UPDATED 10.7.18 My 39/39 Challenge has ended.

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8theB8
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UPDATED 10.7.18 My 39/39 Challenge has ended.

Post by 8theB8 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:19 pm

Many years ago I had the goofy idea of challenging myself to catch a keeper bass out of every County in Washington State. Why? Partly boredom, partly restlessness but mainly adventure, sightseeing, exploration, motivation! I have about 15 lakes within an hour of me I pound year after year, a few more I journey to at least once a year and while it's fun and I enjoy making the rounds on those lakes and the bass in them greatly, I can't help but find myself feeling like it's a Mobius Script of repetition sometimes. I remembered back when I bought my first bass boat and how motivated I was to hit at least one NEW lake every weekend! I also remembered fondly the exploration aspect, the opportunity to see new areas and scope out future destinations.

My original goal was to take my old Tracker and run from county to county trying to knock out as many as possible but after loads of research I realized that there are a couple counties in the SW corner that flat out do not list bass in any of their lakes and a couple SE counties that don't seem to have 'lakes' at all, just the Snake River?! I also started to notice the boat launching issues...numerous areas where the only available water had no info regarding launches OR no feasible launch for a trailered boat? OR no motors allowed! I shelved the idea until I could get a clearer plan and as usually happens 'life' put everything on hold for a while.

I purchased a Jon Boat a few years ago, modified it out to my liking and that rekindled the idea. However, I was still concerned about the launches as I would inevitably be flying fairly blind in a couple areas. The JB is nice but with my modifications came extra weight and dragging that thing in and out of lakes can be interesting to difficult or even impossible when by myself. I'm not 22 anymore so I again shelved the idea.

Fast forward to May 7th, 2018 when I purchased a used Wilderness Systems Ride 115 kayak off of Craigslist. I had been kicking around the kayak idea for about two years and finally decided to pull the trigger when I found a great deal on a slightly used one. I have been messing around with this thing for a month now and it's awesome! I can drag it in and out of anywhere, through, over and under almost anything!! It has opened up so many new fishing opportunities it's amazing! Now that I have gotten pretty comfortable in it, the motivation to complete my County challenge has flared up again, BIG TIME! It's one of those things just to say I did and you can't say you did it unless you actually go and do it! Lol

I have also never seen the entire SE corner of this State so that will be fun! Same with the SW corner, except for passing through on my way to Oregon etc... I'm not going to drag this challenge out over years, my goal is one keeper bass and (using MLF rules) that means one pound or bigger. I don't care if it takes five minutes or five hours, as soon as it's boated and photographed it's off to the next county! The recon I accomplish will bode well for my second challenge and open up numerous new areas and future opportunities!

I have already successfully bass fished in 15 of Washington's 39 counties over the years so I only have 24 to go and I plan on checking 13 of those off the list this weekend. I leave this Friday on the first trip that will take me on a 1200 mile loop of Eastern WA. I will first hit Chelan and Douglas Counties, then up through Ferry, over to Pend Oreille before driving south to Whitman and Asotin. Then west through Garfield, Columbia, Walla Walla, Franklin, Benton and Klickitat and finally heading north through Yakima County. That will hopefully complete all Eastern WA counties provided I can keep the skunk at bay!!

This will all fit nicely into my new and second challenge... I try to read just about every report, comment, article or post Mr. Bob Johansen makes on this site and recently seeing him post about how many lakes he's caught bass out of in this State in his lifetime (283 and counting I believe?) has inspired me to make a second challenge to myself. I want to catch a bass out of 500 lakes in this State in my fishing lifetime!! Yep, 500! Again, why not?! I have been having fun hitting a few new small lakes in this yak but between that thing, my JB and my RT nothing is off limits anymore so what the heck?! This challenge will take much longer to complete as I currently only sit at 77 lakes completed but that's ok. I hope to be bassin' as long as Bob has so that buys me another 30 years hopefully :) Bob has been a big influence and source of inspiration for myself over at least the past 15 years in regards to this sport and I have never even met the man. I'm sure many of you can agree with me on that one! His dedication and meticulous record keeping have helped us all at one time or another with launch information, lake reports and comments regarding past successes and failures. I would like to dedicate my 500 Lake Challenge to Bob and everything he has done for a sport I absolutely cherish! Thank you Bob!

Maybe my challenges will have a similar affect on some younger bass anglers, who knows? If so, GREAT! I could think of much worse things youngsters could do with their time. So many things I love about this sport and I have done it up and down the West Coast over the past three plus decades and counting! It just never gets old and there are always new ways to pursue it and enjoy it. I'm doing these two challenges primarily to motivate myself and breed new life into my 'addiction' of bass fishing. I'm excited to see new areas, new lakes, eat at new restaurants, stay at new places etc... I bought my wife a kayak too and I look forward to any trips she can make with me and to new areas I discover that we can return to for fishing and camping trips over the coming decades.

Well, that's my concept anyways, wish me luck if you wouldn't mind! I'm going to GoPro and document as much as possible along the way but as the adrenaline gets going sometimes I just don't take the time ha ha. If anyone has any bass fishing suggestions regarding the SE and SW corners, let me know. I have a pretty good game plan already but intend to bank fish the Snake for smallies where possible, if possible?! Should be interesting! B8 :salut:
Last edited by 8theB8 on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:46 am, edited 24 times in total.

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Amx
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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by Amx » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:27 pm

Best of luck and have loads of fun. [thumbsup]
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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by branweeds » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:55 am

That is friggin awesome. Hopefully you get a couple EW bassing videos up. You should keep this thread updated as you go from county to county. Good luck!

Also- what’s your definition of a keeper for this trip? A couple pounds? Or are you going for a 4+ in every county?

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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by Amx » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:42 am

branweeds wrote:That is friggin awesome. Hopefully you get a couple EW bassing videos up. You should keep this thread updated as you go from county to county. Good luck!

Also- what’s your definition of a keeper for this trip? A couple pounds? Or are you going for a 4+ in every county?
quoted from his paragraph;

"my goal is one keeper bass and (using MLF rules) that means one pound or bigger."
Tom.

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8theB8
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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:21 am

Correct, just nail a "keeper" (1lb or bigger) and move on, of course I will be trying for bigger but I can always come back at a later date and re-fish the really good looking stuff, maybe even bring the big boat?! [biggrin]

Cramming in the research this week and have already uncovered a couple interesting ponds I didn't see before. It's always nice to have smaller back up lakes just in case the wind gets whipping?! Looks like some weather this weekend...need to go buy some Frog Toggs...

I definitely plan on updating as time and connectivity allow [thumbsup]

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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:56 am

Update 6/5/18:

Decided to leave Thursday afternoon instead of Friday afternoon to get a jump on the weather system that may affect Saturday/Sunday...and to provide a little more 'fishing' time each day...I should average about one hour per body of water? [thumbsup]

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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by tmusky1 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:02 pm

I guess I'm fishing vicariously through 8theB8
Seriously, what a cool adventure! Good luck and be safe, keep us posted!

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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:57 pm

I appreciate the well wishes everyone but unfortunately I had to pull the plug after the third lake #-o just got home.

That kayak is just not going to cut it against the E-WA winds! ](*,) I checked out two small lakes in Malaga but both were a no go. I jumped across the river and fished two small lakes on the Douglas County side but didn't even spook a bass?

I ran up to Wapato above Chelan and same results only here I had whitecaps breaking over my bow to start. Got some decent casts in and I thought I had one take on a Senko but no hook-ups.

The wind is supposed to be worse tomorrow and thunderstorms on Saturday! I'm going to regroup and try again in July perhaps? Let the bass get more into their summer patterns and out of post spawn. I'm also going to have to take the Jon Boat so I have a bow mount and don't have to pull muscles fighting the inevitable wind! I may rig up a way to take the JB and tow the RT? Then I could kick some butt for sure!

Stay tuned, this isn't over by any means... B8 [thumbup]

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Re: My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:43 pm

Well, this is shaping up to be a pretty decent challenge! Definitely a learning experience. Shouldn't be a problem, just roll around catching one pounders and checking off lakes and counties right? Not so fast...take into account: fluctuating weather conditions, individual lake conditions, individual lake restrictions, access points or lack thereof, seasonal fishing patterns and a few other ingredients and the difficulty level definitely increases, which is good, I didn't want a slam dunk. I absolutely underestimated the difficulty level involved with using the kayak though, it's doable but it is NOT doable efficiently. When I launched on Wapato I did so into about a 10+mph headwind, therefore, if I wanted to escape the wind I needed to head to the far end of the lake...paddling that distance into the wind would take about 30+ minutes, keep in mind I left myself about 1 hour per lake so my time on that lake was cut in half immediately, before ever making a cast. Then there's the control issues, make a cast and get blown 10-20 yards away isn't effective or enjoyable. The kayak would require a plan to commit an entire day or at least a half day to each individual lake and that's not going to happen (this round).

I could run all of the lakes I mapped out in the Jon Boat as it has a bow mount that pulls me at 3.5mph but I would still run into issues on the rivers for sure! I may need to split Eastern WA up into two trips? Hit all I can with the RT in one run and go back to some of the counties with the JB another trip? The RT would allow me to find fish by exploring structure or running from cover to cover and fish way more efficiently overall. I love the kayak because it's old school, minimal tackle, no electronics (yet), fishing visible targets for the most part and while all that is fun, it isn't always efficient. If the bass are on a specific structure/cover combination and you need to get to that combination but it's a mile from the launch then it's a problem in a yak, especially when you're on a time crunch.

The other issue is what lakes are available and what bass are in them? If the lake is full of stunted bass then you could spend hours and hours weeding through dinks trying to get to a pounder. Or, if the lake information is 10 years old, do bass even exist anymore? Was it killed off? The first lake I stopped at Friday you had to launch over boulders on a roadside and there were lot's of no trespassing signs around! I made a few casts from shore but kept looking over my shoulder for someone to complain about where I parked (didn't happen) but I did not feel comfortable launching there. The second lake looks great on Google Maps but there was no public launch to be found, just house after house and more no trespassing signs, weird?! I almost flagged down an elderly couple and offered to pay them to launch from their backyard lol.

This is a very doable challenge and while my first attempt may have flopped, the information I obtained will change everything about my next attempt and after all, isn't that what fishing is all about?? Learn learn learn! I may try again in mid-July? I may wait until September? It's going to depend on special hunting apps and whether or not I draw a permit (hoping I don't). In the meantime I will focus on picking off counties on this side of the mountains and continue to fill in the blanks on my map [biggrin] I like the kayak 'concept' and may go back and hit some of the smaller lakes I mapped someday? For now, to complete this thing quickly, the RT will go first, followed by the JB. One thing for sure, it's going to be an adventure and that's exactly what I was hoping for.

B8

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Re: UPDATED 6.9.18 My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by Amx » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:13 pm

Ya, you can't change the weather. It'll smooth out and you can get some fishing done.
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Re: UPDATED 6.9.18 My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:40 am

Yep. Just need to take a different approach! Round two tentatively rescheduled for the third week in July. [biggrin]

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Re: UPDATED 6.14.18 My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:31 am

Digging through old notes I found a personal fishing report from Lake Leland over in Jefferson County so that was a bonus! Caught three there back in 2001 with the biggest going just over two pounds.

Well, I'm making a short run tomorrow to try and check off Yakima and Chelan Counties. Getting off work at 10am and taking the Jon Boat this time [biggrin] My wife has a birthday trip planned to Lake Chelan next month and wants to take the kayaks so hopefully while we're there I can get back to those small lakes in Douglas County and scratch that off too?! That would be awesome because the following week is my second go at the rest of Eastern WA! I could get off work and head straight for Ferry County if I didn't have to worry about Chelan and Douglas [thumbsup]

One question, I've been taking boat launch pics but where do I send them? Should I just post a report and include the pics or do I send them somewhere directly? B8

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Re: UPDATED 6.14.18 My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by The Quadfather » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:56 am

Send them to Mike or Aaron, as well as if you can add any info. such as, “ launch has a simple dock to tie off to, or Launch is steep , or very shallow, etc.

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Re: UPDATED 6.14.18 My 39/39 Challenge and Fish 500 Challenge have begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:38 pm

I'll just do a report, I can't see where to add a pic to a PM? If it's difficult at home it will be worse from my phone as I'm traveling. Thanks.

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Re: UPDATED 6.16.18 My 39/39 Challenge has begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:25 pm

6/16/18:

Well, this little challenge is shaping up to be a beast! I got off work Friday at 1000 and drove straight to Yakima and Pond #6 of the I-82 Pond system. This Pond and Pond 4 are advertised as having the best access (not walk-in), so I thought 'slam dunk'. I arrived with the JB to a parking lot and a row of guard rail sections that ran the length of it. There was a couple fishing at the end of the rails where I could have easily slid the JB in and I didn't want to disturb them, so I drove the parking lot and there was literally ONE gap the JB would fit through ](*,)

I went ahead and launched with a little work and headed for the little island in the center. I was surprised to find depths to 30 feet in such a small pond! The water was calm and there were fry balls literally everywhere. At one point, while retying, a huge school sought out my boat as refuge and I was literally floating in a massive fry ball. I have encountered this in the past, (post spawn), and man does it shut the bite down [sad] I downsized everything I could (need to add more finesse baits to the JB tackle) and worked two laps around the pond and three around the island and never so much as spooked a bass? Just carp! I decided to pull out as I had already spent more time there than I wanted. As a result, I scraped the idea of making Douglas County this day and I instead did a little recon of the Yakima area for the future trip that is now inevitable. I found Pond #4 and there is no way my JB would make it out of that launch as it has a decent hill, so this will be a kayak Pond, go figure lol! I talked to one guy coming out in a kick boat and his results were the same as mine on #6 so I left and drove to Myron Lake to have a look. I found it too would not sustain a JB launch unless I brought someone to help carry the boat from the parking lot to the waters edge...so kayak here as well...it figures and duly noted.

I bailed out and headed for Chelan County. As I drove back north I could not help but notice the towering black and grey clouds ahead of me [omg] ! My hope was that the thunderstorms obviously associated with them would move far enough east that they wouldn't impact me too much? The radio was now talking about the weather over the Wenatchee area and Cascades, great. As I drove over Blewitt Pass it was pouring rain at times and the wind was blowing pretty good. I decided to head for Fish Lake as it was on the way home and if it was blown out I could just continue home.

I arrived at Fish Lake's "The Cove Resort" as I do not know of any other launch on the lake? Man was it nasty out there! [scared] Heavy whitecaps, trees swaying around, fun stuff! As I was in the little store I noticed that the little 'cove' area near the launch wasn't too bad? Since I was already logging the miles and it was only 6pm, I paid the $10 launch fee and went for it. I fished the launch dock and caught one on my very first cast...it only weighed 0.5 pounds so it doesn't count. I fished the entire pad edge of the cove and out to the reed point and into the wind. It was the first time I ever felt uncomfortable in the JB! It was also the first time I had water break over the bow of the JB! I turned around and pitched the pads and reeds all the way back to the launch with zero results. As I got back near the area the first fish hit I hooked up again, this one weighed 0.6 pounds grrr! On the very next cast, the line started swimming immediately, I gave it a second and bowed up, big fish! It ran right in front of the boat and was easily a 4 pounder....I thought FINALLY! Then it came off ](*,) I was pretty deflated knowing I only had this limited area to fish and that could have been the only score-able bass there?

Not landed, it doesn't count. I fished back and forth here until dark, pinned by the wind I never left the cove. Heck, even larger boats with outboards had been turning around and coming back immediately the whole time. It really sucked and I wasn't about to risk it. At least I discovered that you can launch a trailer'd boat there! That changes the approach a bit :) I also noted that the water temps in this lake were 10 degrees colder than Yakima, which makes sense given the altitude difference.

I have officially dropped the Fish 500 Challenge, for now. This is shaping up to be an awesome challenge in and of itself and the more it pokes me in the chest the more focused I become on seeing it through. [woot] [flapper] [thumbsup] My thought process and approach seems to adapt every attempt and my new game plan will consist of heading to a County with the thought of getting it checked off. Only then will I head for the next County on the list. This will potentially slow things up a bit but if it takes five minutes or five days it needs to get done.

Going into areas with zero knowledge is definitely added difficulty. Trying to put a bite together in an hour on a lake you've never fished and know little to nothing about adds to that challenge. The internet is a great resource but it doesn't know everything. Only boots on the ground can truly be trusted. I still feel it's possible to complete this challenge in 2018 but I am done until July I think? Let the majority of the fry get consumed, let summer patters settle in a bit more, then get after it. This many fry in the lakes makes catching a bass like trying to sell a half eaten sandwich at an all you can eat buffet! #-o

It's supposed to be fun and adventurous but it's beginning to consume my thoughts.... [blink]

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Re: UPDATED 6.16.18 My 39/39 Challenge has begun!

Post by tmusky1 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:42 pm

You've got me thinking about a tiger musky tour...

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Re: UPDATED 6.16.18 My 39/39 Challenge has begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:34 pm

DO IT!! [thumbsup]

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Re: UPDATED 6.23.18 My 39/39 Challenge has begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:51 pm

SUCCESS! Made it back over to Fish Lake this morning and got two hours in before the wind did it's thing! I was able to get where I wanted to fish originally and bagged a 2.2 on a Senko, then a 1+ on a small swim jig and a 3.5 on the same. Chelan County...CHECK! Once this challenge is over I want to go back with the RT and really cover this lake, very pretty.

I also had a near miss with a diving osprey!! Got the whole thing on GoPro! I'll see if I can post pics but this site has been fighting me and I don't have resize capabilities on the laptop...
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Re: UPDATED 6.23.18 My 39/39 Challenge has begun!

Post by Mike Carey » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:40 pm

8theB8 , this sounds like an awesome quest and is right in line with why I started the web site so many years ago! I hope Bob sees this post. He would be touched and honored I'm sure. Could you send me a PM? I have a question....
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Re: UPDATED 6.23.18 My 39/39 Challenge has begun!

Post by 8theB8 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:22 am

Thanks Mike,

PM sent

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