There’s a reason so many bass anglers consider Clear Lake to be their favorite water no matter the season, because it consistently kicks out quality fish. Its attraction however, goes beyond numbers in the livewell. This is lake, which on any given day, could produce the fish of a lifetime. Springtime is legendary for its swimbait-chewin’ hawgs. The summertime topwater and dropshot bites can be nothing short of phenomenal. Fall can turn into a crankbait/spinnerbait slugfest. And even during the dead of winter, the jig and ripbait bites can turn red-hot.
Clear Lake California
Clear Lake is also a place that, more often than not, will match up with your strong suit. Like to power fish? Swimbaits, crankbaits, ripbaits – they can all shine on this lake. You’re a topwater fanatic? Summer and fall, buzzbaits and Spooks can by dynamite, and the post-spawn frog bite can be, quite literally, explosive. You like the short game of flippin’ and pitchin’? You could spend a season working docks, tulles and wood and never run out of options. There is deep structure for the finesse angler and rock piles for the jig specialist.
Mike Reynolds, the 5-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier from Modesto, CA, has fished all over the country. He still feels that Clear Lake is the #1 bass spot in the nation. “The Delta might be better for big bass, and Guntersville and Champlain are both great lakes. But day in and day out, Clear Lake has more 4-lb’ers than any lake I’ve ever seen.”
If you’re a follower of bass tournaments, you’re already familiar with some of the astonishing results: in March 2005, with a 4-fish limit in effect, Sieg Taylor weighed-in 94 lb 11 oz for 16 bass to win the FLW Everstart event. Then the BASS Elite show rolled into town in late March – early April of 2007 and Steve Kennedy shattered records with 20 fish weighing an eye-popping 122 lbs 14 oz. And although Kennedy’s win came largely on the backs of swimbaits, Taylor won primarily by ripping Lucky Craft LV 500’s off the bottom, highlighting the diversity of presentations that can be rewarded at Clear Lake.
Lake County has maintained a relaxed, rural flavor, and a trip there can take you back to a different time in California. If you want to bring the entire family, there’s plenty for everyone to do. Swimming and water skiing are naturals. Bird watching is also popular with vast numbers of mallards, Western grebes, coots, geese, osprey, plovers, cormorants and mergansers on the lake’s waters and along its shorelines. For the history buff, this is an area that was once the stomping grounds of the stage robber, Black Bart, the scene of a battle with Native Americans at Bloody Island, and a training ground for the old-time pugilist, John L. Sullivan. There’s a water-park near the town of Clearlake-Outrageous Waters, with slides and rafting. And for something completely different, you can take an excursion to nearby Middletown to catch a tour of the Calpine geothermal field known as “The Geysers.”
At over 43,000 acres and with more than 100 miles of shoreline, Clear Lake has a wide variety of water for the bass angler to explore. In fact, many divide it into three, distinct sections: the north end, south end, and Rattlesnake arm. Lakeport is the center of the lake’s north section. There are rock piles, but its main features are tulles, weed mats, docks – and sloughs feeding into the lake renowned for their habit of attracting lunkers during the springtime. Native hitch move into these sloughs to spawn and giant bass are often there to greet them. Hitch seem almost remarkably inept at avoiding predation as they lazily fin along the upper section of the water column on warm spring days. Maybe this ancient species just never bothered to adapt to newcomers, such as the Pomos who appeared around 8,000 years ago and began harvesting them, or in the last century, largemouth bass, who have found them to be protein-rich meals.
The north end sports many of the lake’s most famous community-holes. We’re talking about the mouth of Rodman Slough, Rocky and Long Tule Points, Corinthian Bay with its entrance to Shirley Slough, Quercus Point and nearby State Park, the docks of Nice (neese) and Lucerne and “Swimbait Corner” at the lake’s northwestern extremity.
Lots of huge fish are caught and many tournaments are won, on the north end. Yet a substantial number of anglers, the afore-mentioned Mike Reynolds among them, still favor the south end. It’s focus of activity is the town of Clearlake and the launch ramp at Redbud. From there, you can quickly venture to the nearby steep, rocky shorelines that have produced so many winning fish. Places like Jago Bay, Fraser Point, Bass Alley, “The Pipeline,” and the Boatworks are all well worth the visit. And if flipping is your game, a short hop into Cache Creek can set your heart racing with its lay downs and thick, shoreline brush.
Last but far from least is the Rattlesnake arm of the lake, so termed for one of its most prominent features, Rattlesnake Island. Rock piles are often the name of the game here, and the skilled dropshot or jig angler can many times enjoy a field day in these environs. On the western side, opposite this arm, are other famed locales including Henderson Point, Shag Rock and Soda Bay.
These are a smattering of the many hotspots to be found on this body of water, one of the oldest in North America but still one of its most productive. It also has hospitable places to stay, hotels, rental homes, condos, and campgrounds, many with berths for your boat. Some that are worth checking out include Lake Haven Place in Clear Lake Oaks 800-998-0106, the Mallard House, Skylark Shores and Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina near Lakeport, the Best Western and Travel Lodge in the town of Clearlake and the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa along the lake’s mid-section. If you prefer camping, Clear Lake State Park offers clean, spacious RV parking and tent locations, hot showers, and Wi-Fi service within 150-200 feet of its Visitor Center. You can read more about lodging and restaurants at www.lakecounty.com.
Another attractive feature of Clear Lake is that despite its status as one of the nation’s premier bass fisheries, it is still quite accessible from major cities. From San Francisco, it takes about 2 ½ hours to get to the 6th Street launch ramp in Lakeport. Go north on Highway 101, then travel east on either 20 (a better call if you’re towing a boat) or 175. From Sacramento, it takes about 2 hours to reach the Redbud launch ramp by heading north on I-5, then going west on 20.
No discussion of Clear Lake would be complete without mention of the incredible summer bite that has been happening over the last several years. If you’ve ever wanted to introduce a child or non-fishing friend to the excitement of bass fishing, this is about as close to a “sure thing” as you’re ever going to find outside of farm ponds or pay lakes. Drop- or split-shotting the shallows off points or along shady docks, especially from the midlake section south, can produce one bass after another.
If you want to chat with some local experts, stop by Limit Out Bait & Tackle in Clearlake Oaks (707) 998-1006 or Clear Lake Outdoors in Lakeport (707) 262-5852. All these shops have terrific selections of popular baits and knowledgeable staffs that will help you pick gear that best matches your style of fishing.
Bad weather happens but don’t let it keep you home.
When faced with a cloudy day during any of the warmer months it is the time to put away the slow moving baits and tie on a top water or fast moving bait.
The wind will dictate the type of top water bait you throw.
If the wind picks up more pick up a buzz bait. Use a single blade for a medium wind and a double buzzer if it gets pretty choppy.
Warm days with some weather can be the best fishing of your life.
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Bass Angler Magazine Editor-in-Chief Takes to the Water for ProPatterns Film Contest
As the ProPatterns Exposed Eligible? film contest enters its final month, Mark Lassagne, Editor-in-Chief of the popular quarterly Bass Angler Magazine, set out on the water with camera to capture a day of fishing that will soon serve as his entry into the Exposed Eligible? film contest. This was an chance for the industry editor to be on the other side of the story sharing his industry knowledge, in this one of a kind video opportunity being hosted at http://www.propatterns.com.
Being able to get in the boat with these guys helped me open my eyes to what other people were doing.
Yankton, SD (PRWEB) August 06, 2014
Lassagne as a tournament angler brings not only his experience on the water, but also twenty years of industry expertise, having founded Bass Angler Magazine two decades ago and, since then, building the periodical into the premier “how-to” magazine it is today. Each issue features over two-dozen articles that profile top professional anglers who offer the insight that has led to their success.
Lassagne took a few minutes to speak with ProPatterns after a successful day of filming to discuss what a contest like Exposed Eligible? could mean for those who take the chance at becoming “exposed.”
The contest, which has been running since June, offers fans of all levels of experience the chance to create and upload a three-to-five minute video that focuses on education about angling practices as they relate to specific patterns, bodies of water, use of equipment, creation of techniques or equipment, tournament practices, ethics or other topics pertaining to fundamental learning for use by other anglers. The contest offers the entrants the opportunity to showcase their skills not only for thousands of fans, but also for a panel of Exposed pros who will be judging the top ten entrants.
Lassagne, hot off the water, discussed the challenges professional anglers face and the opportunity a contest like Exposed Eligible? could offer unknowns. “A lot of things come into play when anglers set out to become professionals,” Lassagne told ProPatterns. “Being able to fish isn’t enough. You have to be able to find and keep sponsors, and you have to be able to speak in public. Public speaking was a hurdle for me when I started out, but once I gained that skill, that helped me with sponsors.”
Lassagne also discussed how his role as Editor-in-Chief of BAM helped him gain access to many of the best anglers in the world. “Being able to get in the boat with these guys helped me open my eyes to what other people were doing.” Lassagne, who has had “the chance to fish with some of the best in the world,” recommends those starting out “go fish in some opens, see how other anglers are doing it.” Doing this, he says, “increased my learning curve.”
Lassagne adds that “contests like Exposed Eligible? are wonderful. Even though not everybody can win, these videos are getting out to thousands of people, and that’s what it’s all about.” Lassagne went on to discuss why he was throwing his hat into the ring. “A contest like this is a great opportunity to ‘expose’ myself to a whole bunch of anglers and promote my own sponsors. Plus, I might have the opportunity to fish with Timmy.”
The grand-prize winner of the Exposed Eligible? film contest will win a travel package that takes them onto the water with Elite pro and television personality Timmy Horton. The day of fishing will be filmed and become part of the next season of Exposed.
Exposed Eligible? contest submission guidelines can be found at http://www.ProPatterns.com or fans may visit the Exposed Eligible? Facebook page to view and vote for their favorite videos.
Fishing enthusiasts can find Bass Angler Magazine nationwide at Tackle Warehouse, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Walmart and better tackle shops everywhere. The magazine also is available in print, Mobile App or eBook versions. As part of the http://www.ProPatterns.com subscription package, members of the online service receive a complimentary eBook edition of the most current issue of the magazine.
More About ProPatterns, Inc. and Exposed:
ProPatterns, Inc. is a leader of angling education by sharing professional fishing tips, industry information and member services online. In addition, ProPatterns offers prize filled competitions, sharing of information among peers, and connections to industry professionals and media through means available nowhere else.
Information is gathered from various sources and disseminated with members in a variety of ways. The Exposed video series, for example, gains all of its integrity from an alignment with the biggest names in the bass fishing industry including professionals who fish with BASS, FLW, and PAA. Cooperation from the anglers and their willingness to share is the catalyst for the growth of this series.
For #exposedeligible contest information and rules, the Exposed video series, and all other ProPatterns offerings, and to become an ELITE or Social ProPatterns member, please visit http://www.ProPatterns.com.
It was Wednesday, July 9th we launch at 5:15 AM. Since, it was still dark out we got on the trolling motor instead of using our usual run. I choose to use a noisy bait that the fish could find. We both had a River2Sea Whopper Plopper tied on, same bait in the same color, Monkey But. I casted #1 across the point and nothing happened. Not being able to see in the darkness I made my 2nd cast too close to the shore line and a three and a half pound bass clobbers it. I thought it was a seven pounder by the way it hit but I was still happy to have a quality fish before the sun even comes up.
Continuing down the bank we get blown upon but we were still unable to land any fish, they seem smaller here anyway. Switching up to a white frog I land a pound and half bass. My partner lands a small one on the Plopper. The sun starts to come up and we land a couple more bass but they are all small.
We switch spots to an area with a lot of current. The tide is about half way out at this point. Fishing down the bank we land a few more bass but they are also small, like one pounders. So were on the move again.
This next spot is a rocky point with good moving water where we landed a couple more bass but still no size.
Since I’m pre fishing for the tournament I won’t stay in an area unless there are quality bass. If I find a spot with quality bass I will leave before catching too many. Spot five is a tulle lined bank with rock, tulles, weeds and current which has many places to cast a moving bait so I switch up to a rattling bait in baby bass color. I use this color this time of year because there are many small bass and big bass eat small bass. This might sound bad but they do. Casting in and around the targets in spot five I feel good about it but still fail to land a fish over two pounds.
Spot six, is similar to spot five but I caught good ones there a week ago, it has a few fish but still no good ones. At this point we have caught about 15 – 20 bass and only one over three pounds.
About two hours into the day we reached Spot seven we go shallow and break out the punching gear. A flippin stick, 65lb braid, 1oz R2S tungsten and a beaver, Flappin Hog style bait in green and brown colors. Three casts later we have a good two and a half and a couple more close to that. We head down that bank fishing fast and trying not to hit every spot, we get a four pounder and a couple more decent bass. We leave this area not wanting to burn it up before the tournament.
Things are looking up, we were pretty much biding our time until the sun came up, thinking the fish would move under the thick weeds and Hyacinth.
Spots eight through twelve were all punching places but the bite seemed to have died once we left the prime area. The tide is now pretty low and I’m thinking maybe the fish moved out of those shallow matted areas so we headed over to a rock bank with a little depth and I tried out my white Chatter bait with a white Swimming Senko. With the Third cast I caught a nice two and half pounder, then I caught another two and another two, wow here they are. Not giants but pretty good quality.
Heading to the next spot I notice a Hyacinth mat sticking out from the bank, one flip in and I see it has two feet of water, second flip and I land a four pounder, I mark that spot and try to find more like it. Since I’m practicing I found a couple more and mark them but I don’t fish. If I catch a big one today for sure I won’t catch him later.
It’s now low tide slack to coming in a little; we hit several spot but no luck. When the tide is low I try to find major intersections, so we headed to the main river. Just then a big ship comes by sucking the water out of all the local backwaters making everything there a muddy mess. We fish a few spots but nothing and we head off the main river for some cleaner water.
We find a tulle bank with some deep water and Hyacinth where we land a few more bass close to two pounds but nothing to write home about. From there we hop around trying different spots mostly punching. At this point we are landing a bass about every 15 minutes but still not the quality I’m looking for.
It’s getting close to two o’clock now and we’re making our way back to the ramp still trying new spots but now with the higher water we are fishing a variety of baits, the chatter bait, rattling bait, Whopper Plopper and punching.
The last spot we hit had wooden poles off the bank so I’m using the chatter bait and my partner is using the Plopper. The water explodes right at the boat, four pounder just crushed the Whopper Plopper, he lands it, we fish a few quick spots and head in.
All in all a good day we had 30 something bass for the day, three four pounders and other good ones for about 18 pounds plus. We left the good areas alone. If this holds up it will be a good weekend but it’s fishing and you just never know.
Thanks for hanging out.
Until next time Mark Lassagne
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Until next time
Mark Lassagne, Publisher Bass Angler Magazine
Can you learn by not catching a bass?
Every time you go bass fishing it’s a learning experience adding a little more to what you already know or think you might know. No matter how good you are you won’t catch bass on every outing.
As you head off down the lake what makes you stop on a certain spot? Was it where you caught fish before, it looks good or was there a calculated reason based upon current and seasonal conditions.
Stopping on that first spot what technique did you use? Was it a reaction bait because you’re hyped up to be fishing or a finesse technique just so you can catch a bass. Again why did you use that technique was it embedded deep in your memory from past catches or a bait you heard was good. Did you put some thought into what you’re doing or just use your instinct?
Fishing the first spot you don’t get bit, thinking this is a great spot, I catch them here every time or it looks really good. Switching to the second technique, no bass, third technique, no bass, maybe it’s time to look for another spot.
Pulling up to your 15th spot and you still haven’t caught a bass, this is getting tough. What now? Did you make mental notes of the types of places and the techniques you used or did you just fish.
If you first start with the seasonal patterns you’ll have an idea what the bass are doing – at least it will give you a starting point.
Let’s look at summertime bass, they move from their spawning areas out to deep water. Pretty simple just locate a spawning area and follow it out to deep water and locate the bass at point or another or maybe in between.
Besides going from shallow to deep summertime bass feed mainly on bait fish like shad, minnows, pond smelt, bluegill etc.
Now we know where they are and what they are eating it should be easy, right?
Those are only a couple of pieces of the puzzle but key pieces. Using what we know about the bass’s movements and habits we can narrow down the areas and presentations. This is true for every season.
Have you ever wondered why the top pros are so good? It’s because they don’t waste time doing what the bass aren’t. They have a good idea where the bass are, what they are doing, where they are going and what baits they will be likely to eat.
Weather is another piece of the puzzle and to make it as simple as possible, low light, wind and clouds will generally increase the bass’s activity level moving them shallower, especially in the summer. When you have these conditions take advantage of bigger and faster moving baits.
While you’re fishing try different things but keep them in the realm of what the fish might want. Try different colors, shapes sizes and presentations until you find what they want. It may take all day or maybe a couple of days then it will be rewarding when you figure it out.
The point to the story is using your head will help you catch more bass. Study, fish, study, fish and pay attention.
If you’re looking to learn more check out the latest issue of Bass Angler Magazine
Bass fishing is all about decisions, make the right one and you’re a hero, the wrong one a zero.
What was the decision you made last time you went fishing? Was it right, wrong or somewhere in between? Most importantly what did you learn from your outing?
On April 13th Ultimate Bass Radio / Kent Brown put on a media event at Pardee Lake in Northern California. The event started at the coffee shop with a nice breakfast and cool bag of goodies provided by Strike King.
The event this year was a who’s – who with anglers like the legend Dave Gliebe, Jimmy Reese, Greg Gutierrez, Ken Mah, Jason Borfka and several other great pros.
Every media event is different and this is one where the media people get to fish (the best kind). There are two segments where a media person goes with one angler for a few hours, comes back shoots images, has a snack then switches to another pro for the second half.
These events, as media you’re at the mercy of the pro to get some nice bass and pictures to use for your magazine or website.
My first segment was with an old friend and great angler Tony Franceschi. We start talking about decisions where to go and what to fish. Tony hadn’t fished Lake Pardee in two years and didn’t have any inside information, only going on what he learned two years ago and his instinct for the time of year and the type of lake.
The water temp was 62 to 64 degrees, the water is very clear with visibility to 10 ft. and this morning was overcast.
Tony said we’re running up the river to check some coves, the water is warm and the fish should be pretty active. Running his new 21ft BassCat near 75 MPH we run up river four or five miles stopping in a cove that receives a lot of sun.
Why is sun important? The lake has just warmed up to the low 60’s and the bass should be in spawn mode where sunny banks are more apt to have a bigger population of spawning bass.
It’s overcast with a little wind so Tony wisely opts for a topwater River2sea Rover walking bait. Using a bait like this will appeal to bass in several stages. Bass that are moving up, spawning bass and post spawn bass will all hit a topwater bait. It’s not like every bass will hit it but it is a high percentage bait for quality fish. I was also throwing a topwater bait at the same time except I was using a Whopper Plopper also by River2sea; we tossed these baits up and down the bank for about an hour with no takers.
What next? Keep going down the bank fishing the same type bank with the same baits. No results means, it is time for change. Change baits or change areas just don’t keep doing what’s not working.
Tony heads to a new similar cove, then heading into a small cove he get’s one, a two-pound plus smallie with a bunch of others following close behind. Slowing down there, we toss different baits, a Senko, small hair jig and a drop shot but the followers just didn’t want to bite.
We continued on for another 10 minutes finding a tree had fallen into the water, perfect spot for a bass. I toss a Strike King jerkbait (one we got in the goody bag) to the tree and three bass follow it out, one hits it but doesn’t get hooked. I switch up to a small hair jig and land a little largemouth. A few yards down the bank we find another tree where Tony tosses a Senko and I watch a bass travel 10 feet to eat it, Tony lands that one, little one too. Going past the tree we head down the bank close to the main lake and I get one on the jerkbait, small one in a small cove right across a point.
After a few fish we’re now starting to get a grip to what the fish are doing. Each fish was on a piece of cover or in a small cove.
All of these fish were small so Tony heads across the lake to see if we can expand on what we found and locate some bigger bass. We are looking for areas with a little cut and some cover. Heading down the bank Tony is still using the walking bait and I’ve switch up to a small Senko that I can pull off the cover into slightly deeper water using something totally different.
Tony is looking for quality fish that are willing to commit to the top water, me, my presentation I believe will appeal to all size fish.
Working in and out of several small coves off the main lake Tony get’s a bite and it misses the bait. Working the same area I get a fish, a small one maybe 12 inches. This goes on for the same way for about an hour – they are hitting the top water but not getting hooked.
While continuing down the bank we head around a main lake point, I get three quick fish and I say to Tony “aren’t you going to throw your Senko too”? Tony subsides to the pressure and picks one up too and fishes it for a bit. I toss my Senko behind the boat in 60ft of water and just let it flutter down weightless – about a minute or two later one almost four pounder whacks it. Cool we finally get a decent fish in the boat. Tony turns the boat around and goes over the point again where we both get a couple more fish but no good ones.
It’s almost time to go in but Tony see another spot similar to the main lake point, cranking up the trolling motor he heads over. Tony casts to the edge of the point and wham a giant bass grabs his Rover (top water) and starts pulling hard – looks like it’s well over 5 pounds, fighting it back to the boat it comes off and it’s time to head back.
Bass fishing is a sport where 95% of the time you can’t see what your opponent is doing or if he/she is really there. Even the best anglers won’t catch um every day but whether they do or not they learn and make mental notes to make a change for the next time.
What did we learn today?
Though conditions seemed perfect for the walking top water bait the fish just didn’t commit – if this happened again a smaller popper type bait might have worked.
The fish were eating the Senko but (except for one) they were not a tournament quality fish. I believe the Senko could have played a key roll in catching quality fish and to do it again, running main lake points may have been the key although I think there would be a number of smaller fish caught at the same time.
Stay tuned as we hook up with Dave Gliebe for the second half of the story.
April in California can be the best fishing in your life where you can catch two 10 pound bass and a limit of 7 pounders in a single day or it can be a day where you can’t get a bite. In case you wondered, weather is the determining factor. Consistent warm days will be the best and when a front comes in the bite will be good for a short time as the front is approaching but them deteriorate as the front moves through. The fishing is generally best in the late afternoon with small windows throughout the day.
This tournament was one of those times where the fishing was not that great and many anglers struggled to get a bite.
Day one was one of those times where my partner said I’m having a hard time, what do you think we should do? Mind you this is this the first time I’ve fished the co-angler side in the Delta and my second event ever as a co-angler. As I didn’t expect to fish any of my water or patterns I really wasn’t prepared but non-the-less fishing as a guide and a pro I was ready to tackle whatever happens.
We take off and head to an area where I’ve caught big bass in the past, we proceed to make a pass through and I get a big bite, then half way to the boat it comes off. That’s ok it’s early, we fish around there for a while with nothing.
I say nothing, but with every cast I’m thinking what are the bass doing where are they, how can I catch them and what area would be better than this.
My boater asks what do you think? I tell him I’ve got an area where we can catch some bass, driving about 10 miles we arrive and the tide is perfect – really high just the way I like it. We start fishing cranks, I’m using a River2sea Biggie in the Tackle Warehouse Delta red color and bang I get one, a 2 pounder and now were feeling a little better with something in the box. We hop scotched down the bank fishing all the key areas and we end up with four bass for about eight pounds.
Now the tide is going the other way and fishing has changed, I suggest we head back to where we started because there is quality bass there, plus my boater has also caught good ones there as well. We get there and I suggest we hit the key points, after a couple we land our fifth fish for a whopping 10-pound limit. Now the time is getting short and my boater asks where can we get some good ones – I know a spot. And we head back to our starting spot, mind you we didn’t catch one there in the morning but luck is on pour side and my boater gets a 4 pounder. At this point I lost my Biggie and can’t seem to get a bite on my other cranks. We head down the bank and wham a 3 pounder and then minutes before weigh in my boater lands a six and a half ending up with a little over 16 lbs and in 17th place.
The lesson here, fish good water, make good casts and never give up.
Day two, my boater had an ok day on day one with 14 and some change in about 25th place. I figure I will need about 18lbs to get a check.
We blast off and head to a place that I fished the day before with my boater (his water) so I felt a little weird. Not that I would ever poach someone’s water and we never got bit there but it still felt strange. We fished around the area for a while my boater telling me he had a limit there in an hour the day before but on this day we (he) landed one small bass on a drop shot. After that he let me know he had a place where they were biting good and well away from anything I fished before.
After a 15 minute boat ride we stop at a staging area that I knew well and felt really good about. As I’m tossing every “manly” bait I have but my boater is catching one after another drop shotting. Ok, I’m stubborn but not stupid we head down the bank some and by now my boater has four or five bass in the well but they are small, like 13 inchers.
I rummage through my box and find a bigger worm and try it for a bit but I just don’t have any confidence. A few more yards down the bank he lands a 3 pounder, cool that’s a better one, not close to 18 pounds but a start. Just then I look down on the floor and see an old worm the same as my boater is using but bigger, I grab it and say this is it, I could tell by the teeth marks that it caught a few fish already. It was ripped a little but still fit fine on the EWG Gamakatsu 2/0.
With my new-found worm I toss it out drag to the edge of the weeds and shake it, it suddenly gets heavy, feels weird so I set and… OMG my rod is bent, I holler it’s (Ike style) it’s a GIANT. I fight the bass for what seems like an hour really 3 minutes he scoops it up and there we have 7.5 pound bass in the boat culling a 13 incher. Now with 5 for about 14 pounds things are looking up.
The fish is in the well and I figure I better retie, so I toss out a 6-inch Senko and drag it while I retie. About half way though tying up my Senko must have crossed a bed (spawning bed) because the rod starts jerking. My drop shot line is loose across both rods but no time to get things tidy I grab the Senko rod set and start reeling, as I’m reeling my drop shot line gets caught in the reel handle. Laughing trying to stand up ripping the line out of the handle while keeping tension on the fish and not letting my $400 drop shot rod go overboard. I yell it’s a GIANT, it’s not but after fishing with Iaconelli I couldn’t resist. My boater comes over and slides it in the net, a good 3.5 pounder and now were at 16 or so lbs. We land another 3 pounder and cull up to 18 but the spot is now drying up.
My boater asks for the first time do I have any where I’d like to go since I used to guide on the Delta and know it well. I said yes I have a spot it’s close and the tide is perfect. (The whole tide thing will be another story) We head over and start punching, finally away from that drop shotting, down the bank and I slam a good 3.5 pounder and now we have 19 or so and I’m feeling like I can cash a check.
The day before one guy weighed in almost 30 pounds so I knew I didn’t have a chance to win, but getting a check at this point was a pretty good bet.
At weigh in my 7.5 ended up being big bass and we weighed a little over 20lbs landing me in ninth place. Things just worked out and I ended with respectable finish.
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Friday September 14th Russ Meyer and Mark Lassagne filmed an informative Angler West TV show HOW-TO spoon for bass on Lake Shasta.
We took off from Jones Valley and headed up the Pit River to just before the thermocline (the horizontal thermocline that is) and started fishing two creek inlets with trees. The bass and the bait were thick right there. We started fishing and got about 20 bass in the first hour using Hopkins and Sonic spoons, we got a could close to 2 lbs but most were small. We hopped around spooning from tree to tree all the while the bite was diminishing so we headed up past the thermocline to see if anyone was home above. When we got there the water was ten degrees colder (63) but the current wasn’t running very hard, so we assumed the slow current was the reason the bite slowed down.
Up river current is determined by the amount of flow from the dam and the dam flow is determined by the amount of electricity needed by the lower cities like Sacramento. It was getting hotter as the day progress and we could see the current increasing, thus hoping the bite would pick up and the better fish would show themselves. Moving up into the river we tried different baits. I was throwing a R2S Biggie and a Rover top water, Russ was throwing a Revenge spinerbait and a craw colored Wiggle Wart. Russ got one on the spinnerbait and I got a good hit on the crank , not too exciting so we drifted back and hopped spoons in the deeper holes managing a couple small fish.
Somewhat disappointed we headed back down the river a ways to see what we could spoon up. We arrived back at our starting spot, Russ caught one right away but it was still small we then headed in and out of the trees catching a fish here and there but once we headed into the creek channel we found the mother lode. The bass had the bait corralled in the creek channel in about 25 feet of water, then we caught fish on almost every drop for 45 minutes. I’m not sure how many fish but it had to be well over 30, most were small but we got a few 1.5 lber or so. (A two-pound fish on Lake Shasta in the summer is a good size fish)
I don’t know about you but after I’ve caught a bunch of fish form one spot, I’m thinking where else might be good and I’m sure Russ was thinking the same thing so we headed across the lake to another creek. Once there a patio boat was fishing there too – I was on the trolling motor and headed into the creek fishing and was about a 100 yards away from the patio boat and the guy flips out running his boat in circles yelling give me some room. We looked at the guy smiling and shaking our heads because we weren’t very close I caught a fish or two a ways away then turned and headed out. We were laughing cuz this guy was a jerk but pretty animated jumping up and down, I guess he wasn’t catching any fish either. On the way out we were talking I said probably no fish in the creek anyway, Justin chimes in and say nope it’s just full of A-holes. Too funny!
We head out and down to the next creek to see if were on a pattern, heading in to a creek with two small arms we hit the left side first and get about five fish all the way through, we turn around and head out and hit the creek on the right. As soon as we get to the next creek the bass had the bait pinned in and it was fish on every drop for another 15 minutes. It’s getting late so we fished our way out to finish out the show when Russ spots a big oak tree and say let both pitch to it at the same time to see if we can get a double. We did this several time throughout the day – pretty fun. So we both fire at the tree my spoon fluttered to the bottom and spoon master Russ’s spoon stops half way he sets and brings in a spot about 3 lbs to end the show.
I had a great time and learned a lot about spooning that day. I’ll post the times the show will air son.
By Alex Mei Throughout your angling life there are a few fishing images that you just can’t get out of your head, for some it may be their first topwater strike, for others it is the first double-digit bass, and for me the image of a 11.5lbr that completely cleared the water seconds after I set the hook ranks high on my personal list. That priceless image was courtesy of the famed world-class fishery that is El Salto. There are few lakes in the world that provide such an unbelievable fishing experience, and the Lake El Salto has been billed by many outdoor writers as the greatest bass lake on the planet. Prior to my own visit I was filled with skepticism, after all with destinations like Clear Lake in my own backyard it was hard to imagine a fishery that could be much better.
While skeptical something deep down inside me hoped that my own experience south of the border would parallel all that I had read. Last June I had the opportunity to field test new rods and reels with the team from Shimano at El Salto, and there seemed like no better place to put the new products to through the paces. Within hours of landing in Mazatlan I was on the water and had boated more quality fish than at any other lake, period. Through the week I averaged over 60 fish per day, most in the 3-4lb class, and some in the 8-9lb class. I had been struggling all week to break double digits but on the last day that 11.5lb fish took a Texas rigged Zoom Lizard like no other hit I’ve ever had. Many that have visited El Salto come away with their biggest bass, and while I have caught bigger at the Delta and Clear Lake, I have never had a day with so many fish just shy of double digits. With each and every cast at El Salto there is an opportunity to break double digits, that’s what makes El Salto “legendary.”
So what makes El Salto, and so many of the other south of the border lakes such incredible fisheries? It is the combination of three interrelated factors, location, management, and pressure. Because lakes like El Salto, Aqua Milpa, and Baccarac, just to name a few, are located closer to the equator they are blessed with an abundance of warm weather making for ideal conditions for an extended growing season for largemouth. The management or in some cases lack of management allows the bass to grow both in numbers and size by gorging themselves on Tilapia, which has yields a very high level of protein. Finally, the lack of fishing pressure makes these lakes an easy place for anglers to have success with a wide variety of lures. Unlike lakes in the U.S. that are readily accessible these fisheries are located in the Sierra Madres and there are few locals that are able to fish these lakes on a regular basis. The increase of outfitters on the popular lakes like El Salto have no doubt taken a toll on the fishing, but the overall pressure is still far less than that of the average trophy lake in the States.
While there are many south of the border lakes worth visiting El Salto still ranks the highest for many anglers due to the lake’s well publicized “big fish” success stories. To separate fact from fiction, Lake El Salto is located just over seventy miles from central Mazatlan, Mexico. Mazatlan is just a short plane ride from Arizona, and is also a popular destination for cruise ships traveling the region. The actual lake is man-made and built on the Rio Elota River. It covers approximately twenty-five thousand surface acres, though this varies a great deal during the dry months when water is used for irrigation. The main lake isn’t all that deep, and the deepest point is near the Dam and just over 200 feet when the water level is high. There have been rumors that the El Salto bass fishery is no longer as good as it once was. In past seasons this was true, as a hurricane a few years ago did indeed hurt the fishery. The lake has rebounded nicely however and is now nearing pre-storm quality once again. Over the last couple of years more than half of the anglers who came to El Salto reported catching a double-digit fish during a three-day stay. 90% have caught a 6lb. fish or larger. Want even bigger than that? The lake record currently stands at 18lbs 5oz, and the best five fish single day limit is a whopping 53lbs and 5oz.
So when is the best time to venture across the border? The Lake El Salto fishing season is from mid September through the end of July, and the rainy season actually starts in August and goes through September. Lake El Salto fishing reports shows there is top water action from October 1st through April 30th, with the best being November 1st through February 15th. The pre spawn on Lake El Salto occurs in December and January with the spawn taking place in February and March. Fishing reports indicate the best time to catch the big post-spawn females is April, May and June. As a rule of thumb December through June is best for large fish while the fall is best for numbers of fish. While there are a great many quality lakes on US soil, the recent Bass Elite series stop at Falcon Lake, TX. proved that, but there are times like early in the season here in the U.S. when a quick hop across the border to Lake El Salto can deliver some incredible “priceless” fishing memories. Alex is the editor in chief of www.tackletour.com