Haven’t posted much lately. Been doing lot’s a fun fishing, and catching lots of fish during tourneys, but haven’t been able to score “the big bite” it seems. This past week, my fellow UFCer Rick “R2” Raives invited me to join him out on lake Casitas for a morning of Bass battles. I was ready and willing since reports had the fish biting on both real and artificial baits.
When we arrived under cloudy, slightly breezy, 60° conditions I had hopes it would continue to be a hot bite. But, when we began to see big schools of Shad everywhere I knew it would be tough to catch them on lures … which is all we use. After getting no topwater or plastic bait love, I decided to tie on a small Shad-imitating hardbait. That was the ticket, as my third cast with it got absolutely crushed. After a nice tussle that had me thinking 4-5 pounder, I was able to lip, pic, and release this stout 3+ pounder.
We cruised around to some other likely spots and I actually missed another biter on the same bait. Then, we hit an area that Rick said would definitely produce a fish. Boy, was he right! I casted the hardbait parallel to the bank and, about halfway home, my bait came to a sudden stop. Another fish that decided to fight above his weight-class annihilated the bait. A sporting battle ensued before we stopped for this meet and greet.
Meanwhile, Rick was only able to manage a couple of non-committal bites before he was able to score his lone skunk-buster that he wouldn’t let me photograph. I still say it was big enough for a pic, Rick! 😉 I nailed one more that was truly too small for photographic fame before we finally had to call it a day. Turns out, after talking to a few folks who were out there that day, it was a nearly non-existent bite and that we should have been proud of getting three keepers.
As I headed home, that thought was going to have to keep me satisfied, as I lamented that my tourney partner for the American Bass Anglers (ABA) Piru Summer Nights Series, that was set to start the next evening, had recently bowed out. However, the next morning I was surprised to see that a last minute response to my plea for a new teammate had been answered on the Wester Bass website. I quickly called and made plans with my new-found friend, Randy “Tiny” Brandes, a veteran of the So Cal tourney scene.We launched around 6:30PM, the last of 37 boats to hit the lake which is about 60 feet below normal water levels. Neither of us had had the chance to pre-fish the lake which was obviously not the same body of water we were used to fishing. However, he had a spot that he was convinced would hold fish. We motored over there and it wasn’t long before Randy was leaning back into a hookset with a Carolina-rig. Unfortunately, he came up empty … and even more unfortunately, it was far from the last time that would happen for the big guy. However, two swings later, he was able to connect on our first fish of the day with a nice 2.87 pounder (pictured here).
Not too much time passed before I was able to get off the schnied with a 2 pound crankbait fish. I soon followed that up with a modified Carolina-rig skinny fish that was clearly recovering from the spawn. Meanwhile, Randy continued to have problems getting fish to stick with several that missed the hookset, and a couple that came unbuttoned soon after the battle began. Soon, the “missitis” became contagious as I had a couple come unbuttoned and a few that missed the hook completely. Finally, I nailed a nice 2.75 pounder on a spinnerbait and another decent fish on a crankbait. From there, our disease continued to rear it’s ugly head as I had a nice fish on the crank break free near the boat and we both missed a few more fish.
We did weigh-in a 5 fish limit and only missed a check by less than a pound. Which had us both wondering what could have been if a few more fish stuck … but, that’s fishing. It did give us confidence that we should improve as we come to know each other better, as well as learn the new terrain we will be fishing on this water-starved lake. All in all, a couple of fun days fishing … and, best of all, I’m in the Piru Nights Series with a fun new partner!