Lake Castaic...can't see the whitecaps but it was windy

Lake Castaic…can’t see the whitecaps but it was windy

Seeing as how my freezer is overloaded and my bank account isn’t 🙁  I was looking for a low cost fishing alternative for my outdoor entertainment this weekend.  Sunday (Sept 22), I met up with fishing buddies Adrian and Daniel and we made our way out to Lake Castaic (up north off I-5) in hopes of catching striped bass.

It was a failed fishing trip from the beginning…Adrian forgot to bring the fresh dead mackerel we planned to use as a bait option (we had live nightcrawlers too).  When we stopped at the gas station off the freeway exit, there were a bunch of trucks trailering lake boats.  Uh oh.  “Yeah, they won’t let us on the lake.  Too windy.” a helpful freshy told us.  Great.  We decided to check it out for ourselves, but the kid at the gate told us there were 30 MPH winds on the lake and that if we decided to go in, the parking fee was non-refundable.

“What do you guys want to do?”  Adrian asked.  I replied, “Heads we stay.  Tails we go.”  Tails.  We moved on to nearby Pyramid Lake.  Pyramid is kind of tucked into the surrounding hillside, so it’s a little more protected from the wind.  We managed to get in a couple hours of fishing before the wind found its way in and ran us out.

Not a lot to report…I personally got skunked and Adrian and Daniel only got some dinks, but as always, time on the water yields time for thought and is never a waste of time…

Time at the Pyramid

Time at the rail…at Pyramid Lake

A Few Things I Learned

1) It’s always good to be reminded of why I’m a salty

Once I get on any water, the desire to hook up overwhelms me and I can get into whatever type of fishing it is.  I laugh at pics I see of guys ice fishing, but I know that if I lived in the Midwest, I’d be one of those guys (in a hot second).  Given the choice of fresh vs. salt though…I’m going to pick salt just about every time.

For one thing, you don’t have dust or bugs much (occasional kelp fly is all) on the ocean.  Another thing I prefer on the ocean is the size of the line.  It’s hard for me to see and tie knots with itty bitty freshy line.  Light line in my mind is 12 or 15, not 2 or 3 lb. test!  For me though, the element of surprise on almost every salty trip is what keeps me going back.  Just this year, I caught the mako shark out paddy hopping and the white seabass while calico fishing…you don’t get surprised like that on a lake too much.

2) I learned how to fish a worm

When I didn’t know better, I’d often find myself at the rail wondering, “Why is this guy catching fish and I’m not?”  You may have the same line, hook, bait, lure whatever.  The answer is often bait presentation.  A natural bait presentation yields better results every time…fresh or salt.  On this trip, I learned how to use a worm threader, how to inflate a worm, and how to flyline a worm.  That knowledge on how to present a worm will yield results at some point.

3) Krocodile lure…with bait

IMG_1344Freshy or salty, if you don’t have a couple krocs in your box, you’re missing an essential tool.  They’re just one of the most versatile lures around.  Toward the end of the day, we had a lot of bait left and I decided to screw around a little and pin a whole dead sardine on a kroc.  No hits.  Probably not anything of that size in the area where we were fishing, but damn if it didn’t swim REALLY well.  In my mind (if I were a fish) it’d look like a bait chasing a smaller bait.  Very enticing.  What if you were out there and the bait rolled?  Or how about when I fished cuda earlier this year and they were really keyed into the anchovies?  Having that flash may increase bites.  And having their teeth hit that lure instead of hitting light line would really help your hook to land ratio.

Time on the water…if you open up your mind, it always yields something worthwhile to add to the database.  You never know when that little nugget of fish dope might come into play.  Tight lines!






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