A recent experience reminded me of why I stopped tournament fishing for several years.
Several days before the tournament were spent on the lake finding the bite and locations. Fast forward to tournament day — out of the dozen or so productive spots, they were all occupied by other anglers. It never ceases to amaze me how areas where nobody seems to be fishing days before a tournament are always found by other anglers, especially on large bodies of water like Clear Lake.
As a result, competing anglers often encroach on others to the point where there can be arguments and even physical confrontations on and off the water. There are rules regarding encroaching on other competitors. The general rule of thumb is that if you can cast across another anglers’ line, then you’re too close. I personally have never gotten comfortable fishing close to other anglers, as I like to keep my mind on fishing and not looking over my shoulder or worrying about upsetting other anglers.
So, it’s always good to have a few areas or techniques ready just in case your primary areas are taken. I’ve went into too many tournaments with only one or two spots that I had confidence in that ended up being occupied by other competitors on tournament day. Being a successful tournament angler is an accomplishment more now than ever.
Striped bass fishing continues to pick up for anglers fishing a variety of techniques. The three techniques that are working are drifting live bait, trolling broken back rebels, and spooning jigs where schools of fish are present.
Largemouth bass fishing has been hit or miss. As the water temperature has dropped, the bass have become more lethargic. Slower-moving baits are more likely to draw the attention of some of the larger fish.
The bluegills are still biting around boat docks. Anglers are catching them while fishing with red worms.
New Melones Lake
Fishing continues to be tough on the lake. Fishing for bass has gone from great to fair, as there are fewer fish being caught.. Anglers having success are relying on their electronics to find schooling fish. Most of the fish have been found schooling as deep as 70 feet.
Once finding them, anglers are jigging spoons for them or dragging a drop shot along the bottom of the school. Anglers trolling for trout are having good luck while trolling Speedy Shiners, Needlefish, or countdown Rapalas between 40 and 60 feet deep.
Fishing for both bass and trout has been tough on the lake since a lot of the bait is scattered throughout the water column. The lake is still holding at 60 degrees. Anglers having the best luck are finding the schools of bait balled up but they have been a difficult to find. Once finding the schools, anglers are fishing shaky head worms, drop shotted worms, and jigs as deep as 60 feet.
There are a lot of good reports coming from the lake, as they’ve begun their stocking program of trout that have not disappointed anglers.
Those having luck are catching fish from both their boats and from land on a variety of baits. Most anglers fishing from the bank prefer to fish with a variety of Power Bait products. Those fishing from their boats are trolling, tossing Kastmasters or anchoring around the Dam area while fishing with Power Bait.
There was a recent tournament for bass held on the lake, yieldomg sub-par results as anglers struggled to catch limits. Those having success reported finding suspended fish. Many were fishing shad patterned Senko’s or drop-shotting prism shad-colored worms. Some of those anglers fishing for bass were also surprised to catch a few trout mixed in with the bass.
Tip of the Week
Batteries are an important part of a boat. Most anglers come home from a day of fishing hook up the chargers and forget about the batteries until the next fishing trip. There are some chargers that will allow for this, but most chargers will continue to heat the batteries shortening the life of the battery.
The best way to ensure your batteries last long is to charge them right away and remove the charger and everything else connected to the terminals immediately after the batteries are charged.
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