May 12, 2018
Fishing Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with clear skies
Bait: Lucky Craft Flash Pointer Chartreuse Shad 115 Jerkbait; Gary Yamamoto 5″ 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: 5
Final Weigh in Weight: 7.06 pounds
I just finished up my first year of college last week and with my first free weekend, I decided to hit up the Potholes Reservoir to see if I could get some quality bass in the boat. I got onto the water at 8:00 a.m. and instantly noticed that the water level was way higher than normal. The boat launch ramp was halfway submerged and almost all of the sand dunes were underwater. After seeing this, I decided to start the day at Mardon Resort and fish the rock dam. When I arrived at the resort dock, I was stunned to find that the water was crystal clear. In my past few outings to the Potholes, the water had been stained and murky, but today the visibility was at 10+ feet. I worked the dam for a little bit, but after a while the wind really started to pick up and I decided to motor around to try to find some more protected water. After a little scouting, I was able to locate a pair of rock islands that were positioned so that they protected a small weed bed. Normally, I would have worked the weed bed with a lipless crankbait or a jig, but given the water clarity, I decided to test my luck with a jerkbait. I worked my jerkbait along the edges of the weeds and on my third cast, I managed to get a bass to bite. I quickly set the hook and after a solid fight, I was able to land a 0.5 pound smallmouth. Although it wasn’t the biggest of bass, it was probably my most important bass of the day because it told me what the bass were looking for. After letting the bass go, I motored ahead into a protected channel to see if I could get any largemouth to bite. The channel was filled with fallen logs and even had a few beaver dams, but unfortunately it all proved to be unproductive. I was just about to leave the channel, when I spotted a weed bed similar to the one that I had caught my first fish on. I cast over to it and began retrieving my jerkbait with a twitch-pause-twitch-twitch-pause retrieve. I was just about to bring my jerkbait back into the boat, when I felt something hammer my lure. I was surprised by the bite and only had time for a quick hookset before the bass took off. I knew that the bass wasn’t hooked very well, so I tried my best to get it into the boat as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, as soon as I got it to the surface, it shook off and disappeared. I was disappointed to lose a quality bass and estimate it to be a 1.5 pound smallmouth. With success on my first cast, I decided to keep working the weed bed and a few casts later I was rewarded with another bite. This bass was a little smaller and ended up being a 0.75 pound smallmouth. After that, I motored all the way to the south end of the reservoir and stopped to fish the bridge down there. I made a few casts, but after going without a bite, I continued to motor south into the canals at the end of the lake. The shoreline was filled with fallen branches and weeds, making it the perfect habitat for bass. I spent quite a while working the structure with my wacky rig and drop shot, but after fishing the entire left side of the canal, I remained empty handed. When I got to the end of the left side, I spotted a small channel that led into a different body of water and decided to make a cast to the mouth of the channel. As soon as my worm hit the bottom, I felt my line tighten and I set the hook. I immediately knew that it was a good bass and after a great battle, I was able to get the bass it the boat. When I put it on the scale, it came out to be a solid 2.31 pound smallmouth. After getting a quality smallmouth in the boat, I decided to start targeting largemouth and motored around until I found more stained water on the other side of the canal. I pulled up on a spot with a bunch of fallen logs and made a perfect cast under a pile of logs. I twitched my worm a few times on the fall to try to entice a bite and once I let my worm go still, I felt something swallow it. I gave a big hookset and once again knew I had a good bass on. About halfway back to the boat, I noticed the black tail on the bass and got excited knowing that I had a good largemouth on. Once I got it into the boat, I put it onto the scale and it came out to be a nice 2 pound largemouth. With two great bass in just a few minutes, I was confident that I would be able to get more bass in the canal. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any more bites, so I decided to head out and fish the drop offs around Goose Island. I worked the drop offs with my drop shot and my jig, but didn’t get any bites. I then moved back over to the rock dam, but didn’t have any luck there either. With all of my bites coming from around grass, weeds, and logs, I figured that the sand dunes would be my best bet at producing more bass, so I made the long trek over to the north side of the reservoir. As I mentioned earlier, most of the dunes were submerged, but after a little searching I managed to find a dune with a weedy point extending off of it. The wind was blowing right into the point, making it a perfect spot for largemouth to ambush baitfish. I tied on a new jerkbait and worked it around the point. On my fifth cast, something absolutely hammered my lure. I quickly set the hook and managed to get the 1.5 pound largemouth back into the boat. After that I worked the rest of the island, including some beaver dams, but without any more success, I decided to head in and call it a day.
Observations: The water temperature ranged from 62-67 degrees, which is a little colder than I was expecting from the Potholes given the nice weather that they have been having in Eastern Washington. Although the water was extremely clear, I caught all of my bass in less than 10 feet of water. All of the bass were holding tight to cover and a large part of this is due to the fact that it was so hot out. The water clarity played a big part in my lure selection today and the bass seemed very particular about colors. For jerkbaits, they seemed to be looking for a silver or white flash and for plastics, they seemed to prefer watermelon over green pumpkin. Prior to this fishing trip, I had been watching Major League Fishing and picked up a few tips about jerkbaits, so it was cool to take what I had learned from the show and put it into action. I was happy to catch both a quality largemouth and a quality smallmouth bass, but, as always, I could have done with some bigger fish. All in all, it was a great day and I look forward to getting back out to the Potholes again soon.