August 31, 2016

The Mighty Columbia - WA TBF Recap

The Columbia River nearly got the best of me last weekend. It was the final Washington TBF tournament and I was in 3rd place in the points going in. The Top 7 for the year makes the State Team as a boater and 8-14 become non-boaters. I was pretty safely inside the Top 7, but I made it way too close.

Pre-fish bass selfie
I went down and practiced two weeks prior and found some good fish.  Each time I returned to this stretch I would catch one good one.  I went back multiple times at different times of the day to gauge if one was better than the other. It didn't seem to matter and I always caught one in the general area. Everywhere else I went I caught 12 inchers or non-keepers. Since that was my only solid place I had to put all my eggs in that basket.  

When the tournament came around the forecast was for 25-35mph winds. That was not good as I was out in the middle of the river in a notoriously rough section.  I went anyways and had about an hour before we got blown off of the spot. My co-angler caught two 3lbers, but I couldn't get a bite.  I scrambled and caught a tiny limit fishing bridge pilings.  I used a Dry Creek Tube, Aaron's Magic Roboworm and a Reins Bubbling Shaker to get my fish. 

Day 2 was nicer and I went again to my area and only caught one small fish.  Then leaving my next spot I lost my lower unit.  Turns out I had a gear go bad and it blew up the whole thing. Instead of getting mad, I got on the trolling motor and headed to the closest bank and caught one right away on the tube.  My partner and I made a plan to get back and with the help of other competitor's, we had a plan to pick him up around 12 and get him back to the weigh-in with our fish in time for the 1:00 weigh-in.  That gave me less than two hours to grind out a limit.  Obviously I couldn't go far, so I made the best of the area. I did it. I got a limit and caught a walleye in the process on the tube.  My last fish came with about 15 minutes to go and was the difference maker, the season maker really.

I finished in 7th place by two points, the last spot to be a boater.  I was so thankful to have filled out my limit and glad I kept going for it.  The tube saved me and so did all of the people who helped me get my co-angler and fish back. I also had some great friends who helped to get my truck to the ramp that was 20 minutes from the launch site.

Me on my 90 minute trolling motor run to the closest ramp
Here is the State Team pic (minus me) while I was stuck downriver

Another cool thing about my pre-fish and tournament was how much I was able to map the river with SonarChart Live.  I did it throughout and that should really improve the map here.  Here is a cool example of one spot that has already been updated.  It was a blank canvas and now it has some contours!



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