In June, I graduated from the University of Oregon, where I spent four years of my life learning, meeting new people, and of course, having a blast fishing tournaments and hanging out with the guys on the Oregon Bass Team. Just recently I moved down to Napa, California, forty-five minutes north of where I grew up in Marin county. In the last week I’ve been on a fishing frenzy, after a short hiatus consisting of figuring out my life and moving from another state.
On Tuesday I went on a solo afternoon run of Lake Berryessa, fishing it for my third time, and first time over more then a couple hours. After helping a family jump start their boat at the ramp only to figure out the alternator clearly wasn’t working, I figured out some new water and was able to put 11-12 fish in the boat, including a smallmouth, spotted bass and largemouth bass, with the biggest fish being a largemouth just over three lbs caught on a Lucky Craft gunfish. I was pretty surprised to get into a mid afternoon topwater bite on the gunfish, landing several decent spots and largemouths on point breaks in the Narrows. The species diversity of Berryessa makes a fun lake to fish, and fairly unique in my mind compared to Oregon, where spotted bass are pretty limited, and the ability to catch all three species in a day isn’t common. At only a 40 minute drive away from my house, I see myself spending a lot of time on this body of water.
First smallie on berry.
Caught a bunch of these toads.
Large on the gunfish.
On Wednesday 8/10, I went out with former Oregon Bass Team president Carter Troughton on his home water, the CA Delta. I’ve had good success in the past in the FLW college circuits, finishing in the top 5 three out of four times, but I’ve never had a chance to fun fish it, or mess around trying new tactics. Carter put us on fish right away, putting on a clinic with a black a red jig in the early morning, flipping to docks and the inside weedline along rip rap. We switched over to cranks and spinnerbaits and pulled in some decent fish throwing to tule points with flowing water. We caught fish on jigs, drop shots, spinnerbaits, cranks and t-rigs, but were not able to find any sort of topwater bite. I had a blast catching some jig fish on a flipping stick using braid, after using a more of a finesse approach for the most part in Oregon. I’m hoping to get back on the Delta tomorrow and practice punching weed mats, with the summer sun cooking away. I had several odd catches during the day. The first with my worm being dragged behind the boat as I had my entire spool out of the reel, as my line managed to get between the spool and the frame somehow. As I was untangling my line I felt a tug, popped my spool back in and set the hook with my sideplate off and reeled in a 10 inch fish. Later on as I was untangling a line wrap at the tip of my rod, I felt another tug and set the hook by pulling on the line, hand lining a decent 2lb fish to the boat. Carter caught our big fish for the day, around 3 1/2 lbs, blind casting a T-rig out in front of the boat while we were using the trolling motor to move from one bank to the other. We ended up with easily over 35 fish, with the best 5 somewhere around 13 1/2-14 lbs. The Delta’s diversity and uniqueness give an addicting quality that I’m going to have trouble staying away from.
Carter’s boat on Frank’s
Carter joking around in the SwaggerBass tee
Thursday, I got up at 530 to head to the Berryessa one more time for a solo run, hoping to find that early morning topwater bite that everyone seems to reference with the lake. I slept through my alarm several times as some friends back at the U of O, decided to keep calling me from the bars. As I debated sleeping in a little bit longer, I thought of braid screaming with my topwater disappearing below the surface, and quickly packed into the truck. I checked out the same spot I had good success on during the afternoon on Tuesday, only to find out the fish weren’t having it. I wasted a few hours stubbornly in the Narrows (off the main lake), before deciding to make a run and fish some deeper main lake rock points. I consulted my topo map and consulted my electronics, running from point to point, allowing me to put 4 decent largemouth in the boat. Once again the big fish was only 3.07 (after he spit up about a 6 ounce shad?). It was a tough grind out on the water, and I was beat after a couple hot days in the sun, so I called it quits around 2.
It was a great first week of fishing (with more to come) during my first week back in California. With most tournament circuits wrapping up, I’m excited for next years season, and upgrading to a bigger boat before the end of the year. I’m going to start working harder to document some more of my fishing with my GoPro video camera and keep you updated. Until then check out some of my footage on my youtube page @reedfrazierfishing. Tight lines.