Location: Lake Berryessa
Air temperature: low 40’s
Water temperature: 51-53 Degrees
Wind: 2-6 mph
Water clarity: 4-8 feet
On this cold Saturday morning I fished with the local bass club El Dorado Bass and was drawn to be paired with club member Dave Machol as my team partner.
I had a plan going into the day with no pre-fish time and just ideas I had had from prior outings this winter on other fisheries. First we stayed within the narrows first thing in the morning and looked for any incoming springs from the rain we had a couple nights before. My Humminbird graphs do a great job at helping me locate the fish and nothing really stood out as we checked some promising areas. I tried quite a few big baits early in the morning with no success. I reached down and grabbed my next rod which was a Denali Rods Swimbait rod paired a Heavy Limits A-rig and 4” swimbaits. First cast out and I was letting it fall about 30ft. I started reeling and a 2lb smallmouth already had it on the fall and I was already on. About five casts later replicating the same fall depth of 30ft, a small keeper largemouth slammed the A-rig. This was not wide open but it got quite a few reaction bites before 9:00 am and then that bite seemed to shut down anywhere I tried. We ran to the farthest side of the lake from the Narrows and idled around on ledges and after a little while we found school bus sized bait balls with fish arches everywhere.
My partner and I sat on this bait ball for quite some time and we really had to work the area but it was a success with 2) decent bass. One a 4.5lb Spotted Bass which came out to be big fish for our tournament and a largemouth around 3lbs. These fish seemed to come from the 45ft range. They were pretty difficult to fool but Dave fooled them to bite almost dead sticking his drop shot rig using a small 4” worm. We ended up right around 13.5lbs and it was enough for first place and big fish with Dave’s 4.5lb spot.
If you’re heading to Berryessa soon I suggest Trying Reaction first thing in the morning. Some members reported that they caught some River2sea S-waver fish first thing in the morning also so you may also try one of these or a suspending jerkbait over points. If reaction shuts down or isn’t working, search around for clouds of bait. I recommend starting shallow and idling out over humps and flats with deep drop offs using 2D and Down imaging sonar to locate them. When you find that, there will be fish around. Just slow down and downsize your presentation and you may be rewarded with a decent catch!
Good Luck out there!