Oroville (May 21)

“Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong’.
Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.”
…Charles M. Shultz


 Oroville is the lake I cut my tournament teeth on, ups and downs are common place here ask anyone. This tournament was a testament to that very statement.

  I participated in an ABA tournament the week prior to this event. My team partner and his father won that event; they found a senko bite in the south fork and capitalized with a five pound largemouth. My tournament wasn’t as nice; I had a couple medical issues that kept me from performing well. The fish I did find were quality and I felt the pattern would hold up the next week. The ABA tournament conditions were to say the least brutal, rain, wind, cold, hail, lightning, and more rain. The bass were in the spawn mode so they became predictable back of coves, small cuts and flats were all holding fish. If you slowed down and worm fished you could get a decent limit, I chose reaction baits. I had quite a few big followers on spinner baits and swimbaits towards the end of the day I even shook off a couple bigger fish that ate my fluke. Not wanting to stick them before the more important tournament. We were feeling pretty confident going into the future pro event.


All week long the weather had pounded northern California, today bright blue skies, heat and calm winds dominated the day. Thoughts of fish locking onto beds had begun creeping into my head. If they did the conditions were perfect for us to really flex some muscle, we had the right fish and good areas if it all came together everyone else would be fishing for second. We ran to our honey hole a small south fork cove lined with willow trees. A two pound spot inhaled my Paycheck baits repo man on the second cast of the morning. As we slowly made our way towards the back of the cove it was apparent that the fish were still in the area just not actively feeding.  We approached where my partner had caught his big fish a week earlier I picked up my Huddleston cast it out and watched a fish around four pounds follow but not eat it. We picked apart the area for two hours without catching another fish so we decided it was time to hit our other spots. In pre-fish Zoom bait company’s magnum fluke was producing larger fish, today I was having trouble getting followers. For my partner a senko had ruled his fish catching day of the previous week, today not one fish. To say the least everything had changed. Now we had to switch up and find some kind of bite that would at least fill out a limit. As the sun got higher I began noticing a lot of fry in the water, something I did not see during pre-fish. This led me to the conclusion that most fish had spawned and were in a negative feeding mode. As I would find out today this thought was right on the money.  We eventually did find a limit of small fish; I believe they were bucks guarding beds. We found them in twelve feet of water off the edges of spawning flats and they were eating half ounce LBS Tackle football head jigs brown/ orange. Towards the end of the day I finally had a 2.2 pound largemouth eat my magnum fluke; this was the big fish of our 8.24 pound bag.

 This was a frustrating tournament; I had a lot of confidence going in but after six hours with only small bites it was all gone.  In the end I find myself at a loss for words to explain what happened. Conditions change fish change with those conditions apparently I did not make the right changes. I wish I could say lesson learned but the winners of the tournament were doing the same things as us they just found that better quality. That’s not to say I didn’t find quality fish I did I just couldn’t catch them. To sum up this day on Oroville I give you a slightly tweaked quote: I love this lake, I love this lake, I love this Lake, 83rd place I hate this lake.     

Thanks……….BIG ED