Lake Berryessa (March 26)

The 2011 Thunder Valley Casino Resort Future Pro Tour Berryessa event is in the books. This was my best start to a season in a couple years, I believe staying active in the off season was a major factor. The weather for this tournament was an encumbrance, with winds in the twenty’s and buckets of rain but everybody dealt with it so no complaining.


I left my house about thirty minutes before a foot of snow fell, arrived at the lake to see sheets of rain fall for hours. On Friday morning I woke up to more rain but less wind, launched the boat then headed out to the main body. I first wanted to see the east bank and just how far down the grass was. The lake had recently risen seven feet in seven days, I was a little skeptical that the grass had grown with it. I found quality grass in ten to fifteen feet of water; I found the fish in ten to twelve feet of water. I tried out deeper just didn’t find active fish, with three fish for twelve pounds it was time to go explore.  My first stop was the cove behind big island, tried all depths with several different kinds of baits not a bite. Then I went to school house same results, so I decided it was time to search the river arm. My first stop was on a point that led back into a spawning area, finesse fished around in different depths for a half hour with no bites. Then I slowly worked my way back into the spawning flat watching my graph and dragging a worm. Finally when I got on the flat I found fish in fifteen feet of water, they were not eating unfortunately. As it got later I felt I had a game plan so back to the cabin to get warm and tie up for the tournament.


The winds were back! I had a plan, find the bigger fish in the grass and hope there was a good kicker in there as well. In preparation for this cold wet tournament I switched to a new set up, Braid with fluorocarbon leader. The sensitivity and low stretch would mean that I could feel the bites and then set the hook with much less effort. During pre-fish I was getting bites on Carolina rigged green pumpkin lizards and margarita mutilator worms’ Dropshotted. Tournament day the Carolina rig was dead but the dropshot was working along with jigs. The fish were still in the ten to twelve foot area, the size was not the same. As I look back, the wind was blowing hard again I should have guessed that the fish might move out of the shallows back to the safety of deep water. Around ten thirty the wind changed from due south to southwest that was the end of our bite. We looked for a reaction bite with the wind change but as was true a day earlier no reaction bite was to be found. With four fish in the boat at one o’clock I decided it was time we get a limit. We had around nine and a half pounds so we ran to the river caught our fifth keeper then looked for a kicker. Sometimes you have to know if you’re not getting the right bites a change has occurred, in a one day tournament this is sometimes very difficult to spot and overcome. Over the course of a weekend you should be able to make the proper changes if you look at what’s changed then make adjustments to get the better bite. We finished in thirty fourth with 10.54 pounds, I felt with the pattern I found on Friday we should’ve had eighteen or nineteen pounds this didn’t work out.

I made the mistake of not adjusting to the changes that were taking place. An issue I hope to remedy over the course of this season.