Luke Lipanovich

Napa bass guy Luke Lipanovich fooled this Lake Berryessa big one with a Senko lure in deep water.

Luke Lipanovich… is in my permanent fishing hall of fame.

I first met Luke when he was a student at Vintage High School, where he starred in football and baseball before graduating in 2017, and had created a bass fishing study project for Napa youth. He has gone on to perfect his craft, bass fishing right here close to home. You are going to like meeting him. He is outgoing, smart, and an experienced angler – with a great, big signature smile.

That happened to me last Thursday when I marched in to Sweeney’s Sports and shook his hand. You guessed it; cell phones out and at the ready – time to compare big fish photos. I didn’t stand a chance.

After showing Luke my nice 6-pound, 10-ounce Clear Lake largemouth, he flashed a 9-pound Lake Berryessa bass at me. Game over.

Luke was kind enough to tell me the lure he used. He likes fishing deep over a ridge with a Senko. He puts a small nail weight in the Senko’s head to keep it on the bottom. Where did he hook it? Nope, there are some things even best-friend anglers won’t tell each other. Go find your own deep water ridge.

King Salmon Limits… all around. This extraordinary salmon season continues unabated. Both the big guys and the six-packs are getting onto 20-pound kings. Their combo trips are adding rockfish limits and, most days, a nice ling cod dividend.

The Monday Hot Sheet listed some of the special rockfish names that were included on Captain Rick Powers’ report out of the Bodega Bay Sport Fishing (875-3344): “coppers,” “vermilions,” “browns,” “gophers,” “china cod” and “quillbacks.”

We’re looking for this good salmon bite in the salt to last through August – before they line up to go home to make some new river babies, right where they were born. As a victim of mal de mer, I do my salmon fishing in the rivers.

The Napa Wildlife Rescue Team… is one of my favorite local groups. They take in and rehab hurt and wounded wildlife, releasing them back into the wild whole again. We have no more dedicated citizens than those on their team. I met them when I was a member of the Napa County Wildlife Conservation Commission. Give them some financial support at napawildliferescue.org.

Look at this marvelous new program they have developed that can let every citizen participate in a natural way to reduce the use of rodentcides and other dangerous chemicals right here in our own hometowns. It’s called BOMP – “Barn Owl Maintenance Program.”

I want to invest in one of their Barn Owl Boxes, which encourage barn owl families to come and live with us. Why? A barn owl family, three to four birds, can eat 1,000 to 3,000 rodents a year. A natural method of wildlife balancing – and the beginning of the end of the use of dangerous chemicals that kill everything they touch, not just the targeted pests. Check it out, and sign up at napawildliferescue.org/bomp.

But, when the rescue team clinic checked our property here in St. Helena on Google Earth, they determined that the owls wouldn’t hunt efficiently in these small and fenced backyards. So I’m out trolling for a partner with some open land and hope to collaborate on a Barn Owl Box soon. It was impressive that Napa Wildlife Rescue has built in systems to be sure that the boxes they do install will work.

Will you join me? Use your own family project to teach your children how to grow up to contribute to our common good. In fact, ask them to help fund your family’s Barn Owl Box by contributing some of their own money every month. Remember, your barn owls have mated for life so they will bring their kids in to work – a couple of new ones every year.

The beauty of this Napa Wildlife Barn Owl Maintenance Program is that it is professionally developed and maintained for you. Of course, farmers and wineries will see these benefits quickly.

BOMP will install a box with its pole (one to six boxes) for $450 each. There are some preliminary steps that will insure success – like consultation ($200) – and you are going to want the BOMP team to perform an annual fall box inspection and cleaning ($125). That’s $775 for my Year 1, and $235 in following years. Too much? Not really. I’m going to fund my box by skipping a couple of guided Clear Lake fishing trips this year. Golfers, skip a couple of golf matches this year and your BOMP box is paid for. Better still, invite your close neighbors to your initial BOMP consultation to get them on board, and committed to share the costs – and the benefits.

What’s This Got To Do… with fishing? Everything. Those dangerous chemicals build up quickly and get washed down into favorite local fishing holes – such as the Napa River, Lake Hennessey, Lake Berryessa and Clear Lake – to kill the fish that live in them. Let’s save a bunch of fish so our kids, and their kids, can enjoy fishing for them.

Worth doing? You bet. Bassmaster Magazine just released its 2019 list of the Top 100 Bass Lakes in America – and the Top 25 in the West. Our own Clear Lake is the top bass lake in the Western 25 – and Berryessa ranks seventh. By the way, still nearby, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta is the West’s fourth best bass water. Go fishing.

Be Careful Out There… encore. Hot days and long hours under sun in an open boat can cause dehydration with its many problems. It is even more dangerous in kids with smaller bodies and fewer defenses. I was taught to have at least two glasses of water, juice or Gatorade even before leaving the cabin – or I was already under-hydrated.

This is way too important for you to rely on just my words. Get information you trust before your next hot day outside. Visit wb.md/2PtHaA4 to see what WebMD says.

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Email Bill Ryan at acorn_3@comcast.net.