When B.A.S.S. released the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, I was as shocked as everyone else when I saw the Columbia River listed. I was surprised and also very excited about the fact that one of the bodies of water I grew up fishing will be showcased for the bass fishing world. It is going to be a great event, and I am looking forward to the Elite Series making a stop in my home state.
Even though the Columbia is less than three hours from my house, I haven’t fished it much in the past decade or so, well, for bass that is. I have spent plenty of time chasing salmon and steelhead there but have not seriously targeted bass much since I began my career as a professional angler.
Growing up it was a regular stop on the team tournament trails I fished, but the time of year we are visiting is somewhat an unknown to me. My experience there has mainly been in the fall. The Columbia River is a place that I have never won a tournament. I have placed everywhere from second place on down and hope that next June will be my first time to win on these big waters.
Big water is also another topic in of itself. The Columbia is a vast body of water and navigating the river is something that will most likely play a role in this event. June is traditionally not as windy as some other months, but on waters this big it will most likely still play a role in the outcome of the event.
We are still not sure of all of the details on which pool we are launching from and which, if any, pools we can lock into for the tournament. If we are to expand and lock up or down, the amount of fishable water is almost endless, and wind will be a factor at some point. It may decide whether or not we can even reach our fishing spots.
Since the schedule came out, I have been thinking about the event and how it will play out. I think that the fishing should be fairly good. A daily average of 17 pounds should take the win. There will be plenty of fish caught, and I predict that just about everyone will have a limit each day.
One thing that may play into this event is largemouth. The Columbia River has a reputation as one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the country, and it is well deserved, but there are some big and healthy largemouth as well. I don’t know if someone could weigh in a limit of them every day of the event, but it is possible, and I am sure that some of the Elite Series field will find some big ones.
Family and the fishing community
The news traveled fast about the schedule, and everyone around here is excited to see what it is like to have a national tournament come to the region. I am happy that many of my friends and family that have never seen an event this big will be able to take it all in.
I ask that anyone living in the Northwest plan to make a trip to the Tri-Cities next June. It is going to be a great show, and we will all get to see what the best bass anglers in the world can find on the Columbia River.