I’ve heard all the arguments. The Bassmasters Classic World Championship is supposed to be a challenge and putting it on during the winter, as opposed to fall or, heck, summer, means the weather could turn the event into an episode of “Survivor.” (more…)

Continue Reading
winning or losing

NO BITES in an area is still good info.

I like to poke the guys about their pre-tournament exploits. It’s called “winning the prefish,” where they knock ‘em dead in the days and weeks before the contest, or worse yet, go overboard posting their catches with images and videos on social media.

You would think I wouldn’t have to remind everyone: those fish don’t count. And in fact, those images offer clues to where or what others in the field might also fish. That for sure lessens the chance of  the prefish winner duplicating the same success when the real competition starts.

But there’s another side of the coin. That’s when your scouting doesn’t produce much (more…)

Continue Reading
smokey joe

SMOKEY JOE, a color I remember from Cordell Lures.

I hope there are many who mourn for the passing of Cotton Cordell, today, at the age of 86. The angler/luremaker is indeed, the one those names that still endures. Yet, I have come to understand that with age more of us tend to look back–while a younger generation can’t imagine the interest or the attachment.

Cotton wasn’t a friend in the traditional sense, but whenever we crossed paths over the years following my very first press junket to Hot Springs, Arkansas back in 1977, it took him only moments to put a name with a face–and his face seemed always to wear a smile.

Clearly, many others will have stories about Cotton and about the baits (more…)

Continue Reading

SEEMS FAR AWAY, but law now requires a boater “license.”

Sweeping up the confetti and tossing away the decorations from last night’s gathering, you’d think I’m talking about your 2015 fishing license. But not so.

Instead, California anglers can expect to be asked for their “boaters license” following a newly passed California law that goes into effect today. So you don’t have yours?

After enduring yet another season with too many boating fatalities, state legislators have decided to take matters into their own hands, and the Governor has signed the new legislation, SB 941. In fact, he did so back in September of 2014!

In case you missed it, (more…)

Continue Reading

NEW DOCK MOORINGS have already been poured, here and even higher up the bank, as shown by Ranger Jim Dayberry.

In SoCal, most of the attention has been to the reopening of San Vicente Lake in Lakeside. One article had it opening in November of 2015, but the last three news releases from the City of San Diego say: “There is NO projected opening date at this time!”

Still, we know it’s coming.

But in Escondido, the earthquake-threatened dam at Lake Wohlford is also due for a new structure–perhaps as soon as 2017. Here it will allow the lake level to rise where nobody has seen it for a decade or more–it’s original capacity, some 20 to 25 feet higher than it is presently.

While replacing the old one with a new, seismically sound, concrete dam, it’s not a perfect situation all around. The city’s hands are tied by construction costs and with issues such as (more…)

Continue Reading
Vail Lake jump

JUMPING for a Vail Lake public opening in 2015.

Almost an enigma among SoCal reservoirs, Vail Lake was once a regular stop for clubs in the 1970’s, produced bass to 18 pounds in the 1980’s and then after developers got into the act, became both a hot ticket and a hot potato as an exclusive (or not), private fishing hole.

In today’s Press Enterprise it was reported that the new manager for the lake and adjacent properties, Rancho California Water District, has plans for improvements, but when they say “family friendly” attractions, that always makes me uneasy.

It’s not that I mind (more…)

Continue Reading

Lake elsinore projection copyDon’t worry, I’m not asking for Mother Nature to take it back. But when I look at conditions just a few seasons back, it’s pretty plain, we have got quite a ways to go when it comes to a wet winter.

Easiest for me to compare with photos is Lake Elsinore (across the street) and yet, when you look at the annual projection for the water level here, it seems officials already knew where we were headed. And here we are.

The 1240 elevation “danger line” (more…)

Continue Reading
1970's vintage catch

BILL RICE, shown at Lake Elsinore in the 1970’s, to enter FWFHOF, class of 2015.

He was a fellow member of the Saddleback Bassmasters club in Orange County in the 1970’s and my mentor and first boss in the outdoor writing world at Western Outdoor News (WON), beginning in 1977. And now he is a member of the class of 2015–inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. (See release)

While you may not know he was the fastest copy editor to ever hit a newsroom, or that he actually wrote a book on tennis, among his many accomplishments, Bill was (more…)

Continue Reading
Every bass might have a tale

EVERY CATCH is clean, right?

Of course, everyone is above reproach. Never in the history of angling–make that bass angling–has there ever been a sniff of impropriety. All anglers can be trusted. All significant catches are certified. Go-Pro makes it so. PhotoShop confirms it.

So what are the two biggest, most recent stories in circulation this fall?

Isn’t one the sentencing of team partners for their catch scam in Alabama (click here)? (more…)

Continue Reading

In deference to Adam West and company, this weekend’s Bass-A-Thon (BAT) will have its own all-star line-up. No Catwoman, Penguin or Joker, but you’ll find an amazing array of gear, glitter and guests.

Naturally, I look forward to seeing U.S. Open winner Cliff Pirch, a late, but great addition to the line-up of Main Stage speakers. (more…)

Continue Reading