A few weeks ago the first winter storm hit Southern California. This seemed discouraging to trout fishermen but intriguing to us “Catheads”. For years big rains have been the “cat’s meow” when it comes to catfishing. The “Catheads” started paying closer attention to the forecasts and thinking of good excuses for not going to work. Things were about to get interesting.
There are only a few lakes with big blue catfish. When I say big blues, I mean 30 to 100 plus pounders! In my opinion, Irvine Lake and San Vicente are two of the best! As the big boys slow at Irvine, San Vicente usually explodes. This first storm was to be no exception.
I checked the Western Outdoor News for my updates on the bites throughout the state. After the first rain, it was reported that approximately 27 blue catfish ranging from 5 to 65 pounds were caught. Some people reported catching up to 4 fish from 15 to 55 pounds. A friend of mine, Cody Newton, caught 3 fish from 30 to 55 pounds in one day!!! Hearing this news got me more excited than a largemouth in a school of shad!
I contacted fishing author and writer for many outdoors publications, Chris Shaffer, and said, “Let’s hit San Vee”. He was down to get a story. I chatted with Cody and he said that the fish were on the chew! I set it up to meet with him, and then let the job know that I wouldn’t be in on Friday.
Friday morning we hit the lake in two rentals and fished the previous hot spots. The morning was clear and chilly. We were a little bummed because of the lack of cloud cover. Cody threw his baseball size mac chunks and I through toddler fist size Catmando chunks. We were ready for those big boys with 30 pound green Trilene Big Game line and 5/0 to 7/0 hooks. After an hour and a half, did the interview with Chris as we waited for a bite. I started it off with two bites that ended up getting stuck in the structure. My third bite ended up as a rat weighing only 3 pounds. In the next few hours, I continued to get bit by “rats” up to 9 pounds. Cody hadn’t been touched. He decided that we should move. We bounced around and ended up at the dam for the rest of the day. I caught a few more as Chris sat eager for a picture of a 50 plus pound blue cat. By 5:45pm, we concluded that we had missed the big fish run for now. We packed it up and headed in.
We checked the docks to see if any big boys were weighed in. The answer was “no”. We had struck out on the big boys and a feature story. I know that the fish are there and will run again soon. I guess this is why it’s called fishing and not catching. The message in this story is that you have to be on the fish when they are running. A week later may be a completely different story. Until next time, “Meeeoouutttt” and good fishing!