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Fish Chris

The Ca Dalta..... This might surprise you....

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(then again, coming from me, nothing should really surprise you ;-))

Anyway, I know a lot of you guys from other areas of the country (read; areas which are too far away, to easily drive to the Ca Delta to check it out for yourself) have heard about it a bunch from the tournament guys, magazines, television, etc.

I noticed a lot of guys in the, "If you could fish anywhere" thread, picked the Ca. Delta.

Well, I live about 5 minutes from Ca Delta waters..... maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour, from parts of it that are considered great for Largemouths..... But I almost never fish it (about 5 times in my life).

Why ??? Well, the really big fish (and the Delta certainly has a few) are very scattered, and almost impossible to exclusively target. Over the years I have followed many of the Deltas largest bass catches, and you will see that a guy gets a 16 lb'er..... so what was his previous Delta PB ? ....uh... only a 9 ? Another guys gets a 17 1/2..... And his previous PB (even though he fishes the place 50 days a year for the last 20) only a low 10 and an 11 1/2 ?

My point is, the really big bass in the Delta are just so scattered, that you will really not find any one guy consistently catching double digit bass, and certainly not teeners.

So anyway, if you like to fish water which is totally dependent on tide, murky, stinky, and very often, windy, and of course if your goal is to get a nice limit of 3 to 5 lb'ers, the Delta might be a great choice.... but even so, you are going to either need to fish it a bunch to get onto a good bite, or pay a guide.

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Another place you guys have probably heard of is Clear Lk. Ca. This place is very similar to the Delta in a lot of ways. It kicks out SOO many 3 to 7's, that the place has ended up with an "undeserved" reputation as a trophy bass lake. But the fact is, Clear Lk. kicks out even fewer DD bass than the Delta, and really big fish (say 13 or more) are practically non-existent. I have often said that the reason "Clear Lk. produces so many DD bass, is that so many guys don't carry a scale.... and a 7 or 8 lb'er to those guys will surely be over 10 ! ;-) (It's funny that those guys can afford a 50K boat.... but not a $30 scale ! ?)

Case in point; Several years ago, I fished Clear Lk. 90 days in one year. I caught aprox 1100 bass, for very close to 5000 lbs ! Yes, right at a 4 3/4 lb average for 1100 fish ! 28 of those fish went from 8 to 9.8 lbs..... but are you ready for this ??? Drumroll please........ Not one single double digit bass ! Not even ONE !!! That same year, I fished a couple trophy lakes a handful of times..... and stuck 3 or 4 over 10 lbs !

That was all I needed to know. The following year, I decided, Clear Lk. was nice, and it was fun..... But I knew I needed to step up to the plate and get serious ! I decided I would start fishing the "tough as nails" trout-fed, trophy bass ponds. I mentally prepared myself to get skunked A LOT ! And that was a good thing, because I sure as heck did get skunked ! The following year I beat myself up. And I went from catching 1100 nice bass from Clear Lk, to catching somewhere around 60 to 80 fish the next year.... in the same number of days on the water !

But guess what ??? I ended up catching 27 bass over 10 lbs, with the biggest being a 16.5 lb'er, which earned me $5500 from the Big Bass Record Club ! (still my best trophy bass year)

So my point is to ask, "What do you want to do" ? Catch lots of nice fish..... no one of which by itself is really worth bragging about ? (again, not to say that you couldn't go to the Delta or Clear Lk and stick a DD on the first trip, but the odds are very much against it). Then yes, the Ca Delta, or Clear Lk. But if you wanted to come to Cali and stick a monster 10, 13, or even bigger bass, then that is a whole different game, on completely different water.... And since guides don't specialize in really big fish, you would be pretty much on your own. Often I have guys e-mail me about a vacation to Cali, "and they want to catch a DD" .....Oooooohhh...... Well, It took me close to 30 years to get my first DD bass from Cali, so it might take quite a long vacation.

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But hey now, I sure have been fishing that muddy, stinky, windy Ca Delta a lot in the Winter for giant Sturgeon and Stripers :-) IMPO, this is where the Ca Delta really shines !

Just the far-left, whacked out-opinions of a fish-head who lives next door to the Ca Delta.

Peace,

Fish

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Hey Fish, I always enjoy your writing. I have come to understand that while I would love to catch a trophy fish, the single-minded focus that this requires is not in me. Your example of quiting Clear Lake to fish exclusivly for hawgs is a case in point. If I lived in your neighborhood I would certainly spend some time pursuing monsters, but would not be able to quit a lake that produces fish like Clear Lake. I respect the discipline this takes, and hope to see you you in the middle of the next "world record" controversy.

Just the musings of a former whacked out, far-left fisherman; now a far-right midwestern conservative fisherman. My how times have changed. ;)

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I appreciate your response, and your opinion. Heck, let me just put it this way..... If everybody around here were to stop fishing for numbers, and start fishing for monsters, I'd probably start fishing at Clear Lk. again, and learn how to catch numbers of fish from the Delta :-)

Oh BTW, as for those 1100 bass I caught from Clear Lk. that year, 95% were caught on tiny, live dads (as close to a giveaway as it gets on that lake, but still fun on micro-light gear :-).... Remember it's not trout fed) However, about half of those 28, 8 to 9.8 lb'ers were caught on a 9" Castaic trout lure. I could have probably thrown nothing but the Castaic that year, and caught 50 or 70 fish from 8 to 9.9 lbs, but still maybe not a legit DD. This is just a direct reflection of what size fish the lake was holding at that time. Interesting, huh ?

Peace,

Fish

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THat sure is impressive Chris by anyones standards. I wonder if California is the only state that can produce like that? Some might argue that from Texas or Florida. LIved in Texas and now live in Florida. I just haven't seen production like that.

Also, even though some lakes in California don't have Trout in them and you still catch fish on large swimbaits I and many others have tried swimbaits in Texas without much luck. I am wondering if this is just a California phenom?

Have you ever heard of people catching big dd fish on swimbaits in other states besides California? I haven't heard of folks catching them in Florida. I hear of them catching them on big Shiners. Do you throw the sinking type or do you ever throw the floating type? If so, do you always throwq them in shallow water say 10' or less or do you use the floating SB in deep water as well?

Thanks.

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Chris,  I very much enjoy your writings and even your website over the years.  One thing I have learned like you said is it takes a very special attitude and dedication to do what you do and I would believe that that dedication and attitude does take some getting used to to form it to where you are right now as a strictly trophy hunter almost 100% of the time.   The one thing that I had to learn the hard way is if your looking for a 15lb you need to fish where there are 10lbers.  If there is 1 15lber in your lake your gonna get discouraged really quick fishign for that one fish.  Granted hearing about one or 5 fish over 10lbs over the course of 10 years really isn't such a great spot to look for a teen fish.  So what I am attempting to do is just increase the size of my catch and try to catch 8-10lb fish.  Granted these weights don't appeal much to me because my home lakes are Spotted bass lakes where a Trophy Spot is 5-6lbs.  Chris,  Tell me about some of the swimbaits that you are using to catch your bigger fish?  I am getting into the bigger swimbaits pretty thick and heavy and I have some Triple Trouts and Hudds and wanting to expand my selection some with some more variety.  I do understand baits are only a small portion of the equation of catching fish but I am looking at what are some quality baits that you use day in and day out.  

Thanks for your time!  BTW will you be at Icast in Las Vegas this week??  If so stop by the Triple Fish International booth I'd love to introduce myself.

T Mike

www.tritonmike.com

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Hey Keith, ya' know it's funny, for years I have tried to convince people that "live bait is not a giveaway"...... but for numbers of nice fish, particularly at Clear Lk, it is just about as close to a giveaway as it gets. As I pointed out, I still got at least half of my biggest fish from there, on a 9" swimbait (and of course, the biggest ones are where my minds usually at anyway) but its just hard to convince people that swimbaits can actually make it "easier" to catch a big bass, after they read that I caught 1100 fish for 5000 lbs, in 90 trips, mostly on live bait.

In any case, I was catching 10 to 20 bass, from 3 to 9 lbs a day that year (2000) at Clear Lk. while proffessional tournament guys were struggling to get 5 legal sized fish on artificials.

I do have a good buddy who used to smoke them on Clear Lk. at night with soft plastics, and he could have probably caught close to my same numbers, had he been able to fish 90 days in that same year...... But the tuorney guys have to fish in the day time, on weekends, and try to beat each other to the best spots. I beat all of them to the spots by going their on a weekday :-)

Hey Mike, no.... I wish I was going to Icast :-( Had a few of my sponsors ask me about it too, but I have to work (have to feed this fishing addiction somehow ! :-)

Which Swimbaits ? That's an easy one. I throw the Hud... then sometimes I will throw the Hud. And if that doesn't work, I just throw the Hud :-) Sometimes the rof #5, but nowadays mostly the #12. Always in the natural trout pattern.

Honestly, I think this 8" lure is pretty small swimbait. I'd WAY prefer to be throwing a 10" or 11" swimbait, but I'd rather throw a Hud which is too small, than any other swimbait on the market, as I personally believe it is just that good. Believe me though, as soon as Ken comes out with a bigger Hud, I'll probably switch straight to it completely, and never look back.

Of course your right that their is so much more to the total picture, than just what swimbait you are throwing, but personally speaking, with all else being the same, I noticed a larger increase in my success, when I switched to the Hud, than from any other changes I have made, or things I have tried.

Good fishing to you guys,

Fish

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