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Catch Reports 2017

Diamond Valley Lake 5/31

    In the 1970s and 80s The Breakwall Crew noticed after many shore fishing trips to Lake Casitas the bass stay shallow longer on days with a marine layer than they do during bright sunshine.  After Diamond Valley Lake was completed and opened in 2005 I applied this theory and found the same results.  I never caught a thing on a sunny day but during the May gray June gloom post-span they will stay up and hit all the way until noon.  Even the DVL web page extolls this virtue.

    Low overcast was daily out here in mid to late spring but the same high pressure drought blob that blocked all the winter storms the past five years has now dissipated and along with all that wet weather this past season, the marine layer has returned.

    At Casitas the coastal stratus covers the lake more often since it is at low elevation close to the ocean.  DVL, much further inland, needs a high stratus of 5,000 – 7,000 feet before the impoundment is shrouded, meaning there will be less occurrences per year.  Good thing I have more days to choose from Mon Tue Wed to fish each week.  Bad thing they closed the lake to fishing on Mon and Tue last year!  Now I must awake early on Wed mornings, peer out my window and if I see stars, go back to bed.

    This morning I saw nothing.  I had the car pre-loaded with all my gear.  I ate then showed up at the gate more than a half-hour before the 05:45 opening.  Right on time the pace car driver came down, cracked open the chain link and led the line of now 30 vehicles and boats up to the pay kiosk.  Better to be first in line.  The money lady was like molasses, killing five minutes of prime fishing time stumbling fumbling mumbling her way to my $17 entry fee.  They get you for everything.  Parking, fishing permit and even a trail permit to walk along the dirt access road.  I parked and looked back to see the car behind me was being processed another five minutes.  It will be an hour before they get to the last sucker in line.  The previous time I was here they walked out to the line waiting for the gate to open and stole… oops I mean accepted... everyone’s money beforehand.  I liked it better that way.

    I huffed and puffed and blew the trail down, speeding past third cove to the far point to make my first casts at 06:10.  Using my seven-foot twelve-pound spinning outfit I tossed the standard four-inch purple curly tail Power Worm rigged Texas style in and out of all the newly flooded mule fat and salt cedar.  DVL is an emergency drinking water reservoir.  During the past five drought years as it was drawn down, much flora has sprouted and grown along the bare slopes.  Now that water is overly abundant, the lake is ten feet from full and all the newly flooded vegetation creates ideal habitat for largemouth.

    Around the far point I had no takers.  As I worked my way back into the large cove around 07:00 at a small inside curve of the shoreline I felt a tap-tap and hooked a big one inside some bushes that immediately took out drag.  I wanted a cool video of the action so before I cast I strapped my GoPro to my head.  As I reached up to turn it on, the fish swam right into the biggest tree tobacco around.  I slacked off hoping it would swim out, even walking back over to the other side of the snag to try working it out.  Nothing.  Ended up having to break the line so I could hurry up and cast again.

    That sucked.  I walk another ten feet into the cove and cast some more.  It wasn’t long before I hooked another one.  This time I was quicker in firing up the camera but before I could put my paw back on the reel knob the fish unhooked itself.  This wanabe fishing action cameraman gig is stupid.  You need a whole support team.  I learned you can’t catch fish and goof with camera equipment at the same time.

    Ten more feet into the cove and another hookup.  This one unbuttoned itself before I could reach up for the camera.  Thing is the GoPro battery only lasts around 30 minutes.  You have to carry several with you at all times.  If you leave it recording the whole time you are fishing, it will likely die right when you hook one.

    In the next thirty minutes the action waned until eight when I hooked another while dragging the worm through the bushes in five feet of water.  I reached up, got the camera going and promptly lifted out of the water a two-pound largemouth.  Finally!!  This is the first fish I’ve caught since last July.

    The rest of the day until 11:00 I walked back along the shore casting to all the usual spots where I nailed them previously but had no other hits.  Also the whole day I used my other baitcasting set-up with a Storm WildEye Sunfish between casts of the worm.  There was no interest in that jig.  The first time I came to DVL 12 years ago there were hordes of small bluegill close to shore with the bass a few feet out watching closely.  Ever since, I haven’t seen that here but I still bring the sunfish thing with me just in case.

    That one bass I landed I released.  I kept bass from here before.  They taste good, no muddy flavor like other lakes, but the flesh is rather soft and crumbly.  If I caught a five pounder I would keep that.