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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:53 pm 
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So last weekend I decided I needed to take a couple days off. I don't have a class right now to teach so my chief had no issues with me having Thursday and Friday off to make a trip North. My plan was to head up to Clear Lake for some nighttime bass fishing for a few days and then make a run to the coast on Friday afternoon to fish the Albion Open Tournament on Saturday morning. I packed all my gear to fish and camp in the Trailblazer and struck out right after work on Wednesday afternoon. It takes me about 2 hours to get to the mid lake area of Clear Lake where the State Park is located. This would be my home base for the first couple trips/days.

I started Wednesday night around 7:30pm. Launching my Hobie Pro Angler 14 into the lake I headed for the same general area that had produced for me the weekend prior. Normally the fading light of the evening sun makes for some great fishing but on this day that wasn't the case. The wind was blowing around 10mph from the North and had the water pretty choppy in the open areas. I had caught fish on the last trip by sitting in 7-10' of water and casting parallel to the submergent vegetation with a variety of lures including lipless crankbaits, colorado blade spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, jigs, and 10" Berkeley Power Worms. I figured I would start with this same technique to see if I could get any action. As the sun set the bite was pretty much nonexistant so I was hopeful that with night fall the bite would pick up.

Just like clockwork as soon as the sun had completely set and the shadows started taking over the fish activity picked up. I headed for a small island with a good drop off on the leeward edge that had some rocks for cover. My first cast was to the tip of the island and the water exploded as my bait hit the surface. I set the hook but immediately could tell this was no largemouth like I was hoping for. It was big though and towed me around the lake pretty easily as I waited for it to come to the surface. I was a pretty good distance away from the island by the time my sleigh ride was over so I turned on my headlamp and watched as a beautiful 14lb 7oz channel cat came rolling to the surface. I hadn't caught one yet this year, mainly b/c I don't target them, but needed a good one to enter in the NorCalKayakAngler.com AOTY constest. This one measured in at a little better than my 31" Hawg Trough could handle. I guestimated her at 31.5" just to be safe, took a pic, and released her back into the dark water.

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I continued working this area and a few submerged offshore humps for the rest of the night. The fish were hit or miss and no specific lure seemed to attract more attention than another. I managed a couple of nice bass at 22" and 21.5" and a bunch of other solid but smaller fish with none going less than 17".

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I finally made my way off the water on Thursday morning at 8:30am and headed for the State Park to register for a campsite and get some sleep. I would be meeting a friend, Yia Yang, later that afternoon for some bassin and definitely needed some rest if I was to make it through another night.

Sleep was hard to come by in the heat of the day in Lake County. Temps were in the high 90's and being inside a tent just made it that much worse. I'm sure I dosed off a few times but by noon I decided I couldn't take it any longer and would just hit the water again. I fished for most of the day with little to no action. I tried every lure and technique I could think of with the exception of live bait (just b/c I can't stand fishing live bait!) and rarely could I even draw a half hearted strike. Just before Yia showed up at 7:00pm I came across a fish that was busting on some small minnows in a pocket of a rock bank. I flipped a D&M Custom Piranha swim jig to the fish and it inhaled it as it broke the waters surface. Nothing big, but a relief to have something stretch my line after seven hours of nothing!! This one proved to be the smallest fish of my weekend but was still a nice little chunk!

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Yia called me on the cell phone and said that he was at the launch and would be out to meet me on the lake in approximately 30min. I headed for the launch and fished just outside of the launch area. This spot is kind of a community hole and is hit by every Tom, Dick, and Harry on tournament days. Even though it gets all that pressure it has always given up fish to me as I come and go from the ramp. Sure enough after probing the area for a few minutes I get slammed in about 13 feet of water where the marina channel exits the shallow launch bay. Again, it didn't take long for me to figure out it wasn't a bass. My "fluke" catfish from the night before apparently wasn't such a fluke! LOL

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Once again it was well after dark before the bite picked up. Yia and I worked everything from shallow grassy areas out to deep water rock piles. It seemed that the deep water bite was where the action was but the wind was making it tough to get our drift right. Yia's Eddyline Carribean 14 is a sleek paddle craft that sits low and doesn't catch much wind, but when trying to fish deep water structure a set of pedals would have really come in handy for him! We moved off the open water structure to work some areas on the back side of a point that had trees to block the wind. The bite was slow but steady until after Yia had to head for home. He left around midnight because he had to work the next morning and I stayed out until 4am before calling it a night to get some sleep. A few more good fish were caught though so it was worth it!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:54 pm 
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So after crashing a little after 4am at my campsite I got in a decent amount of sleep before waking up at 11am to shower, pack, and check out of my campground by the noon deadline on Friday. It didn't really matter as I didn't plan on doing any fishing this day anyway. I needed to get my things organized and make the 2 hour drive from Clear Lake over to the coast at the mouth of the Albion River where it dumps into the Pacific Ocean. The Albion Open Tournament was scheduled for Saturday morning and this would be my first saltwater tournament after moving to the West coast a year ago.

I had no experience in the area and would just be going out blind on Saturday morning to see if I could get lucky. I got settled into my campsite Friday afternoon, headed up to Fort Bragg, CA to get a bite to eat, and then it was time to catch some shut eye until Saturday morning. The forecast wasn't looking great but I was assured by some other anglers that it would be doable until the winds picked up at midday.

I woke up Saturday morning to a dead calm. The river was still pouring towards the ocean as the tide was falling and things were actually looking pretty nice. I switched out all my gear, donned my drysuit and PFD, checked my GPS and VHF radio and made my way down river towards the mouth.

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Just after crossing under the Albion River bridge I made the left turn into the cove. I was greated by some pretty nice swells and lots of folks could be seen that decided to stay close due to weather conditions. I don't believe the swells were much more than six foot on a consistant basis but there were definitely some bigger sets thrown in on occasion! I watched my fish finder as I headed out towards deep water and found some good structure along a rock break in 40ft of water. I dropped a 4oz diamond jig in glow color down through the marks on the screen and started verticle jigging. Lots of juvenile rockfish bombarded my bait but none were much over 12". I caugh black rockfish, blue rockfish, and a china rockfish in shallow.

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I soon headed out towards the whistle buoy where a good group could be seen drifting in open water. I found a nice reef to the south of the Albion River opening that rose from 130' to 20' in spots. I began repeatedly making the drift while bouncing a 3" jig with a halloween colored Big Hammer swimbait. I was rewarded with a 25" and 30" lingcod for my efforts but didn't have much other luck than that.

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I got tired of bouncing around out there at around 11:30am and made my way back into the launch.

The tide had turned by that time and the ride back to camp was an easy and relaxing one once I made it back into the river. It reminded me a lot of my time in Alaska!

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There were some serious stringers of fish caught that morning and a few guys even got lucky and pulled some +20lb salmon in so I knew I didn't have a chance with just my lingcod. I filleted my fish and packed my gear. I couldn't get Clear Lake off my mind so instead of staying and fishing a bumpy ocean again on Sunday I decided to drive back to the lake for some more night fishing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:54 pm 
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So now I was back at Clear Lake. It was about 6:30pm when I launched out into a slight breeze that was just enough to keep the bugs off of me. Again I was fishless until the sun had completely disappeared. I started off my night battling the catfish again. I've caught plenty of catfish over the years on artificials but never have I caught so many with such regularity!! The bass bite was slower than usual but seemed to really turn on at around 2am. I fished until 10:30am on Sunday morning and by that time I had had enough. I actually caught myself nodding off between casts and at one point I passed out and woke up a couple hundred yards away from my last known location.

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So all in all I spent 51 hours in the kayak during my marathon fishing adventure. I caught a ton of bass with seventeen of them being over 18" in length, and six of them being over 20"! I also had seven channel cats between 25" and 31.5". For my saltwater trip I caught the two lingcod and a bunch of juvi rockfish. It was not a bad way to spend the weekend!!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:40 am
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Location: Dallas/ Ft. Worth
Looks like a great trip. Only been to Clear Lake once back in 2007 after that big Bassmaster tournament and was introduced to some BIG swimbaits. Sure like to go back out there and to the Delta again.

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Hobie Cat * Dobyns Rods * Power-Pole * Smith Optics * Super Nova Fishing Lights * Xcite Baits * Werner Paddles * Lowrance


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:44 am 
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I just moved out here last summer when the Coast Guard transferred me to Petaluma, Ca (about 2 hours South West of Clear Lake). I started throwing swimbaits just shortly before I transferred here and it has definitely been an experience! I've caught some really nice fish all over Northern California on them. It's an expensive habit to get into though. Not only are the baits themselves expensive but the gear to throw them is very specialized and pricey as well!! When it does payoff though it is pretty nice!

Here are a few of my swimbait fish from the past year

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And a few of my baits!

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