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Remembering the first catch like it was the last

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POSTED October 25, 2012 11:18 p.m.

One of my first impressions of fishing was when I was around 6 or 7 years old while camping at Lake Camanche.

I was so intrigued by all the fish that were visible from the shoreline that I wanted so badly to catch one. My dad had brought along a little fishing pole for me, showed me a few basics, and then cut me loose to try and catch a fish.

I can remember like it was yesterday as all the little fish were swimming around my bait that was suspended by a bobber. I had a lot of bites but couldn’t seem to hook one. Finally, after many failed attempts, I caught a fish. It wasn’t the biggest fish, but I caught it all on my own. I guess you can say I was hooked from that moment on.

My catch had earned myself a boat ride the next morning alongside the men. I just couldn’t get enough of it after that. Every library book at school that I checked out had to have some relevance to fishing, and all I wanted to do when I got home from school was to go fishing.

As a form of punishment my parents took away fishing equipment and kept me indoors.

It’s crazy to think how much has changed since then. The great thing about all the changes that have occurred over the years is that fishing is pretty much still the same. I could still go out to Lake Camanche on a warm summer day, put a little piece of worm on my hook, toss it in and watch as all the little fish try to steal my bait. 

Delta Report

Very few big fish are being caught by bass anglers. Numbers of smaller largemouth bass seem to be holding on the outside edges of weed lines and are biting on Senkos and crankbaits. With the forecasted cold front the bite should start to pick up.

Striped bass are starting to show up for those trolling the main channel with broken back rebels. Bank fishermen are also doing well while fishing for bluegill and catfish while using live worms and clams.

New Melones Lake

Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reports:

“Trout fishing remains fair, but trollers are catching a few limits in the main lake and in the mouths of major creek arms at depths from 35 to 65 feet deep with shad-patterned spoons such as ExCels, Needlefish, Vance’s Slim Fins, and Speedy Shiners.”  

Bank fishing continues to be slow, but it should improve as the water temperatures continue to cool. Anglers are drop shotting and dragging jigs once finding a school of fish that is feeding on the numerous schools of bait found right now off the main lake points.

Lake Don Pedro

The swim bait bite is starting to pick up. Anglers are finding big fish while fishing near or around main lake points. Brown or green pumpkin jigs are working well for fish up to three pounds while fished around points.

There is also a decent top water bite right now early in the morning. Drop shotting is also productive right now as there are many schools of bass to be found between 30 to 50 feet deep. 

Lake Amador

One thousand pounds of trout are being planted in the lake weekly. Since October 15, 7,000 pounds of trout have been released. Those fish released are averaging from two to three pounds each.

Anglers fishing off the bank or trolling by boat are not being disappointed as the hungry fish are beginning to actively feed throughout the lake. Kastmasters and Power Bait are both working well.

Lake Tulloch

Lake Tulloch has been really good lately for trout fishermen. Rainbow Trout are being caught on rolled shad, blade/ crawlers or Slim Willies coupled with an ExCel shad imitation lure at depths from 17 to 25 feet deep from the South Shore channel to Black Creek.

Tip of the Week

Sometimes, changing line diameter can be the difference between catching fish and not catching fish. When fishing clear clean water it’s recommended that a smaller more invisible line is used in place of a large diameter line.

If fishing around heavy cover such as wood, rock, or thick vegetation you’re going to want to use a thicker stronger line. Thinner line sinks faster and easier than thicker line making it a good choice when fishing sinking or diving baits.

Next time the fishing gets tough and the water is cleaner than normal, try going to a thinner diameter line.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email

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