Lake Washington 05/18/2018

May 18, 2018

Fishing Time: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Rating: 10

Weather Conditions: Overcast with Scattered Showers

Bait: Lucky Craft Flash Pointer Chartreuse Shad 115 Jerkbait; Gary Yamamoto 5″ Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Senko with 1/0 Gamakatsu Wacky Worm Hook

Rod: Abu Garcia Veritas Winch Crankbait Rod; G-Loomis GX2 Jig and Worm Rod

Reel: Shimano Curado Casting Reel; Quantum Catalyst PT

Line: 12-pound Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line; 8-pound Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon

Total Bass Caught: 16

Final Weigh in Weight: 24.26 pounds

In all of my years bass fishing, there has always been one lake that has stumped me: Lake Washington. Ever since I began the sport, I have heard stories about monster smallmouth and largemouth bass being pulled from the lake, but for some reason I have never been able to figure out the lake for myself. When I found out that I had a whole free day, I immediately knew that I wanted to hit Lake Washington to try to finally solve the puzzle that has eluded me for so many years. I arrived at the lake around 8:00 a.m. and while pulling out from the boat launch, I noticed a huge area of lily pads and fallen logs just a short distance away. Given my success with fishing cover with a wacky worm in the Potholes, I reached for my wacky rig and began casting around the lily pads. I went quite a while without a bite and began to lose confidence until I spotted a shallow channel surrounded by lily pads on both sides. I quickly motored over to the channel and positioned myself so that I could reach both sides of the lilies. After surveying the area, I noticed that the wind was blowing so that the current was moving towards an isolated patch of lily pads. I cast over to those lilies a few times and when I hit the small gap in the center of them, I felt my line get heavy. At first I was unsure of whether or not I had a bite, but once I saw my line start moving, I set the hook and knew that I was hooked into a good fish. After a great fight, I got it into the boat and it came out to be a 2.88 pound largemouth. I was ecstatic to catch a quality largemouth in a lake so close to home and this catch gave me the confidence to continue with my wacky rig. I worked the lilies for a while longer, but it soon began to rain, so I decided to motor over to the I-90 bridge to fish water that would be protected from the rain. My initial plan was to fish the pilings of the bridge, but when I got there, I noticed that the visibility was over 10+ feet and I figured that the bass would be deeper. I motored around under the bridge for a little and noticed that the pilings were each located near steep drop offs. The drop offs ran from 10 feet down to 25 feet and set up perfectly for suspended smallmouth. I positioned my boat in the shallows and worked a drop shot back up the slope. It took me a while, but eventually I was able to get a 1 pound smallmouth to bite. By the time I caught that bass, the rain had started to clear up, so I decided to head over and fish the canals by Newport Shores. As I was pulling up to the entrance to the canals, I noticed a cove to the left of the canals that had a lot of vegetation and structure. I motored into the cove and began working the structure with my wacky rig. My first few casts didn’t yield any bites, but then I spotted two fallen logs that were side by side. I cast right behind the second log and as soon as my worm hit the bottom, I felt my line get heavy. I gave a big hookset and halfway back to the boat I realized that I had another great bass on. I battled with it for a while and after a few jumps was able to get the largemouth into the boat. When I put it onto the scale it came out to be a 3.41 pound chunk. With two big largemouth in the boat in less than two hours of fishing, I was beginning to see what all the hype was about. After that, I fished the rest of the cove and then fished the Newport Shore canals, both without any success. Since the area just left of the canal had produced a big fish for me on the way in, I decided to try the area right of the canal on my way out. There were a few docks in this area, but aside from that, there was not much structure. I worked the docks, but didn’t have any success. All of the docks were in less than 10 feet of water and were filled with vegetation. I was just about to leave when I noticed that there was one dock that I still hadn’t fished. I didn’t really expect to catch anything at the dock, but I decided to make a cast just to check if there was a bass there. I cast my wacky worm right to the pillar behind the swim ladder and slowly let it fall to the bottom. About halfway down, I felt something swallow my worm, so I gave a hard hookset and quickly reeled the bass back to the boat. As soon as I got it to the surface, I was stunned to see that I was hooked into an absolute monster smallmouth. This smallmouth was bigger than anything I had ever seen, but before I had time to admire it, it took off and dove straight down. I had my drag set to maximum strength and the bass still managed to take line, showing that this bass was one for the ages. I battled with the fish for a good amount of time, all the while praying that it stay on the hook. Finally, after what felt like hours, I got the monster into the boat. The bass was absolutely gigantic and when I put it onto the scale it came out to be a 4.47 pound smallmouth. My previous largest smallmouth was 4 pounds, so this beat my personal best by almost half a pound. I was pumped to get a new PB and to do battle with such a magnificent fish.

After that excitement, I motored ahead to fish the point next to the dock where I had caught the monster smallmouth. The point was very rocky and this, combined with the clear water and overcast skies, set up perfectly for a jerkbait. I picked up my jerkbait rod, cast to the point and began my twitch-pause-twitch-twitch-pause retrieve. The conditions were picture perfect for a bass to bite and sure enough, on my first cast, I had a bass hammer my lure. It hit my lure pretty close to the boat, so it was cool to watch the bass come out of the depths to swipe at my jerkbait. I quickly set the hook and brought in a solid 1.50 pound smallmouth. I continued to work my way around the point and eventually I came to another set of docks. These docks were pretty shallow, but had a rocky bottom, which made it a prime target for smallmouth looking for cover. I worked a few docks without success, but then I made a picture perfect cast under a parked boat with my wacky worm. Nothing bit on the fall, but after twitching my worm for a while, I was able to entice a bass to bite. The bass ended up being another 1.50 pound smallmouth bass. I continued to work the point and managed to pick up a 1 pound smallmouth with a jerkbait and 0.5 pound smallmouth with a wacky rig. Once I was done fishing the point, I went and fished the shoreline around Clarke Beach Park, but didn’t manage to get any bites. After that, I motored all the way up to Luther Burbank Park to fish the shoreline around there. I worked the entire shoreline, but it wasn’t until I got to the point that I was able to get something to bite. The bite came on a jerkbait and ended up being a 1 pound bass. While fishing the shoreline, the water was really clear and I spotted a giant largemouth bass roaming the shallows, along with a school of largemouth huddled around fallen logs in 10 feet of water. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any of those bass to bite. After fishing the point, I went and fished the docks around the park. I managed to get a 1 pound smallmouth on a wacky rig and a 1.50 pound smallmouth on a bed. Once I finished fishing Luther Burbank, I motored across the way to fish Groat Point. The point had a rocky bottom that was filled with large boulders, which made it an ideal place to fish my jerkbait. I worked the point for around 20 minutes and was able to get two 1 pound smallmouth to bite within that time period. I then fished Meydenbauer Bay for a little, but was unable to get anything else to bite. I was quite satisfied with the day, so after this I began to pack things up and motor back to the boat launch. On my way back to the boat launch, I spotted a nice rocky point next to the I-90 bridge that I had missed earlier. I stopped there and on my third cast, was able to get a 0.5 pound smallmouth to bite. A few casts later, I got another bite and this one came out to be a 1 pounder. I worked the point with my jerkbait until the bite went cold and then motored over to fish some of the pilings next to the point. All of the pilings looked promising, but there was a cluster of four pilings that looked especially interesting. I cast a wacky worm right in between the four pilings and before I could even reel up the slack, I saw my line begin swimming away. I quickly shut the bail and set the hook. When I got it back to the boat, it came out to be a 1 pound smallmouth bass. Satisfied with both the quantity and the quality of the bass I had caught, I decided to make this my last fish and head in for the day.

Observations: The water temperature ranged from 62-67 degrees, which is warmer than I expected it to be given the large size of Lake Washington. The bass I caught today all tended to be shallow with all of my bass coming in less than 15 feet of water. The bigger bass seemed to be holding tight to vegetation and I caught my three biggest bass in less than 5 feet of water. The bass seemed to be right in the middle of the spawn. The bigger bass were all done spawning and you could see a lot of bass fry swimming around in the weedy shallows. The medium to small fish were still on their beds and I was able to get a few sight fishing from beds. The bass were very picky with colors today and seemed to prefer natural colors. Green pumpkin worked well for soft plastics and anything with a silver/blue flash worked well for hard baits. With two solid largemouth and a new PB smallmouth, this was probably the best day of fishing that I have ever had. What made it even better was the fact that I was able to have such a great day on a lake so close to home. It was also a lot of fun catching a large quantity of bass on different baits. I look forward to getting out onto Lake Washington again soon and hope that I can carry the momentum into my next outing.

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