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Dawn to Dusk Trip Lake Berryessa 05-31-2020

I got on the water at 6 AM fully prepared for the day. I packed plenty of food and water for the 15+ hour trip. I also made sure to pack warmer clothes, headlamps, and a floodlight for the night fishing portion of the trip. A lot of people may be asking "why such a long trip?" The one secret that I have figured out to finding and catching bigger bass is to be tune with your environment. Bass live out there, they know when the wind changes direction or when the water gets colder or warmer, they know when to feed and when to be dormant. We as fishermen are out of touch with that, So my method is to take one these long trips every once in a while to try to get in tune with the lake. I try to pick up on some of the subtle environmental factors most of the time overlooked that cause the fish to behave the way they do. Bass fishing is all about time on the water, the more time you are submerged in the environment the better you will be at catching more and bigger fish, because you become more in tune. Anyways I started the day deeper, fishing steep bluff walls that drop into the creek channel. I was targeting spots that the bass use as highways to and from there spawning areas. These areas are prime spots for the biggest bass in the lake. All of the lakes forage use these areas as well so all the bass have to do is lay behind a point, a rock or a channel swing to be able to ambush schools of trout, shad, bluegill, even the occasional Catfish. I started out throwing swimbaits and jigs while it was low light and my best chance at fooling a big one but I was unsuccessful.

At 8 AM I switched up and went shallow, the bite was the same as my previous reports, A lot of small 1-2 pound bass chewing flukes and Underspins. I was able to get a few on cranks as well but still no increase in size. Finally, I switched to a drop shot, Yes! a Drop shot. The conditions were dead calm and just screaming drop shot. While most people opt for a pink, purple, or brown worm on Berryessa, I chose red. These big post-spawn bass that stay shallow after the spawn love the color red for some reason. I don't get a lot of bites but when I do it's usually a 4+. This particular day the small ones were eating it as well so I stuck with it until the wind picked up around 1 PM. I lost my first big bite because I was an idiot and decided to not re-tie after a small fish rubbed me in a tree. The big one bit and I knew right away it was a different caliber of fish. She did two big head shakes and bolted for deepwater. my drag on my reel started screaming! I was doomed because right before she took off again I felt her swim in and out of some submerged brush so when she surged again my line broke leaving me devastated. I shook it off re-tied and went back to work.

I stayed shallow until the wind picked up and I couldn't throw the fluke and drop shot anymore. so I moved deeper to 20-30 feet and started graphing. I found one offshore hump that had fish and bait stacked. I tried ripping a deep crank and lip less through them with no success. When I switched to the Carolina rig the bite was on. I sat on that hump until around 5 pm catching 1-3 pound bass. I knew there were bigger ones there, I had graphed a few big arches mixed in but it just seemed the little ones were getting to my bait before the big ones. At 5 PM I went back shallow throwing bladed baits like underspins, spinnerbaits, and a fluke in the calm spots. The bite was consistent but I was looking for the bigger ones, I couldn't get that big one out of my head from earlier so I switched up my drop shot to a power shot. A power shot for anyone who isn't familiar is a beefed-up drop shot. You rig up an EWG style hook with heavier line and a heavier weight if needed. With the wind billowing out of the SSW I definitely needed it. I started flipping deeper buck brush around the vineyards hoping to stumble onto a big one. it didn't take long to make a flip and feel that solid thump. I set hard and up came this big head bass trying to shake the hook free. She turned back down and started trying to pull me into the brush. I wasn't having it with that heavier setup she didn't have a chance and I muscled her into the boat. She weighed in a 4.29, not a giant but it was a nice change from the monotony of all the dinkers throughout the day.

I stayed up shallow working a couple of small areas that I had pinned pointed schools of fish the rest of day, trying to weed through the small ones with the red worm power shot setup. As the sun went down. it was time to throw the chatter bait. I made move to the point that has been holding good fish for me lately at sundown. I started fan casting making multiple casts with no luck. I don't know if the cold front that just moved through turned them off or what, but the fish were not feeding as they've been in the past. I moved to a couple of other spots once the sun was down trying to find a bite but the cold front must be to blame because even at those areas the fish weren't eating like they were before. I only picked up two fish after the sun went down. at 11 pm I made the call and decided to call it quits. I learned a lot from this trip. I learned there is a deep bite to be had in that 20-30 foot range probably. I learned the mud lines in the afternoon are producing a slightly better quality shallow bite, and that there are big ones up shallow they are just very picky right now. I think my best chance at those shallow ones is that red drop shot worm or something of that matter that requires very little effort for them to eat. It makes sense since the fish are trying to recover from the spawn and pack on the pounds, that requires as little movement as possible. I also learned that my night time chatter bait bite is heavily affected by the weather conditions. I'm trying to keep this other part on the down-low but I may have found a little bit of a frog bite out there as well but we will have to see next time I get out there. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read these. I appreciate y"all so much! also if you know anyone that wants to learn how to fish or just wants to learn a little bit more about our local fisheries tell them to hit me up. Even on a 4-hour trip, I can pass on a wealth of information that can help you catch fish for years to come. I love teaching my experience and I enjoy passing on my passion for the sport. Take Care Everyone.

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