what can go wrong

A PERFECT MORNING will stay perfect with a couple of quick tips…

If you’re like me, on every quiet, glassy morning you can hardly wait to make that first cast. Maybe you’re drawn to the perfect gaps between the stick-ups or that dimpling bait along a gravel bank.

You know these are primo spots that have produced on countless other mornings. If your bait can just hit the water, you know good things are about to happen.

So what can possibly go wrong?

I wish I wasn’t the foil here, but let me tell you about three things you definitely want to avoid. (more…)

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Mike Goodwin

LARGEMOUTH like these taken by Mike Goodwin a few years back at Lake Havasu are now common in everyone’s bag.

Recognition that both Clear Lake and the Delta are among the 10 best tournament lakes in the U.S. should make Californians proud. (Of course, we don’t hold tournaments here between June 15 and Sept. 15–so I wonder, do the voters for the Bassmaster list know this?)

Yet, would anybody but an employee at Phil’s Propellers, even remotely believe that Lake Shasta (33rd) is one 12-inch spotted bass better than Lake Havasu–voted the 46th best and two notches behind Lake Powell?

Havasu is so productive for both smallmouth and largemouth that bass clubs regularly leave the comfort of their local home waters (more…)

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calling me back

THE DESERT is calling me back…

Weekends are quiet on the web–the fishermen are getting ready to go, are already on their way or are on the water. But I got a phone call from a “sponsor” a couple of nights back who made the comment: “Get some more practice time this year.”

Though I didn’t plan out my calendar this year like I did in 2012, that little nudge told me, if I’m going to get in another U.S. Open, I better not wait beyond this summer. We never know how many chances we’ll get.

But beyond the consequences of having had too many birthdays, I guess you could say I want in, just in case (more…)

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Call it a slow news day or whatever, but I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to hear the continued wailing over the use of the umbrella rig–regardless of the the number of hooks that might be employed.

For me, it’s not that there will be a ruling for or against it. Tournament fishing is their game and they will ultimately decide how it’s played. But those that argue against it are all over the place in their complaints–totally ignoring the principle involved. (more…)

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Drop one

DROP SHOT just worked better today, as Michael Kramer shows…

Kind of like what you do with a hot bowl of soup. Stir and blow, right? Well that’s what is going on at Lake Skinner, here midway through April, where the water temperatures were as low as 63 in the morning and no higher than 65 this afternoon.

No doubt the recent winds and chilly nights (36 degrees) have contributed, but so too is the amount of water being pumped through the reservoir. Campers we talked to said the lake had dropped a full two feet since yesterday (Wednesday).

The impact, was more important for my son Michael and his girlfriend Ryann Healey, who had the day off and let me show them around the lake. And the results were pretty good.

But first, a couple of comments about the conditions. (more…)

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Tom Leedom

TOM LEEDOM and his persistent use of the square bill crankbait has paid off big time.

Lately, in what could be described as a remarkable hot streak, Fallbrook’s Tom Leedom has mostly been watching the competition in his rear view mirror. But rather than dismiss his success as “too much free time on his hands,” I have to believe it might be better to get an idea of what he is thinking and then, what he is doing.

Interestingly, I got a chance to witness some of that process, having specifically fished with him at Lake Hodges prior to his winning on back-to-back weekends, each with 30-pound bags. And frankly, it heightens the accomplishment (more…)

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2 hall of famers

HALL OF FAMERS, Paul Leader (San Diego Bass Fishing HOF) and Mike Folkestad (Bass Fishing and Fresh Water Fishing HOF) were present at Lake Hodges. That’s quality.

Lake Hodges isn’t that far from Quad Lakes, maybe an hour’s tow south of Lake Elsinore. And, given the El Cajon Ford’s “Day Series” was having a tournament there, Saturday, I thought, “Why not?”

It turns out, despite low water, the lake is definitely over its funk of just a few years back. And reaping the rewards of the lake’s steady improvement are anglers who can handle the mix of heavy brush cover, heavily stained water and classic rock structures both on and off the bank. Spinnerbaits, square bill cranks and worms–they all fit.

Having spent a few Wednesdays in advance of the contest (where unfortunately I won the pre-fish) (more…)

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TALK dominating tournaments now…

Like it or not, it seems the state of competitive fishing is filled with a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Cancellations, finger-pointing, with the occasional team successes, have pretty much defined our region. I would be deeply surprised if the West ever sees national tour fishing again. The idea is laughable, really.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tournament topics worth discussion.  While you probably don’t follow the national pros that much, the argument about the use of the umbrella rig (we can’t use its alphabet name due to trademarking) is running hot again. Well, it’s running noisy, anyway. (more…)

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UPDATED–After hearing of the passing of Doug Hannon (66) over the weekend, it’s taken me awhile to grasp the impact. The fact that we were within months of the same age probably had something to do with it. But also, having had many conversations with him over the years, (often while covering past B.A.S.S. Classics) I found him both cordial and often candid–a rare commodity. (more…)

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