My first attempt at making my own baits came with mixed results.
The baits weren’t identical to the real thing, but they were mostly being made with old plastic I melted down and poured into a Plaster of Paris mold.
I played around with open pour molds off and on for many years before I decided to finally purchase an injector and a cast aluminum mold. The results were a 100% better, but there was still something missing.
I primarily used those baits as pre-fish baits, never having the confidence to use them in a tournament when money was on the line. After much research through tackle-making websites and forums, I learned that the next step towards making a better-quality bait involved purchasing better molds and equipment.
Slowly, I began to purchase the equipment needed and recently fished a tournament while using my baits 90% of the time. I didn’t win the tournament, but I have developed the confidence in my baits to no longer question if they would catch a fish.
This year isn’t over yet, and I’ve already caught all my biggest fish of the year on baits that I’ve been making in my own garage. During a recent tournament, I even caught the biggest catfish I’ve ever caught on one of the baits that I made.
Some would say that I would be saving money if I would just buy baits that were already made. They’re probably right, but in the long run I’m hoping to prove them all wrong. Plus, it’s great to not have to worry about a favorite color or bait being sold out the day before a big fishing trip.
The tough bite continues for a lot of bass anglers. Very few big fish are being caught right now. Numbers of smaller largemouth bass seem to be holding on the outside edges of weed lines and are biting on Senkos and crankbaits. 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
Trolling for trout continues to be slow for a lot of anglers. The quality remains the same, though, with anglers catching fish between 2-5 pounds. Anglers trolling are finding rainbows in the main lake, especially around the dam/spillway/Glory Hole Point area anywhere from 50 to 80 feet deep.
Shad-imitation lures such as Cop Cars, threadfin shad Needlefish, blue/silver Excels, Apex lures, and silver/blue Cripp lures have been the top producers.
Bass fishing remains good for those locating deep schools as far down as 45 feet. Anglers are drop-shotting and dragging jigs once finding a school of fish that is feeding on the numerous schools of bait found off the main lake points.
Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing is fair for anglers who are trolling Speedy Shiners scented with Smelly Jelly between 45 and 85 feet deep. Fishing for bass has been a little tougher as a lot of the bass have suspended making them tough to catch for even the experienced anglers.
Some of the most consistent bites have been coming from anglers that have been jigging 1-ounce spoons through schools of suspended fish that are being found as deep as 60 feet.
There are not too many reports coming from the lake. Late October, early November is typically when lake management resumes planting the lake with trout.
The water temperatures are still a little warm for trout, many of them are still hanging out in deeper water. As we get further into November, look for the trout to become more active.
Bass fishing is steady as anglers are finding them from the shoreline down to 30 feet deep on worms and jigs.
Tip of the Week
There’s and old saying among anglers: “It’s better to have the wrong bait in the right place than the right bait in the wrong place.”
I often try to remind myself of that saying when my confidence begins to waiver. An angler must be around the fish before he or she can catch a fish.
As simple as that may sound, there are still days, especially after a big event, where even some of the best anglers don’t catch them.
To contact Jarod Ballardo email firstname.lastname@example.org.