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Learning the ways of surf fishing
Photo submitted by JAROD BALLARDO Jarod Ballardo holds up a 6-pound bass caught Monday on a topwater frog on the Delta.

Like a lot of wives, my wife loves the ocean. 

So, we plan at least one trip to the ocean per year. These past few years, I’ve tried to figure out how to fish the surf and I’m getting a little closer to figuring it out. I even caught my first surfperch on Wednesday! 

I’m not sure if it’s the wrong tackle, spot or bait, but it’s been very difficult for me to have any real success. I have learned that some of the best bait to use is sand crabs. The little thumb-sized crabs are more plentiful than I ever imagined. 

While fishing, this nice lady walking the shoreline showed me how to catch them with my foot. It took me a little while to get the technique down, but I believe I’ve gotten pretty good at catching them. 

Thursday was my last day. After finishing this column, and my morning coffee, I’ll be heading out there again. 

Hopefully, I’ll catch something a little bigger than the perch. A few people fishing next to me have been catching striped bass, so that’s the goal.    

Delta Report

Most anglers fishing for bass are having luck while tossing topwater frogs throughout the day. Senko’s, Spinner baits and Sweet Beavers are all catching bass. With the weather we have had lately, look for shady spots along the bank or spots closest to deeper water. Fish will either be looking for shade or proximity to deep moving water. If you can find shade next to a deep drop your chance of catching a big fish will be increased. 

Striped bass fishing is fair for anglers willing to wait it out while fishing with live bait. Anglers catching them are fishing around Rio Vista or Whisky Slough with live mud-suckers or bluegills.

New Melones Lake

Kokanee catches continue to keep anglers busy as trout fishing has slowed down for the summer. Anglers catching kokanee are fishing the dam area and can be found between 40 and 50 feet deep. 

Trout have been biting for those willing to fish through the night. Night fishermen are reporting catches while soaking Power Bait below a submersible light along the main lake channels. 

Bass fishing is still good for angler fishing Carolina-rigged baby brush hogs. Most bass are of the smaller version with a bigger fish mixed in occasionally. Morning and evening topwater fish are being caught on poppers and spook type lures.  

Lake Amador

Night fishing for bass is a favorite summertime escape for me. Lake Amador in particular is a small safe lake which with any cast can produce a personal best. An hour before the sun starts to go down, bass habitually will bring schools of shad to the surface which can create some explosive topwater action. 

The key to catching feeding fish on the surface is patience. With a topwater lure in hand, wait for the fish to start exploding on the surface and then make your cast right into the middle of the attacking fish. This technique will surely produce some of the most explosive topwater action.

Once the sun goes down, I either toss a half-ounce black spinner bait or drag 10-inch Berkeley Power worms. Then, if fishing through the night as the morning sun starts to break once again fish will be feeding on the surface, get that topwater lure out and repeat the previous pattern.

Lake Don Pedro

King salmon are being caught by anglers while rolling shad between 80 and 110 feet deep. Anglers having the most success are trolling around Graveyard Bay. The kokanee are also on a good bite but are still scattered around the lake and found between 40 and 60 feet deep. 

The best set-ups are Sep’s watermelon dodger, silver prism or copper dodgers, while trailing lures such as Uncle Larry’s Mad Irishman, Copper Pop spinners or kokanee bugs all tipped with white shoe peg corn soaked in Pro-Cure’s carp spit, kokanee special, and shrimp and prawn oils. 


Kids Fishing Derby

There will be a free fishing derby for children ages 4 to 15 at Lake Pardee this Saturday the All equipment will be provided to the children to include free hot dogs and drinks. They will also be cleaning the fish caught so that they can be taken home and cooked. 

Check in starts at 8 a.m. and fishing starts at 9. The derby is limited to the first 300 participants. The derby is to be held at Lake Pardee 4900 Stony Creek Road in Ione. There is $10 per vehicle cost but other than that, everything else is free. For more information, call Lake Pardee or visit the Facebook page Pardee Lake Recreation, Inc.