Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by local fishing expert Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake.
Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.
Success crappie fishing hot, Chuck Stokke said. Aqueduct stripers still biting, Pete Cormier reported. Millerton spotted bass bite good as it gets, Merritt Gilbert said. McClure bass and trout action on live bait good, Jason Mello reported.
No matter how long I fish, I still find it easy to fall into certain unproductive patterns when I hit the water, mostly because of lazy thinking or bad assumptions. Getting something incorrect stuck in your mind as true can take you way off the track you should be following to catch a few fish.
The first thing I have to be particularly careful about is reading a fishing report (including this one) that gives me the hottest new pattern or technique that somebody is using to "kill 'em." I guess it's just how our brains function, but I find that I'll process the information and next thing I know I'm out trying to make the killer pattern work for me rather than focusing on what the fish might want that day. It usually takes an hour or two before I realize I'm unconsciously and incorrectly trying to make the fish bite what I think they should be hitting or trying to re-create exactly what someone else did. You know you've been bitten by the assumption bug when you keep rotating your lures around every few minutes and about every other switch stubbornly going back to the "hot one" you're sure should still be working. The report said it was, after all -- last week!
Many times I've had guys at the dock tell me they didn't do too well, but had thrown or fished the same plug all day -- the very same one they had read about in glowing terms days before. Confused, they will even quote the report or source back to me , wondering why they did so badly. As we all know, things change, and all the earlier factors may not have been reported either, leaving the angler a day late and a dollar short.
I find that when you get brain locked after digesting and accepting something as gospel, it's hard to slow down and go back to the basics. Having a strong bias about what should be working -- proven confidence patterns or lures with long track records aside -- doesn't seem to help anglers most of the time. The trap of getting caught up in following the lead of another angler or report is that it causes your thinking to revolve around whether you are doing it just like they did, where they did it and when, rather than on what will work given the current circumstances.
I think that the healthiest thing anglers can do is to realize that fishing sources usually offer some good general trends to work off, but that it can be demoralizing to completely rely on any source to the degree that you bank on it to produce great fishing for you, too. Every day on the water seems to be different, and all of the factors change. Those changes can cause the fish to do a lot of unexpected things at times, things that we need to pick up on quickly. To be a good angler, in my humble opinion, I feel we need to avoid the subtle trap of assuming too much and instead take an aggressive learning and observation posture. That's why they call it fishing, not catching.
Roger George is The Bee's fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have to work hard