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Barbless hooks worth looking into
Zach Porterfield of Riverbank with a 3-pound, 7-ounce rainbow caught while bank-fishing at Lake New Melones. - photo by Photo courtesy of GLORY HOLE SPORTS
I’ve been hearing a lot about anglers fishing with barbless hooks.

I’ve never fished with barbless hooks.

There have been three times when I wished I would have though. All three of those times I was hooked past the barb, one in particular still had the shaking fish on the other end of the lure.

You can actually purchase barbless hooks or make them barbless yourself. All you have to do is bend or cut off the barb of the hook.

Those who exclusively use barbless hooks swear that they haven’t lost any more fish than when using barbed hooks. Those who exclusively use barbed hooks are afraid of losing a catch of a lifetime, or any fish for that matter.

As my son has gotten a little older and has taken a greater interest in fishing, I’m really considering this year’s New Years resolution to go barbless.

Many of my friends are going to think that I’ve gone crazy, but I believe that the safety of my family and the conservation of the fish that I’m pursuing supersede the advantage of fishing with a barb.  

Delta Report
Fishing has been tough recently on the Delta. The water has muddied up and the temperatures remain low. Anglers who are catching bass are targeting deep holes that are void of current with jigs and other small plastics.

Usually this time of year bass anglers tend to focus more on dead-end sloughs, as the warmer more consistent water temperatures seem to exist there. Striper fishing is OK. Currently there is a rattletrap bite in and around the Big Break area.

Lake New Melones
Trout fishing is great on the lake. Anglers are doing well from the shore and from their boats.

The hot bait off the bank continues to be Power Bait with green or chartreuse glitter. For those fishing from their boats may are doing well while tossing or trolling shad imitating lures from the surface down to 10 feet deep.

The Department of Fish and Game has been planting small trout in the lake, which have been accounting for the many limits that are being caught recently. Bass fishing remains consistent, as the bass have moved deeper.

The bigger bass are being caught by swimbaits as they are definitely following the trout up shallow. For numbers try targeting points and backs of creeks with soft plastics and jigs.   

Lake Don Pedro
The trout bite is good for anglers fishing from the surface down to 25 feet. Anglers are targeting the bigger fish that are combing the bank while using side planers and trolling a variety of shad imitating lures.

Bass fishing has slowed as anglers are struggling to find a consistent bite anywhere on the lake. There have been a few anglers that have been able to catch fish on spoons while searching for schooling fish.

Lake Amador
Heavy loads of trout are being planted into the lake right now on what seems like a daily basis. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while using Power Bait either fished off the bottom or beneath a bobber.

Lake Camanche
Fishing for trout is really good on the lake and in the pond.

Limits are being caught in both as anglers fishing for trout are catching them from the surface down to 15 feet. Those fishing off the bank are using Power Bait or tossing Kastmasters and Rapala’s.

The trout being caught are ranging in sizes from 6 inches to nearly 5 pounds. Bass fishing is hit or miss for anglers.

The more experienced anglers are targeting the many submerged Island tops for baitfish activity. Once they find the baitfish they’ve been able to find the bass.

Tip of the Week
If you’re planning on not using your boat for a while it’s always better to top off the gas tanks before storing, than to let it sit empty.

An empty tank allows for a lot of condensation to build up resulting in water mixing with your fuel. This can be a very costly mistake if not treated properly.
To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail