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Big Bass Abound… right here in Napa! Look at these magnificent striped bass caught in our own river by Rich Garcia, who reeled in a 35.03-pounder, Gary Moore (27.10 pounds) and Boun Lom (27.12 pounds).My loyal reader, Gerry Gossett, passed along this photo of the anglers. He said that the fish were all caught on live bait “somewhere in the Napa River.” Gerry stopped short of the ultimate warning – “if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you” – but I knew what he meant.

Stripers over 25 pounds are “trophy size” fish in my mind. To have them close by is a blessing. The good news is these big ones have been hanging around for the whole season. Better go out and get yours while they are still here. March in to Sweeney’s on Imola (255-5544) and tell them you want to catch a big bass in the Napa; ask them for the best way to approach that objective. Then go do it – and tell me all about it.

Hennessey Hawg Action… big largemouth bass are on the chew at Lake Hennessey. My favorite young angler and black bass expert, Luke Lipanovich, said big largemouth bass are on the chew at Hennessey. He wants you to use reaction lures for the best results. Here are a few that work there: chatter baits, square bills and Lucky Craft’s LV 100’s in red. Buttonhole Luke at Sweeney’s to learn about retrieval speed. My guess is that you will need to vary it – to find out what the fish are looking for that day.

Forward planning: As you start to plan your strategy to fish in the annual George Carl Memorial Kid’s Fishing Derby here on May 20, rig for both trout and bass.

Berryessa Stays Ready… to deliver a solid black bass bite. I’m looking for it to improve as we approach the April full moon (April 29). As a contrast to Hennessey, the action is in shallower water, up against the tulles with plastics leading the way. Another loyal reader said his bass came on a wacky rigged Senko. A bit shy, my source sent only a photo of one of his nice, fat Berryessa bass itself.

Because it is deeper, and therefore colder, Berryessa holds largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass. Luke tells me that a couple of those families are making babies together, creating at least one more bass strain. Better news is that Luke feels the Berryessa largemouth population has strengthened in recent years – and is rebuilding. This is real good news: it will keep the spots from taking over the lake – and harming the fishing here – like they did in Oroville.

Fairfield/Suisun Bass Reapers… 37th Annual Team Open Bass Fishing Tournament will be Saturday, April 7 at Berryessa’s Pleasure cove Resort. Check out details and entry requirements at . If you’d like to enter this event, your mailed entries and full entry fee of $120 must be received no later than April 4. All proceeds from the raffle after the weigh-in benefit their conservation efforts.

This organization has “given back” in every way using the proceeds from this annual Open event since 1981 for actions to make Berryessa better. Key projects have been the release of more than 30,000 Florida-strain largemouth bass, sinking Christmas trees for improved habitat, and installing a fish cleaning station at Capell Cove in 2009. They invite you to their monthly business and social meeting on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Round Table Pizza, 5085 Business Center Drive, Fairfield (across from Costco).

It’s convenient that they fish many waters close by, so you can compete as a contestant or cheer them home from the dock. Look at these nearby waters: Berryessa, Clear Lake, The Delta and Lake Sonoma, plus Black Butte, Bullard’s Bar, Camanche, Don Pedro, Folsom and Shasta.

Bye, Bye… steelhead season. While the Smith rounded back into shape this weekend, most of the North Coast rivers were high. Come Saturday and it won’t matter – most steelhead seasons there close on Saturday.

Email Bill Ryan at