Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide 1/8/2018 – Late Winter Fishing
Yep we’re right in the middle of winter. Some of our coldest temperatures here to start the new year and it seems like spring time is a long way away. But actually it’s closer than you think. We’re going to discuss some late winter fishing techniques but also talk about some pre-spawn fishing because western anglers have to remember that places like the lower Colorado river and Lake Havasu as an example are famous for having lots of fish spawning in the middle part of February. And as you read this that’s right around the corner. As we all anxiously await the first sign of bass moving into shallow water and start to build nests in the ultra clear waters of the western United States. This is really a super fun time for us. We have all this beautiful clearwater and have some of the most famous reservoirs in the country for spotting that bass of a lifetime. Until that first sign of bass showing up in shallow water where you can visually spot them I thought I would go over the specifics of fishing this tricky time of the season. I want to clarify for people exactly what the term pre-spawn means and share with you a couple of my best techniques for this time of year. We have a full moon on the 30th day of January. That moon at the end of the January is really what I consider to be the first real movement of pre-spawn fish. The full moon at the end of February will mark a full-blown spawn in several places at lower elevations throughout the western United States. Those full moons in January and February are very crucial toward setting up the spawning season. These are the moons that we would really classify as pre-spawn moons.
The actual term pre-spawn means bass that are setting up in staging area and getting ready to move into shallow water and build spawning beds in anywhere from 2 to 15 feet of water. Usually bass will pick a spot that is very close to an area that they like to spawn and kind of set up there. What I mean by this is the fish will pick a little drop off or ledge with some good deepwater access nearby where they can set up and feed on threadfin shad and crayfish and bulk up as they prepare for the long and tenuous act which we call spawning. Bass will stage in these types of areas, these ledges and drop off next to shallow spawning areas and you can generate some fantastic fishing as the fish appeared to be somewhat grouped up on these isolated places. This can be one of the best times of the year if you are fortunate enough to find one of these super cool pre-spawn areas as you can set there for a good 30 to 40 days and catch quality bass that are all set up on this one isolated spot. The trouble is finding a spot like that. But it is exciting and that’s why so many of us love pre-spawn fishing because it gives you that opportunity to look around and hopefully find one of those spots. Try to focus on areas of the lake that you believe the most bass spawn in and try to locate ledges or drop offs that are in close proximity to those areas and that’s your best chance of locating your own secret spot to catch pre-spawn bass. Boy when you find a spot like that it’s really cool. A lot of the bass are super chunky and healthy and look fantastic as they get ready for it this spring spawning season.
Now let’s get into some of the favorite pre-spawn lures and techniques that you can use. Without question one of the greatest pre-spawn weapons is a lead head jig. First of all let’s talk about your set up. Of course I recommend a baitcasting outfit for this type of fishing. A 6 1/2 to 7 foot long medium heavy action bait casting rod is best. As most of you know I’m a big Daiwa guy and I always like to use technique specific equipment for each lure than I’m fishing. I like to use it worm/jig rod manufactured by Daiwa and put that rod together with one of the brand-new Tatula casting reels. Let me tell you if you have not tried one of these new Tatula reels you absolutely need to check it out. Once they came on the market several years ago it’s basically all I use any longer for freshwater bass fishing. I use the Tatula 100H. It’s the least expensive right around $100 and it works fantastic. They have a super cool low-profile and a slightly larger spool as far as width goes. I like this because I can use this new Tatula reel and do a lot more things with it. For instance it’s a fantastic reel for fishing the larger swim baits and umbrella rigs. It has just a tad more line capacity and that works well for fishing jigs also. The fact that when you press the thumb bar down and the line guide pops completely open is fantastic. This allows you to make some of the longest casts that you will ever make in your life. The fact that that level wind completely pops open and there is so much area for your fishing line and it not be hindered is what makes the difference in this fishing reel. The difference in the Tatula is the fact that when you press that button the reel feels like every reel that you own except this one will cast better than anything you’ve ever used. The reel has an absolutely incredible handle on it also which I really love. It feels great in your hand and has the perfect amount of texture on it and really is built for power. Probably the most attractive thing to most people about the Tatula reel is it’s super affordable. And like I said with a price tag right around $100 you will have something that is super durable and you will have for a very very long time and you’ll be able to cast a variety of baits with tremendous distance. For my jig fishing I like to take the Tatula real and match it with a technique specific Daiwa worm/jig rods and you will be set up with one of the best outfits you’ll ever use. As far as fishing the jig the most important thing is to fish the jig with confidence and stick with it. This is a quality fish bait. Sure you can catch more fish on a drop shot plastic worm or shaky head worm or any variety of worm techniques. But the Jig produces quality bass and it’s very rewarding at this time of year. What’s nice about jig fishing at this time of year is the bass are really focused on feeding on crayfish in the pre-spawn season and you’re actually choosing the bait that the bass are very very focused on. This is always a good thing and this is one of the few times that I tell anglers to try to focus on fishing jigs at this time of year. There’s a lot of times during the year were I don’t think that a jig is the best choice when it comes to bass fishing. This does not happen to be one of those times. The spring is when you want to pull your jigs out of your tacklebox and focus on it in particular during the pre-spawn season. I like to fish the jig on 10 to 12 pound Izorline florocarbon fishing line. If you’re fishing a smaller lighter jig 10 pound florocarbon is a really good choice. If you’re fishing a heavier jig usually 12 pound florocarbon is your best choice. About the heaviest line that I ever fish the jig on is 15 pound florocarbon and that’s when I feel pretty confident about the spot and that the water color is a bit stained where I feel like I can get away with the 15 pound test line. I don’t know about you but I feel pretty confident when I hang a bass on 12 pound test line. It’s pretty strong stuff and you can handle most anything that you hook. Tie the jig to the florocarbon with a Palomar knot. Try to focus on fishing your jig slow and keep it on the bottom. You can experiment with small movements and twitches in your rod tip as you move through the day. You sometimes can dead stick the jig as you move it along, even stop it for 20 to 30 seconds maybe even longer on certain fishing spots whatever retrieve that you come up with is fine, the biggest problem with jig fishing is most of the people end up putting it down. Be devoted to fishing with the jig and fish it hard. Give it some time and keep grinding away at it. This bait will produce quality bass and like I said this is the time of year you want to develop your confidence when it comes to jig fishing. As far as colors of jigs you can use a wide variety of colors but I recommend you start with something that you have confidence in. Some of my top color choices are obviously the old standby a brown half ounce football head jig with a purple trailer. Without question a brown football head jig with a purple trailer whether the trailer be plastic or pork has absolutely been my number one producer for me over the last 20 years. I really like to use a Zoom chunk trailer also in a purple color. If I had to pick a second color it would definitely be watermelon with red flake. I like to use a watermelon red flake jig with a matching trailer. Then my third choice would probably be a straight black jig. What I mean by straight is a black jig with a matching black trailer. Those would be my three top color choices for fishing in the western United States. I really feel like it if you have those three basic colors you’re pretty well set. Try to focus on fishing a 3/8 ounce jig and also a half ounce jig those being your two top choices. Don’t focus too much on the color of your bait, focus more on sticking with the jig and fishing it hard and keeping it on the bottom and fishing it slow. If you’ll focus on those simple facts that will produce the best results. Good luck with your pre-spawn fishing and if any of you ever have any questions about this article or any of my other columns you’re always welcome to visit me at www.RichTauberFishing.com
Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide 12/14/2017 – It’s Winter and Here is Your Approach
Winter is upon us. Without question this is the most difficult time of the season for all of us in the bass fishing world. Most bass anglers just electe not to fish in the winter. The number of boats you see on Lake Casitas or any given reservoir drop off significantly at this time of year. Your chances of having any success take a nose dive at this time of the year. This is the season that I get the most calls and emails from anglers asking what am I doing wrong? What can I do to improve my production? It’s pretty simple. For those of you that are diehard and love the sport like I do and I want to fish every day you just have to focus your efforts on very small areas and and keep your bait movement to a minimum. The areas where you can consistently catch fish in the wintertime become very finite and it’s so important for you to focus your efforts in the right area if you’re going to achieve success during the winter. Winter fishing is all about patience and timing. Here in the western United States the main food source that’s consistent for our fish is threadfin shad. Western fish love to gorge themselves on large mature threadfin shad all through the fall of the season. By the time it gets to winter these fish are fat and choked with a abundance of threadfin shad. The fish are healthy and fat as they prepare to relax for the most part through the winter season. As the water cools the fishes metabolism decreases and for the most part fish do not need to feed that often during the winter months. You’re dealing with very short windows of time that the fish are actually active. With this being said you need to concentrate your efforts in areas that you believed to have a good populations of bass and keep working the area in an attempt to be there when the timing is right and the fish decide to bite. Whether you’re going to fish in a tournament or you’re going fun fishing for the weekend try to focus your efforts on two or three particular areas that you really like. Give them a good amount of time and be patient and work the area thoroughly. This is not the time of year to fish 10 or 12 different spots during the course of the day. This is when an angler focuses on two or three areas that he or she really likes and works those areas with confidence in an attempt to be in the right place at the right time. The majority of the success that is celebrated by Western anglers in the winter is being had by being focused and having the confidence and patience to stay in the area you know the fish live in. The same goes for your lure choices. Keep your lure selections down to a minimum and try to focus your efforts on proven baits that always produce each and every winter. My personal choice is to limit my winter fishing arsenal to a Hopkins Shorty 75 jigging spoon, a Rapala Ice jig, Senko, some version of the plastic worm, and a football head jig. Keep your color choices very simple. Keep your jigging spoons in some type of a threadfin shad color pattern. I like a plastic worm in the natural ox blood or nightcrawler like tones. Just something very natural don’t be flamboyant at this time of year. Keep your jig very simple and try to resemble the colors of the crayfish at this time of year. I’ve always liked something in a brown and purple color and there are many anglers that love watermelon colors during the winter also. Once again decide on a jig that you’re going to fish and don’t overthink it. The most important thing about all of these fishing techniques is to really slow down the movement on your bait and really try to minimize the amount of tip action that you use on your bait in the winter. Without question I can tell you the biggest mistake that anglers make in the winter is they move their rod tip too much because they had so much success doing that during the spring and summer of the year. When the water temperature is warm a bait that has a lots of movement in it and works erratically looks very natural to a fish. In the winter it’s the furthest thing from the truth. Remember the water is now getting cold. Everything in the water is slowing down. It just does not look natural to the fish when they see something moving in a quick erratic fashion at this time of year. It’s a dead giveaway to fish that this is not the the real thing. Anglers are so used to throwing out there plastic worm and jiggling their rod tip as they have in the summer and I see them all the time doing this during the winter of the year. This is the biggest mistake that you can make. Try to fish your bait as slowly and evenly as possible. Let me give you a small example of what I’m talking about. In the winter time of the year I much preferred to fish the split shot technique with a plastic worm. Without question the split shot technique has faraway been the most productive plastic worm technique for me in the winter. The simple reason is that by having a split shot on your line in front of the worm kills or deadens all the erotic movement that an angler imparts with there rod tip. If you insist on using the drop shot technique when you plastic worm fish don’t move your rod tip. Move that drop shot worm with little to no movement! A really great tip my anglers on the RTF Bass tour taught me is to fish a super short drop shot leader. There is little to no grass or vegetation in the water so try a 3-5” distance from your drop shot worm and drop shot weight. This is a great technique that I apply all winter at Lake Casitas in Ventura California. This short distance “kills” a lot of the action and better resembles a crawfish. When fishing a split shot just drag your split shot with very very slow movements during the winter. You’ll see a marked difference in your success if you move your bait slow and impart little to no action into your bait during this time of the year. Another great example of that is fishing with the Senko in the winter. One of my favorite ways to fish it is to throw it out a long distance on a spinning rod with 8 pound test line. I actually don’t move the bait for the first two minutes that it’s in the water. I let the bait sink all the way to the bottom and let it rest on the bottom for at least 30 to 40 seconds before I even move it. Generically this is called “dead sticking”. It’s absolutely one of the most productive Western techniques for catching bass in the winter. The problem is most anglers just don’t have the patience to throw a Senko out with absolutely no weight on it and not do anything for over two minutes. It’s just so difficult for people to comprehend. You’ll throw your Senko out and you will not have touched it for two minutes and then all of a sudden you’ll see your line moving away. The fish see the bait slowly undulating on the bottom and they just simply come up and inhaled the bait right off the bottom. Once again this is an example of not moving your bait and keeping your focus in small areas and being patient. Even when you fishing with the jigging spoon whether it be the Hopkins Shorty 75 or the Rapala Ice Jig you don’t half to move the bait so radically with your rod tip. Try moving your jigging spoon with subtle movements. Small hops. Or slow lifts with gentle falls. These all can change your results dramatically in the winter. Now remember that were speaking about largemouth bass in this column. When you’re speaking about fishing smallmouth and Kentucky spotted bass they absolutely love cold water. When you’re fishing for Kentucky spotted bass and smallmouth bass in the winter you can throw all these rules out the window. There’s lots of stuff that you can work at high-speed and have great success on smallmouth bass and Kentucky spotted bass. But when you’re fishing for northern strain largemouth bass and Florida strain largemouth bass in the west boy you better slow your bait down because it can really change the course of your day.
Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide Report 8/27/2017 – As most of you know I run a tournament trail called the “Rich Tauber Fishing Tour”. Many people know it as the “RTF Tour”. Had to post this great picture of my fantastic players this Saturday night. We didn’t have the biggest field in the world because many people were watching the fight on television…but my 24 fearless fisherman that decided “fishing is more important than fighting” had an absolutely wonderful time. In the winners Saturday were Chris Chandler and Dave DeLucca pictured holding the fish surrounded by some of the greatest fisherman in the history of Lake Casitas proud of all of you and glad to have you as my friends!
Saltwater Fishing Charter Report 06/06/2017 – By Captain Jake Klinshaw …
Today we had two long time members of the Los Angeles rod and reel club. Joel and Randy came out with hopes of catching a seabass on an artificial lure this morning. After the trek over the lake like conditions to get to the island, unfavorable water conditions caused us to look at many seabass that were lockjaw. We cut our losses for a seabass and went in tight to fish for grumpy boiler rock calico bass. Multiple double hookups and steady catching on mixed grade but overall nice size calicos ensued for several hours thereafter. Saw really good signs like multiple bass followers chasing hooked ones to the boat and a huge school of barracuda on the way home. Signs that lead to exciting things for the future. Hope we see you on the water!
It all starts that memorable day when each and everyone of us catch our first ever largemouth bass. It’s just the American way. Americans love to challenge themselves and the moment you catch your first ever largemouth bass the first thought in your mind is how can I go about catching more? It’s just the American way I guess. I found out very quickly that the best way to improve as a bass angler was to get around people that could beat me. People that were better fisherman than myself. Even when I was in my early teens when I first joined my first ever bass club I was mesmerized by the gentleman in the club that were better fisherman than myself. And the more you get around good fisherman the more you want to find others that can teach you more about the sport. That was always my attraction to contest fishing, the ability to compete in an event and leave that tournament and know a lot more about the sport than I did before I went. Really that’s what drove me from starting out in a small bass club in the mid-70s to spending nearly 20 years fishing with the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society in televised bass fishing tournaments. The thing I miss most now that I’m basically retired from fishing professional bass tournaments other than our U.S. Open each year is how much I miss being around the top fishermen in the world and learning from them on a daily basis. That’s why I’ve always recommended fisherman of all levels to pursue some type of competitive environment that will stretch their minds so they can improve their angling skills. Without question contest fishing is the best way to improve your skills as an angler so today I’m going to go over the basic principles that are necessary for consistent contest bass fishing.
Let me say the basic mental approach that I’m about to explain works whether you’re fishing in a small bass fishing club tournament or fishing with the Bass Masters on ESPN in a televised fishing tournament. The approach is exactly the same every single time. There are no changes. There are the obvious preparations that all of you are aware of. If you’re using your own boat in the fishing event you of course want to make sure that your boat is in good running order and you have all the precautionary parts and pieces on board so that you can eliminate that controllable variable. Having your boat running and in good shape eliminates that issue. You of course want to practice on the lake or reservoir that you’re fishing as much as you possibly can prior to the fishing event. You obviously want to take a look at the weather and try to prepare so that you can control that variable and be dressed properly so that you can focus on what you’re doing during the contest day. These are all pretty much basic things that most everyone of us do to compete in a fishing tournament. The part that throws so many bass anglers for a loop is the mental side of the sport of contest fishing or tournament fishing. This is the part that most every tournament angler overlooks and it’s without question the most important part of the entire process. I really want to focus on this mental preparation as this will be the key to you having consistent contest performances throughout your fishing career.
First don’t get too wound up about the competition that you’re involved with too far ahead of the actual competition time. Slowly build your mind as you work your way towards getting ready to make your final decisions the night before you’re about to compete in a contest. It’s great to have theories and ideas for weeks or months prior to a fishing tournament. But don’t let them overwhelm your mind and clutter your thinking. What I mean by this is anglers will go practice for a tournament two weeks before the event and get so set in their ways that they have it all figured out and that’s exactly the way that they’re going to go about fishing the tournament not taking into consideration how much the conditions will change in those two weeks until the event actually starts. When you’re mentally getting ready take everything in stride. Take it for what it’s worth. And don’t make any decisions or determinations as to how you’re going to go about competing until the actual day prior to the event. This is the same thing that we use during multiple day tournaments. What I mean is each and every day of a 3 to 4 day tournament we set down at night let’s say after the second day of competition and decide at that point what we will do on the next day of competition. After the third day of competition we set down that night and then think about what we will do on the fourth and final day of competition. Once again everything must stay consistent. Too many fishermen come to me and tell me exactly what they plan on doing three weeks before a fishing tournament. You just can’t have any consistency operating in this fashion. Calmly consider all the conditions and the day before the tournament you will make up your mind as to how you’re going to progress with your day. What I mean by this is you are going to take an allotted amount of time and tell yourself that you were going to spend a certain amount of time on the first day of the tournament in a certain area. You fish calmly and with confidence in that area and don’t rush the process. Panic and fear are the two largest enemies of any contest fisherman. Anglers that have premeditated that I believe in an area and I’m going to go to that area and I’m going to give it time and work it thoroughly have always been the most successful. The night before your fishing tournament you’re already have made preparations in your mind that if your area does not work and believe me most of the time it won’t. That you already have premeditated another area that you’re going to go to and fish for the second part of the day. Maybe the remainder of the day. But based on the number of fishing locations that you have a premeditated plan or schedule set up in your mind as to how long you will spend in each area. A small hypothetical example of this would be I say to myself prior to the US open. I’m going to spend the first four hours of the U.S. Open fishing in the Virgin Basin. If that does not work,,and there’s a good chance it won’t I will then run to the Echo Bay area and spend the remainder of my day. I’ve taken into consideration that Lake Mead is a large body of water and I know that I can only possibly fish two basic areas based on the size of the lake during an eight hour day. Regardless of what happens during the first day of competition I don’t stray off of this premeditated plan. What I’m getting at is when you set up your fishing day make sure that you look at the lake that you’re fishing and set a plan of exactly how much time you want to spend in each particular area of the lake or river that you’re fishing. No matter what happens you stick to your plan and you follow it through. Remember you don’t have to be right. What I mean by this is you fish with confidence knowing that there’s a chance that your decision was wrong. There’s a chance that you won’t do well in the tournament. But one things for sure you’re going to fish with confidence and you’re going to fish calmly and you’re going to believe in your plan. If you get to the weigh-in and you happen to not do well it’s okay. You came up with a theory you came up with a plan and you followed through. This is how you improve as a contest angler. Now I’m not telling you that while you’re on the water in your contest at 10 o’clock in the morning and you happen to see some fish breaking in some obscure place as you’re moving to one of your next fishing spots of course you modify your plan and go over there and catch em. What I’m basically trying to say is too many anglers get on the water and when their very first spot doesn’t work there absolutely lost from that point on. They are looking at their partners for help and scratching their head and not really sure exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. Professionals do not do this. They live with their mistakes. It’s okay. You come up with a theory, a plan and you follow through on it. If it’s a two day tournament you’ll have the opportunity that evening to reassess your plan and set up another game plan for day two of the contest. If it’s just a one-day tournament you’ll leave and be able to hold your head high knowing that you came up with a plan and you follow through and it just did not work this time. You make your choice on what lures and techniques you believe will be best for the competition you’re involved in and you move accordingly. I am not telling you at all to be stubborn and go out and just fish one place with one technique and if it doesn’t work just go up in flames in the fishing tournament. No I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that you come up with a solid game plan that shows some versatility in fishing techniques and areas that you’re fishing. Take the two or three best areas that you have in your mind and the two or three best fishing techniques that you believe will work and utilize those in strategic periods of time throughout that day of competition. Believe me the tournaments I feel worse about in my career where tournaments where I strayed off of my original game plan and found myself confused and lost as I was competing. It happens to the very best of all fisherman. But if you make a conscious decision the day before your competition as to exactly what you’re going to do believe me you’ll sleep much better at night.
Many people have come up to me over the years and say I remember Rich seeing you at a seminar many years ago. You told me that “No fish has ever talked so therefore the entire sport must be based on the theory”. And you know that’s probably one of the greatest quotes I ever came up with. But it’s so true. No fish has ever talked so this entire sport is based on a theory and that’s something you must always keep in mind. Go out there and utilize the theory that you believe in. Sure there are anglers that will stand around the award ceremony and complain about a fish that they lost, boat troubles during the day, mechanical issues, but without question the most common mistake and the most frustrating element of contest bass fishing are the mental mistakes that we anglers do to ourselves during the tournament. Mental breakdowns by anglers and competitors are without question the most common mistake made by contest fisherman today. Yes get your boat ready for competition, put the best fishing line you can purchase on those quality rods and reels that you’ll be using during competition. Make sure that you’re trolling motor is running well and your big engine is tuned up and ready to go. These are all controllable variables for any contest fisherman. The most important tuneup is with your mind the night before. The basic principles. Relax. Start out in the morning with a calm approach as to what you are about to embark on. Put your boat in the water and calmly set yourself up for your game plan. Follow your game plan to a T and fish with confidence and your head high. Give the fish a chance to come to you. I can remember very few tournaments where I started out in a nervous condition and started to fish in some type of a panic state that anything good ever came of it. If you’ll calmly move yourself into the very first spot you want to fish in the morning and fish calmly and confidently that’s how tournaments are won. That’s where the term letting the fish come to you got started. Anglers calmly go about their day and find themselves in good situations that produce winning stringers.
Last but not least try to make sure that when the competition is over that you do you spend time with fellow competitors talking about the fishing day. There’s so much that can be learned from a successful day and also a very unsuccessful day on the water. Sometimes they’re so much more that can be learned from an unsuccessful day if you’ll just take the time to speak with some of the anglers you know that found their way to the winner circle. Taking that time after the event to set down and even if you only get a small amount of information it can be so helpful in making better decisions at your next event. Learn from every victory and every defeat. All the best and good luck in your next competitive event.
Rich Tauber Fishing Cell (call or text): 818.439.1154
Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide Report 06/16/2017 – Once again it’s time for our annual summer fishing special! All of us at RTF want to try to get as many youngsters and families out fishing this summer as possible. So here we go again with a $200 flat rate price for our half-day fishing trip which is four hours. We also offer a flat rate $300 price for a full day trip which is eight hours. You can choose the bass boat or the pontoon boat which are pictured. This offer expires on July 31, 2017. Anglers interested in more information can call or text me at 818-439-1154.
Southern California Fishing Guide Service – Early Season Grass Fishing 06/06/2017 – Well here we go it’s that time of the year for our bass fishing guide clients at Lake Casitas in Ventura California and most of our western reservoirs as we are beginning to see photosynthesis that is creating grass beds and grass fields throughout our California lakes. I thought I would go over some simple basic principles for fishing grass that most bass anglers overlook. I've always told my fishing guide clients at Lake Casitas in Ventura California grass is natures way of constructing high-rise apartments and condominiums for bass. I've always felt like these grass fields are at basses way of staking claim in a new housing development. Let's face it grass beds provide fantastic cover and the fish absolutely gravitate to these spots all throughout the west. One of the keys early in the season is trying to find the location on your lake where the greatest amount of grass is growing. This is where you want to focus your efforts. You want to try to find what area of the lake harbors the best grass especially early in the season. Once the entire lake is covered with grass the proposition gets much trickier. But early in the season and you can have a tremendous edge and actually be able to be lead right to the fish if you concentrate on where these first areas of grass begin to grow. When you're fishing this early grass it is never a question as to whether or not the bass are there. The fish are there! Just trust me it's one of the few times and fishing when you find grass especially early in the season there is no question you are fishing in the correct spot. Once that grass begins to grow everywhere like I said things will get much more difficult for you. The grass filtrates the water and provides nice clear water with good oxygen content so it's a perfect situation to harbor large areas of fish and perfect for baitfish to move through. The best part about fishing grass is the anglers confidence in knowing that they are fishing the correct spot. There's no question about that. Now the question is whether or not you can catch these fish they are located in this early-season grass.
I want to make this very clear and it's actually super simple. Everything about grass fishing is about keeping your bait clean. Let me repeat that. At all times do everything possible to keep your bait clean and your way ahead of the game. Let me make this clear what I mean by "clean" is a lure that has absolutely no grass hanging from it or attached to it after each and every cast. Do not choose lures that do not work properly in the grass and come back after each and every cast with grass hanging on them. You need to limit your selections to baits that come back "clean". This is crucial. Let me give you the easiest example that I can. You elect to go ahead and fish a grass bed with a drop shot plastic worm. You want to make sure that you have a Texas rig hook that is small and sleek and will work through the grass in a clean fashion. You want to select a drop weight that is made for fishing grass. For instants I use a "Bakudan skinny drop shop weight" when ever I fish grass. Once again I'm just trying to make my rig as grass free as possible. Do you not pull up to grass field and throw the same drop shot plastic worm set up that you have fished all winter when there was no grass around. Put away the round drop shot weights. Put away the open hooks that you nose hook your drop shot worm with. Those are used for winter and spring when there's absolutely no grass in the lake. Now listen if you're going to fish in deep water outside of the grass lines that's a different issue. But if you're going to fish where the fish are right up in the grass you have to have a clean bait. Another good example: you love to use a football head jig it's a great fishing lure. But it's a terrible lure in grass. You can still fish a jig in grass but you got to put the football head jig away. Pick up a jig that is made for fishing grass. Most manufacturers make jigs that our grass specific. I don't care how much you like that one particular football head jig it's just not going to work when fishing is thick grass. You have to make the change. No matter how much success you had this winter and spring the world is different now the grass is growing so you have to change your approach. Every bait that you select when fishing grass say to yourself how clean will bait come through the cover. I know I'm going on about this but it's without question the biggest mistake I see anglers make. They make absolutely no changes to their lures or rigging and continue to fish in the grass and wonder why their results fall off dramatically. It's because your bait is covered with grass and it's what we call "dirty". You can't have anything hanging on your bait when you're fishing it. Your bait has to fish nice and clean. You'll know when you have the right rigging when cast after cast your bait will come through the cover clean and be ready for the next cast. If you find yourself every other cast having to pick away at your lure you have made the wrong selection. Another great example is if the grass is not matted on the surface a buzzbait can be a fantastic lure. But if you cast a buzzbait and every other cast you have grass hanging off your best bait you've made a poor selection. Maybe you can continue with the buzzbait but the style of the buzz bait you're using just catches too much grass. Just try to make modifications to your lure selection so that your lure is always clean. A perfect example is the success of the top water frog. It's greatest asset is that in matted conditions the frog can come through the area clean. I've never really believed that the frog is the absolute reason the lure works so well I think it's the fact that the frog comes through the water so clean.
So next time out once you've located that first good patch of grass on your reservoir remember to look at your tacklebox in a different fashion. Try to make lure selections and modifications to your rigging so that your day is as clean as possible. That your bait each and every cast comes out of the water with little or no grass on it. Preferably with absolutely no grass at all is always best. I understand that all of us have to pick away at our bait just a little bit during the day when fishing grass but it should not overcome your day. It should be a small part of the day. Many many lures will work in grassy areas but the best ones are the ones that fish clean in and around the locations in the grass where the fish live.
Byline: Anyone with questions about this article or have any questions for Rich can always contact him at RichTauberFishing.com
Saltwater Fishing Guide Report 03/15/2017 – By Captain Jake Klinshaw … Just wanted give a quick report on the saltwater side of things. Splashed the new Bahia in saltwater for the first time yesterday with owner Rich Tauber. Launched out of Channel Islands harbor (our harbor we will mostly be operating out of to fish our local waters) and ran outside for a test run. Like predicted, the boat handles incredibly on the ocean! Even had some time to stop at a couple local spots I know of to break the boat in with calico bass, sand bass, cabezon, sculpin and a quick limit of rockfish for dinner. Early spring time conditions are upon us and it's shaping up to be another incredible season. I personally am looking forward to being the captain of this beautiful boat and have high anticipation of an exiting rest of our local fishing year.
Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide Report 03/14/2017 – Wow what a difference a month makes. Since the last time we talked the entire western United States has had an onslaught of rain and snow and reservoirs all throughout the western part of this country are flooded, at full pool, or back to reasonable water levels which is going to be a tremendous shot in the arm for the entire western bass fishing industry. It’s without question the most exciting event to hit western anglers in a long time and I has to put a smile on everyone’s face as the future is so bright with so many fantastic bass fishing opportunities. With that said the entire western United States is in the middle of a full-blown spawn and the spring bass fishing season is in high gear I thought we go over some of the truths about what spring bass fishing is really all about and clear up some of the misnomers about the spring season. When you spend almost every single day floating on the water and working with fishing clients you get to hear a lot of interesting questions and some of them are quite common at certain times of the year. I’d like to go over some of the most commonly asked questions and clear up some of the most misunderstood facets of the sport of spring bass fishing. First and foremost it’s a very important for anglers to understand that when a bass is in the spawning mode eating has absolutely nothing to do with their day-to-day life. To the best of our knowledge fish do not eat at all during the actual spawning cycle. Whether or not this period is 3 to 4 days or 1 to 2 weeks has never been very clear. But we do know is that bass that are caught while involved in the spawning process almost always are caught in some form or fashion of defending their spawning bed or area that they choose to nest in, or fry that they have produced. Just so that we’re clear fry is a terminology used for freshly hatched small bass. Fry appear almost dust like in the water as brown very small dots in a dust like fashion. Once again let me make this clear fish do not eat during the spawning process period! The reason spring bass fishing is so productive is bass are willing to defend certain areas or certain zones as this is natures way of protecting and defending their spawning process. This is why I have always made quite a stance on the sport of sight fishing. Anglers will talk about how wrong it is for fishermen to target and fish for bass that they can see visually with their eyes. But that same angler has absolutely no problem throwing his crankbait out at long-distance and cranking it in shallow water and as that crankbait goes through a spawning area and the fish attacks the bait this somehow makes that catch somewhat of a sporting like achievement. Let’s be honest with ourselves and the sport that were involved in. In the spring of the year a great majority of the fish in all of our Western lakes, reservoirs and tidal waters are defending spawn related areas. Most all of the catches in the spring come from bass defending an area and your bait happens to go through that zone and that fish gets caught. Whether you see the fish before you catch it or not that fish was most likely spawning. It’s just a simple fact that goes with our sport. That being said this is why it is so important during this time of the year to release all the bass that you catch even if you did not see the fish before you caught it that fish is in an area getting ready to spawn or defending an area that the fish has spawned in. Most anglers that I speak with have no idea that a great majority of the fish are not feeding during this time of year. I spend a great deal of talk time making it clear to anglers that can physically see a fish in the water that you want to move your bait in a fashion that makes the fish react to your bait. You want to aggravate the fish in a fashion so that they will strike your bait. So many fishermen make a presentation to a fish that they see in shallow water and slowly work the bait right in front of the fish as if the fish is going to go up to the bait and eat the bait. That’s just not part of their life at this time of year. I know this is a known fact to many professional anglers but there are so many of our anglers out there that have no idea that eating is just not part of the program at this time of the season. So don’t present your bait in a fashion where you’re trying to get the fish to eat your bait you want to present your bait in a fashion that will aggravate the fish into striking your bait.
Another thing that you will notice at this time of year are certain markings and colors on the fish that you catch. One of the most common is what we call “Blacktail”. Especially when you see fish in shallow water you’ll notice that their tail has a black almost halo like finish on the very end of it. This is very common for the spring of the year. There’s not much known about why this happens but it is very very prevalent during the spring of the year. What is known is that these markings appear on some of the bass during some period of the spawning cycle. Another thing that you’ll notice in the spring of the year is many times you will see and tails on bass that have been “brushed off” from building a bed for the spawning season. This is very common place and heals on its own and is quite normal for this time of year. Many of the bass that you will catch will have sores and red marks and other almost disease like looking markings on fish during this time of year. These are fish that are very weak and tired from a long spawning process. It is quite normal and nothing to be alarmed about. As fish begin to gorge themselves on crayfish and threadfin shad right after the spawn they will build up their strength and get their natural weight back. As they beef up on shad and crawfish these markings and sores will heal on their own.
Some of the absolute best reaction bait fishing always occurs just after the spawn. Fish as we talked about begin to gorge themselves on crayfish and shad and these are bass that are actually feeding and they’re feeding hard. These are fish that you want to present your bait in a fashion to allow them to eat your bait. They are no longer in the mode of defending anything. They’re interested in getting their body weight and mass back up again. This is just natures way. The fish will gorge on shad, crayfish and anything else they can capture to build their strength back and get back to a normal healthy weight. Once fish have finished the spawn this is when you want to utilize lures that mimic these food sources. This is when you will find fish schooled in certain areas and the fishing at times can be absolutely fantastic. This is when we get back to the mindset of “catching” fish and feeding them a bait in a fashion where they will eat our lure presentation. I think this is a very important fact that is overlooked by most anglers. Most anglers go fishing in the spring and really don’t understand the two distinct differences between a fish spawning and a fish that is in the post spawn period. It is very important for you to try to understand these two very different periods of the spring spawning season. It will be a crucial part of your success as to how you present your bait based on what cycle the fish are in.
Well with that being said I think the most important thing for us all to remember is to release as many bass as possible at this time of the season. Go out and enjoy the sport we love as this is the golden timeframe for all of us in the bass fishing world.
Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide Report 02/20/2017 – Great video of the water charging into Lake Casitas over the weekend. This is just fantastic news for our bass fishing guide clients. The lake is set to touch 500 feet above sea level this coming weekend. This is up 16 vertical feet from November 15, 2016! This gives our clients an opportunity to fish what we call “Up and In” as now we can utilize heavier fishing line, a spinnerbait and various other techniques that will now come in to play. Should be really entertaining for guide clients who for the most part have been forced to fish light line over the last 5 to 6 years. Anglers interested in booking a fishing trip can call or text me at 818-439-1154 for more information.