A couple of weeks ago, my potential new tournament team partner, Jeff Grossman, and I met up for a quick introductory session at Castaic Lake. Unfortunately, they had just dumped a ton of Copper Sulfate (ie. Bluestone) into the lake which absolutely killed the bite, plus it was hotter than a Kilauea lava bath. So, our “first date” was over almost as soon as it started. Consequently, when Jeff called this week to give it another go, I was readily agreeable.
We opted for a change of venue, and agreed to meet up at Lake Piru this morning. After dodging a swarm of Bumble Bees while sunscreening up, and checking out a mob of Deer while waiting at the lake’s entrance, we were on the water and fishing by 7am under clear skies, a slight breeze and 69° air temps. We tried for the topwater bite, with Jeff getting a buzzbait blowup, but couldn’t entice anything to commit to our offerings.
After hammering the points, we switched up and started fishing the walls. I was flipping a Malibu-rigged (weightless T-rig) Kinami Flash in my go-to Mad Melon and started getting bit. But, every time I swung for the fences I came up empty … even having the tail of my stick bait bitten off. Indicating that the fish were either small, or another species altogether, like Crappie or Bluegill. Finally, I got a full pick-up and lowered the BOOM on this 3-13 skunk-buster that made a hard initial run for the rocks below. Fortunately, the 8-pound Yo-Zuri Hybrid line held up like a champ, allowing me to turn and subdue her in short order.
Jeff decided it was time to go to a similar bait and wacky-rigged a Senko. He was on his third cast with it when he suddenly exclaimed, “Darn, I’m hooked on the bottom!” (To be fully honest, being a native New Yorker he actually used a more colorful term. However, I’m trying to keep this family-friendly. ;)). Abruptly, the “bottom” began to move. After a protracted battle on the 6-pound test, I netted this hefty 4-pound class fish for Jeff and we began putting a nice pattern together.
Jeff followed that up with a nice 3 pound classer, but dumped him back into the drink before I could snap a picture of his catch. In short order, I was putting the hammer on another wall fish. Even though this one was a bit smaller than my initial fish, it gave a fight that far exceeded it’s stature. I also insisted that we get pics of the rest of our fish so that I could write up this post accompanied by some nice shots. While we did get this shot, we both agreed that Jeff’s next fish, a 10″ non-keeper didn’t need to be documented.
When the wall bite died down we moved over to the dam, and I decided to switch up baits to a Gambler Ace in Lunker Candy … Malibu-rigged, of course. It didn’t take long to discover that it was the right move. After a couple of short bites, I used my Big Bear worm rod to deftly put the bait right at the water’s edge. After a couple of small twitches, I felt a faint tell-tale tap. As soon as I was sure the fish had the bait … BAM! I leaned into a solid hookset and got a nice tussle from this 2.75-pound classer.
It wasn’t long before my boat partner followed suit. This one fell for one of his homemade hand-poured mini flukes on a split-shot rig. After releasing his catch, Jeff showed me a few of the other baits he makes … the guy has some talent! Hopefully, he’ll allow me to give some of his handcrafted designs a go in the future. As you can see from the nice 2+ pounder here, they look like real fish catchers! (In fact, he used one to catch the only fish we managed to land during our short-lived initial session).
Soon thereafter, the wind began to really pick up, forcing us to change our strategy. Jeff opted for a spinnerbait and a jig. I also opted for the spinner, but went with a deep diving crankbait for my secondary offering. Other than getting slammed on the sink with my spinner (NOTE TO SELF: Be more aware of your spinnerbait on the fall!), we didn’t get any love on the spinners … and Jeff could only manage a rock on the jig. 😉 Though, as we were moving around another angler on the deep side of an extended main lake point, I got rocked on my deep diving crank. I fought the fish to the boat and saw that he was barely hooked on one point of the back treble hook. I hastily flipped him into the boat and took a quick pic with this 2.75 pounder … our last of the day.
The wind was really beginning to whip up, putting some serious white caps onto the water. We decided to call it a day and headed toward the ramp with 8 nice fish between us (4 for each). Plus, we found that we not only fished well together under tough conditions (everyone else we ran into seemed to be having a slow day by their own accounts), but we seemed to enjoy the time spent together on the water. Both, key components of a good team. So, while we haven’t inked anything yet, we plan on fishing together some more before the 2013 season starts in December. Of course, I’ll keep you up-to-date.