Friday, January 30, 2009

How NOT to catch fish in January

You know that old saying,"You should have been here last week. The fish were really biting." well that is exactly what happened to me for the entire month of January. I was an hour late at the Campbell Perk Ponds twice. The fish hit anything for the first hour and then disappeared. When I got there two hours after the plant, no one was catching anything. I tried lures , flies, gulp worms in my favorite colour, pink. I managed one small trout, had a great time practicing casting and got a lot of exercise walking the pond. Same thing happened at Sandy Wool, we got there late had about ten short hits and left with our shoes loaded with the stickiest mud known to man. This stuff does not come off. It bonds to your shoes. If you go after a rain, bring a second pair of shoes.

We read about the offer of a 1/2 day boat rental for catching a salmon at Los Vaqueros, so off we went on a beautiful windless day. I even brought the down rigger. Located bait at 80 feet. Salmon do not show up on my fish finder so I look for bait and fish at that depth. Four hours with four poles at four different depths got three people nothing. So back to shore we went. Around 3:00 the trout at Los Vaqueros start coming into shallow water. We got off the boat ,spotted the fish and began casting cast masters with a line counter reel. This is not for the novice. One mistake and you have the worlds worst birds nest. Between tangles we managed ten fish between one and two pounds in about twenty minutes All were released except one trout which swallowed a 1/2 oz. cast master.

But the worst was when Ferne and I went to Quarry Lake in Fremont. We had heard from reliable sources that the fish had finally begun to bite. Most people caught their limits with bait or lures. That was LAST week. We set up on fisherman's row. We did not see any fish caught or any stringers in the water. Bad signs, but we put out two poles with bait and began casting with the other two. The trout on bait would be put in the garden, any on a lure would be let go. I do not like to let go any fish caught on bait . They usually do not survive. Within ten minutes the bait pole showed a hit , then nothing. The line would go out for a few feet and then stop. The fish spit out the bait. Lures were no better, I got short strikes and follow ups but no hook ups. I finally managed to get one on Ferne's pole. She was too busy playing a game on her i pod to reel in the fish. This 2lb. 2 oz. trout was our only fish of the day. It was caught on garlic and cheese flavored power bait. A real gourmet trout.

So do not believe the reports on line or in the paper, they are old reports. The only sure thing has been at Los Vaqueros after 3:00 to the right of the boat dock. They have been there for the whole month of January. But beware February is Super Bowl Sunday!

Remember if you see two people carrying one thousand pounds of fishing gear with one of them playing with their i-pod, go somewhere else. The fish have stopped biting,we arrived too late.

Until the next new moon.... God Bless(for my Dad),


Saturday, January 10, 2009

THE COMPLETE ANGLER Every thing you need to catch fish in the California Bay area

While the weather is causing the trout in the South Bay to bite lightly or not at all, I will show you the BASIC tackle needed to be a successful fisher person. First of all, you will need a few thousand lures. You will need a box or three of the basic minnow imitations from Rapala or Storm or any of the dozens of makers. Limit yourself to the hundred best makers, and no more than five models in assorted sizes. If the fish refuse those you go to the box of metal lures like reef runner or Shasta tackle. If you still get no bites do not despair you have hundreds of more choices. You can use swim baits, spoons like Michigan Stinger in any or all of the one hundred colours. You can add jigs or flies and jig flies. By now you see that you will need a loan to buy all of your lures. But catching a trophy, PRICELESS!

If you fish from a boat, you will need a larger loan. You have to have in no particular order, pole holders, Nor-East is the best and will last a lifetime. A word of caution, do not use cheap holders unless you want to lose your reels and poles. Speaking of poles you will need specialized poles and reels. These not only are necessary but they look great on your boat. You will need line counter reels and long flexible poles. to fit on your downrigger. A downrigger is a device to put your lures at the exact depth the fish are holding. To know this depth you need a fish finder. This is a sonar device which shows depth and fish and structure under the boat. The more you pay , the better the picture on the screen. Rounding out the tackle, you need a colour selector. It lets you know what colour is the most visible at a particular depth. Trolling motors to slow your speed. A drift sock to slow your drift when not trolling. Leadcore reels when you do not want to raise and lower 8lb. weights on the down rigger. The final thing is a small fork lift to carry all of this gear to your boat, which should be large enough to hold the 1000 lbs. of tackle.

Fishing from shore? Different rods and reels. Various spinning reels from ultra light for trout to heavy for catfish. If you like to fly fish get a second job to pay for your specialized tackle and fly tying station. You will need smaller lures and spinners like Panther Martins and a whole boat load of baits. Gulp trout baits, gulp worms, grubs and every creature known to man in every colour there is. You don't want to be without the one colour the fish are hitting. I will tell you what colour to use but I will not give you some. You need to be prepared.

Rounding out your gear, line, hooks, weights, (non lead), leaders, sunglasses, fishing clothes, nets, rain coats, and finally scents. You need at least twenty different kinds . It may not help but the other fisherpersons will think you're a pro.

Well, that is your basic tackle needs. You need it all to be successful. Just do not get mad at me when the kid fishing next to you with a cane pole and worm catches all the fish!

So use part of your unemployment check to start your collection. Remember the camera to photograph your trophy and a fillet knive to clean your nonnative hatchery, artifically hormone fed fish, released in toxic waters for all to catch and eat.

Let me know your favorite lures, I most likely have 5 of them already. Until the weather gets better.

God Bless,

Michael & Ferne

(Ferne has only one pole of her own.).