SILVERADO — Weather all over the state famously hit triple digits this past week, and the catfish bite at Irvine Lake sizzled right along with it, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. “They are really whacking them,” observed Getty. “The catfish bite starts during daylight hours in the afternoon as a steady pick, and just keeps getting better. We are seeing tons of limits, and are selling lots of second-limit passes, and even third-limit passes. The smaller catfish are in less than 10 feet of water, and some successful anglers are dropping their bait right into the weeds. Some bigger fish are heading deep.
“The thunderstorm and brief rain that rolled through on Saturday afternoon, along with the large crowd on Saturday night made the fish a little touchy during those periods, but it picked right back up.”
Getty added, “Not surprisingly, Ronson ‘Catmando’ Smothers took home first place in our ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ catfish tournament, with a 9-0 channel cat. So many people were anchored up around him, it looked like a small city out on the lake.”
QUALITY CREEL — Ronson “Catmando” Smothers of Los Angeles and Brian "Bubba" Porter are probably the two most known catfish fishermen on Irvine Lake, and for good reason. Here they are with a 10-fish, 100-plus-pound limit. They reported catching their fish on a hump in the Santiago Flats using mackerel for bait. Bubba later said, "It was so wide open! Your bait would barely hit bottom and it would be smoked by a 8- to 10-plus-pound fish! We left them biting! Hopefully we can find them again next week!"
Good catfish catches were reported from Boat Dock Cove, Santiago Flats and the west shoreline. Productive baits included mackerel, shrimp, Gulp! Catfish Chunks and a new “secret” baitfish called pike mackerel. Most whiskerfish were prime eating-size 2 to 6 pounders, with a sprinkling of bigger ones mixed in.
Randy Naguiat of Garden Grove used mackerel at the flats for a 13.9-pound blue catfish, and Ashley DeLuno of Orange used the same approach for an 8-pound channel catfish.
Just about every bass fishing technique will produce at different times of the day. Pods of largemouth bass are chasing shad schools in open water. Flukes and dartheads tossed ahead of the fast-moving groups of bass are working well. Otherwise, working the usual structure means going down 20 feet with drop-shot-rigged plastics, or flipping deep into brushy cover. Nighttime hours have the 2- to 4-pound bucketmouths hitting crankbaits and topwaters.
Don Spencer of Anaheim caught and released a 3½-pound bass while fishing a darthead at the west shore.
No catches of hybrid stripers, crappie, bluegill, redear, sturgeon or carp were checked in last week due to the overwhelming amount of effort put forth toward either catfish or largemouth bass.
Families with children age 12 and under found excellent action on 1- to 3-pound catfish on all of the usual baits in the Kids Lagoon. Surface temperature in the main lake is as high as 82 degrees in some places, with underwater visibility still rated very clear. The lake level is dropping 8 to 12 inches per week.
For those anglers planning ahead, Irvine Lake’s big 2012-13 Trout Season Opener will be on Friday, November 2. Stay tuned for more details!