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Breaking in boat & living to tell the tale
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Earlier this week while navigating through the Stockton Deep Water Channel, I learned a little more about my boat than I expected. 

Every boat is different on how it handles rough water. My previous boat took me a little while to figure out. Same goes for my current boat.

If you’ve never navigated the deep water channel during a holiday weekend, it’s more ocean-like than any other local body of water due to the boat traffic, specifically the yachts. Some yacht operators try to keep their wakes down, while others seem to want to move as much water as possible. 

What happened to me was that I caught a wave the wrong way, causing my boat to take a 45-degree turn. As the boat was plowing through the wave and turning at the same time, it tilted to the side a bit, which was unexpected. The whole episode took less than 10 seconds but was definitely one that I don’t look forward to revisiting. 

Looking back, I should have slowed down even more and catch the wave at a different angle. Fortunately for me, nothing was broken and the lesson didn’t cost me anything. I learned that even the most experienced boat operators can catch a wave the wrong way, especially while operating an unfamiliar boat.

 I also learned that it’s rarely the boat’s fault, as much as it is the fault of the person operating it.



The winds have put a damper on some of the more common summer patterns for bass. There’s a good reaction bite for those tossing crank baits, buzz baits, and top-water frogs. 

Once the sun is up, look for any grass that is located near or around deeper tulle points and try flipping jigs or any other creature baits in or around the grass. Current is also important this time of year, as moving water is a little cooler, moves the bait around, and contains more oxygen.   


New Melones Lake

Kokanee fishing continues to be good early in the day while trolling apex lures 70 to 90 feet deep. Most anglers report pink lures working best in the morning, and green or fire tiger lures working better in the afternoon. 

Bass fishing remains good for numbers of smaller fish with the bigger ones being few and far between. Anglers are doing well while tossing Zoom Flukes and jigs to the edge of visible mud lines. Anglers drop shotting are also doing well while fishing between 25 and 40 feet deep.

Catfishing has been really good for those fishing at night with traditional catfish baits. Bluegill and crappie continue to bite for those fishing with either a minnow or worm under a bobber in the backs of coves. 

All launching on the lake is on gravel out of Glory Hole Point making having a vehicle equipped with four wheel drive necessary. 


Lake Don Pedro

Kokanee are dominating the scene on the lake. Graveyard Bay, Copper Mountain, Oat Hill, and off Hatch Creek are the best areas. 

The most productive setups are Sockeye Slammers, Scorpion Spinners, and Fire Tiger Kokanee Killers in tandem with a Vance’s 4/0 dodger. Fish are being caught between 55 and 90 feet deep.

Bass fishing for numbers is really good on small worms during the day and top-water lures during the morning and evening hours. Fleming Meadows has the only paved launch ramp available on the lake.


Lake Amador

Later in the day and early in the morning schooling fish can be spotted throughout the lake feeding on shad. This type of feeding activity can lead to some of the most exciting top water action an angler can find. Just make sure to wait for the school to become active before tossing your lure into the frenzy. 

If you don’t wait for the fish to begin feeding you may scare the school off. Night fishing remains good for those fishing large power worms and spinner baits. 

Featured Product

Several years ago I was turned on to fluorocarbon fishing line. My first impression of the line was not very good as I had an increase of tangles and the line was too stiff for my liking. Since then I’ve experimented with several different brands and have really taken a liking to Berkley’s Vanish line. 

For fluorocarbon line it’s very affordable and gets the job done very well. I’ve tried others and have found a few that were just as good but were twice as expensive. Just make sure when spooling up to not tie directly to the spool as the line has a tendency to slip.     


To reach Jarod Ballardo email