A recent weekend reminded me of a time when I took a newcomer out fishing. He managed to get a hook stuck in his hand. As he was unhooking a striped bass, it started to thrash around and managed to send his hook right through the inside of his index finger. Once he put the fish back into the water, he looked at me and said, “take it out.” I told him that I would try and proceeded to get a line set for the yank technique. I had never performed this on another person and have only seen it done before. As I made my loops and told him to turn his head, I then attempted to dislodge the hook. After two failed attempts, he decided to go to the hospital, and have it removed. Once home, I was curious as to what I had done wrong? Now I know that I should have pushed down on the eye of the hook making sure that it was against the skin before pulling. I also learned that for smaller hooks you can actually remove them with pliers by turning back out in a circular motion. I also need to make sure that I have a well-stocked first aid kit on board from now on. I’ve personally hooked myself past the barb two times. Both times, I’ve pulled the hook out myself. Striped bass are notorious for hooking anglers. For that reason, I keep a towel on my boat just for striped bass. The towel allows me to get a grip on the fish once it’s on the boat.
Our nights have been a little cooler than usual which has brought the water temperatures down a little bit. As the water starts to cool, the fish begin to feed heavily in anticipation of the fall. The reaction bite for largemouth bass has been good lately especially when the wind breaks up the surface. It’s tough beating a chatter bait right now as there are a lot of fish being caught on reaction baits. There are also a lot of small schools of striped bass found working throughout the sloughs right now. Make sure to have your favorite topwater bait ready in case you encounter an active school of fish. Catfishing remains good during the evening hours and bluegill can still be found in bunches along the shallows.
New Melones Lake:
Kokanee fishing continues to inconsistent while the bluegill, bass, and catfish bite is great. Anglers fishing for kokanee are trolling as deep as 100 feet during the day. At night the rainbows are being caught by those fishing around submersible lights with live minnows and power bait. Bluegill are being found right now in the backs of coves and caught by those using worms for bait. Catfish are being caught all over the lake right now but mostly from the shore during the night on anchovies and clams. Bass fishing continues to be good for numbers as many bass can be found relatively shallow, between 15 and 25 feet deep. It’s tough beating a shaky head or ned rig in green pumpkin colors.
Bass are being caught on top water baits early in the morning and as the sun is setting. During the day the bite has been tough. Many anglers are having to finesse fish for bites as the bass have suspended. A lot of times when they suspend it’s because of dropping water levels. Kokanee are being caught between 50 and 60 feet deep during the day by anglers trolling from Jenkins Hill and Hatch Creek. Bluegills continue to provide steady action for those fishing small worms under a bobber around shoreline cover.
Fishing for bass has been fair to good as there are still a lot of fish to be caught up shallow on shaky head worms. There is also a lot of schooling activity to be found on the lake right now as a drop shotted Robo worm through visible schools of fish has been producing numbers. For kokanee anglers are doing well while trolling as soon as the lake opens in the morning. The water clarity is great right now and the water level is higher than all its neighboring lakes.
Tip of the Week:
As mentioned earlier in the column, having at least a few band-aids in your tackle bag or in your boat, is essential. You’ll never know when they’re going to be needed. Nowadays there are small folder like first aid kits for less than $10. You can purchase them at most department stores. I’d also add wire cutters and aspirin.