CHILLY early, warmer later...

The late “Lunker Bill” Murphy used to say there were only two seasons in Southern California: summer and winter, with a brief time-out for the spawn. When you think of things that way, you don’t get ahead of yourself, trying to track the general fish movement or behavior.

But while our seasons tend to ooze into one another, that doesn’t mean you don’t acknowledge a longer thermometer in September and October, (more…)

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WHO HAS A CHANCE for the Top 40?

The 25th annual Bass-A-Thon coming up this fall and Rick Grover’s can’t-miss event will again coincide with the release of the annual, California Top 40 Bass Anglers list.

But expect a shake-up this time around as I will be taking a hard look at current and past performances, and spending a lot more time looking for hidden gems and under-publicized fishermen.

Frankly, in spite of lobbying on behalf of anglers from numerous locations, I’m giving the boot to a number of guys who have been riding their reputations like a loose hood ornament. (more…)

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I hear ’em crying over a new $3 fee for tagging boats at Diamond Valley Lake, Oct. 1–and I’m buying some ear plugs. The errant and fruitless assailing of “California government” over this new charge tells me the folks don’t get the Water Bully. Does anyone comprehend the power of Metropolitan Water District and how tenuous the life of recreation on their reservoirs? (more…)

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Although guys would like to argue differently (and they’d be wrong), the West has clearly been relegated when it comes to nationally-run tournament organizations. Instead of the same shot afforded anglers elsewhere, those who would aspire to recognition and reward outside their zip code (unless they plan on going back to college) will have but a single route and a narrow window to shine in 2012. (more…)

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I think back to the olden/golden era of tournaments and see a likeness between a venue such as Roosevelt Lake in Arizona and Clear Lake as we are witnessing now. Although Southern Californians would view either as a long haul to waters somewhat unfamiliar, the one thing that used to draw contestants was excellent fishing. (more…)

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SLOW GOING may be all you need to draw a strike...

Fishermen have made all kinds of keen observations since the first topwater lure was carved and used. Through every season and in every part of the country, no other type of “bass action” is more well documented.

What sometimes has become problematic, though, was when one common and specific retrieve and response in one locale or circumstance was passed on as universal to all other situations.

You’ll have to go back to your grandfather (more…)

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UPDATED 9:30 p.m. SundayThe big fish potential of Clear Lake manifested itself today, as Ron Tobey of Concord came from behind on the strength of a near 10-pound bass (51.65 pounds total) to edge Mike Folkestad by a pound and a half at 50.17 pounds. Justin Regelin, finished third when he lost .20 p0unds for a dead fish and was credited with 50.08 pounds. (Click here.)

True, Sunday’s final day of competition in the WON Bass Tour event at Clear Lake has yet to be played, but there were some interesting numbers posted in the opening round of the final regular season event in the north. It might be worth noting the following: (more…)

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FROG FISHING, I guess...

Knowing how devious the typical bass guy can be, I got to wondering if the whole frog fishing gig was some kind of ruse–you know, like a snipe hunt. After all, most of those tournament guys would choose the Chinese water torture over telling you and me what’s working–even if it’s in Taipei.

Gosh, it must be hard for foreigners to figure out the bass-speak. Why, for instance, do die-hard, catch-and-release guys still refer to certain fish as “keepers?”

And look what they’ve done with the term “kicker.” (more…)

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Just when it appears some level of sanity has been reached with the Nov. 1 quagga inspections at lakes Pyramid and Castaic and the presumed recognition of the other’s “tags” (click here) there have been more rumors circulating about counterfeit or black market inspection tags in use at Diamond Valley Lake.

Call it pot-stirring if you like, (more…)

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NO FANCY TOOLS required on this job...

Once I was a bold and confident tinker, willing to unlock the mysteries of any piece of fishing gear with the turn of a screw. That is, until they stopped making wooden wheels and snap-on moving parts. Thus, as has been queried by others on such places as, I found myself “pedaling” in one direction, while the arrow on my trolling motor pointed elsewhere–and wondering what to do about it.

What concerned me was it was so easy to get the arrow out of alignment while pulling bushels of grass off my prop. On the other hand, reversing that maneuver was fruitless. Fortunately, (more…)

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