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Empty the tackle box; less can produce more

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POSTED January 24, 2013 11:14 p.m.

I was looking through some of my tackle the other day, and it was sad to see once-popular baits no longer being used.

Like most hobbies, there’s always something better that comes out that you just have to have. For a while there I was obsessed with having the latest and greatest until I fished with a guy named Bill. Bill was in his 60s and I heard from a friend that he was a pretty good bass fisherman. I ended up getting to know Bill and eventually was able to go fishing with him.

What intrigued me from the beginning about Bill was that I was told that he only used one lure no matter what time of year it was. When talking to Bill he mentioned his favorite lure and I just had to see this guy in action.

Sure enough, Bill used one lure — the Rattling Rogue — all day long and caught just as many fish as I did. I believe Bill was able to master that one lure and proved to me that less can actually be more sometimes. From that day on I’ve tried to limit my tackle and learn as much as I can about my favorite baits.

You may have a lure in your tackle box that if fished a little differently or used with a little more confidence can bring great results. You can also have a Rattling Rogue, like I did, that I never used before — until I met Bill.

Delta Report

Fishing has been really slow on the Delta lately, as the water is currently muddy and cold. This past weekend out of Disappointment Slough the water temperature topped out at 46 degrees.

Fishing slow is the pattern for many bass fishermen; there have been a lot of reports of one to two fish days from anglers fishing for bass. The back sides of points along the down current sides are producing for anglers fishing rattle traps in crawfish patterns. Jig fishermen are focusing on areas where there is wood close to deep drop offs.

Striper fishing has slowed some as anglers are now struggling to find active schools of fish. Once the water temperatures climb back into the fifties look for the bigger fish to make their migration to the shallows.

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing continues to be great for anglers fishing off the bank. Anglers are catching limits of trout on Power Bait. Anglers trolling are finally starting to catch some bigger fish as some of the bigger trout have moved off the bank.

Bass fishermen are catching numbers while working soft plastics and jigs down to 50. The bigger bass are being caught on swimbaits, the bites are far and few but if you’re out in search of a trophy you just might catch one.  

Lake Amador

Weekly trout plants continue to take place, and many trout are being caught while fishing as shallow as 3 feet deep. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while fishing off the bottom with trout bait as well as under a bobber. When fishing off the bottom make sure that your bait floats in order to keep out of the little grass that still exists.

Lake Camanche

Trout fishing is good as anglers are catching them on and off the bank. North Shore bank anglers are having the best of luck right now while catching limits of trout on both Power Bait and Power Eggs. Bass fishing remains steady as anglers are fishing down to 25 feet deep with soft plastics and jigs.

Lake Don Pedro

The trout at Don Pedro continue to provide anglers with steady action. Currently they can be found from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Mexican Gulch, Big Creek arm, Six Bit Gulch and the area around the Flume all seem to be loaded with fish.

Vance's Slim Willie and crawler/combo or in tandem with an Ex-Cel green back shad or Nasty Boy is a very good set-up for bows in the 2-pound range.  

Tip of the Week

Catching several fish from a certain location doesn’t necessarily mean that all the fish in that area have been caught. Once the fish stop biting and you have tried several different baits and colors, try leaving and coming back later.

Especially on the Delta, certain areas will replenish themselves fairly quickly and you may be surprised at how productive your spot can really be.


To contact Jarod Ballardo, email

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