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Practice can pay off in tourneys
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Competitive bass fishing, like every other sport, has its winners and losers. 

I personally don’t know of a more humbling sport. 

Many anglers like to practice before a big tournament. They’re not necessarily trying to hook the fish, they’re instead trying to gauge whether or not an area is productive by the numbers of bites they get. 

Sometimes they can even tell a big bite from a small bite, or they will fish with barbless hooks, allowing the fish to shake the bait off as they play it towards the boat. 

To the outsider, fishing practice sounds ridiculous. Honestly, I sometimes even think it’s ridiculous. There are times, though, when a day of practice resulted in me coming across an area that was special. 

The bigger fish were there and they were biting. More often than not, on tournament day those so-called special spots were also known by several of my competitors. As a result, it becomes a race to get to them, as well as a challenge keeping other people from discovering those spots. 

Just about every boat now comes equipped with a GPS device. Passing anglers are able to mark areas they see other anglers fishing, making sure to revisit them later. If you’re a known angler who has been winning, you’re almost forced to practice only during the weekdays, trying to avoid being noticed by other anglers. 

It has become a part of competitive fishing that many people don’t know about and one of my least favorite things about competitive fishing.

Delta Report

Bass fishing has started to get tougher for a lot of fishermen as the water temperatures are now in the 70s and post-spawn patterns are making for smaller limits of fish. Anglers doing well are focusing on grass lines or throwing top water lures. 

A majority of the fish I caught recently while out were full of crawdads. Senko’s and Sweet Beavers are working well. Buzz Baits and Zara Spooks are a good choice for the morning and the evening. During the heat of the day, top-water frogs are starting to entice some of the bigger post spawn bass into biting. 

The striper bite has slowed down for a lot of people due to the increase of water temperature. The panfish bite has really picked up as the warmer water has brought a lot of fish shallow. 

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing has remained slow. 

Kokanee have been keeping anglers busy lately with lots of limits being caught within an hour or two of trolling. Average kokanee size is 14 ½-16 inches long and 1.0 to 1.8-pounds. Troll 20-35 feet deep near the spillway/dam, or off of Glory Hole Point.  Red, pink or Kevorkian Apex and pink or chartreuse R & K, Vance’s or Glitter bugs hootchies are catching lots of fish. Killer B’s and Uncle Larry’s Spinners are also catching limits. Lures should be trolled behind a dodger nickel prism and nickel green are attracting a lot of fish lately. 

Bass fishing continues to be good for anglers as there are a lot of fish being caught right now up shallow while using Senko’s and Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hogs. The top water bite continues to be good for those using shad imitators.  

Lake Don Pedro

Don Pedro is excellent for kokanee currently. Anglers are targeting areas of Graveyard Bay, Jenkins Hill, and Big Oak Island at depths between 40 and 50 feet deep. Pink seems to be the favored color- Uncle Larry’s Pinky, pink hootchies, pink Kokanee Killers, scented with pink Pautzke’s Fire Corn and trolled behind a Vance’s green or watermelon dodger at 1.2 mph for Kokanee to 16 inches. Bass fishing is good as many of the fish are in post spawn and seeking an easy meal. Top water in the morning and dragging small plastics during the day seems to be the formula for most anglers.

Lake Pardee

The Kokanee bite has turned on lately. Anglers fishing for kokanee are catching limits while fishing right as the lake opens to around noon. Kokanee are being found by anglers trolling anywhere from 20 to 50 feet deep with pink hootchies tipped with shoe peg corn.

Bass fishing like most of the lakes is good, especially in the morning hours there is a good top water bite for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. During the day anglers are doing well while fishing with small jigs or shaky head worms.

Product Review

I’m the last person to give fashion advice, but Wranglers’ new “Advance Comfort” shorts are amazing. 

I’m sure there are better shorts out there for fishing but for a little over $13 I don’t know of a better deal. I purchased my shorts at Walmart in Manteca.