RICHLAND, Wash. — Turning in the event’s only two bags of 20-plus pounds, Ronald
Mace of Kennewick, Wash. won the Wild West Bass Trail Columbia River Pro-Am
presented by Tri-Cities with a three-day total of 58.33 pounds.
After catching 17.41 on Day 1, Mace added 20.75 and claimed the top spot with a .37
lead over Day-1 leader Justin Campbell. (Campbell withdrew from Day-3 competition
due to illness.) In the final round, Mace weighed 20.17 and surged across the finish line
by a margin of 5.86.
The key, he said, was food. The river’s forage cycle lined up favorably on his target area
and once Mace realized what was happening, he stepped on the gas.
“I was fishing a giant muddy flat that you have to idle into,” Mace said. “The depth is
about 2 feet and the fish were up there in the weeds. Once the bait moves up there, the
smallmouth follow. I started on largemouth on Day 1 and I landed on a pile of
“It had been so hot and, during practice, the bait had not moved up yet. But I started
seeing bait in there on Day 1 and that clued me in that the smallmouth had moved up.
The bait was there, so I knew the smallmouth would be close.”
Day 1 saw Mace securing a limit in 30 minutes and catching more than 50 bass. When
Day 2 brought a significant water drop, Mace had to hunt around for scattered fish. He
ended up catching 30, but it took him an hour to get the first bite.
The water started rising a little on Day 3, but not enough to greatly impact Mace’s game.
“Today was scary; the only thing that saved me was in the first 15 minutes, I caught a 4-
pound largemouth bass,” Mace said. “That puts you in the right frame of mind, knowing
at least you’re not going to zero.
“From there, I just patiently worked my way through the day. I ended up weighing four
smallmouth and one largemouth.”
Mace caught his fish on an unweighted green pumpkin Yamamoto Senko rigged on a
Gamakatsu hook. Fishing his bait on 8-pound Power Pro braid with a 10-pound
Seaguar InvisX fluorocarbon leader allowed him to make long casts and work his bait
through the weeds.
“I used that subtle bait because the fish are super spooky in that shallow water,” Mace
said. “They don’t want to hear anything, so I use a bait that didn’t make a big splash.”
Travis Whitney of Kennewick, Wa. kept himself in contention throughout the event. He
placed second on Day 1 with 18.24, slipped to third with a second-round limit of 16.74
and regained his original place with a Day-3 catch of 17.49 to finish second with 52.47.
Spending most of his time in the Casey Point area, Whitney also fished above the
Snake River. His primary pattern focused on main river weed lines in 5-8 feet.
Whitney caught his fish on an unweighted Zoom Fluke on a 4/0 Gamakatsu wide gap
hook, a wacky-rigged green pumpkin Senko and a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with No. 4
and 5 homemade willow-leaf blades, a Zoom split tail trailer and a trailer hook.
“The key was just knowing where to be; I didn’t stray from spots where I’d caught them
in the past,” Whitney said. “I just kept cycling through five to six spots and caught fish on
all of them.”
“At the end of the day, I went to the back of Casey Point and looked for largemouth,”
Whitney said. “I caught a 4-pounder and lost a big one at my hand."
Gene Batey of Pasco, Wash. turned in daily weights of 15.93, 15.02 and 16.22 to finish
third with 47.17. The key to his success was flowing water and when he was unable to
locate enough current on Day-1, Batey made a big upriver run and found what he
“On Day 2, I ran 70 miles north to the Hanford Reach, which is the last unnavigable
water on the Columbia River — its a free-flowing section of the river with massive
current,” Batey said. “The smallmouth (pattern) I like requires current to position the fish
where I can target them. The fish set up on current seams where they sit in that slack
water and feed.”
Catching his fish in 1 1/2 to 10 feet, Batey threw a 3.8 Keitech Easy Shiner swimbait in
the smallmouth magic color, rigged on a homemade 1/8- to 3/16-ounce head
(depending on depth). He also used a 3 1/2-inch green pumpkin Yamamoto tube on
a 1/4-ounce homemade jig head.
Bill O’Shinn won the Yamamoto Toad of the Tournament award with his 6-0.
Scott Hellesen of Paso Robles, Calif. won the co-angler division with a 3-day total of
38.80. Turning in daily weights of 11.31, 12.2 and 15.29, he edged Mason MacAbee by
a 1/4-pound margin.
Fishing current-washed islands in Lake Umatilla, Hellesen caught his fish in 20 feet.
Dropshotting a 3-inch green pumpkin Sniper Snub worm with a 1/4-ounce weight
produced all of his bites.
“I had to make a bomb cast on 6-pound line with a size 1 Gamakatsu hook,” Hellesen
said. “You’d just let it drift with the current. Less is more.”
Richard Alcantar won the Yamamoto Toad of the Tournament award among co-anglers
with a 5.45.
Luke Johns of Folsom, Calif. was named 2021 Angler of the Year. Luke Wilson of Mount
Shasta, Calif. won the Co-Angler of the Year title.