Busting Bubbas

Been WAY too long since my last post here. Unfortunately, coaching high school softball, and just life in general, has kept me from my usual time on the water and from keeping this cyber-rag up to date. Hopefully, this will be the start of more Caveman communication! That said …

The other day, Fireman Sean somehow convinced me to wake up before farm animals. Boy, am I glad he did! We got to Westlake about 5:45am and were quickly on our way. The conditions seemed very good for some topwater action as there were plenty of clouds, glassy water, not too cold air temps, and water temps around 69°. Plus, the fish had been on the post-spawn chew, according to my fishing partner.

6 Pounder on Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper

6 Pounder on Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper

As we made our way to the other side of our launch dock, I casted a legacy Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper in a Baby Bass pattern. It only took one little pop before my bait was slurped up by a big ol’ bubba. But, shortly after, as she made her first jump, the bait came flying out of her mouth. Although the disappointment of losing a huge fish didn’t fade very quickly, we were encouraged that we were on the right track.

We worked our way down the bank a bit and got a couple more blow ups, but nothing would stick. As we approached the lone bridge at the lake, Sean suggested that we move to the other side of the inlet we were on. Just as I was commenting that I never get bit near the bridge, I casted to a small point on the bank, let the popper sit, then gave it a few twitches when it suddenly was enveloped in a huge explosion. When the line went taught, I set the hook and the battle was on with this aggressive six pounder.

5.5 Pounder on an Ima Finesse Popper

5.5 Pounder on an Ima Finesse Popper

It wasn’t long before Fireman Sean casted an Ima Finesse Popper in Real Ghost Shad next to a private 1-boat dock. The bait hadn’t even settled into the water for more than a second when suddenly it was delicately sucked under the water. The bite was so subtle, Sean momentarily didn’t even realize that the bait was gone from the water’s surface. But, when he reeled down, and felt the line go a bit tight, he set the hook and went to work on this 5.5 pound beast.

6.5 Pounder on a Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper

6.5 Pounder on a Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper

As we continued down the same side of the inlet I noticed that, on the other side of the boat toward the middle of the inlet, there were some baitfish coming up to the surface. There weren’t any blow-ups. But, it was clear that the fish were getting chased up by something. As the old adage says, never ignore the other side of the boat! So, I casted the popper into where I saw some activity. I worked it slow with one or two pops and some decent pauses in between, as had been working for us so far. But, nothing seemed interested. Suddenly there was a big rush of baitfish near my popper, so I gave it three quick aggressive pops. That did the trick … BOOM! Another huge explosion engulfed my bait and the battle was on. After several jumps, and two heart-stopping, line-peeling runs under the boat, Sean was able to deftly slide the net under this 6.5 pound brute … my personal best, so far, for 2019!

5.75 Pounder on a Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper

5.75 Pounder on a Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper

As I slid our third fish back into the water, we looked at each other and commented how the big bubbas had come out to play that morning, so far. They weren’t done, yet! We each boated a 4+ pounder before another delicate little slurp inhaled my bait at another small inlet point. Even though all the fights had been very aggressive to that point, this one took the cake. I truly thought that perhaps I had hooked into something in the 8+ range until this 5.75 pound fatty came completely out of the water and did an inverted 360° flip with a half-gainer. She dogged me for a couple of minutes, pulling drag on the 10-pound test Yo-Zuri Hybrid before we got her aboard for a short meet and greet.

6 Pounder on a Yamamoto Senko

6 Pounder on a Yamamoto Senko

After that, things seemed to slow down for a bit. We hit some reeds, and also an extended flat, that had both been producing as of late. However, neither of us could get any love. So, as we made our was around a dock with about a dozen boats moored on it, I picked up my Senko rod and began skipping the old faithful 297 pattern (Green Pumpkin with Black Flake) under the pontoon party boats. On my third attempt, as the lure began to flutter down, the line suddenly jumped. I knew a fish had sucked it in. So, I reeled down and leaned back into a hard hookset and we were, once again, off to the races. Only this fish knew how to fight! She immediately tried to wrap me around one of the dock’s anchor poles. Fortunately, I was able to turn her around before she could complete the wrap and moved her out to open water. As she cleared the water, Sean exclaimed, “Another Bubba!”. We got her in and onto the digi scale which settled in at 5.99. Sean said, “I’m calling that a 6!”.

4.5 Pounder on an Ima Finesse Popper

4.5 Pounder on an Ima Finesse Popper

Sean boated another 4.5 pound bleeder that had to be released before we could get a pic, and I pulled in a 3 pound schoolie (our smallest of the day), both on Senkos, before my partner found another taker for his popper. This 4.5 pounder, which had no less than four water-clearing jumps in her, put us at the 10 fish mark for the day and gave us a 5-fish best totaling 29.75 pounds! We both wanted to continue with this incredible big bass action. Unfortunately, we had to leave the fish biting, as each of us had business to attend to. Though, as we drove home, I told my fireman friend that anytime he wants to wake me up before the sun is warm to go busting bubbas, I am in!

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BBQ Cod Tacos

BBQ Cod Tacos
I’m always looking for a deal. So, I usually go nuts when something tasty goes on sale and buy way too much of it … this week it was fresh Alaskan Cod! Mmmmm MMMMMM!! 😉

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Fresh Cod Fillets
1-2 TBSP Butter
1/4 Head of White Cabbage or Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
2 Tsp Herbal Red Seasoning
1/2 Fresh Lime
6 Corn Tortillas
1 Preparation of Rockin’ Guac

RECIPE

Rinse Cod fillets and pat dry. Place them onto large sheet of foil sprayed with cooking oil. Slice butter as thinly as possible into pats, and place on top of fish. Evenly squeeze the juice from half a lime over the fillets. Then evenly sprinkle the TSS Herbal Red seasoning over the fillets, and add a pinch of Kosher or sea salt if desired.
Seasoned Cod Fillets

Heat grill until hood temp is around 325°. Reduce the middle burner to low or, if using charcoal, be sure to leave a gap in the middle of the grill for some indirect cooking. Place foil with fish onto center of the grill and cover for 3-5 minutes, until fish has lost most of it’s translucence.
Cod on Grill

With a large spatula, flip fillets and place directly onto the grill uncovered to give the fish a little grill-crusting on the outside. Just a minute or two does the trick. Take the melted butter that remains on the foil and evenly pour it over the fillets.
I like to give both sides some browning, so I do a re-flip for an additional minute before taking them off the grill.
NOTE 1: There are many ways to heat up your tortillas (a must do unless they are fresh off the griddle). One of my faves is to roll up three at a time in some foil and place ’em right on the grill … very Cavemanesque, don’t ya think?!? ;))
Cod Fillets on the Grill

The fish should easily flake up into bite sized chunks. Place shredded cabbage or lettuce (the Cavekids have been on a binge of the latter, lately) onto tortillas, then add fish, and top with some Rockin’ Guac. You can also top with shredded cheese and/or your favorite salsa or hot sauce.
BBQ Cod Tacos

With any luck, you’ll get a response something akin to what the Cavekids gave these. They had each already wolfed one down before I could even get to the table and take my first bite!
Cavekids Love These Tacos

Prep Time = 10 minutes
Cook Time = 7 Minutes
Serves 3-4

©2017 Caveman Catching ©2010 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This recipe originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at http://cavemancooking.net authored by Caveman. This recipe may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

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Casitas Nights

Lake Casitas 3.5 Pounder on a Yo-Zuri Knuckle BaitHad an opportunity to fish a rare legal night session on Lake Casitas on Saturday with my good friend and fellow fishing fanatic, Rick “R2” Raives. We were allowed to check-in at 4pm and launched by 4:30, with an off-the-lake deadline of midnight. There was decent chop on the fairly-stained water from the 8-12 mph winds, with mostly clear skies overhead.

Rick started out throwing a Don Iovino Little Slugger in Purple Phantom while I was tossing a brand new Yo-Zuri 3DB Knuckle Bait, which is a just introduced hybrid wire bait I am field testing for a review. The action was good on the points. I got a good hit on the YZ-KB with just my second cast, but couldn’t connect. Meanwhile, R2 got the ball rolling with a couple of nice 3 pound-class battlers and lost a 4+ pounder in the weeds.

Action in between the points was surprisingly slow. But, then we came across a nice rocky point that flattened out a bit at about 8 feet. I ran the Knuckle Bait across the flat and got hammered by this nice 3.5 pound leaper.

4+ Pound Lake Casitas BassWe scrambled around to several of our usual spots, but just couldn’t find a consistent bite. Finally, dusk finally began to set in. Which had both of us scrambling for some reaction baits. When I couldn’t get any love on the hardbaits, spinners, and chatterbaits I tried, I went back to the old faithful Little Slugger, and was rewarded with a couple of nice tournament sized 2.5 pounders.

Rick opted for one of our favorite, and most underrated, small cranks … the BPS Lazer Eye. He was only about half a dozen casts in when he got hit but wouldn’t stick. But, only a few casts later, R2’s rod was doubled over, as he battled this fat 4 pound-class beast into a quick “lip, pic, and git”.

4+ Pound Lake Casitas BassWhen darkness really set in, we were on the other side of the lake from where we wanted to be. So, we no-waked ourselves over while munching on some turkey, roast beef, and swiss sandwiches. When we arrived, I suggested we try a technique that had worked years ago with fellow bass addict, Mike “MikeyB” Berens, the last time I had fished Casitas at night … a c-rigged 5″ Junebug Senko. As we came across another long extended point, “R2” got absolutely hammered. His rod, once again, doubled over as he hooked into a big fish. After pulling some line, the 5+ pounder did an inverted 360, and was gone.

As we came down the rocky side of the point, I picked up one of my favorite nighttime baits … a Norman Little Deep N crankbait in Black and Blue Fleck. On my second cast, I got nailed on the 5th crank and quickly boated a nice 3 pound-class fish. I immediately tossed it back to the same area, and at the exact same point in the retrieve hooked up with this 4+ pound grinder. A third cast also got hit at the exact same spot, but almost immediately came unbuttoned.

Rick managed a couple more 3 pound-class fish on the c-rig, while I added one, as well. Before we knew it, it was time to get off of the lake. We ended with 11 fish boated, and a great time had by all. We’ll be hitting the next Casitas night session they offer, for sure!

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First Beast of 2017

6-3 Lake Sherwood BassGot out for an hour Thursday and couldn’t buy a bite. Since that didn’t sit well, and I had a 2.5 hour window, I went out again Friday. Scored four using a “finesse vibe” technique with the Yo-Zuri America. Inc. Rattlin’ Vibe, including this 6-3 beast.

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Pre-Spring Cleaning

Pre-Spring Reel CleaningCan you guess what I’ve been doing the last couple of days? When the Winter bite is slow or, in some regions, non-existent, it’s a great time to clean, lube, and tune-up your gear.
Since there are already some great tutorials, both written and video, on the internet regarding how to clean/tune your rods and reels, I won’t repeat the processes here. Though, I must say that Simple Green is great for cleaning your equipment. It’s safe on almost all rod and reel surfaces, and is environmentally safe. As for the lube part of the equation, I have become a big fan of Cal’s Reel Grease and Liberty Reel Oil, in recent years. They are quality lubricants that don’t break down in harsh marine and freshwater environments.
Sure, you can send your equipment out to someone who will charge you a not-so-nominal fee to get them ready for the impending fishing season. But, for a few bucks invested in lubricants and cleaners, a couple of basic tools, and several minutes spent learning the proper procedures, anyone can do it themselves. You’ll feel great about being able to care for your own gear. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money that you can now invest in some more gear. I call that a win-win!

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2016 Top 5

Another year has come and gone. Yet, it also gave me some incredible fishing experiences that I will never forget. There were no new personal bests, but that doesn’t make them any less memorable. Like a 24 fish day on the always tough Lake Casitas. Not to mention some of the big bruisers I was able to land. Here’s my Top 5 bass from last year, in reverse order:

2016 Top 5 #5

2016 Top 5 #5
There’s no doubt that I caught some of my best fish of the year on a Yo-Zuri Rattlin’ Vibe. This 5-11 bruiser was no exception.

2016 Top 5 #4

2016 Top 5 #4
I could barely walk, but I stayed upright enough to land this 6 pound Lake Casitas Bass on a Tailspinner.

2016  Top 5 #3

2016 Top 5 #3
A Yo-Zuri Rattlin’ Vibe got this 6-4 Lake Sherwood hawg to chomp down. It was reassuring to look into the net and see that I was matching the hatch.

2016 Top 5 #2

2016 Top 5 #2
This Lake Casitas six pound, five ounce fatty fell for one of the smallest baits available … a Don Iovino Little Slugger.

2016 Top 5 #1

2016 Top 5 #1
6-9 pound beast that nailed a Yo-Zuri Rattlin’ Vibe back in February on Lake Sherwood. My best of the year.

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Beating Friday The 13th

Broken ToeMy “Friday the 13th” (FTT) actually started last night when I took a 60 MPH heater to the toe while catching my son in the bullpen. Not sure if it’s broken or not. Though, as you can see, it is quite painful and feels like it is broken. That would have been bad enough, in and of itself. But, I also had another Lake Casitas fishing trip planned for today with fellow UFC fishing fanatic, Rick “R2” Raives. Of course, upon seeing my discolored digit, the Cavewoman offered her usual sage advice when she said, “Do you think you should cancel?”. Yes, the smart thing to do … on the other hand, I am a gamer. The only way anyone is keeping me on the bench is if I can’t walk. While, ambulating is suddenly simultaneously difficult and painful, I figured I would spend the majority of the day sitting in the backseat – allowing me to stay off of my angry appendage and still enjoy some big bass hunting. FTT had other plans, however. Lake Casitas No Boat Entry

When we arrived, just before sunrise, there was this lovely sign waiting to greet us. Apparently, the already precarious lake levels had dropped even further, rendering the makeshift launch ramp unusable. While a new (old) launch ramp revealed itself on the other side of the lake with the precipitous drop in water levels, the lake staff was still in the process of rigging it since the traction racks had just arrived yesterday. In fact, they planned on opening the ramp around 4 this afternoon … too late for our purposes. I was starting to think that FTT was going to squash my hopes for the day. Though, R2 is a gamer, as well. So, we weren’t going to be denied our fishin’ mission. We just looked at each other and exclaimed, “Shore fishing!”. No, not the best idea, considering my limited and pained mobility. On the other hand, Neanderthals have never been known for their smarts.

Six Pound Lake Casitas BassWe headed for the marina of the now defunct launch area and went at it. The shad balls were thick and plentiful – sizes ranging from “Good ‘n Plenty” caliber to solid four inchers. The fish were blasting them every ten seconds, leading us to assume topwater would be the ticket. Yet, neither of us could manage any interest. That’s when I decided to tie on a shad colored tail-spinner to attempt to match the hatch. It didn’t take long for my slow-roll retrieve to stop dead in the water and my rod to double over. The way the fish fought (a steady, yet hard, pull), I wasn’t sure what I had hooked into. And, when several diving birds surfaced near my line, I was sure I had hooked into some fish-eating fowl. Suddenly, a huge hawg exploded from the water and quickly allayed my fears. After, a tough tug of war I finally lipped, clicked and liberated this 6 pound beast.

Rick utilized a tail-spinner to nail a nice 4+ pounder, along with a chunky 2.5 pounder. I also managed another four keepers on Don Iovino’s Little Slugger baits, while R2 was able to add another with the shad-imitating plastics. While we would usually stay on the boat until late in the afternoon, 5+ hours straight spent on my hobbled hoof had me ready to call it quits before noon. We ate our lunch with a beautiful view of the lake and then headed home. And, though my toe feels like the late Keith Moon is banging out a drum solo on it as I type this, all I have to think about is that first fish of the day for the pain to begin to wane. Who knew a big fish could be a painkiller, and Friday the 13th beater?!?!?

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