CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Blake Warren – ON THE HOOK

On the Hook

Western Outdoor News’ freshwater editor, Blake Warren, is a fishing enthusiast who pounces on any opportunity offering a shot at hooking any finned creature in any body of water. After serving as an auxiliary engineer in the U.S. Navy for 6 years aboard the destroyer, Paul F. Foster (DD-964), Warren went on to use his GI Bill at San Diego State University, where the proud Aztec earned a degree in Journalism. Hooked on fishing from a very young age upon first catching a trout in the East Walker River, he has never been able to shake the angling bug, traveling as far as southern Argentina in pursuit of fish. Warren currently resides in Capistrano Beach.


Back to the vets
Another Veteran’s Day has again come and gone. Both of my grandfathers were World War II Navy veterans. Both served in the South Pacific under less-than-ideal circumstances, one amid the horrors of heavily-bombed Guadalcanal as a Seabee and the other as an electrician’s mate on a mine-sweeping frigate all over the South Pacific in the choppiest of gut-wrenching seas.

But fishing wise, the two were on polar opposite ends of the spectrum. One showed me how it was very much possible to catch a Cachuma Lake catfish with merely a half spool of old mono on a crappy, old set-up with a spark plug as a makeshift sinker and some stinkbait he’d had in his garage for God knows how long. The other, just trying to accommodate my relatively new-found love of fishing by taking me out to Oroville Lake with a jar of PowerBait in mid-August with a mild and comfortable temperature of 106 degrees (when clearly, every rainbow trout that had ever been swimming around in the watershed had gone belly up or become a quick bass meal at least two months prior at even the most optimistic or ignorant of levels).


Nonetheless, both were vets who were there (pre-20-years-old) in the time we needed them most. And they both answered the bell, as so many countless others have for well over two centuries now. It’s a tough (and yet sometimes easy) thing to brush aside depending on the circumstances. But it’s incredibly important to actualize the oft-used cliché that we should “never forget” in any regard. There’s a whole lot there still left behind the curtain.


I’d venture to guess you’d be somewhat hard-pressed to find a collective group in our society besides veterans who truly value and enjoy the outdoors more. Just speaking from personal experience alone, having served nearly six years in the Navy aboard a long-since-decommissioned destroyer, I can tell you that the crew of 300 to 330 of the U.S.S. Paul F. Foster (DD-964) was about as diverse as it gets, as I’m sure is the case in the vast majority of veterans’ experience in the military regardless of particular command or duty station. Yet, most of those I served with had some kind of deep and legitimate ties to the outdoors, it turned out.


A radioman who religiously hunted the Upper Peninsula of Michigan every fall. A brute of a damage control technician who spoke of his teenage years as if they were one elongated scene from A River Runs Through It while growing up in central Montana. The tall and lanky, young Texan gas turbine tech who, no matter where we were at any particular time in the world, would pine over the November possibilities of this year’s trophy buck from “his spot” with his uncle and hunting partner upon our return to port. The 19-years-in engineering Chief who’s had his pending retirement in his head on a loop with a home being built in Oregon, where visions of beefy, chrome river-run steelhead and plump smallies ran rampant with just one year to go ’til the finish line.


Big stripers from the beach in the Northeast. Massive musky in the Great White North. Spring bassin’ in Florida just can’t be beat.


You’d hear it all after a while, and you couldn’t help but learn a few things here and there and occasionally be inspired in your own outdoor sporting pursuits from hearing all these things and the endless unique, personal experiences from all across our country — a common thread amongst so very many of us.


One dude I remember, a fellow native Southern Cali­fornian, always brought a medium-sized assortment of Rapalas and a few cedar plugs along on our deployments — despite us being stationed in Washington state and heading to God-knows-where for the next six-plus months. None­theless, upon pulling out of port at Pearl Harbor just three weeks into one overseas deployment, the captain allowed for us to slow down to about 8 knots for a short stretch on our eventual way to Hong Kong, a few other brief stops around the Pacific Rim, and then, the Middle East. Back went the Rapalas, and sure enough, there were at least a half-dozen mahi-mahi on the non-skid deck of the old warship that’d been in service since Vietnam. Fun stuff. Especially when you have a pretty good idea your ultimate next stop is the Persian Gulf for three months or longer.


Then there was the penultimate “big miss” on the fishing front during my time on that ship, the one that I regret most. With a simple twist of fate, we were heading to the Maldive Islands for a few days, the ultimate rarest of stops for a destroyer en route to the Persian Gulf to enforce U.N. sanctions imposed against Iraq at the time. Internet wasn’t an option then, at least not while out at sea at that point in time, but this tropical paradise just HAD to have world-class fishing in its pristine, relatively untouched, gin-clear waters full of voracious feeders.


One guy knew. “Bonefish,” he said. “Big ass bonefish on the fly.”


Having watched my fair share of Florida-based fishing shows growing up, I had vivid visions of what this could, with any real sort of luck, potentially be. Sight fishing for huge bonefish in the tropical flats on lightly pressured islands off the coast of India? The unexpected fishing opportunity of a lifetime at 21 years old? Sign me up!


I don’t even remember this guy’s name or hardly what he even looked like, but I do remember that we had completely different personality types and damn near nothing in common, except for fishing, that is. He was an older guy (at the time, not so old now with more perspective), maybe two or three years from his 20-year enlisted retirement, kind of the quiet, nerdy type — but he absolutely geeked out on tying flies, and from Pennsylvania I think. He had his fly-tying kit aboard with him and he went to work for a 48-hour stretch outside of his obligated watches and work duties in a small equipment room, churning out all types of bugs and streamers of all sorts in anticipation of the most epic and exotic fishing we could have ever expected to be presented whilst tethered to a United States Navy destroyer. His four high-end Sage fly rods he had carefully tucked away behind his switchboard would be a Godsend.


Alas, just two days out from our phenomenally unexpected bonefishing extravaganza reach­ing fruition, the captain’s words ringing throughout the ship of how we’d been redirected and wouldn’t be stopping at the Maldives after all were significantly soul-deflating to say the very least. I’ve thought about it many times since, and I think it’s going to have to be on the proverbial bucket list, just because.


But enough rambling about years past and old stories. Point is, the majority of veterans for the most part have very unique and individual stories to tell — both of the outdoor and military / life experience variety — and many of them will absolutely blow your socks off. Go fishing with a vet, especially one who loves to fish, and you’ll see for yourself firsthand. While some may seem reserved at first, get them with a rod in hand well away from the dock and you’ll likely hear some stuff.


Regardless of theater of operation or duty station, there are endless stories to tell from each and every walk of life here in America. And they’re worth hearing. All of them. Every. Single. One.


Our little (or maybe not so little) fishing community here in Southern California and beyond is among the most veteran-supportive communities there is that I’m aware of, and I for one am thankful and grateful of that, primarily so for my fellow veterans’ sake. From War Heroes on the Water, to the Saltwater Bass Series organizing veteran fishing outings and so, so many more contributions and volunteering to those who’ve served from so many countless people in our little slice of the world (fishing), it’s really all pretty awesome.


Let’s keep it going well beyond Nov. 11, 2019. There are plenty of opportunities to help and give back to our countless veterans in a multitude of ways that so many still need, and every ounce of effort and each dollar of support is so very well spent and appreciated greatly. But I still say for the time being, the best thing to do is to embrace each and every one of them and just go fishing. It really is the very best of all medicines.


To all U.S. veterans past and present, and to those who are currently serving now. Thank you, and tight lines and steady shooting...


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Mead Eater
Wine country it is not, Lake Mead. That’s for damn sure. But apparently freshly-crowned U.S. Open champion Nick Salvucci feels just as comfortable, if not moreso, making casts with the rugged Nevada desert as a backdrop as he does at his home waters nearer to the endless vineyards and rolling hills of his current hometown of Paso Robles.

Apparently, third time was the charm. In just his third-ever U.S. Open, Salvucci conquered Goliath — actually, make that two Goliaths, in the forms of both Lake Mead itself and the largest-ever field in Open history stacked with some of the biggest names in bass fishing out on the water.


It was no fluke victory either, be sure of that. Recent history tells the tale clearly. Three consecutive Opens, three straight Top 5 finishes, climbing rung by rung of the Mead ladder until reaching its apex this past Wednesday afternoon at Callville Bay Marina when his 4-fish bag was the very last of the event to be weighed and the scale reading showed nearly 9½ pounds, vaulting him into the rarefied air as U.S. Open champion by exactly 2½ pounds — just over a ¼-pound less than the lead he’d built going into the final day of fishing with over 11 pounds on each of the first two days — over runner-up DeeJay Evans and his own eye-popping Day Three bag of 12-plus pounds.


Fifth in 2017, runner-up last year and now reigning king of Mead after Wednesday’s crowning — Salvucci has become The Mead Eater in just three short years’ time. Since the Open’s repositioning on the calendar to October back in 2017, he has transformed into Mr. October. And he has done so at what is often referred to as “the great equalizer” in Lake Mead, among the toughest bass fisheries in the entire country to show up day after day and produce consistently.


Even a number of past Open champs and many top-shelf anglers who have proven their mettle on Mead over the years have found it quite the tall task to match Salvucci’s impressive consistency and staying power since arriving on the Open scene three years ago. Just ferret away this little nugget: since the weigh-ins on Day One of the 2017 Open (his first), Salvucci’s very lowest standing after any day’s fishing has been 14th place (after Day Two in ’17), and he was either in first or second for the entirety of last week’s mammoth event in the desert.


Consider that the past three Opens have boasted the largest fields in its long and storied history, capped by this year’s astonishing 254 pros (208 In ’17, 224 in ’18), and Salvucci’s torrid run is all the more impressive within the confines of proper context.


Fifth, second, first? What? And all while up against countless of the very best and most skilled pro bassers in the West and beyond? Talk about fortitude, decision making, consistency and relentlessness at the very place that requires the utmost in terms of mental toughness.


Salvucci’s quietly fierce determination to conquer Mead and the Open was revealed on the stage in the moments just prior to claiming the 2019 title with a simple response to WON BASS Tournament Director Billy Egan’s question about whether or not he thought he had enough to seal the deal right before his Day Three bag hit the scales.


“I sure hope so,” he said on the stage with the seeming utmost disappointment on his face if he just so happened to fall short. “I can’t take another second [place].”


Can’t take another second? At the U.S. Open? For real, out of 254 boats and some of the best fishermen around?


A “second” for most guys — even those who have been repeatedly coming to the Open for years, those who consider Mead their “home lake” and reside there, and those who have perennially scratched their names into the Top 20, Top 10 or Top 5 at one point or another — could, and by all means should, be very much satisfying with such an impressive accomplishment, though it’s also certainly clear that all the top dogs are there annually to win the darn thing just as well.


But it seemed, at least for all intents and purposes from afar, that Nick Salvucci was locked into a Talega Nights-esque “Ricky Bobby” mentality of “If you’re not first, you’re last,” and that steely focus and determination certainly appeared to be the driving force behind this past week’s impressive victory coming on the heels of two consecutive Top 5 finishes the years prior.


Congratulations to the new Open champ. Here’s to guessing that come October, 2020 at his seemingly new fishing home away from home, the Mead Eater will still be a little hungry...


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


A long, Long con
It’s been a very strange week in the world of bass fishing to say the least. Everyone has seen it, read it; everyone now knows. The legend exists no longer. Or at least, it most certainly shouldn’t. And when it gets down to the nitty gritty, it really doesn’t even necessarily have to do with one Mike Long, although at the same time it most certainly does.

You see, Mike Long was / is just a marker and a stout reminder right here for the rest of us, that there will always be these proverbial snakes in the grass, those people who will do whatever it takes to satiate their egos, their mere perceived validity in this lifetime or just to simply one-up the next guy for his well-intentioned cash that was laid out on what was a seemingly even playing field. Shady people exist, and they are alive and well. But everybody reading this likely already knows that – no secret there, or at least it shouldn’t be...


mikelonggarage
“WALL OF FRAUD” — Tournament plaques — the validity of which are now all in question — and an aquarium that was likely used to house largemouth for “future use” sit behind Mike Long in his garage. PHOTO COURTESY OF SDFISH.COM

This past week’s revelations revealed quite a lot. And as big of a stain as it is on the entirety of bass fishing, more so on the San Diego scene, it provides everyone with an opportunity to move forward on a different path. One that’s legitimate again, and one that offers a clean Etch-A-Sketch to start anew, and hopefully prevent this type of thing from ever happening in the future.


Ultimate kudos to Kellen Ellis at SDFish.com for the excellent work and dedication it took to lay out this surreal saga so well and eloquently. I’m far from completely dialed in with every intricacy of this whole deal, but as a San Diego State journalism grad, I can say whole heartedly that I feel and believe it deep in my gut that Mr. Ellis nailed this one completely out of the park on a fundamental journalistic level. He connected every dot and laid a pathway to the TRUTH — and you can choose to believe whatever it is that you want. But bravo to Kellen and everybody who contributed in the culmination of this story finally getting published. But it all goes far beyond fishing.


From a fishing standpoint, it’s appalling enough. All of it. From the bed snagging to the BYOB tournament fish, the Smokey and the Bandit-style shuffling of big bass from lake to lake for undue personal glory and acclaim, to the utter dis­regard for these big fish we all covet and truly respect the pursuit for. But it still all goes way beyond that.


My Western Outdoor News colleague Mike Jones — whom I hold tremendous respect for as an outdoor writer who’s covered the gamut both regionally and nationally when it comes to the big boom of bass fishing — in recent weeks leading up to the unveiling of the Long saga wrote of an element in the S.D. bass scene in years gone by (and possibly currently) that consisted of “bass fishing sociopaths.” Well, with Ellis’ recent expose, you can just go ahead and confidently remove the “bass fishing” part of that phrase from the equation. Sociopath alone is the correct term in this case.


You can’t legitimately care about anyone or anything when you behave in the manner which Long apparently did for so many years. Where it’s merely all about you, and you alone. Everything else be damned. You don’t threaten or intimidate teenagers and put people’s lives in potential peril over largemouth bass, as all of us non-sociopaths already well understand without even having to think about it.

And just like most Scooby Doo villains, he likely would have gotten away with it all too. Could have let sleeping dogs lay sleeping. But it’s clear that this type of next-level narcissism must be one helluva drug to kick. Politically speaking, it’s all very Nixon-esque. He just seemingly couldn’t, wouldn’t stop. Perpetuate the fraud ’til the end.


This isn’t just a humongous warning shot across the bow to fishing cheats and scandalous anglers far and wide, but also to all of us decent people breathing oxygen here on Planet Earth. Everything on social media is often a far cry from what it seems to be. Just yet another reminder of that here. And an even bigger reminder: Were all of these outrageously concocted ploys really worth it in the end? That’s a question for Long and Long alone, but I’m thinking that this first week of July, 2019, that answer is a resounding “NO.” We’ll see if we ever hear that answer. But truly innocent men rarely just vanish into the dark when the S hits the fan...


Last week I was sharing this whole story with my father, who knows next to nothing about the world of freshwater bass fishing other than the things I’ve relayed to him over the years that likely sound to him like some kind of Cajun mumbo jumbo, he saw the picture of Long sitting casually and confidently on his bass boat in flip flops, in front of his “home livewell” and countless tournament plaques, seemingly basking in the glory of accomplishments that many of which are now entirely questionable as to what he actually accomplished.


My dad said just one thing. “There you go. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell. ‘The Wall of Fraud.’ You can just see the hubris right there.” Sure enough, my dad was spot on. You could practically smell the ego right there from a photograph on a screen. It doesn’t take a die-hard bass fisherman to understand this whole thing was and is as rotten as a worm-infested tomato. Comfortably and proudly sitting in front of all those plaques, many of which were clearly not legitimately earned, perfectly content basking in the perceived glory of complete and utter fraudulence and deceit, while just one of many of Long’s instruments of deception sits right behind him in the form of his garage BYOB holding tank.


And just like that, he’s seemingly gone. After two-plus decades of subterfuge and hearsay, rumors, accusations and defensiveness, the legend, the myth and the mystique, utterly shattered. And the Lords of Karma remain undefeated.


Be good, kids...


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


‘Irvine Fake,’ revisited
It’s now been over three years since Irvine Lake’s gates were closed to the public on Feb. 28, 2016, but a recent Orange County grand jury report detailing the dysfunction surrounding the parties involved who are to blame for the lake still remaining unusable might just twist some arms and at least get some kind of ball rolling at long, well-overdue last. I wrote an initial “Irvine Fake” column in these pages about the conundrum surrounding the stagnant nature of negotiations and any possible path toward a possible resolution in reopening the lake for public recreation in September of last year (Sept. 21 issue, page 7).

Not much has really changed in that regard, except for the fact that the recent grand jury findings may actually force the parties involved to at least come to the table and make a mere half hearted attempt at figuring something – ANYTHING – out rather than just continue on with the petty and immature bickering and infighting that’s dragged things to an essential standstill like a zillion-ton anchor.


nebraskatailwalker
THIS NEBRASKA TAILWALKER caught at the 2015 Irvine Lake Trout Opener was the type of specimen anglers flocked to Santiago Canyon for each and every year.


As for a little background first, here’s the gist of it all: In 2015, the Irvine Co. agreed to bestow 2,500 acres surrounding Irvine Lake to the County of Orange. The previous concessionaire at the lake prior to it closing was the Serrano Water District, whose lease — as part of the land transfer agreement — wasn’t renewed in late 2015 to continue operating the concessions. Hence, that’s when the gates closed to the lake. Well, Serrano, which owns 25 percent of the water rights to Irvine clearly wasn’t thrilled with that decision. Irvine Ranch Water District also owns a percentage of the lake’s water rights, and OC Parks can’t even begin to start planning for any type of recreation at the lake until the parties come to some sort of agreement. But it’s been as clear as the water that runs down your drain — especially after this most recent grand jury report — that nobody involved has even been trying to find a solution to creating a path to the lake reopening to public recreation.


In the 30-page grand jury report, jurors hammered both water districts for failing to make any progress toward a resolution, saying that IRWD hasn’t provided any information or any plans for a new successor to come in to OC Parks despite a number of contacts by OC Parks, while noting that SWD had no documented communication with OC Parks in regard to recreation rights in nearly two full years. How’s that for sitting on your hands? And these are elected officials mind you, to make matters even worse, as if we needed yet another local government failure on our hands here.


Thankfully, however, the grand jury report and its aftermath provide a little positive light at the end of the tunnel for those of us eternally hopeful that Irvine will one day reopen to fishing. The jurors ultimately came to the conclusion that the situation and the three government agencies involved needed some serious arm twisting and oversight, which is the first actual legitimately positive news regarding the Irvine Lake to arise since its gates sadly closed over three years ago.


Here’s what we now have to look at going forward: First, less than three months from now, the agencies must all give their input on a possible resolution to the presiding judge of the superior court. Next, if the involved parties cannot come to some type of resolution by year’s end, they will be required to post the obstacles as to why not on the web, along with how they plan on overcoming said obstacles and coming to a resolution on the issues at hand. After that, the report stated that by March 21, 2020, OC Parks, “…should hold open public planning meetings to address possible uses and activities.”


Those meetings would still be 10 months out, but hey, it’s a start. At least somebody has stepped up to push the ball forward and put an end to this ridiculousness from a few dozen folks to keep a treasured public resource for the better part of a century inaccessible to that very public it once served so well.


And there should be no viable reason that Irvine Lake doesn’t in fact reopen in due time. The concession always, or almost always, turned a profit of some sort with boating and fishing being on the menu. The RV storage facility at the lake is also a revenue producer, and the grand jury report even kicked out a handful of more ideas to add revenue streams. If just brought back up on-line to its past operating levels, the jurors wrote, “it would appear operations would produce net income in roughly the historical amounts.”


Ok then, the writing is now on the proverbial wall. The lake is still a highly coveted public resource for outdoor folks near and far, and it is still a viable moneymaker with taking the necessary steps forward. There are plenty of reasons these steps need to start being taken, and for all the bickering and posturing by the few who are denying the many to just finally come to an end at long last. Those fish are still just all in that lake in Santiago Canyon waiting for us. Let’s just hope that this actually means things will actually start to happen and that some type of resolution will soon be in sight.

In the meantime, it probably wouldn’t hurt to send a few emails to these folks urging them to finally come to the table and figure something out. The grand jury put a good bit of pressure on them to get their acts together. A little more pressure probably wouldn’t hurt from those of us just wanting to get back on the water either.


irvinelake
IRVINE LAKE


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.



Gem of Diego
Tucked away in the foot­hills of East San Diego County just a few long and winding roads and a handful of miles outside of the quaint town of Alpine, Barrett Lake is certainly as unique a bass fishery as there is here for miles in every direction. Chock full of the South­land’s lone major population of Northern-strain largemouth — and its population is in fact major — amid a beautiful alpine setting, fishing Barrett is more so an experience than just an­other fishing outing.

yetanotherseason
YET ANOTHER SEASON is dawning at Barrett, and it certainly appears the stage is set for it to be a good one.

Open just five months a year (May through September) and just three days a week during the season, opportunities to fish Barrett are indeed treasured by those who understand its unique potential. That’s only approximately 67 to 70 days of fishing at the reservoir each year, and with a limited number of rental boats and reservations available for each of those days, it’s all that much more of a treat to get on its alpine waters on any day.


It’s akin to the contrast between the NFL and Major League Baseball: 16 games versus an allotted 162 of those rascals, respectively. Those 16 football games are hyped up and highly anticipated events, while the 162 near-daily contests in the baseball season are more so glanced at in passing as the long flipbook turns page after page through the dog days of summer and beyond. Point is, often times, less is more. Such is exactly the case with Barrett Lake.


And then you get to the fishing itself. The majority of San Diego bass anglers, both young and old alike, have heard the Barrett glory day tales through the years. Those of 100-, or even 200-plus-fish outings. Epic topwater bites marathoning from first light through the afternoon. Days where the term “plastics” doesn’t even breeze across one’s cerebral cortex. Sure it’s had its down years — some might suggest that last year was somewhat of a “down year” by Barrett’s traditional lofty standards — but more often than not, it’s generally a solid producer on most occasions.


Then there’s the quality of fish at Barrett. Having heard a fair share of the previously mentioned glory tales myself, a rare and recent personal visit to Barrett just a couple weeks ago was surely an impressive reminder. Catch numbers were up from the previous year’s pre-fishing by most accounts, and between our boat’s 60 to 70 fish that were caught and released, the vast majority of them were running 2 to 4½ pounds, a few bigger, a few smaller. Stout, healthy and awfully aggressive, those Northerns. Try having a mid-April day like that at San Vicente, or up north at Castaic. Sure it’s possible, but Florida-strain bass just simply don’t usually treat us to that type of frenzied action with a heavy helping of quality for good measure.


barrettsaggressive
BARRETT’S AGGRESSIVE BASS aren’t usually too shy about whacking baits.


To back up the quality claim at the lake, when California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff assessed Barrett in January of 2018, a metric used that compares length, width and relative weight to measure ideal growth curves showed the reservoir’s bass scoring phenomenally, with the vast majority of Barrett specimens assessed scoring in the top 8 percentile. After my recent day on the lake a couple weeks back, I can definitely see why. Most of these bass, regardless of each one’s particular weight, were fat, stocky footballs.


This week marks the kickoff to yet another promising Barrett season — May 1 being 2019’s opening day — and the anticipation is palpable in high hopes for a “bounce-back” year for the alpine reservoir. And it certainly seemed to me that could very well be the case indeed. I’m looking forward to seeing the trickle of reports from opening week myself (feel free to send any Barrett photos/reports to blake@wonews.com). Barrett is the region’s proverbial box of chocolates, and it’s always fun to see just what she yields in the top of the first inning each year. It can also fire an arrow of jealousy into your gut should you happen to see you missed out on one of those particularly classic “glory days.”


It is ‘game on’ now. Hope you’ve got your opening month reservations. Enjoy the gem of San Diego if you do. Shouldn’t be an issue, it’s damn near impossible not to.


Fishing reservations for Barrett Lake can be obtained via Ticketmaster.com. Reservations ($80 for rental boats, $20 for float tubes / kayaks) go on sale at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month for the following month’s fishing dates. The month of May is currently sold out.


nowopen
NOW OPEN FOR the season through September, Barrett Lake offers a unique bass fishing experience quite unlike most in the Southland, along with the only major population of aggressive Northern-strain largemouth in SoCal. WON PHOTOS BY BLAKE WARREN


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


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