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Blake Warren – ON THE HOOK

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Friday, September 21, 2018
Irvine Fake


Options 'Galore(y) Days'
These are indeed very unique and interesting times, both as a mere participant currently existing in this ever-evolving – or, in a number of other cases, devolving – world, and especially so if you happen to be a fisherman in the southern half of California at the moment. With the fast-paced nature of our modern society, aflood with a constant barrage of social media posts and a relentless carpet bombing of non-stop tidbits of information coming our way from every direction, it can sometimes be easy to lose a little bit – or “a lot bit” – of perspective, and taking just a brief step back for a moment, it's damned near impossible to not notice that these are in fact some great days, months and years we're living through if you just so happen to have some kind of passion for hooking – and landing – any variety of finned predators.

This is one helluva playground we're currently playing in. The options are seemingly endless: a shot at the catch of a lifetime in a 200- to 300-pound bluefin tuna right out your backdoor? Excellent and rapid-fire calico bass action inshore along kelp stringers up and down the coast and frenzied boiler rock reaction bites at the islands? A better-than-fair chance at kelp paddy dorado and yellowtail without burning barrels of fuel? Schoolie-grade bluefin and yellowfin at numerous spots to keep rods bent and freezers filled? Bottom fishing galore practically year-round? Heavy-duty, consistent snaps on white seabass during monthly moon cycles? Big halibut, trophy corbina and more and more hefty striped bass being beached from the breakers of our beaches, along with consistent bites for big croaker, perch and sharks? Chunk spotties in the bays before or after work?


And then if you want to shift into your freshwater gears a bit, there's always that shot at a double-digit / trophy largemouth at any number of lakes within tolerable driving distance, and a good chance at finding good numbers of biting bass at just about anytime of year. Big stripers are always willing players at a handful of SoCal lakes, while youngsters are easily sucked into the sport with relatively easy catches of panfish and catfish during their off-days of summer as well, Then mix in our relatively access to the wonders and trout-laden waters of the Eastern Sierra and we have a whole ’nother gem of a fishery on our hands just a few hundred miles up Hwy. 395.


The options truly are seemingly endless. And that's a very good problem for us as fisherfolk to have on our hands.


These past few warm-water years have brought more droves of pelagics up into very reasonable striking range, and at least for now, it seems like they are going to be here to stay. The volume of bluefin that many assumed would slink right back down the Baja coast once that cooler water came has never truly happened, and while that cooler water has surged up a handful of times, we've also just seen peak ocean temps pushing 80 degrees – perhaps meaning our backyard playground is merely becoming an extension of northern Baja for the long(er) haul with the way things are currently trending. No complaints here (except for the occasional Orlando-like humidity that appears to becoming more commonplace through the warmer months of the year with it all). Win some, lose some, I suppose. Gotta take the good with the bad. And the good has been very good to us here recently for the most part.


So let's stop just short and hesitate at the verge of getting jaded with all of this goodness. Dial back some expectations here and there and just enjoy what we have right in front of us in these Glory Days. It's really far more than any of us could realistically ask for with a reasonable tongue.


Western Outdoor News headquarters is no stranger to receiving the occasional gripes and disappointment-laden complaints here and there claiming that someone was “jobbed” because a 2-day trip targeted trophy bluefin at San Clemente Island and “ONLY” decked 8 of 'em, rather than just go paddy hunting and pick off whatever dorado and yellowtail was available – and contrasting objections also trickle in essentially saying just the opposite: “Why were we worrying about these 8- to 10-pound kelp paddy dorado and yellows when we have this shot at the fish of a lifetime?”


Different strokes, certainly. But let's not necessarily break out the torches and pitchforks just yet folks. There's plenty to go around. Plenty more than most of us could legitimately ever hope for or really expect, so let's just pump the brakes, gear up and enjoy it. There's most definitely no shortage of variety to enjoy here right in our backyard.


So just get on out there and get your own little – or big – taste of these Glory Days.


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