July 21, 2019
Fishing Time: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with clear skies
Bait: 1/4 ounce Strike King Tour Grade Bluegill Swim Jig with 4.5″ Rainbow Trout Lake Fork Live Magic Shad Swimbait
Rod: Abu Garcia Veritas Winch Crankbait Rod
Reel: Shimano Curado Casting Reel
Line: 12-pound Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line
Total Bass Caught: 1
Final Weigh in Weight: 2.91 pounds
People often ask me why I love bass fishing so much and the answer is simple: I love the thrill of the hunt. I love the trial and error process, the need to be able to quickly adapt, and the feeling that you get when it all pays off in the form of a trophy bass. Today was a perfect reminder of that.
I got to the lake around 8:00 a.m. and, due to the fluctuating temperatures we have been having, didn’t have much of an idea as to where to start. My initial thought was that the bass would be suspending on deeper drop offs. However, this theory was put to rest after both the I-90 bridge and the V-Mac failed to produce any bites. With steep drop offs eliminated, I decided to try some rocky flats to see if the bass were perusing the shallows to prey on baitfish. I made a stop at Newcastle Beach Park and a stop at the I-90 point, but these too left me empty-handed. A little mystified, I decided to go back to the basics of dock fishing. I headed over to the east side of Mercer Island and alternated between fishing a drop shot and a wacky worm, but no matter what I tried I just wasn’t able to trigger a bite.
Running out of options, I headed to a shallow point near Gene Coulon Park. On this point were old-wooden docks surrounded by intermittent grass beds and hydrilla patches, both of which set up perfectly for a bass looking for more oxygenated water. After 15 minutes of working the area with my jerkbait and wacky rig, it became clear that I would need to try something new in order to catch a bass today. I racked my brain for what to throw and eventually settled on a swim jig. I’ve never actually caught anything on a swim jig before, but, as they say, there is always a first time for everything. Ready to try out my new bait, I made a cast to the corner of a shallow dock that sat right on top of a huge hydrilla mat. I brought my swim jig back with a slow, steady retrieve, all the while feeling my bait slide through the underwater vegetation. About a quarter of the way into my retrieve, I felt something absolutely erupt on my bait. Shocked, I gave the biggest hook set of my life and, within seconds, could feel the strong thrashing head of a big bass on the other end of my line. I struggled to pull the bass through the weeds and navigate it back to the boat, but after one of the best fights of the summer I was able to reach down and hoist it in the air. I immediately put it on the scale and was thrilled when it registered as a 2.91 pound largemouth. Enamored with the swim jig and the fact that it landed me a hawg on my very first cast, I continued for the rest of the day fishing nothing but the swim jig. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to produce any more bites before the ski boats began flooding the water and I was forced to head in.
Observations: The water temperature ranged from 69-70 degrees today, which was actually colder than what it was last weekend. Nonetheless, the bright sun and clear skies seemed to push the bass into heavy cover. I caught my bass in five feet of water camping under a dock, where it was most likely waiting to ambush unsuspecting baitfish. The largemouth was rather skinny for its size and had a wound on its tail, which tells me that the bass are continuing to recover from the spawn. Still, it was a very solid bass and one of the biggest largemouth that I have caught on Lake Washington. All in all, today was definitely the most fun outing of the summer and a great reminder as to what makes the sport so great.