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Monthly Archives: October 2012

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The Bass Bite This Week


With widely spaced cloud clusters occasionally obscuring the days’ sunshine I putzed around on Lake Shasta in an attempt at research for massbassin a couple of times this past weekend. The weather guy on the tube said our area of California was finally going to get some wet stuff from an arriving low pressure by late Sunday or early Monday. But Friday and Saturday were just fine. Fine enough to be shirt off in the afternoons.

Friday was my first day to test the bite. After a cool, breezy morning the lake calmed to a glaze that mirrored Shasta Dam in one direction and Mt Shasta over Slaughterhouse Island in the other. I was trolling for big rainbows and Chinook out in the middle between the dam and Digger Bay Marina. There wasn’t much going on according to the chart, and nary a strike on my lures, so I headed for one of my favorite coves, and it was shirt off warm by the time I got there.

The chart showed fish way back in the cove as usual, but the fish I catch back there are usually crappie, bluegill, and bass. Once in a while I pick up a trout, but not that often, and the trout tend to be afflicted with copepods. These are small crustaceans that attach themselves to many of the fish in the lake. These fresh water lice-like creatures infest some fish while missing others. The fish that are infested with them tend to be rather sickly, and hard to revive when brought to the boat. If the intent is to release them, take some time and make sure they are oxygenated enough to swim down, or they will just fin around on top of the water to make a good target for an eagle or osprey. If the intent is to use the fish as dinner fare, documentation I have read states the fish are fine for consumption when cooked. Might want to avoid munching the skin though since the copepods are an external parasite. Go here for an article describing how these aquarian hitchhikers were controled in the Merced river;

My best rig has been a chrome and brass dodger with a blue wiggle hoochie trailing about 18 inches back trolled at depths between 35 and 90 feet. Nice rainbow trout are anywhere in this zone. Watch for groupings on the chart and experiment. At the deeper depth I have been picking up kings, but not this last weekend. I did see what appeared to be salmon at about 140 feet, but that is just too deep for my downrigger clips to keep a grip on the line. I know this so I don’t even try. I may replace them some day, but not now. Too much fun to be had shallower.

Spotted bass and a couple of nice small mouth hammered a chrome F-7 flatfish trolled at 35 feet. They hit so hard I thought the pole holder was going to split! More spotted bass in the one and a half to two and a half pound range were gulping my hoochie on the other rod. I also had a couple of take downs using a blue/chrome Krocodile spoon, and a grey and black Rapala. Rainbows on the spoon and Rap at about 55 feet on the wire.

Hope the weather gives me a chance to go again during this next week and have an opportunity to be Ketchinnee.

Will the fish survive

After doing a bunch of poking around into the subject of fish mortality from new plastic baits, I am putting some of the stuff I have learned here.

Much of the material I have been reading lean toward the need to produce and use biodegradable products instead of the pure plastic products that started the trend for this method of bass angling. This type of soft plastic bait is also used for many other fishes, fresh and salt water, but the highest use for them is bass.

Soft plastic baits are made up primarily of plastisol which contains polyvinylchloride (PVC) and a plasticizer. The PVC is not biodegradable and may not decompose for a very long time if ever. This ties in with my question of will a fish that has ingested one of these baits be able to survive.

At a fly fishing club meeting the other night we had a guest speaker, Dennis Lee. Mr Lee is a retired Supervising Fisheries Biologist from California Fish and Game, and I questioned him if plastic baits would break down in the fish’s digestive tract. He said no to this, and went on to describe some new alternative soft baits that are biodegradable. He also said if the plastics I found were too large to pass through the anal port, the fish would likely starve and die.

That conversation confirmed my suspicions, and sparked interest in the biodegradable baits mentioned by him and a fellow at a local tackle shop. They both mentioned Berkley Big Gulp. Research here on the internet turned up a few more. They can be found here

I believe for the continued health of our water ways, and fish stocks that anglers concerned with issues regarding plastics should do everything in their collective power to press for soft artificial baits that are at least biodegradable. It makes good sense to use these baits for the ecology alone. Some of these baits even have nutritional value, so we may as well feed the fish too.

What do you think?

Lets Dive Right In

Today has been just spectacular here in northern California where I live. The sky is clear cool blue with a few clouds moving slow. The trees are putting on their fall finery. The tree squirrels are scurrying here and there storing up winter fodder, and the sound of leaf blowers can be heard throughout the area. This is a very drastic, quickly evolved change from just one week ago when the local temperatures were in the high 90’s  and low 100’s. Totally welcome though!

Since I live only a few minutes from one of California’s largest lakes (Shasta), I spend quite a goodly amount of time fishing this body of water, but not exclusively. From only a few minutes drive to a couple of hours there are a multitude of great fishing places I can access, and I do. More on some of them at a later post. Today I would like to share some information about my experiences a couple of days ago.

The timing of the bite was off for a few days when the air temperature began to decline. The bass in Shasta were on the bite up to a couple hours after sunrise, and then for about an hour just before dark. This past Sunday the fish seemed to be foraging all day. I picked up spotted bass, and small mouth from early till late. I hit the rainbow trout and Chinook salmon late in the day. I will  spend more time with what I was using and all a little later, but now I am going to present an issue I found really disturbing.

One of the rainbow’s I boated was big and fat I ended of killing this fish by accident. Sometimes that happens. This fish had swallowed my hoochie lure down deep, and I messed the fish up getting the hook out. The fish measured right at 18 inches long, and as I mentioned earlier, really fat. I attributed the extra girth to gorging on shad, but in hind sight, the fish didn’t regurgitate any of the little bait fish when I handled it. When I got home and cleaned the fish my cleaning knife nicked the stomach which literally exploded with a couple of plastic baits. These plastics were about 8 inches long and maybe 1/2 inch in diameter. How on earth would the fish pass these things?

I am going to do a little research about this subject and post my findings, and questions some time soon. I hope someone else could weigh in on this too, but for now I go.

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