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Clearlake fishing report from the Wild West Team event in February 2020

Collins Lake Report

Collins Lake Conditions

Water Temp: 49-51 

Water Clarity: Clear 12’+

Air Temp: 42-64

Wind: Slight breeze

Clear skies

Collins Lake Trip

Took A trip to Collins Lake Sunday 2/23/20.

Had the Champion out for the day, mind you it has no big motor and no electronics. Used the trolling motor all day. 

The goal for the day was to try and get some bigger fish on the big baits Huddleston, A-rig and Glide Baits. 

We switched between all three of those baits for most of the day but in the end it came down to Dropshots and Shakey heads. 

Focusing most of our attention early on main lake points and the inside of those points we had some success with the dropshot. 

The big baits were not drawing any attention, not even followers. 

Finding the Fish

Most of the morning was spent trying to catch active fish up shallow but to no avail. 

Finally we decided to look in deeper water from 14 to 25 feet. This is where we found the fish feeding more consistently.    

The bite was very soft just picking up the bait and holding it. Usually when the bite is like this the fish don’t want it moving much but for us to get bit we needed to shake the worm a lot then pause. 

The Structure

The lake is loaded with different size rock. For us the majority of our bites came on softball sized rock that was adjacent to mud. 

This is the best structure of the day. We caught most of our fish on this size rock in the 14 to 20 foot depth range
Inside Rock point, softball size rock.
James Everhart

The bass would be holding on the top of the piles looking for crawdads in my opinion. 

The main lake points that we tried did not seem to be holding active fish. You had to get on the inside of the point or in the back of a pocket still keeping the depth near the 14-20 feet. 

The Wrap-up

For our day we ended up catching five bass total all but one were spotted bass.  

Right now the fish really seem to be related to rock structure in deeper water. Go slow but give your bait plenty of action. 

When you get bite make a few more casts but don’t be surprised if you only catch one or two off a spot. 

Collins is still a little cold I think when it hits 53-55 the big bait bite will turn on. I would also like to see the rain come in and dirty up the water just a bit maybe six foot visibility. 

Hope this helps 

See you on the water. 

 Big Ed  

Shasta Lake Bass fishing Wild West Teams 2020

Conditions

Weather Pre-fish/Tournament

Cloudy/ Cloudy light rain early

Air temp: 46/37

Wind: 2-5mph/5-12

Water Clarity: Clear/Clear

Water Temp: 51-53/50-52

Pre-fish: Saturday/Sunday 4th & 5th of January

My partner and I arrived at the lake and launched from Bridge Bay around 10am Ready for some Shasta Lake bass fishing. Our first run was up the Pit River arm.

The plan was to try the trees on points and in the back of coves. Huddleston Swimbaits (8inch), Alabama Rigs, Jigs, Under spins, and The Dart were the baits tied on for the day.

First fish of the New Year

We pulled up to the first point and started throwing the A-rig and Hudd’s third cast with the A-rig landed a 1.75 and seconds later the Hudd produced a 4.13 both spotted bass.

For the rest of the day we focused on trees with the Dart and a Zoom finesse trick worm, this landed us a ton of fish. Most of the fish we caught came from 25-30 feet of water. A lot of the fish were suspended in the trees at the same depth so we counted down the bait and shook it in their face.

Day Two

The next day we headed to the main body at first light Swimbaits and Under spins were the main focus with the Dart being the numbers weapon.

Again we focused on points first, with some success with the Dart rigged with a Zoom Finesse trick worm. The jig, Under spin and Hudd’s were not really producing any fish so we stuck with the worm. This landed us a ton of fish but most were in the 1.5 to 1.75 pound range. A slow retrieve with a couple shakes then dragging the bait pausing and starting again was the most productive retrieve.

The main focus was on clay banks with small chunk rock leading into coves with water incoming. Fished to the backs into the incoming water but no real success in the backs this told us to stay towards the front.

We decided the pit was the best producer for us so on Tournament day that was our plan. A-rigs, Hudd’s and The Dart would be our tools.

Tournament day

Well it started out cold! (temp wise) As planned the first run was to the point we caught the big fish on in the Pit River.

Threw the Hudd’s for awhile with no takers in fact all day with the Hudd’s produced nothing. The fish had moved to deeper water now we were finding them stacked up at 46 feet.

We decided at this point to fill the box then search for bigger fish, thirty minutes later we had our seven fish limit. All came on the Dart rigged with the Zoom Finesse Trick Worm (purple & green pumpkin purple).

Now it was time to throw the A-rig. I was using the Yum Flash Mob jr. but I had modified it by replacing the blades from silver to gold. The first fish was our big fish for the day, a 2.77 pound smallmouth.

The fish I was catching on the A-rig were in Twelve feet of water on steep banks with trees very close by. Keeping it very close to the bottom and slow rolled. Snagging up and losing all the rigs I had brought cut the day short for that bait.

The only consistent bite we had from 11am till weigh-in was the Dart then for the last part of the we focused on trying to find fish over two pounds but only culled up two fish with the worms.

Finished the day with four fish over two pounds and three just under, for a total bag weight of 14.34 pounds placing us in 85th out of 220. We missed a check by 9 ounces, 41 places separated by 9 ounces. Thats Shasta Lake bass fishing!

See you on the water

Big Ed

California Swimbait Challenge 2019 report

This past weekend Ron Howe and I fished the inaugural California Swimbait Challenge on New Melones lake.

The first word that comes to mind is “Tough”!

Swimbaits in November are normally a staple but this year has been quite a bit different. The high heat and dry weather has made for a tough bite.

Normally a big Swimbait like the Huddleston 8inch, Deps slide swimmer, Hinkle trout or the Baitsmith will produce some really nice fish but for me throwing big baits only got a few bites with no hook ups.

Our bites came on the River2Sea 168 S-waver in Light trout color.

We landed 6 fish on it all day culling up to our 3 fish limit which ended up weighing 7.18 pounds good enough for 4th place.

Presentation

The bites we got on the Swimbait came from two very distinct areas vertical bluffs and shady depressions next to boulders.

Unfortunately the fish wanted the bait in several different ways.

A couple of the fish wanted it just slowly swimming. The built in action was enticing the bite. Others wanted it just sinking and even others wanted it ripping and pausing.

I was throwing the Huddleston Swimbait in every direction and different way I could think of.

I tried uphill, cross the points, dragging on flats, swimming shallow, and swimming deep. None of which landed me a quality bite.

Color changes to the Swimbait also had no effect. The bites that I did get all seemed to come on the holdover color in ROF 12, slowly moving on the bottom. They were very small taps or just weight or a quick pull.

With the seasons changing and colder and hopefully wetter weather on the way the bite should be getting better but for now, it’s tough!

Can’t wait for next years California Swimbait Challenge.

See you on the water

Big Ed

Oroville Fishing Report November 2018

Water Clarity: Clear

Water Temp: 62-64

Wind: 2-10mph

Air temp: 75-85

 

I fished the North Valley Tackle Open this past weekend. I had pre-fished for it the Friday before and the Friday before that and can tell you the fishing is off the hook at Oroville right now.

Practice Day one

I fished the 26th of October in the main body mostly then up into the North fork. All the fish I caught were more towards the main body of the lake.

I used River2Sea rovers landing two fish, S-wavers getting two bites, then the majority of fish after that came on Yamamoto Hula Grubs in brown or green pumpkin. All together I landed about twenty fish.

The key was to fish it slow in the 18-35 foot range. By slow I mean slow then just hop it every once in awhile. Long points with wind blowing across them was the most productive.

Practice Day Two

Fishing Oroville

Dads first of the day

On the 2nd of November I was fishing with my dad. We hit the middle basin and the main lake.

The fishing was again stellar. For the first half hour I tried topwater and S-Wavers to no avail then we moved to a cove and the fishing took off.

The Hula Grub and Carolina rigged Baby Brush hog in green pumpkin with the tails dyed chartreuse, caught a lot of fish. We found that fishing in the 20-60 foot range seemed to be the best bite with better fish coming from the depths.

Fishing Tournament Day

Then tournament day, fishing started great. The brush hog loaded the boat by 8:15am culling by 8:20am. Threw in a spinnerbait fish and a couple drop-shot fish. At 9:15 the trolling motor blew up!

This made fishing very tough. We still landed a few fish but couldn’t make it on the main body to get to the bigger fish. We tried but were very unsuccessful.

Fishing tournament day

“Tyler with his First Tournament Bass”

Ended the tourney with 6.24 but left a ton of fish on the main lake, untouched. Get out to Oroville it is really popping right now.  

 

November 5, 2018

                              The First Tournament

Tournament day like any other day starts by waking up. Some days you never slept so waking up is just a fantasy. 

Your first tournament can bring you this sleepless, restless and anticipating evening. What it also brings is an excitement level that is like no other and hard to describe.

You just want to see your name in lights, the other fellows patting you on the back for a job well done. A job that made them all losers that day yet still they sing your praises. Well, it’s my dream I can glorify it if I want.  

No, this is not my first tournament. Ok, it’s only a hundred dollar per team North Valley Tackle open, not the Classic. For my partner, this day was his first tournament. I can remember mine like it was yesterday.

My First Tournament

The excitement was crazy! I had spent the whole week prior making sure my rod (yes, no plural) was ready to go.

As a fish catching machine in my local ponds, I was about to step up and teach these B.A.S.S Club guys a thing or two about how to get it done.

As the sun broke, my partner finished his beer (possible spoiler alert as to how the rest of the day would go) the other boats launched with us. I almost boiled over with excitement. Eight hours later no fish caught, two trips back to the camper to get more beer and everyone else with twelve plus pounds in their bags. I was hooked for ever!

Tyler’s Day

Now, I’m not going to brag but my partner with his first tournament day looming, didn’t have to deal with an unprepared drunk.

No, I had put in the work and found quality fish. His day would be a good one. He was ready as well, five rods all with fresh line and lures suitable for Oroville fishing. Wide awake and ready to take on the day, he knew I would put him on fish. There was a good bite going on Oroville, lots of fish just had to find the kickers. 

We pulled up to our first spot put the trolling motor down then began fishing with topwater lures. Our first pass gave us nothing and then as we passed a boulder, he threw back with a spinnerbait. His line goes tight, he sets the hook and lands his first tournament bass.

After working over the area thoroughly, I dropped the Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hog down. Instantly I caught a keeper then another and another the limit was in the boat. He would be weighing a limit of fish which was one of my goals for him. Next, cash a check. 

Unfortunately, thirty minutes later the tournament gods smite us. My trolling motor died. We worked hard to upgrade just beaching the boat and drifting through areas. The main lake was holding my better fish but the high winds kept us from fishing for them.

Tournament Lesson

I felt terrible! All he would say is “I’m having a great time”, we are weighing in a limit! Right there is why I love this sport. It didn’t matter that we weren’t going to win this event. Cashing a check would have been great but just being out there competing against some of the best anglers in the area, made the day for him. 

Sometimes we lose site of our first tournament. What it was like to be that bright eyed dreamer that knew that Shaw Grigsby, Bill Dance and Roland Martin had better start quaking in there boots. Because here I come! The dream fades a bit as you get older but the passion can hold true. 

If you ever get the chance, hell make the chance. Take someone out for their first event and embrace it. Keep your eyes and ears open the experience can be great for the both of you, just as mine was.

Oroville Tournament Bass

“Tyler with his First Tournament Bass”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James “Big Ed” Everhart

See Ya on the water! 

Water temp….62

Air temp….56-80

Water Clarity….Crystal clear

Clear sky’s

Wind…. 1-3 mph

 

It’s just another beautiful Northern California fall day 56 degree morning and a 80 degree afternoon. Just a breath of air on the water, enough to make it cold on your wet hands. Soon the breeze dies and the water goes flat and Scotts Flat’s crystal clear water shows off its beauty with 20 feet of visibility.

Scotts Flat diverse fish

Smallmouth and Largemouth on Scotts

I’m taking a long time friend out fishing, he hasn’t been on the water in close to a year maybe more. It’s all about fun and getting on the water, let’s catch some fish anyways.

To the Scotts Flat Report

Started by running up the river and throwing topwater baits. I threw the Whopper Plopper and he was throwing the Rover both River2Sea Baits.

I’m not going to lie I only lasted a short time up in the cold air of the river. We ran back down to the main points of the Scotts Flat and the sun. Right off the bat we graphed some schools of bait and fish, they were in the 28 to 34 foot level which really shot holes in my topwater hopes.

I had tied on a Strike king Coffee Tube (Amber-Copper-Green Flake) and a Zoom Trick Worm (Cotton Candy) started dragging them slowly through the area and my partner sets the hook on a nice 2.84 smallmouth bass. A few minutes later I hook up with another smallmouth but it comes off, after another thirty minutes of dragging the bottom we decided to run to the dam.

I picked up the Whopper Plopper made a couple casts and the water explodes I land a nice 3.24 largemouth. At that point we decided if we are going to catch fish it might as well be throwing topwater.

We made a move to the quarry area, both throwing Whopper Ploppers but no hook ups.

We were getting off the water in about an hour so we ran to the river for one more try. Fished the incoming water of Deer creek with no luck then just worked our way down river fishing the steep walls finally as we got near some wood structure two more blow ups on the Whopper Plopper, unfortunately both fished missed. It was time to get off the water so we left the fish for another day.

It wasn’t a serious fishing day but it was a lot of fun, as spending time with a good friend always is.

 

See ya on the water!

James “Big Ed” Everhart

 

 

 

October 17, 2018

                        River2Sea Open/Clearlake

                                               A tale of two lakes 

This past weekend October 13-14, 2018 was the River2Sea Open on Clearlake, the weather and the time of year played some serious games with us, day one we passed the test the next was a fail. One Lake that fished like two, was the feeling we left with. 

Our pre-fish day For the River2Sea Open started poorly. A trailer hub blow out and a search for the tire sent us not to the water but to the mechanics. When we finally got on the lake at 11am it took us two hours to catch a fish. At 6pm we caught our next keeper size fish on a whopper Plopper, to say the least we had nothing going into day 1. 

We put together an idea to try and get a topwater bite early,  we headed to the area we caught the first keeper Windflower Point. I was throwing the Whopper Plopper 130 and my partner the Whopper Plopper 75, on the third cast of the day my partner landed our first fish and I the second a few moments later.

We moved to the docks using drop-shots making sure to barely move them, I landed our third keeper then nothing for an hour. It was time to start searching again.

We moved to Konocti Bay/south end, with one cast our day changed for the better. My partner made a cast to a dock pilling in a foot of water, it came to life with the thrashing of a big fish then it went calm. The fish had come off but the next cast to same pilling gave us our fourth keeper, the next four casts to that spot gave us three more fish no keepers but it showed us the fish were shallow and willing to eat drop-shots. The weed line down the bank looked great, it was in two feet of water and our boat was in fourteen, as we worked down the shore flipping green pumpkin candy trick worms we were culling fish the whole way.  This pattern gave us a day one weight of 14.32 good enough for twentieth place. 

River2Sea Open Quality fish Day 1

Bass from Day 1

On day two I think we woke up walked down to the boat and transported ourselves to a different lake. The patterns we had found were gone, the wind had come up and the temperature had dropped apparently thats all it took to shut us down for the day. We ran all over the lake searching for a bite but none could be found.

At 1:45 pm 35 minutes before our time was up my partner made a cast on to a flat near Konocti Vista, he hooked into a decent 3+ pound fish then it shook off. He cast again and landed a quality fish I landed the next one then it was time to go in. Two fish landed in twenty minutes here was the pattern we should have found earlier in the day. River2Sea USA Ruckus (I Know It color) thrown out and dragged along the bottom then hopped. Apparently this was a pattern that others had found earlier unfortunately for us we did not. Our day two total was 5.54 pounds and our total for the tourney was 19.86 enough for 37th place overall. 

Good Luck out there.

River2Sea Open fish day 1&2

Clearlake bass

 

 

 

 

 

See ya On the Water!

 

James “Big Ed” Everhart

Fall Bass Fishing

James Everhart

September 30, 2018

 

      Catching Bass during the season of change

Fall brings a slow drop in temperature, shortening of the days and the removal of the masses from the waterways.

Hunters can’t wait for this time of year, it rings a bell inside of them, it signals great times and memory making days to come.

As fisherman it brings a change that can be fortunate yet difficult. Bigger bass are reemerging from their summer haunts and the smaller fish will soon be few and far between. This is fall and anything can happen. 

We all have our favorite time of year to fish, in my opinion fall is not normally first on most anglers list.

I’ve had several top five finishes in fall tournaments. I’ve caught some big fish this time of year. Not saying I love it but I have an affinity for it.

Some of the keys I’ve found to fishing the fall transition are cover, water temp, forage and water movement. 

Fall Cover

As the daylight hour lessens bass start looking for easy ambush areas close to deep water. Points are some of the first areas I like to explore. Not every point is the same, look for short points with deep water access.

I like large rock points for better fish. By large I mean car hood size and bigger. Big bass like to suspend this time of year. Large rocks give them a place to hold at the water level they prefer. It also gives them cover and ease of movement to feed on the bait  moving through the area.

Targeting this area with trout imitations, rip-baits and topwater lures can be great producers.

 Next is points with grass lines at different levels. Grass on points can be really productive all day long. This cover allows fish to pick and choose the level they feel most comfortable as the sun angle changes during the day.

Grass also allows you to target those fish with the same baits you may have caught them on earlier in the day. Simply adjust which grass line you fish and you can sustain the bite for a longer period of time.

My choice for baits in this situation are Swim jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits (lipless and billed). 

The last cover I look for is standing timber. I focus here when the water temps really start to drop and the baitfish begin to school up in pockets.

The timber will absorb heat and transfer it down the water column. Bass can use this as ambush for food and to stay a bit warmer. Bait will congregate in this area for cover and warmth as well.

My baits of choice are jigs with bulky trailers to allow for a slow vertical fall. Drop-shot with a six inch worm. A weighted Senko can be very affective in this situation. 

Water Temp 

We all know how much water temp can effect bass too hot they won’t bite, to cold no bite. How do you adapt to the many changes that can happen in the fall months? Look for stability and predictable changes.

Tournament anglers don’t get to pick the weather they fish in. Pleasure fisherman sure do so put the odds in your favor and watch the weather reports for the lake you’re fishing.

What you want to see is consistency over a few days. Rain, sun, temp, wind or snow does not matter as long as it’s consistent. The fish need time to adapt to changes so if you see change coming get on the water before. You can also wait till it’s not change anymore, its just normal. 

Food

Forage this time of year is often plentiful. Crawdads, shad, bluegill, trout and other types of bait are preparing for winter weather.

It’s how the bass are reacting to each that dictates how and when you catch fish.

Bass will school up and attack shad, smelt and herring as they school as well. This can be a great way to get a limit but not necessarily the largest fish.

Schooling bass will usually have the smaller most aggressive fish near the top and the larger fish towards the middle or bottom. These bigger fish will be waiting for the easy injured meal.

Targeting the fish  on the bottom with Crawdad imitations and injured fish lures is a great way to get that bigger fish. 

Crawdads are not schooling animals but neither are really big largemouth bass. Focusing on big fish cover such as lay down logs, boulders and grass pockets with jigs and other crawdad lures gives you that chance to get a really big bass.

 Trout are beginning to move up from the eighty foot depth back into the upper water columns. This is the time of year I like to talk to the trolling guys and see where they are catching trout.

Fishing the short, big rock points with big swimbaits is a must for your chance at fall giants.  One key I’ve found is to remember that trout like to face upstream when swimming and feeding. Position yourself in a manor that brings your bait upstream against the current, to give it a slower and more natural presentation.

Bass are ambush feeders so keep your bait as close to structure as possible. This allows the bass to pin the bait against cover making for an easier meal to target.

Current

The last factor is current. Fishing river systems you might already have a firm grasp on current and how bass use this daily. For lake and reservoir anglers this can be more tricky.

Some Lakes and most reservoirs will start to draw down getting ready for the winter rains or to supply water for the salmon runs coming in the rivers below.

This is where map reading and electronics work is very crucial. Finding the river channels where the water will flow down deep yet be close to structure changes can really produce some quality fish.

Check with your local dam to see if they have a schedule of releases or the date they begin releases.

 In-flow of water can also be very productive. Dry creeks that start to flow with small rains and major rivers may begin to swell. Each bringing new microorganisms that will attract baitfish which in turn will bring bass.

Positioning and fishing areas where current coming in hits a bank or a turn in the main river channel can be excellent fishing. It will concentrate the baitfish into a predictable area.

Spinnerbaits, rip-baits and small swimbaits can really excel in this situation. 

These are some of the tactics I’ve used in the past to have success in the fall. I hope they can help you increase your catches this season. It can be tough or easy, if you use these tips I believe there will be more successful days than struggling ones. 

See ya on the water! 

James “Big Ed” Everhart 

Collins Lake 5/9/18

Water Temp… 73

Air Temp… 78

Water visibility… 2-4 feet

Wind… 1-2 mph

Moon Phase… Waning Crescent

After my last trip to Collins Lake I wanted to get back on the water and see if the giants were active in the spawn but what I found was very interesting.

My friends Colin Peirce and the person best known as “Colin’s dad” Denis and myself all decided to head down to Collins lake for some late afternoon bass fishing.

The Trip

We arrived at the lake at 3:45 pm decided to run up the river arm. A friend had given us a good report from a recent trip.

I started with a spinnerbait and Colin a worm. Denis Had a fly rod in hand rigged with a popper.

We started fishing brush and bushes on the east side of the river just about 50 yards north of the power lines. Fished along here for 30 min or so with no success.

We changed lures a few times but never got any bites. Picked up and moved to the first incoming creek on the east side before the bridge.

I noticed some shad activity so I broke out my Wake JR. hoping to entice a big fish to commit to eating an injured trout.

No bites on it but there were two quality fish that followed it out giving away their position.

We threw a couple baits back where they came from but they were to savvy for us. We started working back towards the mouth of river changing lures, depth and cover as we went.

About mid way back a couple large fish followed the Wake JR back to the boat then Denis picked up a Senko (white,4 in) pitched it behind the bush they swam out from.

This was the first fish of the day. Unfortunately the fish got into the brush and couldn’t get it out.

During the fight we noticed that it had a very large belly and was about a 3 pound fish.

The large belly was the most intriguing thing we noticed. Being the water was 73 degrees we thought that the bass would have spawned by now.

Big belly fish

4.5-5 Pound fish on the Whopper Plopper

Whopper Plopper makes its debut

Colin decided to tie on a Rebel Pop’R bait and started tossing it around the bushes. Boom a good size explosion but the fish missed it.

Here is where this report gets its name. I decided to pull out the River2Sea Whopper Plopper. 

First cast got two blow ups but no hook ups. We started working our way back to the incoming river with again several blow ups but no connections.

Then as we approached the river I noticed the water transition point. I made a long cast into the colder water (62 degree) brought the Whopper Plopper back through the transition and big fish on.

Now we had the baits. A Whopper Plopper and a Rebel Pop’r were not being put down the rest of the evening.

Wrapping it up

Plopper fish

Double On Whopper Plopper And Rebel Pop’R

As we worked our way back out of the river we noticed the bass that we were catching and the ones we would see cruising all had the same thing in common, fat bellies.

Our deduction is that even with the warm water temps the spawn hasn’t happened yet. We fished until dark which was about 8:30 pm.

Ending our evening on the west side of goose island and flat-out wrecking the schooling Spotted bass. Most from 1-3 pounds all on Whopper Ploppers and Rebel Pop’R.

For only being a 4 hour trip it sure was packed full of good fishing.

If you are looking to head out to Collins Lake be sure to pack your topwater baits. I’m sure you will agree nothing beats a good topwater bite.

See you on the water

Big Ed