Lake Jennings Bass
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I was wondering how things were going in the area lakes this past weekend, and though I got few reports of catches, I didn't get a complete picture. So I thought I'd venture out and get an idea. Are the trout biting? Depends. What baits are working best? Depends. It was starting to feel like a Martha Rae commercial.

About two weeks ago I did something I haven't done in a long time. I got the second pole stamp on my license. I did this because I realized trying to gauge which bait is more effective while trout fishing with just one rod was going to take a long time. There is a patience element to it, and I have little. I am used to hot action on the ocean, and when it's not...you try and make it hot.

It can get boring sittin' on a bank and a wad of glittery Power Bait, or neon-bedazzled some-such-or-another product put out there to entice a fish raised in a tank and released into a lake to find themselves surrounded on bank, the waters surface and in the air by predators with one aim all day: To kill trout. They are a sensitive fish, and paid for, raised and stocked for the "slaughter," so you cannot release them. You land it, you eat it. I thought about bringing my guitar.

So, while tossing a myriad of spoons, spinners and mini-jigs, I tried the various doughy floating baits and rubberized worms all made from the same formulas fed to the trout while being raised (or so they say, something else to check into) at the hatcheries. I was amazed at all the choices and had to cut the research a little short due to finances. I also tried my old stand-by for most freshwater fishing: a fly-lined nightcrawler, center-pinned to a #6 or #8 Mosquito hook. Get it out as far as you can without any weight. Line weight depends on target..for trout I use 4 or 6 lb mono or fluorocarbon. Let it drift out and settle. Give it a few minutes and then start slowly "twitching" it back in, hopping it off the bottom 6" to a foot at a time. Keep a fresh worm on. This style of fishing is a bit more active and more to my liking than just sitting and waiting.

For five days over two weeks I fished the same water from the same bank on the same lake. I know this is a bit controlled, or brief, as a research...but again, time and finances rule. So we'll talk about one specific group of fish in one specific area with several different baits and lures, as well as my patience, "tested."

1) All produced baits tested...3 "flavors" of Power Bait, all with glitter; Corn, Chartreuse and Rainbow.......5 full days result: One bite, on the Rainbow, leaving the bait dented. Zero fish caught.

2) All lures thrown; Kastmaster, Buoyant, Rooster-tail, Super-duper and mini jigs, all in several colors — 1/16 to 1/8 oz — 2 followers, 1 hit and spit 10' from shore on a small blue and chrome Kastmaster. Zero fish caught.

Sunfish

3) Fly-lined nightcrawlers fished as stated above; 3 trout caught to four pounds (one about six pounds released itself in some brush), 3 bass caught to 4 pounds and 11 red-ear sunfish caught to 2 lbs. Due to the light line and targeting trout from shore, there were a couple fish that "self-released" each day in brush. Using the small mosquito hook and 'feeling' the worm as I work it, most hook-sets are in the corner of the jaw and harmless, so less harm caused if a fish is lost. Just a hint.

So, I guess "old school" rules again... Give it a shot.

Monday, January 19 dock totals

Chubasco 2 Sportfishing 14 Anglers, 1 Boat, 2 California Scorpionfish, 3 Barred Sand Bass, 1 Kelp Bass, 45 Kelp Bass Released

H&M Landing 89 Anglers, 3 Boats, 6 California Spiny Lobster, 3 Sheephead, 6 Calico Bass, 10 Yellowtail, 12 Vermilion Rockfish, 41 Whitefish, 14 Bonito, 244 Rockfish, 8 Lingcod, 3 Sculpin, 41 California Spiny Lobster Released

Helgren's Oceanside Sportfishing 17 Anglers, 1 Boat, 5 Yellowtail

Point Loma Sportfishing 63 Anglers, 3 Boats, 79 Lingcod, 221 Rockfish, 268 Yellowtail, 9 Sculpin, 7 Sand Bass, 1 Calico Bass, 15 Whitefish

Seaforth Sportfishing 96 Anglers, 4 Boats, 6 Sand Bass, 7 Sheephead, 5 Bonito, 5 Lingcod, 3 Yellowtail, 75 Rockfish, 7 Sculpin, 13 Mackerel, 1 Calico Bass, 4 Halfmoon

The Vagabond 2.5 Day trip south with 26 Anglers aboard returned to the dock with 79 Lingcod, 181 Rockfish and limits of 260 California Yellowtail in the hold

Tuesday, January 20 dock totals

H&M Landing 22 Anglers, 1 Boat, 42 Sanddab, 176 Rockfish, 1 Sculpin, 1 Sheephead

Seaforth Sportfishing 41 Anglers, 2 Boats, 18 Yellowtail, 4 Sculpin, 5 Halfmoon, 1 Calico Bass

30 Anglers aboard the New Seaforth 1/2 Day AM found 'em down low, catching 4 Sculpin and 18 California Yellowtail, mostly on the dropper loop.

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