These have been some rather bizarre past few months here on the west coast with some rather peculiar catches being made in both fresh and saltwater. Let me share a few notable incidents with you.
My crew was recently at Lake Elsinore filming for my Fishing Ventures T.V. show on FOX Sports West. We started fishing late for largemouth bass with water temperatures pushing 75 degrees. Needless to say, we missed the early morning bite, but persisted in pounding the shallow shorelines. We got bit—but not by bass. Using an extinct twin-bladed spinnerbait that looks like a giant insect with metal feelers, one of our guys nailed not one—but four—channel catfish from 5–12 pounds! Talk about a surprise catch!
Then, at Cedros Island off the Baja coast, we were catching quality calico bass on both treble hooks of our Yo-Zuri crankbaits. That’s right! We were catching two calicos at a time from 2–4 pounds each on one lure! This was a really bizarre video!
How about warm weather sturgeon? Well, up in the high desert, tiny seven acre Hesperia Lake is producing at least one of these prehistoric fish per week averaging over thirty pounds each! I might add, this little impoundment has these diamond backs up to 300 pounds! Rarely are these a warm weather catch in fresh water lowland lakes.
Recently, a surf fisherman working crankbaits targeting halibut off of Seal Beach had the fight of his life. A double-digit weight white sea bass must have been lost, hitting his lure in three feet of water on a sandy beach, go figure.
Back at Cedros Island, I was fishing metal jigs really deep in about 200 feet of open water. Too often, I would stick what I thought was a nice 25–30 pound yellowtail, only to have the fish come unbuttoned. I would check my treble hook on the jig, and they seemed plenty sharp enough. It was a head-shaker!
So, on the next “fish” I hooked, I wound it very slowly, putting steady gentle pressure on it. Then it became clear what was going on. A school of giant Humboldt squid in the 30–50 pound range were attacking the “iron” right off the bottom in 200 feet of water. Boy, talk about feeling a solid weight on the end of your line, only to wind in one of these big “fire hoses”!
Then, on a recent twilight charter in July, fishing off the Huntington flats oil rigs, we metered a huge school of sandbass. Weather and water temperature were optimal. But this big load of sandies wouldn’t touch live anchovies or plastic lures. They wanted a chunk of frozen, dead squid dragged slowly across the bottom, pinned on a big 2-ounce lead head—a typical cold water, winter bass combination.
That’s freaky fishin’!