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…)


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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…)


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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…)


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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…)


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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…)


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San Vicente Dam

WHAT’S BEHIND the San Vicente Dam next year?

Excavators and crews were clearing the outlet channel here in Lake Elsinore last week. Fearing the potential of a wet winter, I presume they, like many homeowners, are thinking they better act now, rather than deal with the consequences potential run-off.

With regard to the outlet channel (that leads out through the wetlands, northward to the Santa Ana River), if heavy rain comes, debris could block the water’s egress and lead to flooding that could split the city in half, just as it did in the early 1980’s.

But is this a potential El Niño condition, (more…)


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EHRLER named #1...

EHRLER named #1…

For this, the 20th anniversary of the California Top 40 Bass Anglers List, the task was almost impossible determining the best bass anglers in the Golden State. Whether by peer references, point standings or merely the “Eye Test,” our Bass Angler Assessment Team (BAAT) tried to find some separation between so many fishermen with worthy, but hardly lights out performances.

Even on the biggest stages of national competition, the margins have never been closer. Yet, after much consideration, Brent Ehrler of Redlands has been named the Number One bass angler in the Golden State on the strength of his two circuit successes. (more…)


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4-Crazy-Crawler

CRAZY CRAWLER design was from 1939…

What’s that line from Shawshank Redemption? “You know what they say about the Pacific Ocean? It has no memory.”

Well, that’s the way it looks in the Western Pacific, as respected Japanese lure-maker Jackall seems to have forgotten all about the roots of its newest bait, the Pompadour.

Even before WWII in the Pacific, James Heddon’s Sons already had this bait–only they called it the Crazy Crawler. (more…)


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Always under consideration as one of the best anglers in California, it should be worth noting that this week’s SDFish.com final rankings has Kevin Norling on top in the region for 2014.

The SDFish rankings utilizes a strict points calculation for events held only in San Diego County, leaving non-tournament anglers (more…)


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CO-ANGLERS, such as Tami Curtis from a few seasons back, are being phased out of FLW.

CO-ANGLERS, such as Tami Curtis from a few seasons back, are being phased out of FLW.

Let them down easy.

That seems to be the strategy of FLW as it gets ready to drop co-anglering from the national Tour. Announcing its new rules last week, the FLW won’t be inviting co-anglers to the annual Forrest Wood Cup in 2016. One would have to suspect, in due time there won’t be a need for co-anglers anywhere else.

Read: the Rayovac contribution of co’s–other than for a Rayovac championship, this year or next.

True, the official status report remains the same for the “battery boys” in 2015, but no mention was made of co’s beyond next season. (more…)


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