By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
The Lewis County Bass Club will celebrate the opening day of fishing season with a two-day bass fishing tournament on Riffe Lake, April 30 and May 1.
The Saturday tournament is open to club and non-club member teams alike. Entry fees are $100 per team. Sunday’s event is an individual competition for club members only.
Club President Mark Robinson said the lake looks like it is shaping up to produce some nice fish, “if everything stays the way it’s going.”
“The temperature is up two and a half degrees from two weeks ago,” Robinson said. “If they keep the lake at about the same level it’s at now — without raising or lowering it drastically — we may be heading into a perfect storm of bass fishing.”
The cold spring hasn’t been very kind to area bass club tournaments.
The Capitol City Bass Club held a tournament on Silver Lake at the end of March, and not a single fish was caught. The Mount St. Helens Bass Masters April 9 tournament on Riffe Lake ended with only 11 fish. A week later, only two fish were caught at the two-day Western Bass Club tournament on Silver Lake.
Robinson hopes that two weeks from now the temperatures at Riffe Lake will have improved significantly and anglers will be popping out bass left and right.
Entering the Open Tournament
You don’t have to own a boat to be in the tournament, but you have to be in a boat, Robinson said.
Safety checks will be conducted on every boat before they enter the water, Robinson said. The boat must have life vests for everyone on board, a tethered kill switch to the motor, and an aerated livewell — fish must be presented live at the weigh-in or anglers will be penalized.
This is the 16th year the club has kicked off the bass fishing season with an open tournament.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Robinson said. “And there will be about $5,000 to $6,000 worth of raffle prizes at the end of the day.”
And if the big money prizes in the raffle and the first-, second- and third-place trophies aren’t enough, there is a $500 pot open to the angler who lands the biggest fish of the day.
Entry into the biggest fish pot costs an extra $10.
“But you only have to catch one fish to win the $500,” Robinson said. “I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t want to try for that one for an extra $10.”
The top five fish caught from the boat are what go to the weigh-in at the end of the day.
“And we’re a catch and release club,” Robinson said. “You get penalized if you bring us a dead fish for the weigh-in.”
Robinson also warns anglers to make sure the fish is of legal size, 12 inches and over.
Joining the Club
Robinson said the club has been active for 20 years. Dues cost individual members $35 a year, families can join for $45.
You don’t have to have a boat of your own to join, Robinson said, “but once you get out there and start fishing, you’ll say, ‘Man, I gotta have a boat!’”
Club membership entitles anglers entry into the seven closed tournaments the club sponsors each year at various local and not so local lakes. Club tournaments are individual competitions, with bass fisherman angling after the title of being the club’s top fisherman.
“It’s a competitive club, but we’re really family oriented,” he said. “We love to see the kids out there. There’s nothing better than seeing the kid at the weigh-in winning with the biggest fish of the day.”
Robinson has had his kids, a 19-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl, out on the water since before the day they could hold a rod in their hands.
“I had my daughter out in the boat in her bassinet,” Robinson said with a laugh. “And she’s a tough fisherman. She’ll stay out there all day long, longer than I do. She can’t get enough of it.”
New members are welcome. There are only 19 members in the club currently. Most have young families, some grew up in the club and are just starting families of their own.
The club holds monthly meetings, enjoys camping lakeside at tournaments together and participate in the annual Centralia Fourth of July parade.
If you are new to bass fishing, Robinson said, there will always be someone willing to help you out and show you what they’re using to fish and how they’re fishing.
“We’re competitive, but we’re friendly,” he said.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Lewis County Bass Club
For more information contact club president Mark Robinson by phone at 736-0903 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit their website at www.lewiscountybassclub.com.
Open Team Bass Tournament, April 30
How to Enter: Call or email club President Mark Robinson to get an entry form for the April 30 Open Team Bass Tournament. Entry fee is $100 per team, if your form is in the week prior to the event, $110 at the dock.
Meet at the Riffe Lake Mossyrock Park main launch at 5:30 a.m. for a driver’s meeting.
Weigh-in is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Boat Requirements: life vests, aerated livewell, tethered kill switch.
No pre-fishing Riffe Lake after April 25.