Forty for Five!
By: Mark Lassagne with Chris Carpenter and Travis Glass
June 5, 2010, American Bass Oregon North team tournament at Dorena Lake located in western Oregon.
Forty for Five
The anglers actually caught 37.53 pounds that’s a seven and a half pound average for a five bass limit, a very impressive catch. Anglers on the California Delta or Clear Lake would be a hard-pressed to top this feat. To make this feat even more impressive, it was accomplished catching northern strain largemouth during a tournament with no giants where an eight and a half pounder was their big fish. This was a day to remember; culling five-pound fish and finishing 20 pounds ahead of second place.
It’s was Friday, May 21, with only four hours to pre-fish. Thinking the fish were spawning we spent most of our time fishing the flats on the north shore of the lake looking for beds. Nothing there, no fish, no fry, not even a bite, I my guessed the spawn was complete. With little time left we headed to the south side of the lake where the water is deeper, steeper and has more shade, we spent some time looking for post spawners or possibly some pre-spawn fish.
I was thinking about my garden where the broccoli that gets the direct sunlight has gone to seed and the plants along the fence, getting half the sunlight are still growing.
Not long after we arrive at the south end I hooked a nice, fat six-pounder on a 10-inch Kreit tail; she was in ten feet of water, sitting on a log. Twenty yards down the bank Travis was dragging a worm through the stumps and soon swung a four-pounder into the boat. A little later we found a bank with some Smallmouth cruisers on it and catch a nice four-pound smallie, also on a Big Bite worm. With only our short prefish to go by we came up with a plan to concentrate on the south area. A couple of bites and some cruising fish, we felt pretty confident we could squeak out five fish, and the quality of the fish looked good. A big plus is the area we wanted to focus on was that is was quite large and no other boats were around.
A week later, hoping things hadn’t changed much; we watched all the boats head for the flats on the north shore. We went south right to the grassy stump covered flat. I start the day fishing a 6-inch Osprey Tournament Talon top hook in Rainbow Trout color and Travis threw a Big Bite Kreit Tail 10-inch green pumpkin worm, both smothered with Pro Cure Hatchery Trout scent. Our Shimano reels were spooled with 16-pound Sun Line Shooter Fluorocarbon.
Just a few minutes into our first stop Travis, dragging the Kreit tail through the stumps in seven to eight feet of water he yells, “Fish on.” A few seconds later we were staring at an 8.57 pound largemouth on the deck. How cool is that?
BAM! We put two more fish in the boat all the from this little 100 yard stretch. The spot was a bump out on a peninsula that jets out along the river channel with steep sides on both ends. In the first twenty minutes we put three fish in the boat the smallest was a four-pounder.
Not knowing those three fish gave us enough weight to win the tournament; we decided to run to the bank where we had seen the smallmouth cruising hoping to fill our limit. In a matter of minutes we caught three smallmouth and two largemouth. It’s 7 a.m. and we have five largemouths for about 27 pounds, I fight off the urge to say “game over” and tell Travis we need to get back to work. I knew the fish were chewing and someone else was catching them. Our big fish can be beat also, so we set a goal, hey let’s try to break 30 pounds today.
We decided to head back to our first area where we caught the eight and half-pounder and fish slower, picking the bank apart. The area has a lot of lay downs, a few over hangs and three little flats with some big stumps, ideal for big bass. Earlier, on our first pass, I remembered marking some fish on the stumps. Working the swimbait through the stumps, twitching it like a rip-bait, WHAM! I get a good one weighing more than five pounds. I missed a bite on the ten-inch worm then with the tip of my rod I pointed it out to Travis. He caught the fish and ended up watching as he skidded a six-pounder across the surface, I grabbed the net and put it in the boat.
We continued to work back and forth on the bank where we caught most of the fish. As the morning progressed the breeze turned into wind and a mud line appeared a hundred yards up river on a red clay point. Thinking this is a text book location for bass we headed over to the mud lined point and this point is where the fishing really turned on. We worked the 50-yard stretch thoroughly for about two hours. In that time we put seven more fish into the boat including a seven pounder and another one close to eight. The bite ended when we started to see little white caps, so we decided to give the area a break for a couple hours.
Dorena Lake is about five miles long with the river channel running along the southern shore line. Most of the boats were still working the flats on the north shore leaving the entire south shore for us to cherry pick the best spots from the dam all the way back to where the river comes in. Catching a few more fish along the way we come within site of the area where we’ve done the most damage, there are now two boats working over the area. As we fish closer to the area we start getting bit, the wind has lain down and the fish have moved to the bank. I pitched a worm to a tree that we have already fished seven or eight times and my line swims off. I slammed the hook and the fish jumps; it looks to be about a ten-pounder. The fight is on for just a few seconds then she comes off. It was a bummer losing that big fish but it really didn’t matter today… not many times can you lose a fish like than and recover. After finding our smallest fish with the balance beam, I asked Travis to put her on the scale. I wanted an idea what our weight was.
“We just culled a six pounder,” Travis said, “and our small fish weighs seven pounds even, let’s head to the weigh-in.”
When it was all over we weighed 37.53 and had an 8.57 pound big fish. Wow, what a day! It was truly amazing, we caught 25 fish and culled six fish over five pounds. We also caught some healthy smallmouth; we even culled five pound smallie. This is a record tournament weight for Oregon, and a day we will never forget.
Our sponsor’s products shined brightly. The Pro Cure Super Gel, in both rainbow trout and sweet craw scents, was used on all of our baits. We used two baits all day and most of the fish were caught on green pumpkin Big Bites Baits, Kreit tail worm. We did score a couple big fish using a black worm along a mud line, and caught about eight fish on an Osprey Tournament Talon smeared with Pro Cure rainbow trout; two of those made it to the scales.
We never had any problems with Sun Line Shooter Fluorocarbon or our Shimano Reels, they were really got put to the test. Shimano reels have the finest drag system I have ever used; even though we were fishing with heavier line it was important not to rush the fish to the net.
We owe our success to our families and our sponsors for their support. Thank you Pro Cure scents, Shimano Rods and Reels, Sunline, Big Bite Bait Co. Sebile Baits, Mustad Hooks and also to American Bass, Dorena Lake, and our families.
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