Murray mouthfulUPDATED, New Year’s Day–New Year’s resolutions are almost a punchline as we turn the page on the last 12 months, and consider what’s ahead. But this year, in particular, I’ve been influenced to step mine up on several fronts, even fishing. The secret to resolutions, which are a form of goal-setting, is to actually write them down, and more than that, check back regularly to see how we’re doing. In other words, have some accountability.

One’s bass fishing, I’m convinced, could be greatly improved using the same formula. Therefore, I have resolved to take some steps that can improve my game.

No. 1–I’m going to spend a lot more time with a (more…)


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Jay Cowan mugIt’s drizzling, but Jay Cowan is on duty at Lake Wohlford.

But not for long. At the end of his shift today, he will have officially retired after 35 years on the job at the historic little 140-acre reservoir.

Jay actually started in 1974 on a part-time basis, but when the City of Escondido opened nearby Dixon Lake in 1977, it created a full-time ranger staff. Over much of that period he was my direct phone contact to the lake (more…)


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test double AI confess, there was a 20-year gap between trips to San Diego’s Lake Murray, but it’s good to know the little pond is still worth the trip. Instead of just a scenic photo-shoot with Bassmaster Elite pro Dean Rojas and his long-time friend Kelly Salmans, we caught enough fish to seriously consider a return trip.

We never found the 58-degree water advertised yesterday, but 55 to 57 showed lake wide and the shad were (more…)


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Just a heads up. I can’t sit in front of this machine every day.

This morning, I’m headed south to fish with Dean Rojas at Lake Murray in San Diego. He’s making a holiday visit to his old stomping grounds, and it will be nice to fish some clear, but 58 degree water for a change. (more…)


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Since Bassmaster Magazine and the Japanese bass fishing community have pretty much settled on the July-caught 22-and-then-some-pounder as the new all-tackle, world record largemouth, wouldn’t you know it, the so-called “Million Dollar Bass” is already trying to earn its keep.

I know it because webmeister Steve Vonbrandt on the other coast sent the following email that could net you a nice bit of bass fishing memorabilia: (more…)


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Swimbaits, drop-shot, flippin’, splitshot, you name it. If it’s going to be big in bass fishing, you can pretty much be sure it started here in the West then made its way across the country.

And now we’ve done it again.

FLW, trying to figure out how to satisfy the need for bigger fields, but also wanting to provide a larger payout despite lowering entry fees, has finally picked up on a California original–the “option pool.” For the first time ever, the 2010 FLW Series is offering anglers two options, $1000 for pros and $150 for co-anglers.

The burning question, of course, is: What took them long? (more…)


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nose down diverWhat makes a top-flight bass catcher? In my eyes, it’s just getting fish. That’s how you will be judged. Therefore, anything that will help is something you need to develop.

Of course, there are probably thousands of tips that you might absorb, but over the last 12 months, I’ve settled on three that would elevate just about any bass fisherman:

1. Never waste a cast. We waste casts all the time. Sometimes it’s the first one in the morning (more…)


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While no new sponsor could be found to take over what most recently has been known as the “Stren” Series, it would appear that  FLW is still holding out hope for more presence in California.

The role of Pure Fishing’s “other” line company (not the flagship Trilene) ends this month and the Western version of the series was already terminated. This has left (more…)


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excuses artTournament bass fishing is tough at any level, and winning is the toughest accomplishment of all. Unfortunately, those who don’t win (which is all but one guy or team) often feel the compelling need to explain why they didn’t get it done. From the Tri-Hull Bass Club of Tulare to the Bassmaster Elites, it seems there is always a story.

But pardon me. Don’t a lot of those stories sound like excuses? Here are some of my favorites: (more…)


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HOW BAD WAS ITThere was a time, you know, when I thought thermal underwear was extravagant and rain suits for firemen. There have been many, many seasons of waiting in line all night before a lake opened, using a towel for a blanket and a tackle box for a pillow.

The worst of those were facing bitter, post-frontal conditions, checking my watch every 15 minutes (more…)


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