Lake Berryessa June 26 & 27 2020
I finally made it back out on Lake Berryessa. As much as I love fishing Clear lake it was a nice change to get back out on the home waters. I was gearing up for a guide trip that I had on Saturday the 27th and I had a feeling things might be tough since most of the fish would be in that post-spawn funk. I had hoped it wouldn't be that way, but as soon as I got out there and started graphing all of the bait and bass suspended I knew it might get tough. I decided to start out running some history. In my logbooks, I had written that I had been on a pretty good jig bite a few years back on some secondary points with deep buck brush on them. So that's where I started. by about 10 am I had about 10 jig fish in the boat biggest around 3 pounds. nothing giant but a little bit of a pattern. At 11 am that bite died and I spent the rest of the day junk fishing trying to get the suspended fish to bite. I threw underspins, cranks, jerk baits, chatter baits, spinnerbaits, spoons, spy baits, and drop shots will very little luck. I ran from spot to spot seeing the same thing on the graph. Just a lot of suspended bait and bass. Finally, I tied on a Neko rig and cast it alongside a rocky ledge and got a decent spotted bass to commit. I ran with that till about 4 PM only catching a handful of bass the rest of the day. I got off the water on the 26th knowing that what I had found might not be enough to put on a guide trip for my clients and I was honestly thinking about canceling the trip and telling them that I wasn't on a good enough bite.
After a lot of thought, I decided to keep the trip on. I realized that I just needed to come up with a game plan and run with it. As well as just have confidence in my ability to find the bite.
so the next morning I met up with my clients at Capell Cove at 0515 and we launched the boat and ran to our first spot. I had a lot of confidence that I could at least get them on a decent jig bite in the early morning, but after our first 3 jig spots being a bust and not even producing a bite. I started to panic. I was racking my brain and trying to think. What do these fish want! What do I know about catching suspended fish? That's when it hit me! The Neko rig got me some bites the day before but nothing big just some small spotted bass and smallies. Written in my logbook from years past I had caught some bigger largemouth flipping jigs in deeper buck brush but the bites were far and few between. I realized that maybe the bigger largemouth that I know are suspended around that deeper buck brush would eat the Neko rig. So I took my clients to an area where I knew there was a deeper buck brush line in about 15-20 feet and it didn't take long for one of them to pick off a decent 3-pound largemouth and a small spotted bass. we moved to another pocket where one of them hooked and lost another 2-3 pound largemouth. At this point it seemed that I was right there are some better quality bites around the buck brush but I feel like we should be getting more bites. so I pick up around a start playing with colors to see if we can get more bites on a specific color. Only a couple of casts in I hook a 6 pounder. I felt so bad about catching this fish. I normally don't fish on guide trips unless I'm trying to find a better bite on something else so I felt really bad and would of much rather seen one of my clients hook and land this fish. Not long after though my hopes were answered because after pitching his Neko rigged Senko under a shallower section of buck brush one of my clients hooks another 6-pound class fish. Muscling the fish out of the brush with only 10-pound test we got her in the boat setting us up for a pretty decent Lake Berryessa bag. We moved to a few more pockets with a deep buck brush line. Anything 15 feet or deeper seemed to have fish. We picked up some smaller 2-pound bass here and there but the bite was slow. we hit a few more jig spots throughout the day where they were able to get a few on the jig but once again nothing big. We finished up the trip and got back to Capell around 230 PM. The bite was slow but it seemed like we were able to get a good amount of quality bites. Our 5 fish limit 20+ pounds and in my opinion that's not to bad for a summertime lake Berryessa bag. If you are looking to get out on berry. I recommend bringing the finesse rod. the fish are mostly suspended, especially in the afternoons and it can be tough to get them to bite. water temps were around 80-83 degrees and the lake is about 13 feet low. I believe there is a better afternoon bite right now cranking mud lines, and topwater once the sun starts going down, but if you are heading out for that morning bite don't be afraid to start out throwing the Neko rig.