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Central CA Freshwater

Bradley: Light bite at Nacimiento, more bass up shallow

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 07, 2020

A few big winter largemouth making appearances at Santa Margarita

BRADLEY — Stable weather and a lack of recent cold fronts has brought more spotted bass up into shallower haunts and there is some pretty good winter fishing to be had for those putting in the time and effort at Lake Nacimiento. Not only are there decent numbers to be had for those in tune with the current subtle bite, but there are also some chunky spots in the mix as well. Lake local and frequent WON source Rich Lingor was out this past Friday proving just that, sticking his new personal best spot at 5.15 pounds after over 20 years of fishing the lake. At a fishery where a 4-pound spotted bass is largely considered a trophy catch, a 5-plus is quite the chunky bass and bullet point on one's fishing resume at Naci.


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A NEW PERSONAL BEST spotted bass at Lake Nacimiento for regional WON source Rich Lingor, at 5.15 pounds, taken on a 6-inch straight tail Roboworm in Red Crawler on the drop-shot in about 8 feet of water this past Friday. More bass have been up shallower as of late, but that could all change with expected colder night temperatures this coming week.

“It was an epic battle even though it was probably only 3 or 4 minutes,” Lingor said. “At first I thought it was a carp until I felt that signature tail thump.” The big spot ate a Red Crawler Roboworm on the drop-shot with 6-pound test in about 8 feet of water.


“It's a little touchy,” Lingor said of the current bite, “but they'll bite, and there are plenty of fish starting to move up. They're light bites and you've got to really be in tune with your bait and the feel of things. You feel a bump into a rock or a twig, and that's a common indicator of a coming bite many times. There are still a lot of fish down deep but enough of 'em up shallow to put together a pretty good day.” Lingor added that he was mostly targeting likely staging areas and potential spawning flats in anywhere from 1 to 15 feet of water.


Along with the drop-shot, a variety of different soft plastics are also getting the job done at the lake. Darter heads, Ned rigs, Carolina-rigged creatures, smaller slow-rolled swimbaits and football head and spider jigs are all getting some play at times. “You can have a pretty good day on any of the soft plastic stuff if you're putting in the time,” Lingor said, who noted that 20- to 30-fish days are legitimate possibility in the current winter bite. Water temperatures are ranging between 53 and 57 degrees and temps are trending upward, but some cold nights expected this week could possibly alter things in the days ahead.


SANTA MARGARITA — Down the road from Naci at Santa Margarita Lake it's been a grind for the majority of the year's first month with a solid limit generally being tough to come by. That being said, there's been a nice little flurry of quality largemouth for anglers employing the right tactics.


Atascadero's Doug Rice of Rice's Guide Service proved this to be true just prior to the weekend when he hit the lake and ground out 7 good bites, saying his best 5 went 24 pounds capped by a late January gem of an 8-pound bucketmouth. Rice said he caught 4 of his bass running the shorelines with various reaction baits and 3 more on jigs worked in 12 to 17 feet of water.


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THE RICE KIND — Doug Rice of Rice's Guide Service hit Santa Margarita Lake this past week and connected with a solid 7-fish day, catching 4 good largemouth running the shorelines with a variety reaction baits and another trio of bass to 8 pounds slow working jigs in 12 to 17 feet of water. Rice said his best five went 24 pounds – not a bad way to close out the first month of the year.

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