Posted by: socalsalty | June 21, 2011

Trip Report: Moving Along The Learning Curve

Too early?

This post is dedicated to the freshwater guys who steered me in the right direction: Tommy Ellis, David Lee, Brian King, and the mysterious Ancient Angler.  Today I accomplished a few things that I wanted to do…while learning a lot in the process.  Jake said he wanted to be the first in the family to catch a freshwater bass, and now I know exactly what to do to make that happen.

1. I got to the spot by dawn, and realized that I could’ve given myself another hour.  Fish generally do better when they can see the bait.

2. I now know what to use with this setup

Got him on this one

(Abu Revo SX on Phenix 6-15 rod) that will effectively cast and retrieve.  I wasn’t able to cast before and the guys told me my line weight at 6 was too low.  I bumped it up to 10 and that change was the ticket for this rod/reel combo.

I had success getting that bass excited to bite by running a Fish Trap by him repeatedly.  I understand how to swim it now.  One of my goals this summer was to gain proficiency with soft plastics…acquiring this skill is going to be very helpful next time I’m targeting saltwater bass too.  What I figured out for this lake was that this bass wasn’t aggressive enough to hit the plastic, at the speed it took to swim it right.  I need to drop down in weight on the leadhead, and maybe get a smaller version of the bait.  On the spinner, the weight was perfect and I got him to bite, and had him hooked but he managed to knock himself off the hook at the bank (before I could snap a pic, curse you).  Guess I need a net too.

Same rock, same fish

3. Fish Are Creatures Of Habit

And they are habitually lazy.  The bass kept setting up his ambush in that same spot in front of the rock, but he wouldn’t venture too far from his spot to hit the bait.  The closer I could put it in his face, with the right presentation, the better it would trigger strikes.  It was great when I finally got it right and watched him blow up on that spinnerbait.  I need some new ones though because after his little ride, he didn’t want any part of it.  I guess we’re both wiser from today’s experience.  It was only about a 4 inch fish, but he taught me a lot.  Now I can apply it in a bigger setting…or at least get Jake his first freshwater bass 😉

Tight lines!



  1. Glad we could help. But I have to say that you might be wrong on the time. You will find the pre dawn and dawn bite some of the best. Night fishing for bass is THE way to go here during the summer. A noisy topwater or spinner bait with a single big blade will get strikes all night as will a tube or worm worked on the bottom. No light needed for those guys they like the night and low light conditions. Now go back and catch some more so we can see the pics.

    • I guess I just need to know what bait to present in low light conditions. Thanks Tommy. BTW, the first thing I threw this morning was lizardfish…no hits 😦

  2. Joe~ Thx for the mention & glad it was a positive experience for you. It’s great when the water is clear, you can see what’s going on & can switch up your presentation to entice that strike.
    You might want to try some finesse fishing when the bite is absent (not that it was for you this time). Try the drop shot technique using smaller baits. Really helps with Bass that are lazin’ about.

    • I thought about that on the drive back. I use drop shots a lot when I’m in salt and I would’ve like to try the worm on that kind of setup rather than trying to swim it thru the strike zone.

  3. Good to see you out in fresh waters!

    I always waste a lot of time sight fishing. I think the fish know I’m watching. When I can’t see the reaction underwater I stick more to experience and that seems to catch more fish for me.

    • It was a good tool for me. When I’m fishing salt, I have a good idea of what is happening below, and it guides what I do. Up to this point, I haven’t used soft plastic swimbaits a lot, so watching the action at different speeds/depths etc. and the reaction from the fish were really valuable insights for me. Also, watching that fish return to the same ambush point was interesting. If I can picture what the structure is like, I can guess where that spot might be.

      I know watching the bait and the fish isn’t going to be the case most of the time, but if I can picture what’s happening, I can use that information to guide what I’m doing. For example, I think I was swimming them too fast before, no wonder I wasn’t getting bit on them.

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