Had a wonderful and wacky day of fishing on Sunday on the Willamette River, here in Portland, OR. I got on the water about 7:30 and the tide was still going out so I thought I would give the sturgeon a try before switching over to the smallies. I anchored up in one of my favorite spots and only waited about 5 minutes when I had one of those bites where the fish just sucks up the bait and starts swimming - a sure sign of a big fish. I tightened up the circle hook and the sleigh ride was on. After only 15 minutes of being pulled down the river, the fish which was pulling me wickedly fast, turned sharply and started coming straight at me. It went under the kayak as I reeled like crazy and then came up and breached right behind the kayak, towering over me. It made me feel really small! As it came down the line looped over top of my rudder and then as the fish dove, just for just a second the back of the kayak was yanked down pretty hard before the line broke. Thus, all I had to show for that fish was a broken line and some shaking hands. I went back upstream and re-anchored and caught a few good sized shakers, including this guy who also jumped during the fight, landed on the front of my kayak, and then slid off to continue the fight.
I am starting to think that the sturgeon either really like me or really hate me. I re-anchored again and then I had another one of those really solid bites. I hooked up and it was on.
After a brutal 20 minute fight of sizzling runs and me leaning on my Tiger stik while she pulled me around the river I finally was able to subdue a really nice 74" fish. There was a nice lady on shore who took a picture for me. Angle is not great, hard to tell just how big it was.
Here is one I added myself:
(It is hard to tell, but you can see the waterline on my hand, fish is not out of the water).
After that I caught one more nice keeper size (45"), but then the current and the bite died so I switched over to bass. The bite was slower for me than in weeks past, but 6 or the 7 bass I caught during this stretch were nice sized. I caught two on a drop shot and 5 on a white spinnerbait. Here is the nicest (17", 2lb 9oz) sporting my lip grippers
And a couple more nice ones:
Including a red-eyed smallmouth
As I fished my way upstream I got to a spot where the river narrowed and the current picked up. I still had 2 anchovies left so I decided to anchor up again to see if the current was attracting any sturgeon. Turns out it was. I got this nice. really fat, 50" fish, and missed another on my last anchovy.
After that it was about time to leave. I quickly fished my way back to the ramp, missing a couple of smallies on the way. Near the ramp I ran into a school of pikieminnows. I caught two pretty nice sized ones and lost a third at the kayak within a few minutes of each other all on the white spinnerbait.
I then caught one more nice smallmouth to finish a pretty great day on the river. First time this year that I did not catch a fish on a crankbait. Final total was 8 smallmouth, 6 sturgeon, 2 pikieminnow.
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