Lower Willamette River, Portland, OR, October 7, 2012.
Had a good day for size of fish but not a good day for numbers. The bass bite was definitely a lot slower for me on Sunday, probably just my failure to adapt to the cooling water. I caught 5 bass in about 6 hours of effort (7:30am to about 1:30pm). 1 on an extra deep diving crankbait (1/2 oz size hot lips express) and 4 on a drop shot. The good news is that the size of the fish was nice, biggest was a hair over 18" and the smallest was over 14". I think if I had slowed down more and fished the drop shot more I may have done better. There was just enough wind to make that somewhat annoying so I ended up tossing the crankbait a lot. I threw the spinnerbait some, but I did not get any hits on it. For some reason I just did not feel it in my bones. I think part of my difficulty is that the wind and current were in opposite directions and when fishing something slow like the drop shot or slow rolling the spinnerbait I was moving really fast upstream with respect to my lure. I should have fished each structure navigating into the wind. As I sit here now I can't believe I was so stupid and lazy not to do so. Here are a couple of pics. I apologize for the blurriness. The camera was in some weird "tap to operate" mode that apparently exists so that you can take crappy pictures.
At about 1:30 I was in the vicinity of one of my favorite sturgeon spots so I decided to drop anchor and see if I could wrestle up some gators. The sturgeon fishing was really great. I ended up catching 5 in 2 1/2 hours, 4 that were legal sized and one oversized (6-7', I did not measure). No shakers! The bite was good from the moment I anchored up. I caught a nice 40" fish to start the day off. Then a short while later I picked up a 45". Then I had a bite but when I tightened up it felt like a snag. I kept pulling and it felt like I was moving it a little bit. After about 5 minutes I realized that I was snagged and just slowly dragging my anchor downstream. Once I realized that, I dropped off anchor and was able to get the snag free from below. When I got back to my anchor it was a fair bit downstream from where I was originally but I figured what the heck. After a 45 minute lull I decided to pull up anchor and head back to my original spot. As soon as I did the bite was back on. I picked up two more nice keeper sized in fairly short order. Then I threw back out again and the oversized bit. The funny thing is that at first it felt just like the earlier snag. However, this time I did not try to drag my anchor downstream. I immediately dropped off and drifted downstream. I realized after a minute that my line angle was not changing. The "snag" was moving downstream this time! Just then she took off on a sizzling run. I gave chase in the kayak and was catching up to here. I was getting pretty close when I saw the line angle heading up. She came completely out of the water about 40' from me. I have to say seeing one of those oversized jump is really a terrifying display of power when I am sitting in my little kayak. After that it was a typical fight with one of these oversized. She pulled my around upstream and then down. One funny thing about this fish is that periodically she would swim in circles and I would just sit there and go around a few times before she would take off again. At some point during the fight a fellow and his wife or girlfriend pulled up in a nice looking sled to watch the end of the fight. At the end (I think it was about 25 minutes total) they were able to snap a few pictures when I got here to the surface. Hopefully they can tack them onto this thread. Also at one point during the fight the sheriff stopped by and told me to be careful not to let the fish pull me into the path of a boat. I told him I always try to be careful. I really do, if a boat is getting close I ease up on the drag and move off to the side a bit. Anyway I finally subdued the beast and snapped one picture of my own. Then sadness struck. As I was trying to unhook her she kept trying to dive. I could not get a good hold and she was still pretty green. I had my thumb clamped on the spool as she made one of her dive attempts when CRACK. I look up to see my 7' sturgeon rod is now a 6' sturgeon rod
Well after a bit more struggle I was finally able to get the hook out and let her go on her way. She thanked me with a huge splash from her tail.
Of course when I got home I could not find the receipt for the tiger stik. So I will not be able to get it replaced under warranty. Just a reminder folks, be careful with your receipts, don’t be stupid like me. It looks like I will be heading to the store later this week in search of another sturgeon slaying stick.
Here is a pic of one of the keeper sized and of the big girl.
Finally, I want to end this post with a moment of silence for a brave warrior who gave his all in battle:
Fish tremble when they hear my name
A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
--John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928