May 30, 2012
After a long day of travelling from New Hampshire I rolled home into Victor, Idaho late last night. Granny was anxiously waiting, not only because I’ve been gone more than a week, but tomorrow is the annual Bass on the Fly Tourney at Ririe Reservoir in Ririe Idaho. The tournament consists of three person teams – one rower and two anglers. The object of the eight hour competition is to catch the heaviest five smallmouth bass (must be over 12”) you can. And all must be healthy and survive release after weigh in at days end. That’s five per team, not angler. Granny is the rower of our three man team. Our partner for all four years of the tournament has been my good friend Weldon Jones. However, Weldon recently moved and therefore we had a new partner, our friend Scott Smith. Well, unfortunately, while I was in NH Scott backed out and we never replaced him. So Granny and I went after our five bass a challenged fly rod shy.
To my advantage, my body is on Eastern Time. I got up at 4:20 AM, well rested and got the boat and fly rods ready. After a week on the smallies in NH it wasn’t too hard to be ready. At 6 I woke up Granny and we were off to Ririe for the tournament.
There were sixteen teams this year. The weather was gorgeous with light wind and temps in the 70ºs. Everything was right for fishing the smallies. Yet everyone but the first and second place teams had tough fishing. At 4 PM Granny and I weighed in only three bass. And only three bass still put us in sixth place. If only we had a full team, we’re sure we could have scraped up two more fish. The winners were Rob and Pam Parkins and Zack Dalton.
It’s always a fun as heck tournament. I wouldn’t miss it for anything. You’d think that after my NH smallie week I’d be fine tuned to get a bunch of nice smallies for the competition, but Ririe Reservoir fishes nothing like Lake Winnipesaukee. Ririe is a dammed up deep canyon where finding the smallmouth bass can be tough. Furthermore, smallmouth were not native here and because of this, they have some unusual habits they adapted to for survival in these foreign waters.
With the carp tourney earlier in the month, then the trip to NH followed by today’s tourney, I’ve been fishing a lot – as promised. All of it has been absolutely fantastic and what a variety of fish species to contend with. I’ve been very lucky! For the next couple weeks its back to work with a mix of some Henry’s Fork fishing up at Last Chance. This is my favorite fishing of the year!