I just returned from a three-day filming trip in the Eastern High Sierra for my show on FOX Sports West. Years ago when I wrote that now best seller, Trout Fishing in California: Secrets of the Top Western Anglers, I made the case that only 10 percent of the fishermen were catching 90 percent of the trout. As I saw this past weekend, this equation still pretty much holds true.
Take the case of Convict Lake. This idyllic mountain lake is arguably one of the toughest spots to fish in the Sierras. Its water is crystal clear, loaded with all sorts of rocks, boulders, and submerged trees and brush. And yet, I took two novice anglers—from Dallas and Atlanta—out with me, and we were by far the high boat with limits all around. Did I have some tricks up my sleeve? You bet!
First of all, every artificial lure we used was tied to gossamer 2-pound test fluorocarbon leader. I hate using line I can barely see, but it is a deal breaker if you don’t. In contrast to monofilament, fluorocarbon line is 100 percent invisible. It sinks about three times faster than mono, which allows you to throw minuscule 1/32 ounce lures, and get them to sink quickly. This is the secret for gin-clear water conditions.
Next, you have to rig to avoid snagging up on the bottom all the time. Instead of using traditional lead sinkers that snag easy, I rig with small clear plastic bubbles. But here is the trick: fill them entirely with water. Use the clear bubble in place of the sliding lead egg sinker. It seems to glide over rocks and brush, rarely snagging up, allowing you to fish in heavy structure where trout like to hide.
One last point: do not just “still-fish” with this setup. In many of the evening freshwater seminars I give at Sport Chalet stores, I warn my attendees, if you are “still-fishing,” you are still not catching fish! You need to move your lure or bait slowly along the bottom. It’s fine to occasionally stop and rest for a moment but you will cover more territory, intercept more trout, and get hung on the bottom a lot less if you reel in a little at a time to keep the bait or lure moving.
You will find a variety of fluorocarbon lines in either larger 250-yard filler spools or smaller 30- to 50-yard leader wheels, along with plenty of small plastic casting bubbles at your favorite Sport Chalet.