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Bill Ryan, Dan Solomon

Bill Ryan, left, and Sonoma angler Dan Solomon have their hands full of Clear Lake bass.

“What A Difference A Day Makes… in 24 little hours. With a musical nod to the Temptations, these words perfectly describe our two-day Clear Lake bass trip. We caught and released only 14 bass on Tuesday; it was grim. We caught 26 on Wednesday, across the lake and on a variety of lures. Forty bass in 10 hours is good summertime fishing.

Pro guide Bob Myskey had us rigged and ready both days, blasting off in low light right around 6 a.m. No real change in depths, no real change in water temperatures, no real change in lures – just a real change in the fish’s eating habits.

That’s why I insist on two-day trips.

One special system I like is chugging a Rico top-water chugger across still water in a little cove at daybreak.

My fishing partner, Dan Solomon, and I both fooled a couple of big ones on this system that allows you to see the whole drama play out in front of you.

One word of caution: because you actually see the bass coming up out of the water, you might get herky-jerky, like I do, and pull the bait out of his mouth before he is hooked. Count to three, and then set up on him with a strong sweep of the rod.

In July, I caught a 6-pound, 2-ounce monster bass that way. Ricos are a bit pricey, but worth every penny. A chugger has a scooped-out nose that dips down and “spits up” water when you snap your rod tip down smartly – chug, chug, chug – but Rico does it better because the rim of the scooped out area is thinner and sharper than competition. This lets the Rico create good “spits” without moving very far, keeping it in the strike zone longer.

A nice contrast is the hand-poured straight worm designed and made right there in Lakeport by Troy Bella; his company is called “Big Wurms.” That light-blue worm rigged wacky style was also very effective. The reason is that a small, hand-poured operation can keep the lures soft and flexible – and, therefore, more realistic – than a major producer with big machines.

No knock on other lures – just pointing out the difference. You can find Troy’s creations at Clearlake Outdoors tackle shop.

Ask your favorite fisher folk if part of their enjoyment of fishing is the possibility that the trip will uncover some new adventures. I’ll bet you will hear a lot of “you bets.” The best adventures come to people who stay aware.

At Clear Lake, Mother Nature offers many unique outdoor experiences – such as ospreys fishing for lunch, flotillas of hundreds of huge, white pelicans occupying a shallow ridge, sighting baby birds asleep on their mother’s back – between her wings – or a wildcat prancing along a rock ridge above the water.

But, to suit the fancy of many of my Napa Valley readers, this one is about the 13th annual Labor Day Weekend Blue Wing Blues Festival at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake.

Myskey introduced us to owner Bernie Butcher, who told us that the event runs from Saturday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 2, starting at 6 p.m.

You’ll sit in the garden for your buffet supper and hear some top blues music by favorites such as the opening-night act, the Laurie Morvan Band from Southern California, and capped by the Bay Area’s Ms. Taylor P Collins and her big seven-piece backing band. All this for only 50 bucks. Call for reservations at the Tallman Hotel, 707 275-2244, ext. 0.

Berryessa Calls… with a kokanee tune. This headline in the Western Outdoor News caught my eye: “Kokanee full speed at Lake Berryessa.” Koki specialist guide Troy Barr of T-Roy’s Guide Service (372-7599) said they were trolling in water column slots from 55 to 98 feet, depending on time of day and water temperature. “The kokanee fishery has come back 100 percent and has no signs of letting up for at least a month or so,” he said.

While, In The Salt… the king salmon bite continues to be wide open right now. And it can get even better, as many more big ones from both the north and south merge right here to start their journey through the Delta – back up home to spawn in tributaries of the Sacramento and Feather rivers.

Book your favorite boat now for a bag of fresh protein from the Sea.

Why Is Fishing Called Angling… and fishermen called anglers? Here’s one I know you have been waiting for. The most prominent answers seem to be:

1. It derives from the bend (angle) of the fish hook dating way back in history. Here’s one description I Googled up that seems to say it best: “Fishermen are called anglers because the Middle English verb for ‘to fish’ was angela, and that verb came from the Old English noun for hook, as mentioned in this thread above. This predates the borrowing of Norman angle, originally ‘corner (of a room)’ into Middle English. This French word goes back to roughly the same PIE root as the angle ‘hook’ word, but the routes these two words took is different. The angle is one in the hook, and not in the rod and line.”

2. It comes from the angle of the line to the fishing rod. Here Google says “Simply dangle the weighted line coursing through the loops on the rod and notice the angle at the junction of the line-rod tip! This is why fishermen are referred to as anglers.”

While we don’t have to choose, No. 1 above speaks loudest to me. Tell me about your take on the word “angling” in relation to fishing.

Take Your Best Buddies Fishing… free. Saturday, Aug. 31, is a free fishing day. Your best friends can fish without a license that day. It’s a nice way to introduce friends to your favorite sport. All other California Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing rules and regulations remain in force for all anglers.

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Email Bill Ryan at acorn_3@comcast.net.

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