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Last Trip of the Season - October 27-28 Bass - Ed Gerdemann

Edward Gerdemann

Well-Known Member
The last trip of the season always brings about a sense of sadness. This was an especially tough year for me with the loss of my dad in February, two trips to Missouri to handle his estate and lingering hip issues which hopefully will be resolved with a hip replacement this winter. All this cut into my lake time considerably. Nevertheless, I tried to take advantage of the trips I had and am grateful for the time I did get to spend on the water.

Fishing last week was a bit tough in terms of numbers, but it was very good in terms of size. On Wednesday I managed 19 smallmouths, a low total for Powell this time of year, and "just" 17 on Thursday. However, there were very few dinks. Most were nice sized bass in the 1 1/2 to 2-pound class plus a couple bigger surprises. I again fished the shoreline, coves, points and shelves around Gregory Butte where I have experienced a lot of success in recent years, and Wednesday I ran up into one of my favorite coves in Last Chance Bay for some late afternoon success.

While I caught a few fish in deeper water, 20-25 feet, most of the active fish were fairly shallow, say five to 10 feet. I graphed plenty of fish in deeper water, however it was very difficult to entice one to hit. The shallow fish, however, were catchable - at least until they were spooked. The two days fished quite a bit differently. Wednesday's action was best along the outward shorelines and off the points close to the deep water drop offs. IMG_1023.jpg

Fishing a drop shot with a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm worked the best. I tried a weightless Senko and hooked a couple, but I didn't land one fish on this technique. Thursday was different. The bass had moved into the shallowest of coves with those containing aquatic vegetation the best.
IMG_1032.jpg
By far the best presentation on Thursday was a weightless Senko. These shallow coves were full of smallmouth, largemouth and stripers all swimming together. I was surprised that I didn't catch either a largemouth or a striper but was happy with the smallmouths I did catch. The big bonus on Thursday was catching two that were in the 3-pound class. I saw some that were quite a bit bigger and actually had one hooked, but it broke my line. These fish were strong!

The best presentation was very slow. With the drop shot about half my hits came on the fall and the other have came on a very slow drag with lots of deadstick pauses. Virtually every Senko hit was on the initial fall. Sometimes the line would twitch or take off signalling a strike, but most of the time there was nothing that would indicate a strike except for a bit of extra weight when I took the slack out of the line. The fish seemed sluggish, except once hooked, and most of those I landed were very cold to touch indicating they had just come up out of deep water. I'm convinced that the storms and high winds last Sunday and Monday put them down and that they were just starting to move back into the shallows Tuesday and Wednesday. What was fun is I actually got to see some fish, including my biggest, actually take the lure. When they inhaled the bait they simply remained motionless until I reeled down on them.

I used both the natural shad and watermelon/white laminate colors on the Shad Shaped Worms, however I only used natural shad colored Senkos. I really don't believe color was much of a factor as I think any reasonable color would have worked. I usually don't find color is all that important for Lake Powell smallmouths. Getting the lure in front of them in the manner they want it is what's really important.

While it was fun catching these smallmouths, especially the bigger ones, it was somewhat bitter sweet as I'll explain later. I would have liked to have caught more but am glad I was able to catch what I did.

IMG_1029.jpgIMG_1042 (1).jpg

Goodbye to an Old Friend

IMG_1009.jpg

Last week's trip was the last for me fishing out of my Ranger Cherokee bass boat, the boat I've used for the past 18 seasons. I completed the sale Friday morning and gave the keys to the new owner. The physical object is not what's important. It's the memories that took place in it - fun fishing trips with a lot of great people. This boat, with its greater size, speed and fuel capacity opened up a whole new Lake Powell world for me. Names like Padre Canyon, Gregory Butte, Last Chance Bay and Rock Creek became more than just labels on a map or in someone else's fishing reports. They became real to me, and I never stop marveling at them even after all these years.

The memories are many, but a few stand out. I remember the very first day I had it on the water. After initially breaking it in on a run up to Last Chance, the late Cap'n Chuck Duggins and I managed to land over 30 nice smallmouths in less than two hours in a back of one of Last Chance's many great coves. Another great memory is that September morning when the late outdoor writer Bob Hirsch and I were able to work the same striper boil with Wayne and Ron Colby. There were moments when all of us were hooked up at the same time. Later that day Bob interviewed Wayne for his radio show in my boat at Buoy 23. A month later I was fishing with longtime work colleague and fishing partner Jim Buxton on a cold, calm post front morning in the back of Padre Canyon where we caught a number of dandy smallmouth and some big stripers on drop shots, jigging spoons and topwater baits. The highlight was Jim nailing two nice smallmouths on one cast on a Pop R. The cooler was so full of fish Jim had to sit on top of it on the ride home.

Another standout day was another longtime fishing partner Dale Marenda's 79th birthday. The lake had risen a couple feet overnight covering the walkway to the courtesy dock. Dale avoided getting his feet wet by catching a ride down the ramp in another person's boat transferring to my boat after that boat was launched. Dale was always very resourceful in getting rides up and down the ramps. After catching a number of nice smallmouths at the mouth of Gunsight Bay, we located a huge striper school in Antelope Canyon just before dusk taking over 30 in a couple hours. Dale was fishing two rods, and one time he was hooked up on both rods while I was battling a fish on mine. Just then the reel fell off of one of Dale's rods. He handed his other rod to me while he attempted to reattach his reel. I was able to hold on stumbling around the boat while Dale struggled with the reel. Finally he got it reattached, and we managed to land all three fish, two stripers and one 4-pound plus channel cat! The tour boat showed up shortly after this debacle. Had it been a few minutes earlier its passengers would have witnessed quite a show.

Another red-letter day I remember was a cool, cloudy October morning when John Conrad and I cornered a large number of smallmouths in the back of a narrow canyon in Last Chance. We managed to land between us over 30 in less than an hour, some of them 2 pounds and better. For the day we caught around 100 smallies, most of them being really nice. This was probably the best smallmouth day I've ever encountered on Lake Powell in terms of both numbers and size, and I've had a bunch of great days here.

Of course I remember the trips when my uncle Tom Estes drove out from Texas to fish with me here. I remember the SHAD Rallies, battling the wind, rain and power boat wakes and countless spent at the fish cleaning station. However my fondest memories are the two fishing trips I had with my dad. Dad loved to fish big water lakes and he loved fishing for smallmouths so Lake Powell was made to order for him. Those were Dad's last fishing trips. Shortly after the second one in 2008 Mom's dementia really got severe and Dad spent most of his time taking care of her - something he willingly and lovingly did. After she passed away some five years later Dad was too old and crippled to fish, however he still enjoyed talking about it and always wanted me to call him after each of my trips. He read Wayne's Words every day but never made a post.

I thought a lot about Dad this past trip. As I was running back down lake Thursday afternoon in beautiful, sunny calm weather, I got to thinking how much Dad would have enjoyed that ride. Dad taught me how to fish and gave me a great love for the outdoors. That's what I was thinking about as I drove the old Cherokee for the last time.

I'm sure I will enjoy my new boat and will make a lot of new memories in it, but I'll always remember this rig and, most importantly, all the great experiences and people I shared it with.
 

flowerbug

Well-Known Member
the last time i fished for smallmouth it was on my very tiny setup that i used for fishing small streams through the woods. 4lb line and no cable leader but i was wanting to just get a line in the water so i plopped it out over the dropoff and played it like a dying fish on the surface. i must have annoyed the small mouth bass to no end, because eventually it came up and tried to eat that fish and i hooked it and eventually brought it in. i thought i had latched onto a freight train. 18" smallmouth which became dinner that night.

the place where i caught that fish no longer exists. it used to be a forested shoreline along a canal. they had to go through and put a pipeline for the sewage treatment plant along there. it may even be grown back somewhat by now but it was lined with waste mine rock spoils.

a few weeks before i finally left i was walking along there and lamenting the changes and there was a rock laying there that was really just wrong so i picked it up. it was a goodbye present. a chunk of native copper that somehow had been missed during mining. it now sits on the fireplace ledge here and has most of rock removed by acids so you can see the copper, but it is not completely metal.

i guess this is a note in a way to say that yes, things change but there is good to be found in all of it if you keep looking. :) cheers and happy continued fishing with the new boat. :)
 

Bill Sampson

Escalante-Class Member
The last trip of the season always brings about a sense of sadness. This was an especially tough year for me with the loss of my dad in February, two trips to Missouri to handle his estate and lingering hip issues which hopefully will be resolved with a hip replacement this winter. All this cut into my lake time considerably. Nevertheless, I tried to take advantage of the trips I had and am grateful for the time I did get to spend on the water.

Fishing last week was a bit tough in terms of numbers, but it was very good in terms of size. On Wednesday I managed 19 smallmouths, a low total for Powell this time of year, and "just" 17 on Thursday. However, there were very few dinks. Most were nice sized bass in the 1 1/2 to 2-pound class plus a couple bigger surprises. I again fished the shoreline, coves, points and shelves around Gregory Butte where I have experienced a lot of success in recent years, and Wednesday I ran up into one of my favorite coves in Last Chance Bay for some late afternoon success.

While I caught a few fish in deeper water, 20-25 feet, most of the active fish were fairly shallow, say five to 10 feet. I graphed plenty of fish in deeper water, however it was very difficult to entice one to hit. The shallow fish, however, were catchable - at least until they were spooked. The two days fished quite a bit differently. Wednesday's action was best along the outward shorelines and off the points close to the deep water drop offs. View attachment 15932

Fishing a drop shot with a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm worked the best. I tried a weightless Senko and hooked a couple, but I didn't land one fish on this technique. Thursday was different. The bass had moved into the shallowest of coves with those containing aquatic vegetation the best.
View attachment 15933
By far the best presentation on Thursday was a weightless Senko. These shallow coves were full of smallmouth, largemouth and stripers all swimming together. I was surprised that I didn't catch either a largemouth or a striper but was happy with the smallmouths I did catch. The big bonus on Thursday was catching two that were in the 3-pound class. I saw some that were quite a bit bigger and actually had one hooked, but it broke my line. These fish were strong!

The best presentation was very slow. With the drop shot about half my hits came on the fall and the other have came on a very slow drag with lots of deadstick pauses. Virtually every Senko hit was on the initial fall. Sometimes the line would twitch or take off signalling a strike, but most of the time there was nothing that would indicate a strike except for a bit of extra weight when I took the slack out of the line. The fish seemed sluggish, except once hooked, and most of those I landed were very cold to touch indicating they had just come up out of deep water. I'm convinced that the storms and high winds last Sunday and Monday put them down and that they were just starting to move back into the shallows Tuesday and Wednesday. What was fun is I actually got to see some fish, including my biggest, actually take the lure. When they inhaled the bait they simply remained motionless until I reeled down on them.

I used both the natural shad and watermelon/white laminate colors on the Shad Shaped Worms, however I only used natural shad colored Senkos. I really don't believe color was much of a factor as I think any reasonable color would have worked. I usually don't find color is all that important for Lake Powell smallmouths. Getting the lure in front of them in the manner they want it is what's really important.

While it was fun catching these smallmouths, especially the bigger ones, it was somewhat bitter sweet as I'll explain later. I would have liked to have caught more but am glad I was able to catch what I did.

View attachment 15934View attachment 15935

Goodbye to an Old Friend

View attachment 15936

Last week's trip was the last for me fishing out of my Ranger Cherokee bass boat, the boat I've used for the past 18 seasons. I completed the sale Friday morning and gave the keys to the new owner. The physical object is not what's important. It's the memories that took place in it - fun fishing trips with a lot of great people. This boat, with its greater size, speed and fuel capacity opened up a whole new Lake Powell world for me. Names like Padre Canyon, Gregory Butte, Last Chance Bay and Rock Creek became more than just labels on a map or in someone else's fishing reports. They became real to me, and I never stop marveling at them even after all these years.

The memories are many, but a few stand out. I remember the very first day I had it on the water. After initially breaking it in on a run up to Last Chance, the late Cap'n Chuck Duggins and I managed to land over 30 nice smallmouths in less than two hours in a back of one of Last Chance's many great coves. Another great memory is that September morning when the late outdoor writer Bob Hirsch and I were able to work the same striper boil with Wayne and Ron Colby. There were moments when all of us were hooked up at the same time. Later that day Bob interviewed Wayne for his radio show in my boat at Buoy 23. A month later I was fishing with longtime work colleague and fishing partner Jim Buxton on a cold, calm post front morning in the back of Padre Canyon where we caught a number of dandy smallmouth and some big stripers on drop shots, jigging spoons and topwater baits. The highlight was Jim nailing two nice smallmouths on one cast on a Pop R. The cooler was so full of fish Jim had to sit on top of it on the ride home.

Another standout day was another longtime fishing partner Dale Marenda's 79th birthday. The lake had risen a couple feet overnight covering the walkway to the courtesy dock. Dale avoided getting his feet wet by catching a ride down the ramp in another person's boat transferring to my boat after that boat was launched. Dale was always very resourceful in getting rides up and down the ramps. After catching a number of nice smallmouths at the mouth of Gunsight Bay, we located a huge striper school in Antelope Canyon just before dusk taking over 30 in a couple hours. Dale was fishing two rods, and one time he was hooked up on both rods while I was battling a fish on mine. Just then the reel fell off of one of Dale's rods. He handed his other rod to me while he attempted to reattach his reel. I was able to hold on stumbling around the boat while Dale struggled with the reel. Finally he got it reattached, and we managed to land all three fish, two stripers and one 4-pound plus channel cat! The tour boat showed up shortly after this debacle. Had it been a few minutes earlier its passengers would have witnessed quite a show.

Another red-letter day I remember was a cool, cloudy October morning when John Conrad and I cornered a large number of smallmouths in the back of a narrow canyon in Last Chance. We managed to land between us over 30 in less than an hour, some of them 2 pounds and better. For the day we caught around 100 smallies, most of them being really nice. This was probably the best smallmouth day I've ever encountered on Lake Powell in terms of both numbers and size, and I've had a bunch of great days here.

Of course I remember the trips when my uncle Tom Estes drove out from Texas to fish with me here. I remember the SHAD Rallies, battling the wind, rain and power boat wakes and countless spent at the fish cleaning station. However my fondest memories are the two fishing trips I had with my dad. Dad loved to fish big water lakes and he loved fishing for smallmouths so Lake Powell was made to order for him. Those were Dad's last fishing trips. Shortly after the second one in 2008 Mom's dementia really got severe and Dad spent most of his time taking care of her - something he willingly and lovingly did. After she passed away some five years later Dad was too old and crippled to fish, however he still enjoyed talking about it and always wanted me to call him after each of my trips. He read Wayne's Words every day but never made a post.

I thought a lot about Dad this past trip. As I was running back down lake Thursday afternoon in beautiful, sunny calm weather, I got to thinking how much Dad would have enjoyed that ride. Dad taught me how to fish and gave me a great love for the outdoors. That's what I was thinking about as I drove the old Cherokee for the last time.

I'm sure I will enjoy my new boat and will make a lot of new memories in it, but I'll always remember this rig and, most importantly, all the great experiences and people I shared it with.
Thanks for sharing this.
 

Dworwood

Escalante-Class Member
The last trip of the season always brings about a sense of sadness. This was an especially tough year for me with the loss of my dad in February, two trips to Missouri to handle his estate and lingering hip issues which hopefully will be resolved with a hip replacement this winter. All this cut into my lake time considerably. Nevertheless, I tried to take advantage of the trips I had and am grateful for the time I did get to spend on the water.

Fishing last week was a bit tough in terms of numbers, but it was very good in terms of size. On Wednesday I managed 19 smallmouths, a low total for Powell this time of year, and "just" 17 on Thursday. However, there were very few dinks. Most were nice sized bass in the 1 1/2 to 2-pound class plus a couple bigger surprises. I again fished the shoreline, coves, points and shelves around Gregory Butte where I have experienced a lot of success in recent years, and Wednesday I ran up into one of my favorite coves in Last Chance Bay for some late afternoon success.

While I caught a few fish in deeper water, 20-25 feet, most of the active fish were fairly shallow, say five to 10 feet. I graphed plenty of fish in deeper water, however it was very difficult to entice one to hit. The shallow fish, however, were catchable - at least until they were spooked. The two days fished quite a bit differently. Wednesday's action was best along the outward shorelines and off the points close to the deep water drop offs. View attachment 15932

Fishing a drop shot with a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm worked the best. I tried a weightless Senko and hooked a couple, but I didn't land one fish on this technique. Thursday was different. The bass had moved into the shallowest of coves with those containing aquatic vegetation the best.
View attachment 15933
By far the best presentation on Thursday was a weightless Senko. These shallow coves were full of smallmouth, largemouth and stripers all swimming together. I was surprised that I didn't catch either a largemouth or a striper but was happy with the smallmouths I did catch. The big bonus on Thursday was catching two that were in the 3-pound class. I saw some that were quite a bit bigger and actually had one hooked, but it broke my line. These fish were strong!

The best presentation was very slow. With the drop shot about half my hits came on the fall and the other have came on a very slow drag with lots of deadstick pauses. Virtually every Senko hit was on the initial fall. Sometimes the line would twitch or take off signalling a strike, but most of the time there was nothing that would indicate a strike except for a bit of extra weight when I took the slack out of the line. The fish seemed sluggish, except once hooked, and most of those I landed were very cold to touch indicating they had just come up out of deep water. I'm convinced that the storms and high winds last Sunday and Monday put them down and that they were just starting to move back into the shallows Tuesday and Wednesday. What was fun is I actually got to see some fish, including my biggest, actually take the lure. When they inhaled the bait they simply remained motionless until I reeled down on them.

I used both the natural shad and watermelon/white laminate colors on the Shad Shaped Worms, however I only used natural shad colored Senkos. I really don't believe color was much of a factor as I think any reasonable color would have worked. I usually don't find color is all that important for Lake Powell smallmouths. Getting the lure in front of them in the manner they want it is what's really important.

While it was fun catching these smallmouths, especially the bigger ones, it was somewhat bitter sweet as I'll explain later. I would have liked to have caught more but am glad I was able to catch what I did.

View attachment 15934View attachment 15935

Goodbye to an Old Friend

View attachment 15936

Last week's trip was the last for me fishing out of my Ranger Cherokee bass boat, the boat I've used for the past 18 seasons. I completed the sale Friday morning and gave the keys to the new owner. The physical object is not what's important. It's the memories that took place in it - fun fishing trips with a lot of great people. This boat, with its greater size, speed and fuel capacity opened up a whole new Lake Powell world for me. Names like Padre Canyon, Gregory Butte, Last Chance Bay and Rock Creek became more than just labels on a map or in someone else's fishing reports. They became real to me, and I never stop marveling at them even after all these years.

The memories are many, but a few stand out. I remember the very first day I had it on the water. After initially breaking it in on a run up to Last Chance, the late Cap'n Chuck Duggins and I managed to land over 30 nice smallmouths in less than two hours in a back of one of Last Chance's many great coves. Another great memory is that September morning when the late outdoor writer Bob Hirsch and I were able to work the same striper boil with Wayne and Ron Colby. There were moments when all of us were hooked up at the same time. Later that day Bob interviewed Wayne for his radio show in my boat at Buoy 23. A month later I was fishing with longtime work colleague and fishing partner Jim Buxton on a cold, calm post front morning in the back of Padre Canyon where we caught a number of dandy smallmouth and some big stripers on drop shots, jigging spoons and topwater baits. The highlight was Jim nailing two nice smallmouths on one cast on a Pop R. The cooler was so full of fish Jim had to sit on top of it on the ride home.

Another standout day was another longtime fishing partner Dale Marenda's 79th birthday. The lake had risen a couple feet overnight covering the walkway to the courtesy dock. Dale avoided getting his feet wet by catching a ride down the ramp in another person's boat transferring to my boat after that boat was launched. Dale was always very resourceful in getting rides up and down the ramps. After catching a number of nice smallmouths at the mouth of Gunsight Bay, we located a huge striper school in Antelope Canyon just before dusk taking over 30 in a couple hours. Dale was fishing two rods, and one time he was hooked up on both rods while I was battling a fish on mine. Just then the reel fell off of one of Dale's rods. He handed his other rod to me while he attempted to reattach his reel. I was able to hold on stumbling around the boat while Dale struggled with the reel. Finally he got it reattached, and we managed to land all three fish, two stripers and one 4-pound plus channel cat! The tour boat showed up shortly after this debacle. Had it been a few minutes earlier its passengers would have witnessed quite a show.

Another red-letter day I remember was a cool, cloudy October morning when John Conrad and I cornered a large number of smallmouths in the back of a narrow canyon in Last Chance. We managed to land between us over 30 in less than an hour, some of them 2 pounds and better. For the day we caught around 100 smallies, most of them being really nice. This was probably the best smallmouth day I've ever encountered on Lake Powell in terms of both numbers and size, and I've had a bunch of great days here.

Of course I remember the trips when my uncle Tom Estes drove out from Texas to fish with me here. I remember the SHAD Rallies, battling the wind, rain and power boat wakes and countless spent at the fish cleaning station. However my fondest memories are the two fishing trips I had with my dad. Dad loved to fish big water lakes and he loved fishing for smallmouths so Lake Powell was made to order for him. Those were Dad's last fishing trips. Shortly after the second one in 2008 Mom's dementia really got severe and Dad spent most of his time taking care of her - something he willingly and lovingly did. After she passed away some five years later Dad was too old and crippled to fish, however he still enjoyed talking about it and always wanted me to call him after each of my trips. He read Wayne's Words every day but never made a post.

I thought a lot about Dad this past trip. As I was running back down lake Thursday afternoon in beautiful, sunny calm weather, I got to thinking how much Dad would have enjoyed that ride. Dad taught me how to fish and gave me a great love for the outdoors. That's what I was thinking about as I drove the old Cherokee for the last time.

I'm sure I will enjoy my new boat and will make a lot of new memories in it, but I'll always remember this rig and, most importantly, all the great experiences and people I shared it with.
One of the best posts I have ever read. Thank You. I hope you make many great memories in the new boat too.
 

Jay Eldridge

Active Member
The last trip of the season always brings about a sense of sadness. This was an especially tough year for me with the loss of my dad in February, two trips to Missouri to handle his estate and lingering hip issues which hopefully will be resolved with a hip replacement this winter. All this cut into my lake time considerably. Nevertheless, I tried to take advantage of the trips I had and am grateful for the time I did get to spend on the water.

Fishing last week was a bit tough in terms of numbers, but it was very good in terms of size. On Wednesday I managed 19 smallmouths, a low total for Powell this time of year, and "just" 17 on Thursday. However, there were very few dinks. Most were nice sized bass in the 1 1/2 to 2-pound class plus a couple bigger surprises. I again fished the shoreline, coves, points and shelves around Gregory Butte where I have experienced a lot of success in recent years, and Wednesday I ran up into one of my favorite coves in Last Chance Bay for some late afternoon success.

While I caught a few fish in deeper water, 20-25 feet, most of the active fish were fairly shallow, say five to 10 feet. I graphed plenty of fish in deeper water, however it was very difficult to entice one to hit. The shallow fish, however, were catchable - at least until they were spooked. The two days fished quite a bit differently. Wednesday's action was best along the outward shorelines and off the points close to the deep water drop offs. View attachment 15932

Fishing a drop shot with a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm worked the best. I tried a weightless Senko and hooked a couple, but I didn't land one fish on this technique. Thursday was different. The bass had moved into the shallowest of coves with those containing aquatic vegetation the best.
View attachment 15933
By far the best presentation on Thursday was a weightless Senko. These shallow coves were full of smallmouth, largemouth and stripers all swimming together. I was surprised that I didn't catch either a largemouth or a striper but was happy with the smallmouths I did catch. The big bonus on Thursday was catching two that were in the 3-pound class. I saw some that were quite a bit bigger and actually had one hooked, but it broke my line. These fish were strong!

The best presentation was very slow. With the drop shot about half my hits came on the fall and the other have came on a very slow drag with lots of deadstick pauses. Virtually every Senko hit was on the initial fall. Sometimes the line would twitch or take off signalling a strike, but most of the time there was nothing that would indicate a strike except for a bit of extra weight when I took the slack out of the line. The fish seemed sluggish, except once hooked, and most of those I landed were very cold to touch indicating they had just come up out of deep water. I'm convinced that the storms and high winds last Sunday and Monday put them down and that they were just starting to move back into the shallows Tuesday and Wednesday. What was fun is I actually got to see some fish, including my biggest, actually take the lure. When they inhaled the bait they simply remained motionless until I reeled down on them.

I used both the natural shad and watermelon/white laminate colors on the Shad Shaped Worms, however I only used natural shad colored Senkos. I really don't believe color was much of a factor as I think any reasonable color would have worked. I usually don't find color is all that important for Lake Powell smallmouths. Getting the lure in front of them in the manner they want it is what's really important.

While it was fun catching these smallmouths, especially the bigger ones, it was somewhat bitter sweet as I'll explain later. I would have liked to have caught more but am glad I was able to catch what I did.

View attachment 15934View attachment 15935

Goodbye to an Old Friend

View attachment 15936

Last week's trip was the last for me fishing out of my Ranger Cherokee bass boat, the boat I've used for the past 18 seasons. I completed the sale Friday morning and gave the keys to the new owner. The physical object is not what's important. It's the memories that took place in it - fun fishing trips with a lot of great people. This boat, with its greater size, speed and fuel capacity opened up a whole new Lake Powell world for me. Names like Padre Canyon, Gregory Butte, Last Chance Bay and Rock Creek became more than just labels on a map or in someone else's fishing reports. They became real to me, and I never stop marveling at them even after all these years.

The memories are many, but a few stand out. I remember the very first day I had it on the water. After initially breaking it in on a run up to Last Chance, the late Cap'n Chuck Duggins and I managed to land over 30 nice smallmouths in less than two hours in a back of one of Last Chance's many great coves. Another great memory is that September morning when the late outdoor writer Bob Hirsch and I were able to work the same striper boil with Wayne and Ron Colby. There were moments when all of us were hooked up at the same time. Later that day Bob interviewed Wayne for his radio show in my boat at Buoy 23. A month later I was fishing with longtime work colleague and fishing partner Jim Buxton on a cold, calm post front morning in the back of Padre Canyon where we caught a number of dandy smallmouth and some big stripers on drop shots, jigging spoons and topwater baits. The highlight was Jim nailing two nice smallmouths on one cast on a Pop R. The cooler was so full of fish Jim had to sit on top of it on the ride home.

Another standout day was another longtime fishing partner Dale Marenda's 79th birthday. The lake had risen a couple feet overnight covering the walkway to the courtesy dock. Dale avoided getting his feet wet by catching a ride down the ramp in another person's boat transferring to my boat after that boat was launched. Dale was always very resourceful in getting rides up and down the ramps. After catching a number of nice smallmouths at the mouth of Gunsight Bay, we located a huge striper school in Antelope Canyon just before dusk taking over 30 in a couple hours. Dale was fishing two rods, and one time he was hooked up on both rods while I was battling a fish on mine. Just then the reel fell off of one of Dale's rods. He handed his other rod to me while he attempted to reattach his reel. I was able to hold on stumbling around the boat while Dale struggled with the reel. Finally he got it reattached, and we managed to land all three fish, two stripers and one 4-pound plus channel cat! The tour boat showed up shortly after this debacle. Had it been a few minutes earlier its passengers would have witnessed quite a show.

Another red-letter day I remember was a cool, cloudy October morning when John Conrad and I cornered a large number of smallmouths in the back of a narrow canyon in Last Chance. We managed to land between us over 30 in less than an hour, some of them 2 pounds and better. For the day we caught around 100 smallies, most of them being really nice. This was probably the best smallmouth day I've ever encountered on Lake Powell in terms of both numbers and size, and I've had a bunch of great days here.

Of course I remember the trips when my uncle Tom Estes drove out from Texas to fish with me here. I remember the SHAD Rallies, battling the wind, rain and power boat wakes and countless spent at the fish cleaning station. However my fondest memories are the two fishing trips I had with my dad. Dad loved to fish big water lakes and he loved fishing for smallmouths so Lake Powell was made to order for him. Those were Dad's last fishing trips. Shortly after the second one in 2008 Mom's dementia really got severe and Dad spent most of his time taking care of her - something he willingly and lovingly did. After she passed away some five years later Dad was too old and crippled to fish, however he still enjoyed talking about it and always wanted me to call him after each of my trips. He read Wayne's Words every day but never made a post.

I thought a lot about Dad this past trip. As I was running back down lake Thursday afternoon in beautiful, sunny calm weather, I got to thinking how much Dad would have enjoyed that ride. Dad taught me how to fish and gave me a great love for the outdoors. That's what I was thinking about as I drove the old Cherokee for the last time.

I'm sure I will enjoy my new boat and will make a lot of new memories in it, but I'll always remember this rig and, most importantly, all the great experiences and people I shared it with.
The dad trips definitely mean the most. Mine is 83 years old and two weeks ago he shot this elk at 300 yards using my shoulder to steady himself. Priceless.
 

gznokes

Well-Known Member
Love the memories Ed! I can't believe the years of experience you have on the Lake. I hope this question isn't going against the memories and the relationships, that I hear you saying are the "reel" value, but I am curious about any of your personal bests on the lake over the years, if you care to think back on any of those big fish.
 

gznokes

Well-Known Member
Here is my personal best Largemouth caught in 2005View attachment 15946

My best two bass caught on the same surface lure at the same time - Largemouth and smallmouth Bass



View attachment 15947
Wayne, the category of "2 best fish caught on the same lure at the same time" probably deserves it's own thread! I guess I could see someone beating that if we allow stripers but I can't imagine anyone besting it in a smallmouth/largemouth combo!
 

gznokes

Well-Known Member
Wayne, from all your years and gill netting and watching bass tournament results and this thread, what do you believe is the current top end weight of LMB and SMB swimming around Lake Powell right now? Bonus points for telling us where they are likely to be caught!
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
Wayne, the category of "2 best fish caught on the same lure at the same time" probably deserves it's own thread! I guess I could see someone beating that if we allow stripers but I can't imagine anyone besting it in a smallmouth/largemouth combo!
My profile picture shows 2 big stripers but caught on different casts at the same location

Wayne, from all your years and gill netting and watching bass tournament results and this thread, what do you believe is the current top end weight of LMB and SMB swimming around Lake Powell right now? Bonus points for telling us where they are likely to be caught!

Biggest smallmouth is in the 4.5 to 6 pound range. ( I weighed one last week caught near Wahweap that weighed 4.5 pounds but was not a lake record.)

Biggest largemouth prediction is near 9 pounds

Current record bass:
Largemouth Bass* 1974 10 lbs 2 oz 24 in Sam LaManna Warm Creek

Smallmouth Bass 2001 5 lbs 6 oz 19 in Eric Inman Lone Rock
 

Edward Gerdemann

Well-Known Member
My personal best smallmouth on Powell was right at 4 pounds. I caught it in the fall in the back of a canyon up in Last Chance. I actually caught several bigger ones in Ontario, Arkansas and Maine. My best Powell largemouth, I think, was 4-2 which I caught back around 1997 before I ever had the place up here. I caught several bigger ones in Missouri, Arkansas and in the Colorado River down around Yuma. Wayne is familiar with the fishing there. I caught the Lake Powell best in Wahweap Bay in a little cove just above the gravel bar right at dusk on an October evening. I remember that evening well as I also caught my only Lake Powell rainbow trout that same evening. I caught several stripers in the 7-pound class back in 2004 in Navajo Canyon and up in Padre Canyon. My best walleye is about 3 1/2 pounds from Rock Creek and my best catfish is a bit over 4 from Last Chance. I caught a couple crappie in the 1 1/2 pound class from a cove just off the dune in Navajo Canyon back in 1996.

I saw a number of big smallmouth in shallow coves this last trip. A couple of them made the biggest one I caught look like a minnow! There are definitely some bruisers in the lake, a lot more than angling success would indicate I'd suspect.

Ed Gerdemann
 

Flipper

Well-Known Member
Out standing report. Had to go back and read the entire thing again. Reminded me of my first, and second lake Powell boats, and what great times my family had on them. It also made me think of my late father as well. Dad never had much time to take me fishing when I was young, he worked all the time always trying to get ahead. I was lucky enough to have a private lake that my grand parents owned that I learned to fish on, a lot of trial and error. We did get to fish together quit a bit once I was grown. Mostly on a couple of lakes he built himself on a farm he bought right next to the house where I was raised. Dad was quite the fisherman, and I never met any one who went at it harder or enjoyed it more.
I did not think I was going to be able to make another trip down this year, but after reading this twice, I changed my mind.
 
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gznokes

Well-Known Member
My personal best smallmouth on Powell was right at 4 pounds. I caught it in the fall in the back of a canyon up in Last Chance. I actually caught several bigger ones in Ontario, Arkansas and Maine. My best Powell largemouth, I think, was 4-2 which I caught back around 1997 before I ever had the place up here. I caught several bigger ones in Missouri, Arkansas and in the Colorado River down around Yuma. Wayne is familiar with the fishing there. I caught the Lake Powell best in Wahweap Bay in a little cove just above the gravel bar right at dusk on an October evening. I remember that evening well as I also caught my only Lake Powell rainbow trout that same evening. I caught several stripers in the 7-pound class back in 2004 in Navajo Canyon and up in Padre Canyon. My best walleye is about 3 1/2 pounds from Rock Creek and my best catfish is a bit over 4 from Last Chance. I caught a couple crappie in the 1 1/2 pound class from a cove just off the dune in Navajo Canyon back in 1996.

I saw a number of big smallmouth in shallow coves this last trip. A couple of them made the biggest one I caught look like a minnow! There are definitely some bruisers in the lake, a lot more than angling success would indicate I'd suspect.

Ed Gerdemann
Really fascinating to hear about some of those top fish over so many years. Cool story about the rainbow trout too!
 
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