Local Waters … continue to produce for local anglers. How about a 38-pound striped bass from the Napa River to get your interest? Word on the dock is that there are “plenty” of stripers in the system – and, with no rain in sight, they ain’t goin’ any place else soon.Kids can have fun plunking from the bank with a bag of Sweeney’s cut bait. Casters, trollers and flickers use bigger baits in a search pattern, till you find the sweet spot. Guy next to you can score a whopper sturgeon right in the same hole. He’ll be tossing his own secret combo cocktail that might include lamprey eel, ghost or grass shrimp and some salmon roe. Be sure to let the big moose take the bait and run with it. He is turning it around to swallow it so don’t strike early, ‘cause you will miss the bite!
The Berryessa aristocrats (anglers who always figure out the bass bite there) tell me the northern edges are full of active bass in this warm sunny period. For years, I have been telling you to be ready to fish when the redbuds bloom and right after the April Full Moon. Well, scrap that intel. Get up there now. Every year the top bite locations seem to switch a bit. I like to make my first spring bass trip with a pro guide. Let him figure out the system for me. I’d call Don Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience (916-502-FISH) and book Don for a day on Berryessa.
Ready To Move Up … to tournament bass fishing? There is no better place to start than locally-based B.B.T. (Best Bass Tournaments). They fish local waters like Berryessa and have local experts in charge like Randy Pringle, the Delta’s “Fishing Instructor,” who honchos their Delta/Wine Region. By the way, their upcoming March 17 tournament is at Berryessa. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org for details and more information.
Clear Lake Is A Bad Boy! … After 30 years of loyal trips to fish for largemouth bass there, the lake has gone dark on me ever since last October. That stretch was always a prime bass-catching period for all of those 30 years. So, I’ve got no scoop and very few words of encouragement for you right now. But hope springs eternal, so we have five two-day bookings in the next couple of months. Hoping to be there when the big ones bite again and again. Stay tuned.
Bodega Bay … is reporting boats out of the water for annual maintenance. It seems to be a good time, with crabbing about over and the long wait for rockfish and salmon seasons to open in April.
Yet, Captain Rick at Bodega Bay Sport Fishing (875-3344) wants to chase down his theory that giant Humboldt squid might be back in town. You may recall a couple of years ago these 50-pound monsters were tearing up gear up and down the coast. We’ll try to keep you posted on this search.
Sturgeon Abound … in San Pablo Bay. Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet told of plenty of legal slot diamondbacks caught this past weekend. Go get yours; Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle at 415 456-0321 plans to have live mud shrimp right through this week.
But, remember you can only keep fish that fall in the 40- to 60-inch slot. Further, possession is just one a day. And, you can keep three a year. Not to worry; a 50-inch fish will feed everyone on your block. It’s best this way, to be sure that population is sustainable and available to anglers now and in the future.
Pleasanton Calls … The Fly Fishing Show is back for its 2018 run at the Alameda County Fairgrounds Friday through Sunday, Feb. 23-25. A highlight will be the International Fly Fishing film Festival at 6:30 the first night. Get directions, all event details and sign-ups at flyfishingshow.com/pleasanton-ca.
This is a special gathering of fly fishing enthusiasts. The event is complete, but small enough for you and your kids to belly up close and personal with some real pros. You can find all of the answers here. Years ago, I filled up my trusty old Toyota with kids for a day of learning in Pleasanton. Tell me about your own car-full.
Need To Plan A 2018 Get-Away? … Here’s a line from the Fly Shop’s website that caught my eye: “Reserve your rod at one of the four finest steelhead rivers on Earth: Northern British Columbia’s Babine, Bulkley, Skeena and Morrice.” With our shortage of rain this year causing a drop in local steel heading, don’t miss this chance to “go big.” I have fished the Skeena (where I was way overmatched) and loved the experience. Find out more at theflyshop.com/travel/index.html. Call them soon; these special trips are small and fill up fast.
There Is Plenty Of Time … before you go to join me in making a contribution to our own The Pathway Home. Here’s why. We fish because generations of members of our military forces risked their lives in far off lands for our very FREEDOM TO FISH. Many come home in need of help.
The Pathway Home is an innovative, sustainable, residential program that serves post-9/11 veterans affected by deployment-related stress. It intervenes early, with a focus on career development and community service in a residential learning environment that supports reintegration and overall wellness.
To donate to this marvelous grass roots organization, conceived by and operated by our friends and neighbors, go to thepathwayhome.org/getinvolved and click “Donate Now” or send your check to P.O. Box 3930, Yountville, CA 94559. Thanks from all of us fisher folks.