RICHLAND, Wash. — Ronald Mace of Kennewick, Wash. knew the neighborhood, but
had to go door-to-door to find the bites he needed to lead Day 2 of the Wild West Bass
Trail Columbia River Pro-Am presented by Tri-Cities with a total weight of 38.16 pounds.
Mace, said he caught his better fish in a one-mile mid-river stretch. He targeted a huge
flat that serves multiple stages of the fish’s life cycle.
“It’s a huge spawning flat and they don’t ever really leave,” Mace said. “They kinda slide
out (after they spawn), but then they come back to feed. We have the baby shad
starting to hit the river, so the fish are moving back into this area.
“I was catching them in shallow bushes and weeds in a foot of water. My co-angler
caught one about 5 pounds that was in 6 inches of water.”
Mace placed fourth on Day 1 with 17.41. While his second-round effort of 20.75 showed
a significant improvement, the leader said his day was tougher than it looked on paper.
“On Day 1, I had a limit in half an hour and I caught 50-plus fish,” Mace said. “Today, I
caught about 30, but it took me an hour to catch my first fish because the water dropped
and the fish relocated.
“On this river, I find where the majority of fish spawn and they’re never really far from
that area. They’re within a couple of miles and you just hunt them down.”
Noting that he had his weight by 2, Mace said he patiently picked off scattered fish until
the numbers started showing up on the flat by early afternoon. Fortunately, the day’s
ultra-calm conditions facilitated his efforts.
“Today the river was glass slick and it’s not usually that slick,” Mace said. “What you do
is you watch for the little shad popping — they almost look like bugs hitting the water —
and then you look for a tiny little V.
“It looks like a baby fish, but you fire out at it. They’re usually big ones, but they don’t
make much of a wake. You fire your bait up there and if you see that V coming toward
your bait, it’s a bass.”
Mace found an unweighted green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko rigged on a Gamakatsu
hook fit this scenario well. For the requisite long casts and for cutting through heavy
vegetation, he fished his bait on 8-pound Power Pro braid with a 10-pound Seaguar
InvisX fluorocarbon leader.
Day-1 leader Justin Campbell of Pasco, Washington got what he needed to keep
himself within striking distance, but strategically conserved his fish for the final round.
Bolstering his first day’s limit of 21.41 with 16.38, Campbell heads into Sunday’s
competition less than half a pound off the lead, at 37.79.
“I ran some of the same stuff, caught them in a few different areas, but pretty much, I’m
still running and gunning,” Campbell said. “I caught all my fish upriver and probably only
fished 15 spots today because I laid off of them (late morning).
“I had a limit by 9 and had my weight by 10:30, then I started looking around for
Campbell caught his fish on wacky-rigged green pumpkin Yamamoto Senkos and
green pumpkin Bass Kickin’ Baits tubes on 1/4-ounce lead heads. He fished his
Senkos over a mix of rock, weeds and sand; while the tubes worked best over rocky
“I was just trying to hit the right spots when the fish were ready to feed,” Campbell said.
“I try not to get too hung up in watching the conditions, I just try to narrow down which
spots hold fish.”
Travis Whitney of Kennewick, Wa., slipped from second place to third with a total of
34.98. After posting an opening limit of 18.24, Whitney had 16.74 on Day 2.
Similar to Day 1, Whitney fished main river weed lines in 5-8 feet. He caught most of his
fish on a Zoom Fluke on a 4/0 Gamakatsu wide gap hook and added a couple of
keepers on a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with No. 4 and 5 homemade willow-leaf blades, a
Zoom split tail trailer and a trailer hook.
“I covered some new water today; my primary area was above the Snake River,”
Whitney said. “I wasn’t able to fish shallow today, because there was a foot-and-a-half
drop (in water level) and that shut things down whenever I did try to go shallow.
"I’m hoping the water comes back up a good 6 inches so I can get into some key areas
that I couldn’t get back to today. I’m surprised I had what I had. I just got a couple of key
bites late in the day that helped.”
Bill O’Shinn is in the lead for Yamamoto Toad of the Tournament honors with his 6-0.
Luke Wilson of Mount Shasta, Calif. retained the co-angler lead with 26.06. He added
10.99 to the 15.07 he weighed on Day 1.
Fishing about 30 minutes upriver from the launch, Wilson caught his fish in what he
described as “crazy current” areas in 2-6 feet. Throwing a 3.8 Keitech Fat Swing
Impact swimbait on a 1/4-ounce Dirty Jigs swimbait head, he found a slow retrieve
through the middle of the water column most productive.
“There weren’t schools of fish, it was one fish here one fish here,” Wilson said. “I’d go
30 minutes without catching a fish, but when they (bit), they’d eat it. I hooked eight and
Richard Alcantar holds the Yamamoto Toad of the Tournament lead among co-anglers
with a 5.45.
Sunday’s takeoff is scheduled for 5:15 a.m. Pacific at Columbia Point Marina. The
weigh-in will be held at the marina at 3 p.m.
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