A few weeks ago, I fished my first bass tournament of the year with a former student of mine who’s now 26 years old. Like I was in my 20s, he’s so motivated to get his first win. We ended up finishing in the middle of the pack, never getting the big bites that we needed. A professional fisherman once told me “everything’s got to go perfect for you to win a tournament.” I’m still not sure if I completely believe that since I’ve won tournaments in the past with less than a five-fish limit, or while having equipment problems. I do believe that there is a fine line between trying too hard to win the tournament and letting your instincts take over. I’m still learning to accept the latter as weather conditions are always changing no matter what the season is.
Shade is the most crucial factor when fishing for bass on the Delta right now. Really pay attention to the banks and look for any shade pockets. This past weekend the bigger bass being caught were caught on Sweet Beavers on the shady side of isolated islands. The top water frog bite has remained excellent for those willing to toss it all day. Anglers are catching frogfish in both open water and above matted vegetation. Catfishing has been very good recently along Whiskey Slough for anglers fishing with clams and anchovies.
New Melones Lake:
The kokanee bite has remained excellent for those fishing the right depths. Anglers are reporting that the kokanee are being caught shallow during the morning hours and between 80 and 90 feet deep during the mid-day. The most popular area right now for anglers trolling is between the spillway and the dam. Bass fishing has been good for smaller fish on small plastics during the day and top water lures early morning and right before sunset. There are a lot of bass being caught by anglers fishing the deep sides of the many lake islands. Catfishing has been good for night fishermen fishing just about anywhere on the lake right now.
Kokanee are providing plenty of action for those trolling from 100 to 120 feet deep. Bass fishing continues to be great right now for anglers fishing for numbers. Pretty much everything is working for smaller fish, those fishing deeper with jigs or tossing large swim baits are catching the bigger fish. The bluegill bite has been very good around brushy areas with an occasional crappie being caught. Fishing at night for catfish has been fair to good for anglers who are patient.
Lake Amador is a night fishing lake this time of year. Not many anglers are braving the heat right now as the fish have become very sluggish during the day. Bluegills are about all that is being caught right now. At night, there are some big catfish being caught and even an occasional trout for those fishing the dam area. There are also reports of crappie being caught on minnows at night by those fishing around the dock area. If you do plan on fishing Amador at night make sure to get there before 9 p.m. as the gates are locked after 9 p.m.
Fishing is good right now on the lake for anglers targeting bass. Recently while visiting the lake I saw schools of striped bass exploding on the surface around the launch ramp cove during the evening hours. Reports are that anglers are catching their fair share of striped bass while trolling rolled shad or sardines. A secret of many of the locals has been trolling an umbrella rig through schools of striped bass. If planning to go, the lake gets pretty busy during the day, especially on the weekends and holidays.
Power Pro braided fishing line continues to be my braided line of choice. Over the past 20 years, braided line has really changed how people fish. I was turned on to Power Pro by a friend after several bad experiences with other brands and haven’t looked back. It’s true that there are less expensive braided lines that will work, but if you’re looking to try braided line and want the best, I’d go with Power Pro.