When the readout of their digital scale flickered around the 19-pound mark as this past Monday afternoon faded into early evening, Brian Coe and friend Rick Sutherland decided they should probably get the fat walleye Brian had just caught onto a more official weights and measure device.
After all, the Washington state record is 19.3 pounds.
So they rushed off the Columbia over to Yoke’s grocery store, and even though the scale there pegged the fish at 18.54 pounds, it’s still the catch of a lifetime for the Loon Lake angler.
It’s also right up there with two more toads recently caught out of the Columbia River near Tri-Cities.
Coe, a technician for the Air National Guard at Fairchild Air Force Base west of Spokane, and Sutherland had started out trolling plugs upstream, but with nothing happening, the duo switched to jigging.
While his partner used a blade bait, Coe went with a leadhead and bait — a quarter-ounce glo-in-the-dark jig with a 21/2-inch Berkley Gulp! Minnow.
“It’s a small, easy presentation they can suck in easily,” he says.
He’d already caught two smaller walleye, Sutherland one, but with darkness falling and a long drive back to the northeast ahead of them, the boys were about to call it.
“Basically it was on my very last cast,” recalls Coe. “I had it on for quite awhile. After five minutes I said to Rick it was going to be a very nice fish.”
His previous high mark for walleye was 17 pounds.
Coe mostly fishes Lake Roosevelt and waters closer to his Northeast Washington home, but he learned an important lesson for fishing this part of the Columbia at this time of year.
“Should’ve been jigging all day, I guess,” he says.
For more on how to catch She-Big-Mama-Toaditudity, check out our March issue!