Berryessa (March 17)

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”

……Robert Burns


None to speak of. We all know the acronym for BOAT (Break Out Another Thousand). Here is where my practice time went.

This year has brought on some changes for me I now live in the central valley of California. I still have obligations in the northern region though.

I’m fishing Future Pro Tour northern division, Berryessa is the first tournament. I have been having some issues with my boat not quite running right at top speed, this has been going on since last season. My mechanic Lyle Gosset has been chasing this problem for around a year now, on Wednesday I made my way back north to give him time to fix the boat before the tourney. Friday at eleven o’clock we finally get finished.

I had made the decision to fish by myself this year, preparing for a move to the FLW pro circuit next year. Those plans were foiled by my new partner Kyle Lackey. He was very ambitious about fishing with me this year so I made the decision to let him be apart of the team. Welcome aboard.


Lack of practice obligated me to rely on knowledge of seasonal patterns to catch fish.

eds berryessa 2009 003First run of the morning was to a spawning cove behind Big Island water temperatures in the fifties, warming days, and longer days lead me to fish pre spawn patterns. Typically that means shallow fishing on points near creek channels, coves and flats.  An Alabama rig was my weapon of choice, it emulates a school of shad which would be enticing to bass fattening up for the spawn. Third cast of the morning lands me a solid bass, I continue throwing the A-rig  a half hour longer with nothing to show for it. Approaching a ledge I pick up my LBS tackle jig cast to the shore line drag out two feet feel a tap set the hook second fish. I unhook the fish cast again before I can take up the slack the line starts swimming off  I crank the real and rear back on my Dobyns 734, driving the hook into a 4.82 pound largemouth bass. I worked the jig along the ledge from several different angles not catching any other fish. As I moved to the next point I made a long cast landing in five or six feet of water the line jumps, set the hook in comes a spotted bass around three pounds. Fishing  another forty minutes in the cove yet having no success Idecide to leave.

I return to fishing the A-rig now casting parallel to the wind blown walls of the big island. Lack of bites lead me to a decision, if the fish were biting in one spawning cove I will go to another spawning cove. Headed to skiers fished several points, a rock wall, and mud flat no takers. Left the cove ran into the river same idea same result. After an hour of futility I went back to what I do best fish the north end of the lake.

First stop was the vineyards, with such a vast area of grass to fish you need to use your electronics to find subtle changes to bottom structure. I knew where an old fence line laid and chose to fish there. I chose a lure that would fish well in the grass, the Carolina rig with a brush hog trailer (Green Pumpkin/Red Flake). Searching the area with the humminbird I found several fish buried in the grass, cast out and a few seconds later I landed a two pound smallmouth bass. Fished the vineyards for an additional half hour then decided to drive north. Stopped at one of my favorite spots a creek channel in deep water adjacent to a spawning flat. I switched back to a jig, on the first two casts I caught and culled fish. Noticing that the fish in eight feet were bucks I cast to fifteen feet of water drug the jig a foot, the rod bent in half. Immediately calling for the net knowing this was a big fish, two head shakes later disaster. The line broke right above the reel. Later I discovered the rod tip had a nick in the glass which was fraying the line. No time to cry! I pulled out a different rod tied a jig on cast out a pulled up another fish that culled.

My partner asked what time it was, looking at the fish finder I replied 1:30. For some reason it dawned on me in that moment, I never changed the time for daylight savings it was 2:30. With a twenty minute ride ahead of us it was time to go.  Made it back with seven minutes to spare.

I finished the day with 14.83 pounds enough for thirteenth place and a small check, a great start to the season.

I look back to see that I made only two errors spending to much time in unproductive water and equipment failure. I can fix both so the season has a bright start. Bring on Folsom