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Advising boaters, anglers to practice safety on Labor Day
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Labor Day weekend is an exciting time for most anglers.

Unfortunately, nearly 20 percent of all boating accidents in California occur on holidays. Surprisingly, 80 percent of all boating fatality victims would have survived if they had been wearing a life jacket.

Once an accident occurs, it is often too difficult, and usually too late, to don a life jacket. Imagine trying to put a seatbelt on while in the middle of a crash! Once you’re ejected from the boat there’s no guarantee that you will be conscious when your body comes to rest in the water.

Recently, a well-known tournament bass fisherman was ejected from his boat without a lifejacket and never did resurface. One of the most common complaints about lifejackets is that they’re too bulky or too hot, but they now have all makes and models available to best suit your comfort needs. I’ve even climbed in my truck once before not realizing that I still had my lifejacket on.

In bass tournaments they have a rule that once the big motor is on you must have your lifejacket on. I would not object to that rule becoming a law, as it would surely save lives.

Delta Report

Early fall is a great time to throw rattle traps and crank baits on the Delta. You may think that it’s too early in the year but our nights have been getting colder and our days have become shorter. The fish definitely know that there’s a change occurring so don’t discount your favorite lure for bass.

Catfishing continues to be good for anglers using just about any bait that they can keep on the bottom. Striped bass are starting to be caught throughout the Delta, leading me to believe that it won’t be long before they really start biting, anglers currently catching them are using live bait.

New Melones Lake

Fishing for trout and kokanee is great right now as angers trolling are both species between 60-75 feet deep. Just about any trout or kokanee bait is working.

Anglers are trolling a little faster than normal. Some anglers are trolling as fast as 2.5 mph. Bass fishing remains good for anglers fishing in the early and late part of the day with top water lures.

During the day, anglers are targeting the bass with small plastic bait from the shore down to 30 feet deep. Catfishing is really good for anglers fishing at night with sardines or anchovies.

Lake Don Pedro

There are a lot of large schools of shad being found throughout the lake. Anglers fishing or trolling around those schools are having luck catching trout and king salmon.

Bass anglers are also fishing around those schools with crank baits or drop shotted worms. The top-water bite for bass has been good during the morning and evening hours. During the day, anglers are searching out the schools of bait fish.

Lake New Hogan

Fishing for bass is actually good, as there are a lot of fish being caught by those fishing small plastics and crank baits. The problem this weekend is going to be all the boat traffic. There are areas of the lake that are five mile zones but they quickly get churned up as well.

My advice if planning on going there is to fish early and leave early. Otherwise, you’re definitely going to have plenty of company and possibly spend a good amount of time waiting at the launch ramp.

Lake Pardee

This weekend would be a good weekend to visit Lake Pardee if you’re looking to get away from the boat traffic that’s going to be found on the other neighboring lakes. There is not body contact allowed on the lake making it off limits for wake boarders and jet skiers.

The fishing is said to be good for trout down to 35 feet, and the bass have been biting while hanging around large rock piles and fallen trees.

Tip of the Week

If you’re planning on facing the crowds of boats this weekend I advise going through your boats safety equipment and prepare to be stopped by the Coast Guard.

They’re famous for setting up a stop at some of the more visited launch ramps and will definitely be checking to see that everything is in order.

Remember, you must have a life jacket for all passengers and your throw cushion must be readily available.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email