Introducing the Columbia River Master Series

What if I told you that a river existed where you could catch the Washington State record Largemouth or Smallmouth within yards of each other?

What if I told you that there was a river out there that was considered “World Class” as a bass fishery by some, and by others, the bass were so underappreciated that they were treated on par with “trash fish”?

What if I told you that I know a river where it is possible to have some of your best days of bass fishing and never even see another person bass fishing?

Meantime, some bass fisherman back east or down south dreams of one day being able to fish the Columbia.


A Hidden Jewel (in plain sight)

It’s with a great deal of respect that I’m taking this on.  I suspect that this is the first and only in depth chronicling of the Columbia River as a bass fishery.  I also suspect this will take me the rest of my life and it will never be complete.  I intend to travel all over the Columbia to give this great river it’s due.  I’ve lived my whole life along her shores in one place or another so in some ways this is my homage, my tribute to her.  If you are looking for a quick and easy breakdown, you won’t find it here.  I’m going to share not only what I know now but also what I’m about to learn.  There are no shortcuts for you either.  If you decide to follow along, then with your own work you will know and understand the Columbia better than you ever have and your successes will be a by-product of that.  Without your own investment, then these will simply be a collection of interesting articles, and videos.

I can’t imagine any other place where the gap between what it has to offer and what is understood or appreciated is so wide.

The Columbia is best known for its Smallmouth but the Largemouth that are available are bigger than what most northwest bodies of water typically produce.
This 8lber was the result of trying an area I “fished” while looking at Google Earth during off limits

The Story Behind the Name

The name “Game Over” originated for us (yes, I know we didn’t come up with the term) on a breezy April morning.  I had planned to get to some bass that I was sure nobody would ever dare attempt getting to.  It took hours of planning, staring at maps and marking possible routes into and out of this area so that regardless of the water level we could find a way in.  Some of it was so precise that we had to go in by trolling motor, with the trolling motor held up by hand so the prop would barely be under water.  A couple feet to the left or right and we would be stuck.  Other parts of the journey involved high speed entries through a very narrow ditch where the only way to get there was on pad.

When we got there, we made one pass through the area and when the final largemouth hit the net, I threw the rod down on the deck and shouted “Game Over!”  We quickly exited, paranoia racing through our minds.  The rest of the day we were afraid of being seen anywhere for fear that might be where people thought we caught them and then that spot would get hammered.  So we didn’t really fish the rest of the day.  Sure, we made some casts, but always someplace where we wanted to be seen.  We made trips into areas just to be seen and then waited until there were several boat around to leave so we would be seen leaving.  All part of the “games” that we play in tournaments.

We’ll never know what might have happened if we would have really leaned on those fish that day.  We never went back there during any prefish days or during any tournaments, partly out fear of being seen and partly out of respect.  It was (and maybe still is) that kind of awe inspiring place.

A mixed bag of bass, nearly 26 lbs. Caught in the first hour of a tournament morning. We left that area after that and haven’t returned in a tournament since for fear of being seen.

And if that place exists and was never fished, how many other areas are out there on a river system so large?  How is it that when I really push myself to try a new area and break out of the “same ol’ same ol'”, I am often rewarded with my new “best day ever”?

So, this Columbia River series is something to look forward to in the near future, and probably a steady regular stream from there on.  I’m not the only player on this journey as there will be many voices involved in this even if I appear as the author most of the time.  If you have suggestions for content, submit the form below.

 

 

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  1. Really excited for this series. Your dad has taken me to a couple of places on the Columbia for largemouth that looked amazing but we were likely a little to early. Then I’ve gotten on the smallmouth and couldn’t stop long enough to try those spots again. He taught me to believe it can happen at any time even if it hasn’t happened for hours, or at all that day (because he believed it). Anytime you’re fishing someplace new or trying something new it’s hard to be confident until you have get that feedback that finding them provides. It took me a while to understand they aren’t always there, but good looking spots need to be tried again.

  2. Not going to lie–you have the hook in me deep on this story!! I’m also a big Google Earth hound so you really have my wheels spinning. Great read.