out to the first spot I wanted to fish. As I made my way I marked what looked like some fish over basically nothing. I dropped my drop shot down and promptly caught my first fish. I was pretty stoked to be 5 minutes in and having a fish (even if it was a dink). However, the fish must have been on the move because when I circled back I didn't mark any more fish and 10 minutes of probing did not produce any more bites.

I continued on my way and got to the first spot I really wanted to fish. I made a long cast and promptly hooked a rope that was hanging loose off the little island I was casting at. I went up and unhooked my topwater and make a cast along the edge of the island, the lure was about 10 feet from the kayak when it was sucked under. I set the hook into a decent fish. After a short battle I landed my first nice fish of the day, a 17.25" 2lb 14oz chunky smallmouth.

It was still really early and I already had my second fish. I was getting pretty stoked. I fished all around the little island but could not buy a second bite. I decided to keep the topwater in my hand and cover some water.

That was not a great plan since I never got another topwater bite. I read so much about the fall topwater bite in the fall but I really seem to never do all that great with topwater in the fall. Usually what I catch is good quality but I just don't get many fish.

When I got to one of my favorite spots I slowed down and really fished it hard with everything from topwater to a drop shot. I was SO sure they would be kegged up on that spot that I fished it longer than I should have. In the end I only had one really convincing bite from a rock. In all fairness, it did feel like a really big rock.

Eventually I realized I was wasting my time and decided to try and quickly eliminate spots rather than fishing history. The next spot produced a single 16.25" fish and no other bites.

The couple of spots were similar, I would seem to pretty quickly hook a fish but then get no other action.

After that I stopped at this big rock that just was sitting on a sandy bottom in 17' of water. There were weeds upstream and down from the spot. I am not sure why, but that spot was a little gem and produced 3 decent bass for me (plus I missed a few and lost another). I felt like things were picking up.

After 5 hours of fishing like that I only had 10 bass to show for my efforts. However, the last spot gave me hope that maybe I could find some other spots where the fish were a bit more stacked up.

Of course, the next two spots did not produce anything.

Eventually I worked my way up to a spot that was just a vertical rock wall dropping into 20' of water. There was a little crumbled rock at the base and weedbeds up and downstream from it. That spot produced a four fish for me including a very nice 18" 3lb 1oz fish.

I was starting to feel it! For the first time in about a month I felt like I had a chance at a really good day. I realized I needed to move fast and cover water and then sit on any spot that produced multiple bites.

I quickly eliminated a couple of spots when I finally made it to what would turn out to be THE spot. It was a pretty big rocky hump that had a couple of saddles on it. Parts of it came almost to the surface but most of it was 15-25' deep and a mix of basalt and chunk rock. I started carefully working my way around, probing here and there with a drop shot and a wobblehead. I remember saying to myself "I can't believe I have not caught a fish on the wobblehead today". Well, the very next case I felt a good THUMP and was able to land this nice 17.75" 2lb 14oz bass.

The other good thing is that the wind had really died down quite a bit. All of a sudden it was easy to fish and the fish were biting. It was a perfect storm of opportunity. I caught a bunch of fish off that spot. Only one or two were dinks and the rest were nice ones. Not monsters but mostly in the 14-16" range which is a fun size to be hammering!

I tried to keep them biting by switching between 3 baits. The wobblehead, a drop shot and a new to me technique: jigging a blade bait. They all produced. My primary bait was the wobblehead. They were eating it really well and it is fun to rear back and slam the hook into them. If I made a handful of casts I would switch to the drop shot for a bit before returning back to the wobblehead.

After a while those baits stopped producing so I picked up the blade bait. I pretty quickly hooked a big fish that pulled off as it was bulldogging under my kayak. I was encouraged to have hooked a good fish with this technique since it was my first time trying it and I got bit after really beating that spot to death with the wobblehead and drop shot. After losing that first fish I picked up two decent ones jigging away. The only downside is that it hangs up a lot and I felt like I was spending too much time pedaling up to free it.

I decided that perhaps I should look for a second magic spot. It was actually just another hump that was very close to the spot I had been hitting. That immediately produced a nice bass and then a big pikieminnow (3lb 6oz). After that I lost a really good sized bass (3-4lbs) when it jumped and through the wobblehead.

Keeping with the program I switched to the drop shot and on the first cast I felt some weight and set the hook. I could tell this was a nice fish. After a feisty battle I was able to haul in my best bass of the day. An 18.25", 3lb 5oz beauty.

After that I picked up a few more fish and then decided to mostly call it a day. I did spend some time mapping out the area with my Garmin so that next time I could fish even more spots in that area, but I did not really fish. My shoulder was killing me so I was happy to spend some time just better learning this area.

After that I did a 40 minute log back to the ramp. By the time I got there I was sweating like a pig from the unusually warm fall weather. I could not have been much happier!!

I ended the day with 28 smallmouth and the one big pikieminnow. I caught 18 of the bass, including the two biggest and the pikieminnow in the last 3 hours.

  • Like
Reactions: Casting Call, troutdude and fromthelogo
Top Bottom