Berryessa – March 27, 2010

Not a good way to start the season. People all have different ways of approaching things; in fishing it’s no different. Some say the best way is to show up at a lake fish the conditions and go for broke putting faith in the fact that patterns will just emerge and you will get lucky enough to catch the right fish. Now I have to say that I’ve had similar thoughts and some of my best tournament finishes have come with no pre-fish or so I thought. As I looked back through my notes a pattern started to show itself, no I wasn’t pre-fishing for three days straight and spending countless hours studying the lake but I was pre-fishing. Not always finding the right fish but sometimes eliminating techniques or finding the depth that was right, sometimes I was just seeing the lake for the first time or the first time in along time. Observing what structure level is in the water whether it’s flooded brush, standing timber, boulders, rising water, falling water or just as I saw it last. These are all important things to know and I didn’t.

We decided that with this being Berryessa and spring on its way we should target largemouths and start in the vineyards with reaction baits rattle traps, swimmers and spinner baits nothing so I switched to an LBS Tackle jig brown and orange no takers so after an hour or so we left the grass and started looking towards steeper banks up north hoping to find some bass that were in transition to spawning grounds. The first couple casts we hooked a nice 2.91 largie on a mm111 drop shotted at the mouth of a cove in about ten feet of water we had a nice first fish. It took about forty five minutes to catch another one but it was worth it a 2.6 smallie in twenty feet of water on a jig we were well on our way to fifteen pounds which we thought could get us check and if we get a kicker four + we could have a shot at the win. The next four hours were brutal running to spots trying to find another bite only getting short fish and frustrated. This was where the pre-fish would have been handy.

We had a decision to make do we stay out on the main lake and hope to get bites that didn’t seem to be coming or run to the river and finish out the day targeting spots trying to fill the limit. What would you do? So after weighing the options we chose to go to the river it was the first tournament of the year digging a deep hole here would be bad so it was the safe bet.

Or was it, we never landed one spot. That’s ok because what we did find was a bunch of largies on beds none of any great size but hey beggars can’t be choosers. After catching the three we needed to fill the limit we headed on a scavenger hunt for bigger fish. We did find one big hen around four pounds in the back of a cove but it would have taken an hour to work her right and I only had ten minutes. Trust me that was a tough one to leave. So in the end we finished above the middle of the pack which is a positive but never put ourselves in contention for the win a negative. So I guess were dead even going to Folsom philosophically speaking. This time the pre-fish won’t read “0” I promise me of that!


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