It’s safe to say that Vaseux Lake has given up some big bass. There is possibly no other lake in British Columbia with as many stories of 10+ pound largemouth as this bass sanctuary along Highway 97. However, these giant fish seem to disappear in the summer months, when the lake becomes overrun with 10 to 14 inch smallmouth.
The OBA July event took place this past Saturday, July 12th on Vaseux Lake and pit six randomly-paired teams against one another in a test of brain and brawn to see who could figure out the bass and also navigate this row-only lake. After a brief, early meeting and the handing out of the tournament materials, the anglers were headed out at 5:15 a.m. Teams could choose which of the 3 launches they wanted to put in at, but everyone had to meet at the north-end parking lot by 10:30.
The teams were as follows:
1. Carlos D. and Ryan S.
2. Mike R. and Antonio C.
3. Jesse M.(myself) and Carlos P.
4. Carlo C. and Jarett L.
5. Dave B. and Ben N.
6. Kenyon and James F.
Most of the anglers were club veterans, but James and Kenyon were an interesting story. Not only were they fishing Vaseux Lake for the first time, but they drove all the way from Trail the night before for the event. Both had their first encounters with the OBA at the May event on Christina Lake where they joined in the OBA-run Christina Lake Derby because the usual May-Long weekend derby had been cancelled. They kicked butt there, and were looking for more of the same on Saturday despite fishing unfamiliar waters.
Dave/Ben, Me/Carlos, and James/Kenyon were all fishing a similar area for the first half of the day and got off to a solid start. When one of the monster largemouth that call this lake home followed Dave’s spinnerbait in without biting, he knew he was inches away from a possible win. These three teams would trade smallies, with James/Kenyon catching the biggest of the morning, a 1 lb 3 oz specimen they dinged on a jerkbait.
The remaining three teams would focus on the opposite end of the lake, also catching mostly smallmouth. Carlo and Jarett would manage a few small largemouth, but none of the big ones would show their face today. It would be all about the smallmouth.
Mike was forced to fish alone as Antonio nursed a sore back at home, but it didn’t hold him back as he had a plan. He figured out an area and went to work, catching about a dozen smallmouth in the 0.5 to 1.5 pound range. He also saw a much bigger one swimming underneath his boat, but couldn’t get it to hook up. Mike lamented the fact he was fishing solo noting that several times he had hooked a fish and had another fish follow it in, but nobody to cast to that other fish.
Carlos D. and Ryan would put together a solid day, catching a limit with all of their fish close to a pound. It was a similar story to Dave and Ben. In fact, every team would manage at least 4 keepers, with 4 of the 6 teams weighing 5 fish limits.
Me and Carlos P. were off to a modest start, with 3 fish under a pound in the first 3 hours. With time ticking, we weren’t feeling confident with our day. However, Carlos, who was also fishing Vaseux Lake for the first time, would tie into a bigger smallmouth that weighed 1 lb 12 oz on his secret bait to improve our chances. A last minute decision would save our day, as we caught six bass over a pound in the final hour of the tournament to cap off a solid day on the water.
When all was said and done, the final scoreboard looked like this:
While many fish were caught, the big ones remained elusive. Carlos’ 1 lb 12 oz smallmouth would hold on as the big fish of the day, as a plethora of 12 oz to 1 lb 8 oz bass would be weighed in, but none touching Carlos’. He would take home the grand prize of a Berkley Powerbait tackle bag filled with baits and ready to fish to take along on his future fishing adventures. As the sun rose in the sky and the day turned hotter, the 11 anglers that took part in this event got together for a group photo which I hope to put on this site soon as Dave sends it my way. All in all, it was a great event for July, and a real test for all involved.
The winning team with 2/5 of their stringer, a doubleheader in the final hour.