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Nov 04, 2009 Ask Gary Dobyns will be on hiatus for a few w...
Oct 14, 2009 Gary, do you think the Phantom Chart Shad col...
Oct 09, 2009 I was recently listening to a podcast where t...
Sep 29, 2009 I was recently listening to a podcast where b...
Sep 25, 2009 Got a catch 22 if you ask me. Lake Berryessa...
Sep 19, 2009 Hello and Congratulations on your recent win!...
Sep 02, 2009 Clear Lake will be at record lows this fall. ...
Aug 28, 2009 It looks like they are trying to drain Orovil...
Aug 24, 2009 My bass club would like to travel to Clear La...
Jul 21, 2009 What does the color phantom chartreuse shad m...
Jul 13, 2009 I'm looking for a casting rod that I can drop...
Jul 06, 2009 Genmar filing bankruptcy has to hurt Ranger d...
Jun 29, 2009 How do you and other anglers feel about Mark ...
Jun 25, 2009 How much more gas does a 250 H.O. burn over a...
Jun 22, 2009 FLW has threatened to leave the West because ...
May 26, 2009 When are you going to have your Xtreme rods i...
May 20, 2009 Hey Gary, I don't know if you've ever answere...
May 11, 2009 Hi Gary, late last winter it was announced th...
May 04, 2009 Just wanted to thank you for the rip bait art...
Apr 27, 2009 Hi Gary, What's the pro and cons of oval spli...
Apr 24, 2009 Moving to Texas. Will be fishing Choke, Amis...
Apr 20, 2009 I've got a 'ripbait' question too, but mine i...
Apr 17, 2009 I'm thinking on buying a 250 HO. I was told t...
Apr 08, 2009 I am planning on fishing the Delta heavily in...
Mar 30, 2009 West Coast Bass had 43 boats at Clear Lake. Y...
Mar 26, 2009 My question is about jigs and spinnerbaits. I...
Mar 23, 2009 How in the hell does Brett Hite get the Dunki...
Mar 18, 2009 I love fluorocarbon but when I’m rippin I get...
Mar 16, 2009 I read on your Q and A a few months ago about...
Mar 12, 2009 Rumor has it that you are upgrading your basi...
Mar 09, 2009 I've been fishing the Delta for a couple of y...
Mar 07, 2009 I am getting into striper fishing and need so...
Mar 05, 2009 Hey Gary:

I'm not a fisherman ...

Mar 03, 2009 Hi Gary, I am going to purchase a boat in Ken...
Feb 03, 2009 Where can I find the bait that you called a “...
Jan 24, 2009 I’ve spent the last couple days enjoying the ...
Jan 19, 2009 I HAPPENED TO BE LISTENING TO KNBR SPORTS TAL...
Jan 13, 2009 Gary, I would like to get a few pointers on h...
Jan 09, 2009 I am in the process of moving up from my 16f...
Jan 05, 2009 How do you clean hard baits that get gummy an...
Dec 31, 2008 I am an amatuer fisherman. I did belong to a ...
Dec 17, 2008 I was fishing a team tournament with my fish...
Dec 15, 2008 I have watched Dean Rojas walk this frog bac...
Dec 11, 2008 I have two minor dings in my keel from my tra...
Dec 07, 2008 Hi Gary, I saw a show within this last month....
Dec 04, 2008 I want to know if you have tried the Daiwa Zi...
Dec 01, 2008 I had the opportunity to sit down with you at...
Nov 27, 2008 On a recent show, I would like to know what r...
Nov 25, 2008 First off, I'm glad to hear you're okay. I am...
Nov 18, 2008 I’m a beginning amateur bass fisherman, and t...
Nov 16, 2008 Gary, nearly every pro I have seen or read ab...
Nov 11, 2008 Hi Gary, I am a local angler up here at Clear...
Nov 10, 2008 Hello Gary, I have a tournament in 2 weeks. I...
Nov 07, 2008 I saw photos of your new swimbait rods and th...
Oct 03, 2008 Hi Gary, Thanks for the lift up the ramp a co...
Oct 28, 2008 Gary, I have a tournament in 2 weeks. I launc...
Oct 14, 2008 If you ever find time to do some seminars ple...
Oct 02, 2008 Gary, I've got a question about swapping hook...
Sep 29, 2008 I Just wanted to thank you again for taking t...
Sep 24, 2008 I enjoy attending your seminars and reading ...
Sep 19, 2008 What are some of your most effective tecnique...
Sep 17, 2008 Hello Gary.been wanting to e-mail you for som...
Sep 15, 2008 Do you think baits that focus on stimulating ...
Sep 10, 2008 I AM AN ARDENT FAN OF SPINNERBAITS AND USE TH...
Sep 04, 2008 I'm looking at buying a rod for ripping. I f...
Sep 02, 2008 I will be going to Clear Lake the first part ...
Aug 28, 2008 I was wondering what times of the year you us...
Aug 25, 2008 I remember last year you mentioned a partner ...
Aug 21, 2008 Where can I get the rainbow trout custom pain...
Aug 18, 2008 I have tendonitis from pitching on the weeken...
Aug 15, 2008 When setting up your motor on your jack plate...
Aug 10, 2008 We are thinking of a vacation in say mid to ...
Aug 06, 2008 In the delta there are a lot of conditions to...
Aug 04, 2008 I fished my first pro am at Clear Lake for th...
Jul 31, 2008 As a long time admirer I'd like to know when ...
Jul 26, 2008 This is not a question, but Gary if you actua...
Jul 08, 2008 My Bass Cat is listed for sale and I, (like y...
Jun 15, 2008 Gary, What's your favorite type of top w...
Jun 12, 2008 Hello Gary, I keep reading alot about swim b...
Jun 10, 2008 What types of boats are allowed to fish tourn...
May 13, 2008 Is it really true about a new Lucky Craft col...
May 06, 2008 I have a question on the 250HO E-TEC. I just...
Apr 28, 2008 I'm looking for a late model Ranger or Triton...
Apr 07, 2008 Just wanted to get your take on Buying used b...
Apr 01, 2008 I hear we have a real winner in Armando Luzur...
Mar 29, 2008 I have heard you speak about the new Zillion ...
Mar 24, 2008 I’ve tried everywhere to find Picasso Shaky H...
Mar 19, 2008 Does braided line affect bass on the Delta?...
Mar 15, 2008 When fishing Lake Oroville do you just go thr...
Mar 13, 2008 In the cold months, what baits drive the fish...
Mar 10, 2008 I told my partner that I felt confortable and...
Mar 07, 2008 How do I go about checking these Dobyns Rods ...
Mar 05, 2008 I have been bass fishing for around 25 years ...
Mar 03, 2008 What does the skirt represent on spinner bait...
Feb 28, 2008 I heard at the East/West Championship that in...
Feb 11, 2008 What the hell is wrong with Oroville? We hav...
Feb 05, 2008 What is your favorite jerk bait? What are yo...
Feb 01, 2008 Okay whats up with Shasta and spinnerbait fis...
Jan 29, 2008 Hi Gary, What does the skirt represent on spi...
Jan 25, 2008 Hey Gary, I know you've won a bunch of boats,...
Jan 22, 2008 Gary what rod would you recommend for drop sh...
Jan 16, 2008 If you are getting a lot of follows right up ...
Jan 08, 2008 When is the right time to throw braid in the ...
Jan 04, 2008 I fish Shasta and am wondering the best way t...
Jan 02, 2008 Heard you were back with Lucky Craft. What h...
Dec 17, 2007 I'm looking for the best livewell additive. ...
Dec 10, 2007 I am going to be at Oroville around the middl...
Dec 06, 2007 I am excited to hear your new line of rods wi...
Dec 06, 2007 I was wondering about fishing line. What woul...
Nov 30, 2007 Can you recommend a good swim bait for Orovil...
Nov 24, 2007 Are you going to retire from tournament fishi...
Nov 20, 2007 Gary, I have tackle everywhere my garage is f...
Nov 14, 2007 I just went through a nightmare with my insur...
Oct 25, 2007 I am a big fan of rip baits as you are, my qu...
Oct 22, 2007 Hi Gary, I have been bass fishing for about 5...
Oct 15, 2007 My partner and I fish Clear Lake team tourna...
Oct 11, 2007 Hi Gary, Could you fill me in on how to prope...
Oct 08, 2007 Gary, Heading to Berryessa this weekend and w...
Oct 02, 2007 I'm a thirty year old guy who just got into b...
Sep 15, 2007 Hey Gary. How's it going? Curtis, Ed (my be...
Sep 12, 2007 I bought a G Loomis IMX 843C rod about 3 mont...
Sep 09, 2007 I fished out of your boat at the last FLW tou...
Sep 04, 2007 I was at Folsom yesterday and saw a lot of sc...
Aug 30, 2007 What are the best split ring pliers to buy? ...
Aug 27, 2007 This is the first year that I'm going to the ...
Aug 20, 2007 I'm a So Cal boy that has only spent about ha...
Aug 17, 2007 I've been fishing club tournaments a few othe...
Aug 14, 2007 This week I'm going out to fish the delta for...
Aug 07, 2007 Okay Gary, this should be an easy one for you...
Jul 31, 2007 In your answer for question dated Aug 16, 200...
Jul 24, 2007 What do you target after the spawn is done at...
Jul 16, 2007 What advice can you give to anglers our west ...
Jul 13, 2007 Gary, I have been throwing flukes and am gett...
Jul 10, 2007 I am an avid small 16' boat fishermen that ha...
Jul 09, 2007 What would you consider the best method to fi...
Jun 20, 2007 I am an avid small 16' boat fishermen that ha...
Jun 14, 2007 I'm heading to Clear lake this Saturday -Tues...
Jun 12, 2007 Do you see yourself on the FLW or B.A.S.S. ci...
Jun 05, 2007 What's your opinion on the R2S baits alot of ...
May 29, 2007 I met you this past January at the ISE in Sac...
May 21, 2007 When you are fishing in places like Oroville,...
May 16, 2007 I fish Lewiston lake for smallmouth a lot, mo...
May 13, 2007 Dude, let me start off that you are the most ...
May 10, 2007 A couple of years back you were at the Angler...
May 08, 2007 If you could pick only one snag proof lure fo...
May 01, 2007 Gary, talk to us about how you modify your ri...
Apr 26, 2007 Thanks for being a good sport. I don't know y...
Jul 23, 2004 We all know how limited we are with space for...
Apr 20, 2007 I have purchased my first boat and I am curre...
Jul 17, 2007 When did you know that you were ready to star...
Apr 02, 2007 You helped a friend of mine find a good used ...
Mar 28, 2007 I have been told that when you are fishing an...
Mar 23, 2007 In regards to ripbaits what lb test and type ...
Mar 21, 2007 Gary, I've fished a few tournaments at la...
Mar 17, 2007 I am in the market for a used boat. I know a...
Mar 15, 2007 I have a subscription to just about every bas...
Mar 13, 2007 I'm trying to teach myself to skip soft plas...
Mar 09, 2007 With the Delta and Clear Lake tournaments com...
Mar 07, 2007 I know you are sponsored by Daiwa and, by def...
Feb 26, 2007 I hear all the pros use the phrase (a long ca...
Feb 23, 2007 Hi Gary, I am from Idaho and was at Western M...
Feb 20, 2007 Do you use Custom fishing rods or factory rod...
Feb 16, 2007 Red Hobo red feathered weedless spoon. I nee...
Feb 13, 2007 What Rod would you recommend for some of the ...
Feb 05, 2007 I have a 7'6" CRO Gary Dobyns signature flip...
Feb 01, 2007 Gary, whats your take on the hugh limits weig...
Jan 29, 2007 I was fishing Folsom lake and the wind was bl...
Jan 25, 2007 When fishing deep water, with worms or jigs o...
Jan 23, 2007 I bought a house in the Clearlake Oaks in Jun...
Jan 16, 2007 Have you try Helix Buzz or Hawg Shad? Accordi...
Jan 15, 2007 Gary every year about this time i loose track...
Jan 11, 2007 Gary, Do you sharpen your hooks from the poin...
Jan 09, 2007 How do you think the pro shops will be affect...
Jan 05, 2007 Last year at the Delta, I tried your sunglass...
Jan 02, 2007 I’ve read that after the water temp reaches 4...
Dec 26, 2006 I am wanting to start fishing the delta. I us...
Dec 20, 2006 Gary, how often and on what models do you fis...
Dec 15, 2006 What do you think is the best flippin' jig on...
Dec 11, 2006 I have been bass fishing for about 6 years, b...
Dec 05, 2006 With spring coming into full bloom in the del...
Nov 30, 2006 Gary, I am a college student who has scrounge...
Nov 27, 2006 I had the opportunity to fish with you at the...
Nov 22, 2006 : When arriving at a new lake or when prefish...
Nov 20, 2006 When looking at seasonal patterns for the Del...
Nov 14, 2006 On Lake Shasta, do you mainly throw the tradi...
Nov 10, 2006 I’ve been fishing team tournaments for the pa...
Nov 07, 2006 Can you recommend a good pitching stick that ...
Nov 03, 2006 I was wondering what type of information you ...
Oct 31, 2006 I have become a huge fan of the Revenge spinn...
Oct 27, 2006 I was at I-CAST and saw P-Line's new Evolutio...
Oct 25, 2006 Gary, I am assuming that you use braid for fr...
Oct 23, 2006 Hi Gary, What type and size line do you use w...
Oct 19, 2006 I do a lot of fishing on lake Berryessa. Over...
Oct 16, 2006 Hi Gary, My favorite western Oregon lake feat...
Oct 09, 2006 If you could choose one reel for under $200 t...
Oct 02, 2006 Hey Gary, I know you catch big bass like no ...
Sep 27, 2006 Let's say you’re fishing a 2 day pro-am and y...
Sep 25, 2006 O.K. Gary…I have a question about Lake Berrye...
Sep 20, 2006 Why don't you do some of the smaller team cir...
Sep 18, 2006 What kind of jerkbait retrieve do you use for...
Sep 14, 2006 Hey, I am a 13 year kid, and I was given a ba...
Sep 11, 2006 No question here, just wanted to make a comme...
Sep 06, 2006 How do you go about targeting bigger spotts o...
Sep 03, 2006 I am fairly new to tournament fishing, was ...
Aug 29, 2006 What is the shakey head worm? Is it simply a ...
Aug 16, 2006 Gary, I know you have answered many questions...
Aug 14, 2006 Did you ever write for a magazine called FINS...
Aug 10, 2006 MinnKota or MotorGuide? 24- or 36-volt? ...
Aug 07, 2006 Which circuit do you think was the best we ev...
Jul 19, 2006 You always talk about power fishing as your g...
Jul 17, 2006 I'm looking to have some custom rods built an...
Jul 14, 2006 Gary, I started using Power pro line this yea...
Jul 11, 2006 Gary, I fish mainly clear lake. My problem i...
Jul 07, 2006 Dear Gary, I've been trying to figure out t...
Jul 05, 2006 Gary, which G Loomis rods do you use to throw...
Jun 30, 2006 I tried the Strike king pro buzz half ounce a...
Jun 28, 2006 Recently a friend and I were out fishing. We ...
Jun 23, 2006 Gary, when it comes to pre-fishing what do yo...
Jun 20, 2006 I fished the Future Pro Tour TOC at Clear Lak...
Jun 17, 2006 What's up Gary?
I just wanted to know ...

Jun 14, 2006 Many people tell me when thiers a mud line to...
Jun 10, 2006 I am an avid fishierman who likes to take his...
Jun 07, 2006 Hi Gary , I just read your answer on Western ...
Jun 05, 2006 Gary - Do you buy into using feathered treble...
Jun 01, 2006 Gary, With the vast amount of tackle availabl...
May 30, 2006 Gary, could you please go a little into detai...
May 25, 2006 Gary, When your pre-fishing the week of your ...
May 22, 2005 I know you wear Costas.  Are they really wort...
May 18, 2006 I just got back home from the BASS Western Op...
May 16, 2006 As a regular in Hi's Tackle Box, I have heard...
May 05, 2006 I know you are no longer with G Loomis but I ...
May 02, 2005 Gary, From my experience I guestimate that is...
Apr 27, 2006 My dad and I fish folsom alot. I like to thr...
Apr 25, 2006 What would you consider the best way to appro...
Apr 20, 2006 I talked with you at Clear Lake and again at ...
Apr 17, 2006 On your sponsor page, you seem to have a few ...
Apr 13, 2006 My fishing partner drew you at the Stren tour...
Apr 10, 2006 I was talking to a friend the other day, and...
Apr 05, 2006 Gary I'm planning a trip to oroville in a cou...
Apr 03, 2006 I know you're a great bass fisherman but coul...
Mar 30, 2006 Since most of us younger anglers can not affo...
Mar 27, 2006 Gary, this is a question I believe you have h...
Mar 22, 2006 Hi Gary, I just moved to Oroville and am kind...
Mar 20, 2006 How do you catch bigger bass on lake oroville...
Mar 15, 2006 Over the past month I have been fishing folso...
Feb 27, 2006 Gary, how does wind effect your fishing? Are ...
Feb 24, 2006 I’ve read a lot about you’re rip fishing tech...
Feb 20, 2006 Hi my name is Gary Sawyer i met you at the Lo...
Feb 16, 2006 When you, Bobby Barrack and others fish frogs...
Feb 13, 2006 My question is when you fish your revenge spi...
Feb 09, 2006 Gary, When you have blacks bustin tiny shad a...
Feb 08, 2006 I was looking for a specific color of Robo Wo...
Feb 03, 2006 When do use a colorado/willow over a double w...
Feb 02, 2006 I heard you at the San Francisco Cow Palace s...
Jan 30, 2006 What do you do with your braided line once th...
Jan 25, 2006 I know you run an Evinrude but I have a quest...
Jan 23, 2006 Last year I spent a week on Clear lake in lat...
Jan 17, 2006 Hey Gary, why don't you fish don pedro at the...
Jan 13, 2006 Hey Gary, thanks for speaking at the recent P...
Jan 09, 2006 Gary, I was wondering if it is true that most...
Jan 05, 2006 I would like to start fishing in some Pro / A...
Jan 03, 2006 What do you do if you go to a lake that you h...
Dec 30, 2005 Gary, Hi, first of all I want to say thanks f...
Dec 27, 2005 Hey Gary, If you had to fish Clearlake in the...
Dec 21, 2005 I'm going to be fishing the Open for the seco...
Dec 16, 2005 Hello Gary, I wanted to ask your opinion on c...
Dec 14, 2005 How do you think WON Bass will draw this year...
Dec 11, 2005 I have been fishing since I can remember (25y...
Dec 09, 2005 Does leaving your hooks open (not bending the...
Dec 08, 2005 Hey Gary when your fishing for fun do you eve...
Dec 05, 2005 Gary, I fish Clear Lake several times a yea...
Dec 02, 2005 I've tried everything, lightening my drag, ya...
Dec 01, 2005 What is your theory on hooking bass during th...
Nov 28, 2005 Gary, I find myself lately fishing only baits...
Nov 22, 2005 I fish clear lake all of the time. When sigh...
Nov 20, 2005 What pound test do you use on your jerkbaits/...
Nov 18, 2005 Gary, when I catch bass the same weight some ...
Nov 16, 2005 Gary, I was just wondering if you have tried ...
Nov 15, 2005 Maybe you can settle a debate for me. I fish ...
Nov 14, 2005 I'm having some technical difficulties with b...
Nov 10, 2005 I fish a lake that was a real good smallmouth...
Nov 08, 2005 Can you tell me why I can't do any good on a ...
Nov 07, 2005 The words "success" and "lucky" do not come i...
Nov 04, 2005 Gary, what is the best way to approach a pote...
Nov 03, 2005 How much do think noise effects the bass? I'v...
Nov 02, 2005 I'm going to be staying at Konocti June 19-24...
Nov 01, 2005 I was just wondering what types of reaction b...
Oct 31, 2005 Gary I know that rip baits are your specialty...
Oct 27, 2005 Gary, I've noticed that it seems like the rod...
Oct 26, 2005 Gary, how would you fish Lake Oroville in Jun...
Oct 25, 2005 How did you prepare to fish WON Bass Diamond ...
Oct 24, 2005 You must take good care of your feet consider...
Oct 20, 2005 I'm going to be able to fish Lake Shasta for ...
Oct 19, 2005 Hey Gary, how are you... I would like to know...
Oct 18, 2005 Gary, I fish SF bay area lakes a lot and I've...
Oct 17, 2005 What are some good patterns, techniques, and ...
Oct 14, 2005 When do you start throwing topwater lures? Al...
Oct 12, 2005 When rippin a Staycee, I have a hard time kee...
Oct 11, 2005 I have been fishing for bass now for a while,...
Oct 06, 2005 Gary, I Have fished a few tournaments at my l...
Oct 04, 2005 I had the privilege of seeing your presentati...
Oct 03, 2005 When you talked to DFG rep did they ever show...
Sep 27, 2005 Could you please tell us what style and size ...
Sep 26, 2005 Gary, when I last posted a message on this si...
Sep 23, 2005 Do you every fish soft jerk baits?  Can you s...
Sep 21, 2005 Gary, I was wondering if you knew what techni...
Sep 19, 2005 I hear that you have left G. Loomis for a rod...
Sep 16, 2005 Do you have a work out routine for both your ...
Sep 14, 2005 How come I did not see you at the Snag Proof ...
Sep 12, 2005 At a recent Clear Lake tournament we prefishe...
Sep 08, 2005 Fished on AAA side of the 2004 US Open, and j...
Sep 06, 2005 Gary, once a person has established a pattern...
Aug 31, 2005 I have a question about my local lake Pine Fl...
Aug 30, 2005 If you were fishing the a lake or river such ...
Aug 25, 2005 At Clear Lake, you dont find many thick tulie...
Aug 23, 2005 Dear Mr. Dobyns, it's pretty obvious you are ...
Aug 22, 2005 Normally every year the bass in the local pon...
Aug 16, 2005 I am a beginner at Bass fishing and I do not ...
Aug 12, 2005 I really like Ripping Pointer minnows (78 & 1...
Aug 09, 2005 Here is Australia, our bass comps feature a t...
Aug 08, 2005 I hear people talking all the time about drag...
Aug 01, 2005 I've seen you on the water, at touraments and...
Jul 29, 2005 If you went to a lake that you had never fish...
Jul 28, 2005 What are your favorite techniques for fishing...
Jul 26, 2005 How would you approach a clear lake type shal...
Jul 24, 2005 I hear people talking all the time about drag...
Jul 21, 2005 I was out at a South Bay Reservoir and was ca...
Jul 18, 2005 Gary, in recent weeks I have heard alot of pe...
Jul 14, 2005 Gary: When you use braided lines like spider...
Jul 08, 2005 What is it that you expect from your amateur ...
Jul 03, 2005 I will make this as short as I can but it may...
Jun 30, 2005 Just wanted to let you know that I always enj...
Jun 27, 2005 I love to catch fish jerking. My question is ...
Jun 25, 2005 Gary, Do you use braid when you're throwing ...
Jun 22, 2005 Something that has happend many times on the ...
Jun 21, 2005 Whats your go to crankbait and crankbait col...
Jun 20, 2005 When fishing the pre-spawn on a big body of w...
Jun 20, 2005 What types of boats are allowed to fish tourn...
Jun 17, 2005 What types of boats are allowed to fish tourn...
Jun 16, 2005 Gary , I recently started to fish some local ...
Jun 15, 2006 Weather was getting really bad, I was using a...
Jun 10, 2005 Gary, I live in Atascadero.  I fish Lake Naci...
Jun 09, 2005 Gary: You probably won't answer my question b...
Jun 07, 2005 What Loomis rod do you use for jerkbaits/ripb...
May 23, 2005 When prefishing do you use a smaller size rip...
May 19, 2005 Lately, whenever I catch bass, they all seem ...
May 16, 2005 I was wondering what you thoughts are on all ...
May 13, 2005 Gary, I know you don't like to use mono leade...
May 11, 2005 Gary, honestly how often do you get backlashe...
May 10, 2005 I just can't wait till it's time to throw fro...
May 09, 2005 How many Northern California tournament angle...
May 05, 2005 I live in Central California and in the Sprin...
May 04, 2005 How do you catch Delta bass in the heart of t...
May 03, 2005 Having been a Delta fisherman most of my life...
May 03, 2005 I currently have a CBR843 that I use for smal...
May 02, 2005 Gary I have a three part question.  I like to...
Apr 30, 2005 Gary, Sometimes we have conditions that are c...
Apr 29, 2005 Gary, Congrats on your Victory at Oroville, F...
Apr 28, 2005 First time fishing at Oroville, first time ev...
Apr 27, 2005 Hey Gary, What do you look for in electronics...
Apr 26, 2005 Like you, I'm an avid user of Lucky Craft rip...
Apr 25, 2005 Hey I just wanted to find out your opinion on...
Apr 25, 2005 What lures and techniques do you suggest for ...
Apr 21, 2005 Have you ever fished Lake Almanor? If so, wha...
Apr 20, 2005 I recently seen on the evening news that the ...
Apr 19, 2005 On several occasions you have voiced to me th...
Apr 18, 2005 This weekend we had a tounament at Oroville. ...
Apr 15, 2005 Gary, Do you use a CBR847 and if you do what ...
Apr 13, 2005 My question for you is most of the tournament...
Apr 12, 2005 Do you think that boat bottom/side colors hav...
Apr 11, 2005 My local club has read in the 2005 DFG Regs t...
Apr 11, 2005 What would be the difference in your approach...
Apr 11, 2005 What type of cadence do you use when rippin t...
Apr 06, 2005 Do you think rippin is a way to cover a lot o...
Apr 06, 2005 When you use braided line , do you tie direct...
Apr 05, 2005 Gary my question to you is about how to start...
Apr 05, 2005 Gary with these western waters warming up wha...
Apr 05, 2005 Gary, What are your top 3 or 5 things that yo...
Mar 30, 2005 Would you rather use a two piece flipping sti...
Mar 30, 2005 I am very new to the teniques of "Flipping an...
Mar 30, 2005 I've been a fan of yours for some time now an...
Mar 29, 2005 If you had one reaction bait to use in cold d...
Mar 29, 2005 My question is on the rod movement part of th...
Mar 29, 2005 Gary, I know everyone has a mentor or someone...
Mar 28, 2005 I know everyone has a mentor or someone they ...
Mar 26, 2005 I know you are a good fisherman of these spot...
Mar 24, 2005 On lake Berryessa where the fish are on deep-...
Mar 12, 2005 What leadeer do you use or would you use on p...
Mar 09, 2005 What are your thought on the Bassmaster Unive...
Mar 07, 2005 At Lake Shasta and Oroville the Spotted Bass ...
Mar 07, 2005 Can you explain boat positioning through the ...
Mar 04, 2005 I have been bass fishing for about 9 years....
Mar 03, 2005 What patterns would you look for, on a deep r...
Mar 02, 2005 How do you like to fish a spider grub on Shas...
Feb 17, 2005 I plan on fishing Clear lake in a couple of w...
Feb 15, 2005 What approach would you have in a rising, col...
Feb 15, 2005 I have recently joined Angler's Choice. This ...
Feb 15, 2005 Is there any way to eliminate water and give ...
Feb 15, 2005 Gary, I see that you are now using Daiwa cast...
Feb 15, 2005 Gary, What color are freshwater crawfish duri...
Feb 11, 2005 Why do you think that Revenge has the best sp...
Feb 11, 2005 I see that you are now using Daiwa casting re...
Feb 09, 2005 What color are freshwater crawfish during dif...
Feb 09, 2005 DOES SONAR AFFECT THE BASS ? IF SO DOES IT A...
Feb 07, 2005 Hey Gary, My brother and I invested in a ne...
Feb 07, 2005 Hey Gary, I like to fish Shasta in the wint...
Feb 05, 2005 Do you use braided line with a mono leader wh...
Feb 05, 2005 Can you please tell me the different colors C...
Feb 04, 2005 Gary, I  have  tournaments at oroville with a...
Feb 04, 2005 Would you recommend using a braid like Power ...
Feb 04, 2005 I was thinking of using braided line combined...
Feb 01, 2005 When fishing jigs and spoons what colors and ...
Feb 01, 2005 How does physical health effect tournament fi...
Jan 28, 2005 I once read an article where you said to file...
Jan 28, 2005 Why didn't you go back east and fish the big ...
Jan 24, 2005 How do you handle distractions on the water? ...
Jan 22, 2004 It is no secret that your Ams in shared weigh...
Jan 22, 2005 I am fishing Oroville the week of January 15t...
Jan 21, 2005 What is the difference between the staysee 90...
Jan 21, 2005 What part of the delta do you stay away from ...
Jan 19, 2005 Hey what is wrong with Don Pedro! Where woul...
Jan 19, 2005 Have you ever used Live Cats as bait in the d...
Jan 19, 2005 I fish the south end of the delta, Tracy area...
Jan 17, 2005 What kind of approach do you take when the wi...
Jan 17, 2005 My question, on average, how much time do you...
Jan 12, 2005 When you’re rippin’ Stacee 90’s and pointer 7...
Jan 12, 2005 We are all in awe of your ability to get reac...
Jan 12, 2004 What boat and sport shows can we look forward...
Jan 10, 2005 In water 100 feet deep  fish are marked at 35...
Jan 07, 2005 It is no secret that your Ams in shared weigh...
Jan 04, 2005 For someone that is just starting out with ba...
Jan 04, 2005 Where should i look for stripers this Novembe...
Jan 01, 2005 You could be sponsored by any company you wan...
Dec 28, 2004 I recently fished a team tournament fishoff a...
Dec 25, 2004 Gary, I would love to here about your three d...
Dec 22, 2004 I met you at the FTP in at Oroville a few mon...
Dec 21, 2004 I fish "spotted bass lakes" and the tournemen...
Dec 15, 2004 I have fished a "turkey shoot" tournament at ...
Dec 13, 2004 Gary, after prefishing a lake this weekend fo...
Dec 10, 2004 Yesterday, I fished the main lake at Castaic....
Dec 08, 2004 You've spoken alot about fishing the Staysee ...
Dec 06, 2004 Gary, it seems you are able to, on a consista...
Dec 06, 2004 Are you using any of the new G•Loomis one-pie...
Apr 04, 2004 How many plates can you eat at one sitting? A...
Apr 04, 2004 In your opinion, whats the best riding Ranger...
Dec 01, 2004 Hey Gary, just wondering if you could elabora...
Dec 01, 2004 Do you throw a rip-bait on the Delta ? If yes...
Nov 27, 2004 Hello and happy fishing! Gary, my question to...
Nov 27, 2004 Gary, I saw you mention somewhere about filin...
Nov 27, 2004 I am pretty new at bass fishing and my first ...
Nov 24, 2004 There are delta rats and the shasta locals th...
Nov 24, 2004 Recently a lake in Arizona rose 37 feet in tw...
Nov 24, 2004 Hey Gary what depth are the fish right now at...
Nov 19, 2004 Gary what type of baits and colors would be u...
Nov 16, 2004 Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of...
Nov 16, 2004 At what time of the day are the shallow fish ...
Nov 16, 2004 Do you have any secret tips for staying dry/w...
Nov 12, 2004 My question is when selecting jerk baits what...
Nov 12, 2004 Have you tried the new loomis senko rods and ...
Nov 10, 2004 What type of depth/structure would you be loo...
Nov 10, 2004 What's your favorite carolina rig setup?...
Nov 10, 2004 The great hook debate: What's you favorite ho...
Nov 08, 2004 How do you layout a pre fish plan? Consider i...
Nov 08, 2004 When are creeks inlets dumping in water a goo...
Nov 08, 2004 As the storms begin to muddy up the water, do...
Nov 02, 2004 What do you think of WON Bass going to a thre...
Nov 01, 2004 When fishing a texas rigged bait, when would ...
Nov 01, 2004 With all the different types of line out ther...
Oct 28, 2004 How does it feel, to watch and see your son j...
Oct 28, 2004 Over the years, we have watched you tear up t...
Oct 27, 2004 I regards to the previous question, if forced...
Oct 25, 2004 We have seen over the years that you have had...
Oct 24, 2004 Every fall, we begin to hear the constant rum...


Nov 4, 2009

Ask Gary Dobyns will be on hiatus for a few weeks. Once it's ready to roll again Gary will be featured in a new audio format with a text archive.

In the mean time Gary would like you to forward all your fishing and boating questions to him. Submit your questions to askgary@westernbass.com.


Oct 14, 2009

Gary, do you think the Phantom Chart Shad color will be expanded to any other baits in the future? I would like to see it in the 1.5 series.

Thanks for the question, Rick. I honestly don't know. The color was a great hit this year. It is an awesome clear water subtle color. I will not forget Brian Ruthman giving us a whipping this year at Oroville in pretty stained water. It totally caught me by surprise, I never tied it on the whole event. Dang fish missed the playbook on that one. I fished a few days later and was SURPRISED how well they ate my "clear water" bait. Of course, my good buddy Brian never breathed a word about it until the event was over :( What rod company sponsors him? :)

I will check with LuckyCraft and see it they are adding the color to any other baits. I would not be surprised. It did well this year. By the way, it is my personal favorite. Thanks.


Oct 9, 2009

I was recently listening to a podcast where they were speaking with Bub Tosh about punch skirts. After looking into this I was wondering why he uses 2 weight stops on the line instead of pegging the weight?

Great question. I'm not sure if Bub was using one stopper weight above to "peg" and one below to keep the weight off his bait a little bit or two above the weight for better pegging. BOTH of these are used. With a stopper between your weight and your hook, it will help keep the weight off your bait, so it stays in place easier and protects your knot as well. I find bobber stoppers to be much easier to peg with. I use them all the time. I even use them on some smaller Carolina rigging. Fast and easy. Good luck fishing.


Sep 29, 2009

I was recently listening to a podcast where bass western was speaking with bub tosh about punch skirts. After looking into this i was wondering why he uses 2 weight stops on the line instead of pegging the weight?

Great question. I'm not sure if Bub was using one stopper weight above to "peg" and one below to keep the weight off his bait a little bit or two above the weight for better pegging. BOTH of these are used. With a stopper between your weight and your hook, it will help keep the weight off your bait, so it stays in place easier and protects your knot as well. I find bobber stoppers to be much easier to peg with. I use them all the time. I even use them on some smaller Carolina rigging. Fast and easy. Good luck fishing.


Sep 25, 2009

Got a catch 22 if you ask me. Lake Berryessa's water is falling. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this usually means the bass figure it out and head for deeper water. At the same time Berryessa is also cooling off with Fall rapidly approaching. Which also means more oxygen, steady metabolism, and a move to the shallows. Which condition trumps here??? Do we count on falling water pushing the bass a bit deeper or our awesome weather bringing them up a bit shallow??? Or do we go for a bit of both??? Got a tourny there Sept 19th and thought this would be a good question for you. What pattern would you go for? Thanks and congrats on the big win!

SORRY!! As I answer this it's the 18th. There will be some shallow fish, there always are, but I hope you looked deeper and also looked for some SUSPENDED fish. I catch a lot of fish suspended and out of the bank in open water. Kind of a crap shoot if you don't have a point to follow out or a hump in the area. This is a great time of year to have a Sammy, spook, LUNKER PUNKER or whatever your favorite bait is, laying handy on the deck ready for launching. I couldn't count all the fish I've caught this time of year in these conditions. You'll see them push the bait to the surface or they'll be chasing trout. I hope you finished well as my answer was a little late. Thanks for the question.


Sep 19, 2009

Hello and Congratulations on your recent win! I frequently plumb the westernbass site for information, but I was wondering if you could elaborate on your thoughts about fishing with a darter head, particularly with relation to your rod design, line choice, and preferences on when and where to use. Additionally, I'm the happy owner of the Gen 1 807 mag swimbait rod, and estatic owner of the new 704 cb glass...well done Sir!

THANK YOU very much. It was awesome to win again (finally) and especially the US Open on Mead. I thought I was "snake bit" there :)

My answer could be very long. I'll try and hit the high spots.

Darthead fishing is a western technique only. You mention it back east and they have no clue as to what you're talking about. Here it's a standard and a personal favorite of mine. I throw 1/8, 3/16 and 1/4 oz. depending on how deep and how much wind. You really can't fish them wrong. I fish for suspended fish with them, or in a tournament at Shasta two years ago, I was fishing 1/4 oz. 6" Robo in 70 feet. You can swim them, or fish them on the bottom, depending on what the fish are doing. The most common way to fish them is shaking and dragging them on the bottom. The best baits are Robo worms. I like 6 inch but many guys use 4 1/2" or even 7". I fish the single tail Yamamoto Super grub and it's deadly on this rig. It's a great swimming bait for suspended fish.

When do I personally throw a dart head? That's easy. When I really need to catch them or I'm just fun fishing. They get bit!! If I'm out for a day of fun on Oroville, I hardly fish any thing else. I need a fish in a tournament, I'll grab one in a second. It's a confidence thing with me. I fish them a lot.

This year, Richard (my kid who was a master with a darthead at 5 years old), got in trouble the second day of a West Coast Bass Pro-Am and at noon with one fish and two dinks in the boat went to the darthead to try to salvage a check. He had not fished anything but a Staycee 90 for a month. He caught 2nd day big fish and also won!!

Dartheads catch them, all the time. Some days they are small, some days BIG!!

As far as rods and line, many guys fish 6lb. I fish 8lb P-line FloroClear. It is a limp line that works great on spinning tackle. I always use 8lb but that is a personal choice. When it comes to rods, I like a fast action 2 power which is a medium/light in spinning but I call it a medium in casting. I make both and prefer the casting myself. Most people (my guess is 90% plus) use spinning. Some guys want a softer tip and will go with a one power but then there are the odd balls like Strader :) who love a 3 power. It's personal preference.

I make four Finesse Rods in my Extreme line, two spinning and two casting, just for dartheads and dropshotting. They are AWESOME. Please check them out. You will not be disappointed. I'm VERY picky about all my rods but with light line rods, it's critical. My personal favorite is a DX 702C Finesse. Sorry to be so long. Darthead fishing is my bail out or fun fishing technique and I've helped lots of guys catch fish with them. Good luck on your next trip. Thanks.


Sep 2, 2009

Clear Lake will be at record lows this fall. What will this do to fishing? I'm thinking of fishing a couple of big events. Will the locals dominate as usual? What will be the best bite?

Clear Lake is low already. I don't know about records for low water. The last couple of years it has been pretty low. I was told it will be down another 2 feet from last year. I do not know this to be true. Any of the bait shops should know.

I don't see this as much of a difference from the last couple of years. The north end will be tough as it will be shallow. The south end will get a lot of pressure especially on the structure. The lake will just fish smaller.

The locals always have a little advantage but it can hurt them as well. I would not worry about this. Catch your 5 best then go to the scales and see how you did.

The best bite will be jigs, crankbaits, and possibly some swimbaits. Topwater could play a roll and, of course, there will be lots of dropshot fish caught.

Beware, with low water, it gives Randy McAbee more spots to fish. Can you say "crankbait"? Of course, nobody does it better than Randy. I'd bet on him. He'll be tough. Must be the rod he uses :) :)


Aug 28, 2009

It looks like they are trying to drain Oroville. Do you think there will be fall tournaments there this year? How will the low water effect fishing?

There is some good news here. There was a water contract cancelled a couple of weeks back. Basically, it was for 1/4 of the remaining water in the lake. This was going to be a bad deal for the marinas and launching boats. I just happened to be at the lake the day after the contract was cancelled and the marina manager I know told me of this. Everyone was pretty happy. So I think we will be fine for all the fall events. The Lime Saddle ramp is now expected to last until Sept. 30th. That is at 705 feet elevation. Last year we lost this ramp in early July. With the extension of Bidwell ramp last year, there should be no problems. I don't think we will even get to the new ramp.

As far as fishing, I'd guess it will be good. Less water is less places for them to hide :) Really, fall fishing is usually pretty good on Oroville. Good luck with those spotted bass.


Aug 24, 2009

My bass club would like to travel to Clear Lake this fall for a club 2 day Open event. We will have between 18 and 24 guys fishing. Where would you recommend we stay? We have heard some areas are prone to trouble.

This one is easy. The Lake Place at the south end of the lake. Their number is 707-998-3331. There are new owners there and they have updated everything. I was there about 2 months ago and they were finishing up then. Quiet dead end road, clean, great docks, you can launch right there, and you have very nice hosts. You have Limit Out Bait & Tackle with Bob and Dorothy, or Clear Lake B&T with Jimmy and Jan at the south end. I'd highly recommend stopping at those shops They are great people that will be glad help make your trip enjoyable.

The water is low but the fish will be biting. Good Luck!!


Jul 21, 2009

What does the color phantom chartreuse shad mimic? There is a $100 bet on this. I say pond smelt because you fish Oroville a lot, my buddy says it's for shad minnows. Who wins?

Well, I think it's a draw. The color Phantom Chartreuse Shad was made because I wanted a subtle colored bait for clear days. LuckyCraft let me make this color for them. Corey Fenske actually made it after I described to him what I wanted. Without him, it wouldn't have happened. Ghost Minnow, my forever favorite, has darkened in color over the years. It's still one of my favorites and I fish it a lot but I wanted a "clearer" colored bait. I believe the bait when fished as a jerk bait, looks like a crippled bait fish period. It could be a Pond Smelt, Threadfin Shad, Silver side (Clear Lake) or any number of other baitfish. So, I'd say you're both right and wrong :) Since you both lost, send me the $200 :) :) Good luck fishing.


Jul 13, 2009

I'm looking for a casting rod that I can dropshot 5 lb. test Maxima on. I see you make a 701C finesse rod. I think this will be my choice but would feel better if you said it was the right rod. My local shops do not have it in stock, so I'll be purchasing it on-line, without feeling it first. Right choice?

I made the DX 701C Finesse just for guys like you. It is plenty soft enough to use 5lb. test. I love to use light line (not that light) on casting rods. Fluorocarbon line is stiff and works much better on casting gear. I believe this rod is exactly what you're looking for. I throw the DX 702C myself, but I wouldn't think of using 5lb. test. I also make both the 701 and 702 Finesse in spinning as well, for the diehards. Please shoot me a message after you fish this rod. I have photos today of a 17-pound catfish dropshotted on this rod. That must have been a fight. Thanks.


Jul 6, 2009

Genmar filing bankruptcy has to hurt Ranger deeply. You probably know some inside info. Care to share a little? You probably won't answer this, but I am in the market for a new boat and am very nervous.

Genmar did file, that's a fact. The funny thing was the next day they actually sold more boats than the days prior. No joke. I got called out on a comment I made about sales that day by Mike Van Wagner. Ranger is doing fine. They are honoring all warranties, contingency programs, sponsorships, and so on. It seems to be business as usual. I have been involved in several Ranger sales the last few days. I'd guess some changes will happen within Genmar, but I'd bet all my money Ranger Boats cruises right through this BK issue. I'm hearing "rumors" of something new from Ranger. If I can get my rep in a head lock, I'll get the good info:) :) I will be glad to assist with your new boat. Thanks.


Jun 29, 2009

How do you and other anglers feel about Mark Mendez winning all the money at Clear Lake? I know some guys are talking a lot.

This is how I feel and MOST of the anglers feel. As long as Mark ( or anyone else, including Kevin Van Dam or Skeet Reese) pay an entry fee, I don't care. The more the merrier. Mark paid an entry and has every right to fish. Hell, I want him to fish. I figure I'll get his money most of the time :) :). Mark did not get "all" the money at Clear Lake, I finished 7th and got $2250. Strader got 8th and got $2200, I believe. I kicked his butt good again. I clubbed him by .03. The paybacks were great. Fishermen will always talk and stir BS. If they worked as hard at their fishing, Mark might not have won. I talk with a ton of fishermen daily and this is NOT a subject. Looking forward to taking Mark's money next year :) Hell, I'll even do side bets with him.........How about it Mark????


Jun 25, 2009

How much more gas does a 250 H.O. burn over a 225 H.O. ?

That is a tough question. It depends on how hard you run them to a degree. They both burn fuel. I do notice that the 250 burns more. I expected it to. I like the 250 HO because at a little over 4000 RPM I'm doing 60 MPH. I cruise in this range a lot. I'm watching the water and lay of the land a lot when driving. On take off's or when I need "speed", I run it and it hits in the mid 70's easily. That is FAST on the water. Big engines burn fuel; all of them. I'm sorry I don't know exact fuel usage off the top of my head. Good luck fishing.


Jun 22, 2009

FLW has threatened to leave the West because of poor numbers. They fired Chris Jones, that's a start because Chris loved the western guys. Will this help Angler's Choice and West Coast Bass? I heard WonBass is not doing pro-am's this year. Is this true?

Dang dude, you have good sources. I'd like to share info with "your" guys. I don't know that FLW has threatened to leave. I've heard the same thing, but put little faith in it. As long as the National Guard is behind them, I'd think they're here to stay. Just my guess though. Chris Jones loved all fishermen, east or west. I do think he was a huge part of FLW's success. I consider him a friend and know that he misses all of us. I hope to see him on a weigh-in stage again, soon. He is the BEST in the business at what he does.

If FLW did leave the west, it would be a HUGE benefit to our local pro-am circuits. Guys are going to fish tournaments period.

I have heard WonBass is not running pro-ams as well. I DO NOT know this to be true. I'd be disappointed if it were true. Hutch monitors this website. Ask him. I think he would respond. It is after hours as I answer this or I would call him and ask myself.

I hear so many "rumors" that I have gotten to where I don't put much faith in them. If I really want to know I call and ask. I know that's what you did here, but I've been busy with rods and boats sales. It looks like I need to get my rumor info up to date :) :) That was meant as a joke. Thanks for the question.


May 26, 2009

When are you going to have your Xtreme rods in the stores? That finesse series is unbelievable. Can't wait to get a couple. No one is making anything close to those rods. Congratulations!! Is the DX 702C enough rod for dropshotting the Delta or should I just use it on the lakes? THX in advance.

As I write this they are shipping. You should find them right now in my retailers. Yes, Gene will be one of the shops that has them right away. The Finesse rods are special. I've cut down some 9 footers and bought spinning blanks to use on my custom casting finesse rods for years. I have never worked with a manufacturer that could get them right. With these new rods, I got to change (fix) the actions, lighten the tip but increase upper mid-section power. The DX 702C will work for a Delta dropshot rod but I would use a DX 703C or a DX 743C myself. Thanks.


May 20, 2009

Hey Gary, I don't know if you've ever answered this before, but is there ever a time when you don't want a rattle on a jig? Should I put rattles on jigs that do not come with them? I fish mostly Motherlode lakes.

Great question. It got me to thinking on this. I'm sure that others might have different ideas here. I only use a rattle on a jig in dirty water. I feel that it's a huge advantage in muddy water. I never use at other times. Why? I've never thought I needed them. Now thinking on this, I don't know why not. I don't see how they can hurt anything. It's just a habit that I have gotten into. I would say use one if you have confidence in them and use them in dirty water. I think now I'll start playing with rattles in clear water and see what happens. This happens to all fishermen. We get used to doing things a certain way and it hurts us. Thanks for getting me thinking with an open mind here. Good luck with your jig fishing.


May 11, 2009

Hi Gary, late last winter it was announced that Dobyns Rods would be introducing two rods designated as "Conservation" rods, the 703C casting and the 703SXF spinning. In June I asked about these rods in the Western Bass forum, and was told they would be out sometime after ICAST. Are the Conservation series rods available in stores yet? And what are your feelings on the 703C as a spinnerbait rod?

The conservation series is still a go. We have to work out a few things but we are still going forward with this. I think it's a good cause. Honestly, there is a lot more to this than you would think. The 703C would not be my first choice but it is the first pick for many guys. I like more length in a blade rod. The 3 power rating is perfect for blades and the Med-Hvy rating makes it a very versatile rod for many uses. The reason I picked the 703C and 703SF for conservation rods was because they were #1 sellers in casting and spinning. Thanks for the question.


May 4, 2009

Just wanted to thank you for the rip bait article q&a on the delta. I have been throwing them in the late fall for years especially in Disco (guess it was gonna get out sometime). Just an all around great article.

No problem, Justin. Thanks for the kind words. I always try and talk and push "rippin". It's a great technique for me and has been the most popular with questions forever. People thinks it's difficult when I think it's the most simple. Have you tried LuckyCraft's new Phantom Chartreuse Shad? That color is unreal. No kidding. Don't look at the fat guy’s photo on the package. :)


Apr 27, 2009

Hi Gary, What's the pro and cons of oval split rings vs. round? Will they work good on suspending jerk baits? Because of the erratic jerking action, will the oval shape cause it to get wedged?

Good question. I like the oval split rings. I don't know of a negative with them. They work great. I love the fact I can tie onto them and not have to worry about my line getting into the split of the ring. My eyes are not what they used to be so I'm a huge fan of them. LuckyCraft uses them on everything. They are a little more difficult putting onto the bait but worth it. The only place that I know for sure that has them is Bass Pro Shops.


Apr 24, 2009

Moving to Texas. Will be fishing Choke, Amistad and Falcon. I currently have two Dobyns rods a 703C and 704CB. I'm looking for a flipping and a carolina rod. I like the Dobyn Rods better than the Loomis Rods that I have. Can you or anyone help me decided which Dobyns Rod to choose?

First off, thanks for the business. I am a little jealous of you moving among those fisheries. The first thing you will notice is all the brush and cover and the amount of fish.

I like longer rods so I'd say a 766 Flip. It has a lot of power but is light and balanced. I'm selling a lot of 765 Flips in Texas as well, but my choice would be a 766. Carolina rigging is SUPER popular there. The 764C is the most common rod model for this. Don't be afraid to throw that 766 or a 765 for Carolina rigs. I fished Amistad last year and used the 766 for jig fishing. It has a nice tip and is light weight wise for a flippin stick. I could feel everything and I had enough power to get the fish out of the cover. Send some photos of Texas hawgs.


Apr 20, 2009

I've got a 'ripbait' question too, but mine is a little bit different...can you talk about using the Rapala Magnum 18. Do you make any modifications to the Mag 18, like you do with Lucky Craft Staycee; which Dobyns rod would you use for a 1 1/2oz. jerkbait; could you use a heavy fluorocarbon line with these lures; and lastly, because this is a wood plug does it have limitations in colder water...

Gary, I'm completely aware you're on the pro staff at Luck Craft, so if don't want to spend time writing about a rival manufacturers' product, on an open forum, I do understand...

No problem. LuckyCraft knows I throw other baits and talk about them. The Mag 18 used to be a huge favorite of mine. I still throw it some. I like the action and those big hooks. My only complaint is the bills break off pretty easily. You can use a Hvy jerk bait rod in a 5 or 6 power. Many times I will throw a 733C or 734C Champion just because of the size of this bait. I just modify my jerk cadence to make up for the faster action rod. I like a mod-fast action the best but no one makes a great big jerk bait rod, me included. There just isn't enough call for a rod like this. I just don't pop and load the rod as much and this works fine. I've never know the water temp to change the bait much and will fish wooden baits anytime. I don't fish fluorocarbon line on the bait. It is a shallow running bait that I'm not trying to get deep with. I usually use 15lb. CXX P-Line for this bait. The 15lb. does not effect depth or action on this bait and I'm fishing for bigger fish (hopefully). Thanks for the question.


Apr 17, 2009

I'm thinking on buying a 250 HO. I was told this engine has a new lower unit. Does it still moss up in the Delta? What prop do you recommend? I only fish the Delta.

The Evinrudes did "moss up" and plug the lower intakes until two years ago. They still ran good in the moss, you just could not idle through it. The 250 HO has only used this new lower unit. The bolt patterns are the same in case you have a lower unit failure down the road. The new lower end is better in the moss and it's stronger as well.

I'd only run a 25” pitch in the Delta. If you go elsewhere, you might run better with a 24” prop. I am assuming you're going to run a Z520. That's what I know the most about with the 250 HO. Shoot me a message and I'll help you buy it and set it up. Thanks for the question.


Apr 8, 2009

I am planning on fishing the Delta heavily in November which seems to be kind of a transition month from Fall to Winter depending on the weather. I normally fish the Delta in the Spring and Summer. What differences am I going to encounter and what types of structure/cover do you fish during this time on the Delta? Lastly, what lures do you pick-up and what do you put away as we close in on Winter on the Delta?

Sorry I'm so late on this question. I answer them as I get to them. As I get into the late fall and winter months, I tend to flip more and throw more crankbaits. November is a big transition month depending on weather. This past November was awesome. We did not have any storms, fishing was great. If you did not want to chase bass the striper bite was INCREDIBLE. Also, fish some small swimbaits for both bass and stripers.

Be sure and fish the rip rap weed lines shallow this time of year. A bright red bait is hard to beat (Delta Craw). Good luck.


Mar 30, 2009

West Coast Bass had 43 boats at Clear Lake. You did not fish, just wondering why and if you are going to fish any WCB? How do you think Angler's Choice will do? How many boats do you think they will draw? Why? Won Bass Shasta 43. WCB Clear Lake 43. Where are all the fishermen?

WOW!! Now I get to pi$$ off all the circuits. Here goes. I did not fish Clear Lake because I had a large rod order clear customs for pick-up the Friday before the event started on Saturday. I was still following up on dealers and "things" from my trip to the Classic. Richard Dobyns did fish as well as a bunch of my pro-staff. I will be fishing WCB to support my friend Larry V. WonBass had a bad turn out because they changed things (1 fish limit) and the fishermen rebelled. Even though Shasta was a 5 fish limit, many anglers said the heck with them. It's their circuit and they can make the rules. Either fish or don't. I guess it was "don't". I for one hope they get their act together. Until they "wake up" and listen to their customers (us) they will not do well. WCB is just starting back up. Larry has no sponsors and faces an uphill battle. He's the new kid on the block. Fishermen are not sure what's going to happen. He made some mistakes early. I think he got some bad advise from a few anglers that have their own best wishes at heart, not WCB. Larry needs an advisory committee. I understand he met with a few guys. Great. The schedule is not the greatest and he is NEW. Just remember Larry V. brought a GREAT concept (Pro-Am's) to the fishing world. He just needs a sponsor or two to get rolling. Angler's Choice will do very well I think. They have a reasonable entry fee, $400 pro, $200 am, a good advisory board, an open book event (all $$ will be accounted for, including who and how much in the option pools), a GREAT schedule, and over 100% cash payback to the pro, 80% to the am. With sponsor support the goal is to try to get to 125% NEXT YEAR. If the numbers are good this year, that should not be a problem. Pre-sign numbers are very good right now. I think they will draw 100 plus boats easy. I hope more like 150. Please remember last year in the North WonBass drew very well. Those anglers will want to fish. My hope is Angler's is hugely successful and they expand down south, and that WCB or WON can come on board with something similar next year. We need two strong Pro-Am circuits. This is where the growth of the sport comes from. Where are all the fishermen? Well times are tough, but guys are pretty fed up with organizations taking all their money and putting on a crappy event. Times have changed. Guys want to see the "books". They want to fish for some of the sponsor $$. The time is now to step up and FISH.


Mar 26, 2009

My question is about jigs and spinnerbaits. I live in Los Angeles and fish this small urban lake a lot. It has several tulles I have a lot sucess but I want to find out should I go heavier than 12lb test? Its not a jungle or nothing I would say it has moderate cover. I'm using Skinny Bear Grizz flipping jigs and Revenge spinnerbaits. There are bass in there 10lbs and bigger but I don't want to go to much heavier because the water is kind of clear.

You can catch a GIANT bass on 12 lb test. I would use the 12 lb on the spinnerbait. It's a reaction bait and they have to make a decision whether to eat it or not (react). The jig is the problem. The water is very clear and the lakes have tremendous fishing pressure. You are fishing for some of the hardest to catch, smartest fish in the country. I believe you will do better with 8 or 10 lb test fluorocarbon. Good luck. Fish early or late, cloudy days, anything to break some of that light penetration. Thanks.


Mar 23, 2009

How in the hell does Brett Hite get the Dunkin Donuts boat? Everyone know that's your deal. I've seen it 20 times on websites. You were the natural fit for that sponsorship. Was you asked? I doubt it, cause you have always been a great sportsman when guys slammed you on it. What about the Tackle Tour donut photos? Somebody blew this one. Depending on your answer I may be done buying Dunkin Donuts!

Dude, do you need a rod sponsor?? :) I was not asked about the sponsorship. I will never be considered because I answer straight questions and give straight advise and it offended the heck out of one of the "bigger" dogs :) at FLW. So what! I will not lose sleep over it. I would of done a Dunkin' Donut boat just for laughs. I've had enough of you bass-turds picture me in one anyway. Zander did nail me with the Tackle Tour photo. I will be getting even. I've asked him to go bird hunting with me :) Quit eating donuts???? Not likely :) Lighten up dude and where do I send the rods??


Mar 18, 2009

I love fluorocarbon but when I’m rippin I get nothing but blow up’s. I like 12 pound for most lakes and 15 on the river(delta) Can you please help.

Rippin, the BEST technique :) I throw mostly 10 lb in the lakes and 12 lb CXX in the Delta. In the lakes, fluorocarbon sinks and lets me get more depth from my baits. In the river most of the time I'm fishing shallow. I use a lot of Pointer 128's so depth really is not an issue. I use the CXX as it's strong. If you are using a CB rod, you can't hardly put enough pressure on 12 lb to bust it anyway. If you're pulling that hard, you will lose a lot of your fish anyway with treble hooks. They will pull out. Good luck.


Mar 16, 2009

I read on your Q and A a few months ago about someone having a whining sound on their 7 to 1 Zillion. I just received one of the first 50thAnniversary 7.3 to 1 reels and it also whined and had a tight feeling, like many of the Zillions, in the gears. The reel just needs to be broken in by skiing in a few 1 to 3lb fish on the surface with the tip up and a steady grind. This causes the gears to be fully compressed and it really does make a difference. You’ll be amazed at how smooth the reel becomes after just a few fish! On another note, it sure would be nice to have my sweet Dobyn’s 764 back to put my new reel on. Sorry for the jab Gary! I miss that rod. When do you expect the new blanks in so I can get my rod back? We all continue to learn our lessons on Chinese made products! At least this lesson didn’t poison me :=).

Thanks for the tip on the Zillion reels. Right out of the box the drag and casting adjustment are backed all the way off. I have noticed a slight drag myself. As soon as you adjust the reel even a tiny bit, it smoothes out perfectly. Mine have all done this. In 3 years, I have only had one failure on a Zillion. I had just taken it apart and oiled it. The timing was not good, so I have a pretty good feeling it was operator error ( I hate to admit that). Now I'm back to not oiling reels and just fishing with them :).

You should now have that 764C. If not, please shoot me a message at dobynsrods@comcast.net I can't keep the new 764C in stock. Thanks, catch a toad and send photos:)


Mar 12, 2009

Rumor has it that you are upgrading your basic Champion series blanks. I own a lot of your rods already. My question is," Will the new blanks be more senative, and what color will they be available in"? I am going through a phase now that I want my reel color to match the rod color. Thanks!

Well this one is easy. The Champion blanks are a matte black with a silver band for the logo and specs. The new rods are far more sensitive, lighter, better balanced, and much smaller in diameter. My builder only builds rods for Japanese companies ( I cannot say which) and me. The builder is a very high end manufacturer in Korea.

The Extreme rods are "tricky" in color. The color actually changes in the light. Please check them out. They are "different". I staff for Daiwa but a competitor has a sharp looking reel that matches :). Thanks for the question.


Mar 9, 2009

I've been fishing the Delta for a couple of years now. I understand the basics of how the tide positions the fish, what lures and colors I'm confident with on the Delta, and the general seasonal patterns of Delta bass. On a good day, I can go out and catch a 12-16 pound limit that typically includes some 2s and 3s and one kicker fish from 4 to 7 pounds, but I am having trouble catching the bigger fish consistently. What are your best tips for catching more of the bigger fish and increasing the total weight of my limit?

That is a little tough to answer. My guess would be that if you're fishing an area that you can catch a 4 to 7 pound fish and limits of 2-3 pounders that you are not getting the bigger fish to bite. I'd try the same areas with different baits and techniques. Maybe more swimbaits, maybe it's flippin a big jig, or try a 7 inch Senko. I'd try and change up a bit. I'd try fishing the area earlier or later in the tide. Some days these ideas will work, some days not a bite. That's fishing but you will get better at changing with the fish and making better decisions faster. Every single fisherman out there is facing the same challenge as you. Keep trying and you will WIN. Thanks for the question.


Mar 7, 2009

I am getting into striper fishing and need some help. What do I need to understand about stripers to catch some monsters? Are they a structure fish? Do they use grass beds? Main channel or sloughs? What lures and when? How do the tides affect them? All of these questions in relation to largemouth fishing.

Great question and I could write a book on it. Basically, they will set up on structure, they love grass beds and they are in the channels and the sloughs. The tide has a great effect on them, also.

Striper fishing has been AWESOME in the Delta and is smoking hot in the rivers up north right now. They are eating machines and pretty easy to catch. They school up a lot. A meter helps a bunch. I think you are after "monsters" so here are a few tips to try and help you get a giant. Big topwaters like Lunker Punkers are awesome. Low light conditions help a ton. I seem to do better of an evening than early morning (probably my confidence). The giants don't like a bunch of boat traffic. If you want to "cheat" :) live bait in the channel on a point or structure is deadly. So are all the bridge pilings. Buy a good meter like 997 Humminbird that "marks" fish well and has a single "MARK" button for a pinpoint GPS mark. A spot is a spot most times. They weren't there by accident.

My favorite is a Punker, fished in the evening, in Big Break, Frank's, or Mildred. I like 25 lb test or PowerPro braid in 50lb. Did I say I make a rod just for the Punker, a 795 SBMT ?? :) :)


Mar 5, 2009

Hey Gary:

I'm not a fisherman but have heard your commercial on the radio about wearing a life jacket and your boating accident.

I am thankful you made it through. I am struck, however, at the comment you make that it was only luck that saved you that day.

Don't know what Christian background you may or may not have, but I am saddened that you aren't aware that it was God watching out for you and that your guardian angel/angels were summoned at that point in time to pull you through. At least you didn't give Him credit for it. Perhaps the powers that be didn't want you mentioning it for a PSA? Who knows???

So, thought I'd write, after hearing the commercial time after time and thinking it. God bless you and your family.

Thank you for the blessing and kind words. Please believe me I thanked EVERYONE that day. I have said thousands of times that I have an angel on my shoulder. That day when I was struggling to swim to the surface, all I could think of was where is my boat. I knew if it was not close, I was in big trouble. I could not move my left arm at all, I was fully clothed, and you cannot believe how fast your mind works in a situation like that. I knew the kill switch would shut her down but, how far would she go? Well, I hit the bottom of the port transom corner before I surfaced. I never had to swim an inch once I surfaced. Angel on my shoulder, you bet.

I was hoping that by bringing my accident "public" that it would one day save someone's life. Well, I have had two different anglers (one on Clear Lake, and one on the Delta) that credit my accident to saving their life. They buckled up with a PFD, had an accident, and made it. Both guys swear they rarely wore PFD's. I used to be worse, I never wore them except in tournaments.

Please be safe on the water. Wear PFD's.


Mar 3, 2009

Hi Gary, I am going to purchase a boat in Kentucky and wondered if you know of anyone coming west or a reputable transporter?

Thanks,
Mike

Sorry, Mike, I do not know of any. I did buy a special car off eBay a while ago. There were many ways to ship it but I made a little vacation out of the trip with the wife. Check those carriers on eBay. BTW, there are lots of great boat bargains here. Let me know if I can help with one.

Good luck with your new boat.


Feb 3, 2009

Where can I find the bait that you called a “shutter shad”? Please advise me where to call to order some of them. I have called Basstackeldepot, Tackleit, Clearlake Outdoors, John Galbrath’s anglers pro shop in Havasu, and Anglers marine here in San Diego. No one is aware of this bait. I like what I saw, and want to order several.

Thanks for the kind words, Ron. I know www.monsterfishingtackle.com and Outdoor Pro Shops stock the shudder shad. The bait is made by Excite Baits in Texas. Many of the shops there have them. It is a really cool little swimbait. Good luck fishing.


Jan 24, 2009

I’ve spent the last couple days enjoying the answers to the many questions. I live in SoCal and fish once or twice a week at a local private lake. I can usually catch 4-5 fish a day but haven’t caught anything over 3 lbs there. Last weekend I was bringing in another smaller bass in the 1lb range, and it was attacked by two monster bass. It was an amazing but also depressing experience. I knew the large bass were in there. It has produced bass all the way up to 19lbs. The lake is very clear, has basically no structure, no steep drops, no toolies, or lillypads and is about 40ft at the deepest point. The lake is stocked several times during the winter with trout. I’ve never had any luck with cranks or spinners. Most of the bass I catch are with jigs or Texas rigged robo worms in about 35ft of water during the summer. However, there are dozens of docks around the lake in shallow water. Finally the question…. If you were fishing this lake what would you use during summer and fall to catch the bigger bass?

I've never fished Mission Viejo. I've heard lots of stories and seen lots of big fish photos. Some of the well known big bass hunters in SoCal spend quite a bit of time on this body of water. All I can do is really pass information that I've heard from numerous conversations about this body of water. First off, dealing with that clear water and big smart fish, I'd fish at night. It tips the odds in your favor. I'd still fish a lot of jigs but I'd throw a lot of swimbaits as well. Those big fish in that lake eat a lot of those stocked trout. If you're fishing for bigger bites, you keep throwing a Huddleston and you're going to catch a monster sooner or later. The problem with all the southern California lakes is they are small, there is a lot of fishing pressure, the water is very clear and these are some of the smartest fish that you'll ever fish for anywhere in the US. But, there are more giants caught in SoCal then anywhere else in the US. If you're after trophies, you're in the right spot. If you just want to catch a bunch of good ones, take a vacation and come up north. We don't have the giants but we have bigger water, less fishing pressure and easier to catch fish. Don't give up.


Jan 19, 2009

I HAPPENED TO BE LISTENING TO KNBR SPORTS TALK RADIO WAITING FOR THE GIANTS TO COME ON AND I HEARD YOUR COMMERCIAL ON BOAT SAFTEY I WAS VERY IMPRESSED ON HOW YOU CAME ACROSS WITH YOUR OWN ACCIDENT AND HOW CLOSE I CAME MYSELF WHILE FISHING LAKE AMADOR ROCK CREEK DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK LATE SPRING NO ONE AROUND I HOOKED A FISH IT WENT UNDER THE BOAT RAN UNDER THE OUTBOARD MOTOR GOT OFF AND SNAGGED MY LUCKY CRAFT LURE ON MY TRANSDUCER SINCE I OWN A CRESTLINER OLDER PERSON BOAT NO PROBLEM I REACHED OVER TO UNSNAG MY HIGH DOLLAR LURE AND ENDED UP FALLING OVERBOARD ABOUT 100 FEET FROM THE BANK LUCKILY I REMEMBERED TO CLIMB UP ON OUTDRIVE AND RAISE MYSELF UP, AND BACK INTO THE BOAT. EVER SINCE THEN I WEAR THAT LIFE JACKET. SINCE THE NEW ONES OUT ARE VERY COMFORTABLE NO REASON NOT TO WEAR ONE. ENJOY YOUR WEB SITE VERY MUCH AND THANKS FOR YOUR GOOD ADVICE.

Thanks for the email, Larry. You would be surprised at how many emails and phone calls that I've gotten from guys that had near misses. I've had several guys tell me straight up that the only reason they had their life jacket on was because of my accident or Kyle Clement's accident on the Delta. Just last week, a guy was running in rough water at Clear Lake and bow hooked his Basscat and was ejected. He said the water was cold as hell but he was fishing by himself and he thought of BDO getting ejected, so he put his life jacket and kill switch on. He sent me a message telling me that my accident saved his life. Stories like this make me feel good. I was very open about the fact that I wasn't wearing a life jacket but did have a kill switch hooked to me and it saved my life. Again thanks for the email and help me talk up boating safety.


Jan 13, 2009

Gary, I would like to get a few pointers on how you got them on Lake Mead in the U.S. Open this year. You get a lot less time on Mead than a lot of the Pros but you always seem to be on top.

Thanks for the question. I don't want to sound short or blunt but check Inside Line. I did a full how I screwed up the US Open article :). Really, I actually covered my practice and tournament, the highs and the lows in that article. Congrats to Justin. He did a great job coming from the back of the pack. Basically, Lake Mead fits my style of fishing, covering water. The dang lake needs more fish in it, bass that is not stripers. The US Open is always a tough event, hot as heck but it is a great tournament. One of these days maybe I'll get lucky and quit being just close. Please let me know what you think of the Inside Line article. Good luck fishing.


Jan 9, 2009

I am in the process of moving up from my 16ft bass boat to a bigger boat. Can you give me some suggestions and or recommendations on the size needed and the set up as far as electronics, trolling motor, 24V vs 36V, livewell system etc? If one model is better than another don't be afraid to share that inforamtion either. My plan is to try some of the bigger tournamentsnext year and I know my little 16ft boat isn't made for the delta, clear lake, mead or Havasu.

Glad to hear that you're moving up to a bigger boat to fish tournaments. I'm going to talk Ranger boats because that is what I'm most familiar with.

I fished out of a 370V and a 361V models for nine years. These boats were 17'10" long. Then I moved up to a 481 that was 18' long. Then along came the 487 at 19' and I fished for several years out of these models. Then I started running 20' boats. Truthfully, a great tournament boat is a 188. That boat is 18'8" long or they have a 198 that is 19'8". Both of these boats are excellent tournament boats. If I was running either one of these models, I would only run a 24 volt MinnKota Maxxum Pro 80.

If you've got the room and a little extra dough, the 208 is an absolutely awesome boat. The boat is 20'9" and made on the old 520 hull. Basically, it is a dressed up 520. The 520 is the best bass boat they've ever built. The cadillac of the Ranger line is the Z520. It has the same hull as the 208. It's just been flared a little bit to fit the wider top cap. If I was running a 20' boat I would use the MinnKota 101. If you haven't bought a boat, and I can help, please shoot me an email at dobynsrods@comcast.net. Thanks for the question.


Jan 5, 2009

How do you clean hard baits that get gummy and dirty after having scent, dust and dirt on them while on your deck or in the garage?

Gosh, dude, you got me here. I don't use scent on crankbaits and, heck, the way I lose them mine don't get a chance to get that dirty. I just don't have an answer for this. Maybe as this question is posted someone on the forum can help out. I'm scared to guess because some things would probably damage the bait or take the paint off. How about some help guys?


Dec 31, 2008

I am an amatuer fisherman. I did belong to a great bass club, I was with the for about 4 years. I dont have a boat but little by little I am saving. I love bass fishing. I love the fact that the club helped out non boaters.Why is it that the tournament curcuits dont assist non boaters? There are alot of good fishermen that are non boaters and the sport would be bigger if there were curcuits to help out. Plus, for a man getting his first boat, he has to spend alot to get a boat and has to be a regulation boat to be able to get into a tournament. So there are restrictions there. I went to try one curcuit I found online and they helped me out to find someone. I did appreciate that, but the problem was that I never got to fish because the guy did not show up. I had to drive 3 hours to get there and to sit on the banks watch all the boats take off. What a joke, then the director said there was nothing he could do or anything. So I was left out. So what does an amatuer do? I have been on westernbass for about a year and only have gotten one or two responses to my add. So what can I do? What I wish I could do is, join a curcuit as a non boater and have that curcuit pair me up with someone through a draw, I have heard of two orginizations that do that, one Nor Cal, but there season is over. Two, is an orginization that is located in Sacramento. So what can I do. I have even offered to pay the entry fee and gas for someone. Help, me out, I want to be a good fisherman. I cant do that without being on the water. It seems like the non boater is left out alot and the future is gleem if we dont get the average man involved, the one that doesnt have that Ranger, or that Champion, just a john boat or even a canoe.

Wow, dude. It really sucks that you were partnered up with a guy that never showed. Believe me this doesn't happen very often. Normally, some kind of arrangements will be made and you will not be left on the bank. The tournament will normally do a guaranteed in when you sign up with a boater. We have numerous pro-am style events. I believe for someone just starting out you're probably better off in a combined weight format. Basically, your draw partner is your team partner for the day. You fish together for a common five fish. I believe that Nor-Cal does this as well as WON Bass and now West Coast Bass is coming back again. I agree with you. We need non-boaters. We need to put more new blood into the sport. Please don't let that one bad experience stop you from fishing the pro-ams. I hope to see you at some of them this year. Thanks.


Dec 17, 2008

I was fishing a team tournament with my fishing buddy of 17 years. We had 10 fish in the livewell (legally) but the event called for a total of five fish for the weigh in. We decided to go to the hump that we had been successful on earlier in the day and when we arrived and before our first cast, my partner told me to start fishing while he took the time to cull out five of our fish. I told my friend to wait until we fished the spot and then cull. It was my understanding that releasing a possibly distressed fish could spook a school located on that hump. What are your thoughts? Keep them in the box or cull any time?

Great question. Legally, at ten fish you have to quit fishing and cull. Most of our tournaments have "legal limit" rules. This allows for two guys to possess ten fish. Beware of tournament limit. This makes you cull every fish after you have your tournament limit, which is usually five. We've got many tournaments to change this rule to "legal limit" simply because most people broke the rule anyway. Why have a rule that the majority of the anglers are going to break?

Now to the rest of your question. I hate turning fish loose where I'm fishing. If I'm given no other choice, like in a Pro-Am, sometimes I have to do it. If I was fishing a team event where I could hold more fish, I would NEVER release fish back where I'm fishing. I think releasing fish back or even losing a fish is a really bad deal. In a team tournament where I can carry an extra five fish, I simply throw my MinnKota on high, run off 50 or 60 yards from where I'm fishing, chuck 'em and run back. Good luck fishing.


Dec 15, 2008

I have watched Dean Rojas walk this frog back and forth like a spook but yet I am unable to do so. I am throwing it on a 7’6” rod and 15# line. Any suggestions?

I like a little bit shorter rod for working a frog. My favorite is 7'3". This is an ideal length. I can pick a lot of line up on the swing and get great hook sets. I've caught a lot of frog fish on 8' rods even. I know a lot of guys that will actually even throw them on 7' rods just because they think they're easier to walk. I like a very stout frog rod but I will tell you that a more limber tip makes the frog easier to walk, also. The biggest tip that I can give you is to get rid of that 15lb. test and go to 50 or 65lb. test braided line, like Power Pro. This makes working the bait a lot easier and you're going to catch a lot more fish with it. Good luck on your frog fishing. Frog fishing is an addiction.


Dec 11, 2008

I have two minor dings in my keel from my trailer. Which product do you recommend to protect it?

The best keel protector out there is Hamby's. I'm not crazy about keel protectors because at high speeds they can catch the water and make the boat do goofy things. Some people love them and swear by them. I've only ever had one and I won't have another one. I do not beach my boat so I don't need one. Occasionally, you do get a nick in your keel. You can fix these very easily with Marine Tec. Just apply it on, put some 2" clear (scotch type) tape over it to hold it in place and let it set up. Sand it down and you're in business. This stuff is unbelievably strong. Give this stuff a try. You won't be disappointed. Thanks for the question.


Dec 7, 2008

Hi Gary, I saw a show within this last month. You were using the Luckycraft Staysee . I would like to know what rods you were using spinning & casting?

On the True Bass show, I threw mostly a 705CB for my jerkbaits. I was throwing a 702SF spinning and an 806HSB swimbait rod. On the spinning rod, I was throwing a lot of tubes. I had a great time on the show. We never caught any big ones but had a few decent ones. Folsom is really a phenomenal fishery. It has all three species in great numbers and many trophy fish. Hope you get a chance to fish it soon. The lake is low but great fishing.


Dec 4, 2008

I want to know if you have tried the Daiwa Zillion PE Special casting reel, what is your opinion of it. I want to buy a superb light weight casting reel for light saltawater fishing. Can you tell me the best choice. Thank you for your help

Honestly, I'm not sure what the Zillion PE Special is. So, rather than look it up, I figured that I would just fess up that I don't know what it is. I will tell you I've used almost nothing but Zillions (on occasion a Steez) for almost three years. I still think it is the best casting reel that has ever been built for bass fishing. I like them better than a Steez. I've had no issues with any of them. The worst part is Daiwa has in the past had a hard time keeping up with demand. You cannot go wrong with a Zillion. Let me know how you like them. Thanks.


Dec 1, 2008

I had the opportunity to sit down with you at the Costa Del Mar booth at this year's Classic for an interview. I heard about your accident and wanted to send along my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

Strangely, an incident very much like the one you described recently happened with one of the Bass Elite Pros. I believe he also was running at high speed in a Ranger Z520 when it also suddenly veered to the right. He would have been thrown out of the boat, if not for his co-angler.?

Anyway, get well and get back out on the water as soon as possible.

Thanks for the kind words. After 30+ years running high speed boats, I had the accident. Every year we have a few accidents and I just never thought it would happen to me. Probably sounds familiar. This isn't anything that's new and it happens to all brands of boats. If a bow catches on a bass boat, it's going to make a hard turn one way or the other and you're going to be in for a ride. I've really started talking up life jackets and kill switches. The kill switch definitely saved my life as I wasn't wearing a life jacket. Thankfully, I clicked the kill switch on. I've been working with California Boat Safety since the accident. I hope you're wearing your life jacket. Good luck.


Nov 27, 2008

On a recent show, I would like to know what rod were you using for the stayee90 baits. Also like to know what would be a good all around spinning rod that you sell.

The jerkbait rod was a Dobyns 705CB. It is a graphite rod but it's built with a mod/fast action specifically for crankbaits and jerkbaits. It is my favorite jerkbait rod. As far as an all-around spinning rod, I'd pick a 702SF. It's a 7', 2 power fast action rod. It's perfect for throwing dartheads, shaky heads, tubes and Robo worms. It's just a really good all-around rod. I will be introducing all new rods in January. I hope you're still in the market. My new ones are pretty awesome. Thanks for the question. Good luck fishing.


Nov 25, 2008

First off, I'm glad to hear you're okay. I am really getting tuned in to fishing rip baits on the Delta - killed 'em over the last few weeks. Few do this - if many are they ain't talkin'. From early pre-spawn to late AM in the summer (and again in the late fall), these baits just flat out work. My questions are; what has been your experience with rip baits on the Delta, do you recommend any specific rip baits, and are there any hard rip baits that are relatively weedless (I use flukes too, but I'm talkin' hard baits that might be better around the outside weed lines / go through cover a little better - I want a bait I can cover A LOT of water with).

Thanks for the kind words on the boat accident. I have done well on jerkbaits on the Delta especially in the winter. The fish really get schooled up on bait in dead-end sloughs and harbors. I'm still throwing a Staycee 90 most of the time. I don't do any of my mods to the bait except for changing to #4 Gamakatsu round bends. Around the grass I tend to fish shallower where I can really see my bait and work it around and through the grass. Try a DD78. This bait is awesome in the Delta. It's a little bit smaller bait and many times it is almost surgery to get it out of them. I agree with you that not many people throw jerkbaits in the Delta. Have you tried Disco? Beware of the stripers. It is a lot of fun in there. I also fish a lot of flukes. Tru-tungsten had a prototype fluke style bait at I-CAST this year. This thing walked under the water back and forth just like a Sammy or a spook. It actually had some tungsten powder in it for weight. If you can locate some of these, I think it may be a really good bait for you. Good luck.


Nov 18, 2008

I’m a beginning amateur bass fisherman, and this is my 3rd year doing tournament. The problem im having is that I always catch fish on constant bases, but I can’t seem to ever get the 5lb plus fish I need to put me over the top. I’m very good at fishing plastics but is there something else I can do or learn to start getting me those bigger bass? Thanks for any suggestions.

This is a pretty common problem with tournament fishing. Throwing baits like Robo worms can and do win tournaments. The problem is they catch a lot of small fish in the process. Fishermen fall in love with the fact that they can always get bit and catch fish. The problem being is if there is a decent reaction bait bite, most of the time, the worm fishermen get beat. The problem falls into you fishing what you like to fish, probably your strength, and it's hard to scrap this technique and fish for a hopeful bite. Don't get me wrong. I've won lots of tournaments on Robo worms. Many times they have played an important role in the tournament but they didn't necessarily catch my bigger fish. When I'm fun fishing, like at Lake Oroville, I throw Robo worms almost 100% of the time. In tournaments there, I probably fish them 20% of the time. You need a different mindset for tournaments than you do for your fun fishing. The best advice that I can give you is to fish some reaction baits, jigs and topwaters. Catch enough fish that you have confidence in them and start using them in tournaments. I guarantee your finishes will increase. Some other big fish baits are Yamamoto Senkos, 7" Robo worms rigged wacky style with a nail weight, Hula grubs on a football head and lots of Staycee 90s. Good luck on your tournaments.


Nov 16, 2008

Gary, nearly every pro I have seen or read about, on the subject of hard body baits, recommends upgrading the treble hooks and up sizing them. Is installing a larger hook still a good practice if you are targeting smallmouth? When would you choose to use the EWG, or the short shank trebles?

I think this is a great question. You may get a few different answers depending on the fisherman. First off, almost all companies put cheap hooks on their baits to save money. Secondly, most of the time you can upsize and not lose any bait action but definitely increase your hooking percentage. I don't use many EWG trebles because round bend hooks are designed stronger. Round bend hooks won't open nearly as easy as EWG hooks. I'm not a big fan of short-shank hooks either unless I have to use them to keep them from tangling. I will put up with tangling hooks as long as it doesn't happen too often. For instance, this will be hard to believe, but on a 1/8oz. speed trap, I use #4 Gamakatsu round bends. They tangle occasionally, they are way oversized for the bait but I hardly ever lose a fish. It doesn't affect the action of the bait. The cool thing about Gamakatsu is they now have the in-between sizes like #3 and #5. These are awesome. I hope this helps and it hasn't confused you. By the way, the new Lucky Craft Staycee 90 with my mug on it has the larger hooks and is already custom weighted. Its a flat awesome bait. I've fished it this way for close to ten years. Good luck!


Nov 11, 2008

Hi Gary, I am a local angler up here at Clearlake. I fished the American Bass T.O.C the weekend after the FLW tournament on Clearlake and the big bite was tough for me to get going. I had a small limit on jigs and rips first thing in the morning and proceeded to throw swimbaits the rest of the day. It seemed like every other cast I had some real monsters follow the bait back to the boat, but not commit to eating it. I tried changing up bait size,color, and retrieve with no success. I tried killing it when I would see the fish follow it in and the fish would nose down on it and just stare at it. Needless to say it was frustrating to say the least. I can only theorize that a lot of fishing pressure and clear water conditions were the main reasons for so many follow-ups with no takers. Can you give me any tips or suggestions on how to get those finicky fish to eat the bait?

Fishing pressure is definitely a huge key and was probably the majority of your problems. During the FLW event they were doing the same thing to me. When I would have one eat it, it just didn't eat it very well and I lost most of them. The bite was very finicky on swimbaits but, as you probably know, it was won on swimbaits. It was an unusual set of circumstances with a ton of shad there, though. To be totally honest with you, this is one of the things that happens a lot when swimbait fishing. I tanked Amistad this year doing the same thing that you described. The last day I had so many big followers it drove me absolutely nuts. All I can say, Bud, is sometimes the fish win. Most of the time you can change baits, size of baits, actions and depth of baits and beat the fish. But those few days enough to drive you nuts. Don't give up on them. Get them on the next trip.


Nov 10, 2008

Hello Gary, I have a tournament in 2 weeks. I launch out of River's End Marina and caught 5 bass from 1-4 lbs. best weight was about 12lbs (cranking). Gary, what should I do to target larger fish? Water surface temperature was 64, bottom out tide all day. Same conditions for the tournament.

Fall fishing on the Delta can be tough. It just seems like the fish change so fast. Also, this time of year your water temperature can drop from 64 degrees to say 58 degrees in a two week period. I do a lot of flippin' and throw some blades this time of the year. Probably my most stable pattern is cranking the rip rap banks. It's really the only time of the year that I throw this many crankbaits on the Delta. Also, as it cools it seems the shad pull back farther into the backs of dead end sloughs and marinas. It's a good time to be looking at these areas and they just get better farther along in the winter. The fall can be frustrating on the Delta. Keep moving and don't let it wear you down. You can catch a big one right where you're catching those smaller fish. The big ones seem to be more tide oriented than the smaller fish, at least that's my opinion. If you catch a couple of big ones, pay attention to what the tide was and try to expand on it.

Thanks for the question.


Nov 7, 2008

I saw photos of your new swimbait rods and the Mike Long signature rods. I'd like to get a new rod for jointed baits like the 9" Hard Raptor or BBZ. Which rod in your line up would you recommend? Thanks.

I make two 806's, a Mike Long with an 18" handle for leverage throwing the big baits or my regular 806 with a 13" handle. I also make an 807 which might interest you more. Anyone of these rods will handle the baits that you mentioned. I'm introducing a new line of rods in January.

Thanks for the question.


Oct 3, 2008

Hi Gary, Thanks for the lift up the ramp a couple of weeks ago. Now for the Question, What is the problem with the spots on Lake Oroville? I caught several in the Spring Valley area that looked as if they had some kind of skin problem. They had boils and a short of red rash from the drosal fin back. I was told that they were still ok to eat and shouldn't cause any problems with the live well, but I passed on both. Could you fill us in on just what's going on with them?

No problem on the lift. That ramp is a killer. I talked with Fish and Game at length about the skin problems on Lake Oroville fish. They were very knowledgeable and helpful. I personally wouldn't eat one of these fish. It seems to only be on 10% of them anyway. I was also told there would be no ill effects from these fish. I answer these questions as I get to them and this one, unfortunately, is one year old.

Now fast forward to a year later. I haven't seen the problems with the skin lesions this fall. Fish and Game determined that it was a low water type fungus. They are the experts, no doubt, and I certainly am not an expert but the water levels are much lower this fall than they were last year and we're not seeing the problem. Even with the lake down as much as it is there are still areas of the lake that have over 400' of water. Hopefully, we'll get lots of rain this year and we have an incredible spring bite. Good luck fishing.


Oct 28, 2008

Gary, I have a tournament in 2 weeks. I launched out of Rivers End Marina and caught 5 bass from 1-4 lbs. Best total weight was about 12lbs and they came cranking. Gary, what should I do to target larger fish? Water surface temperature was 64. BOTTOM OUT TIDE,ALL DAY. Same conditions in two weeks for the tourney.

Fall fishing on the Delta can be tough. It just seems like the fish change so fast. Also, this time of year your water temperature can drop from 64 degrees to say 58 degrees in a two week period. I do a lot of flippin' and throw some blades this time of the year. Probably my most stable pattern is cranking the rip rap banks. It's really the only time of the year that I throw this many crankbaits on the Delta. Also, as it cools it seems the shad pull back farther into the backs of dead end sloughs and marinas. It's a good time to be looking at these areas and they just get better farther along in the winter. The fall can be frustrating on the Delta. Keep moving and don't let it wear you down. You can catch a big one right where you're catching those smaller fish. The big ones seem to be more tide oriented than the smaller fish, at least that's my opinion. If you catch a couple of big ones, pay attention to what the tide was and try to expand on it.

Thanks for the question.


Oct 14, 2008

If you ever find time to do some seminars please post time and dates, thanks.

I do quite a few seminars actually. I really enjoy them and, heck, even pick up a tip or two myself. I do seminars at the ISE and Fred Hall shows. I also do a fair amount in tackle shops or class settings when I'm invited. Ranger dealers simply put in a request with our rep, Keith Tripp, and I have no wiggle room. I have to show up. :) I just recently did one for Angler's Marine in San Diego. One way that works well is if we can get a few of the clubs together at one of the local retailers. This usually makes for a good setting. It gives us a place to have the seminar and the dealers love us, of course.

Thanks for the question. Please come by and see me at one of the shows. I love to talk fishing.


Oct 2, 2008

Gary, I've got a question about swapping hooks on crankbaits. For years now, I have swapped out with the next higher size Gami EWG trebles. I noticed you mentioned to someone to swap out with Gami round bend hooks. Why do you prefer the round bend over EWG on crankbaits?

I went through a time where I preferred EWGs. They give you a bigger bite but are not as strong as round bends. I have lost a couple of fish that were running for heavy cover and I knew with those treble hooks hanging out of their face that I needed to stop them. If they got into cover they were going to get hung up and I was going to lose them anyway. The EWGs opened up on me. Round bends are much stronger. I haven't had that problem with round bends. It's also a problem with EWGs if you hook a fish in the gill plate usually only the point of the hook gets in, therefore, it opens up easily. Actually, a way to get more hookups is to run one EWG and one round bend. You have different angles on all of your hook points. This will really help with hookups. I think that round bends are a better hook. Now Gamakatsu also has in-between sizes like #3, #5 and they've always had #1.

Thanks for the question.


Sep 29, 2008

I Just wanted to thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend the evening with the Folsom Bass Team. I truly appreciate your generous donation, raffle ticket sales keep this club running as strong as it is. I would also like to welcome you back anytime even if just to sit in and hang out.

This is really not a question but I'd like to respond anyway. This bass club was very well organized and a great bunch of guys. I was honored to be there and actually picked up a couple of tips from fellow anglers. Anyone that is lucky enough to have a good club in your area should take advantage of the camaraderie and friendship. If your asked to be a speaker, by all means try and go. You'll be surprised at how much fun you'll have. You'll also be surprised at how many people you know. Also, the clubs that have a lot of women anglers tend to be more organized, seem to have more fun and more FOOD. This one was a blast.


Sep 24, 2008

I enjoy attending your seminars and reading your NCBF responses because I learn something new from each. Please forgive me if you have already answered this question...if you have already addressed the topic, just point me to the link. I have been reading many posts where fisherman have encountered "bad fishing etiquette." What do you consider to be the Golden Rules of Fishing...

1. ...if you are the boat owner and have guests? 2. ...if you are the guest? 3. ...if you are at the launch ramp either going out or coming in? 4. ...if you see bank fisherman and you are in the boat? 5. ...if you see other fisherman on a spot that looks good? 6. ...others that you feel improve the fishing experience?

Fishing etiquette. There have been a lot of bad posts about this topic. I myself get really pissed sometimes especially in the summer months. As bass fishermen, we're on the water all year. What we must realize is that a lot of these guys that are morons or piss us off really don't use the water as much as we do. Most of the time they don't "think" what they're doing is wrong or out of the ordinary. We must always remember that they are for the most part rookies on the water and we need to cut them some slack. A lot of these "summer" boaters really don't have boating knowledge. Now this isn't saying that some of their actions should be forgiven. Also, with many of the summer boaters a lot of them think that boating and drinking go hand in hand. This also doesn't help with their decisions. What I say is just be careful in the summer and try to take more patience to the lake. In many cases the "rookies" just flat don't know any better. BTW, have any of you watched the loading of the boats in the summer?

Now, let's talk about bass fishermen. This is the group that fishes all year, spends a lot of time on the water and knows the "etiquette". What we have are some arrogant ***holes that get behind the wheel of a bass boat and think that everyone else should stay out of their way, especially during tournament events. Just because we are tournament fishermen it doesn't give us the right to "own" the water or push somebody else off of it. We get a lot of bad press from a few bad apples.

The easiest thing that I can say about fishing etiquette is put yourself in the other person's place and ask yourself if what you're about to do would piss you off if that was you. Just have a little respect for other anglers. Also, always remember there are two sides to every story. A recent post about a guy going into Little Mandeville on plane could have been something that was necessary with low water. The bozo that blew out of the little cut in Mildred a couple of years ago that raised such a stink; this guy knows better and just doesn't care. He's a pro. He doesn't need etiquette. All of us will do something at one time or another that from a distance might look really bad. You never know what's really happening. Somebody may be hurt. The guy might have just got a call from home. There may be an extenuating circumstance. Guys should think of this before they make posts on westernbass slamming another angler.

Just my 2 cents worth.


Sep 19, 2008

What are some of your most effective tecniques on the delta and what rod would you use for that tecnique. Most all of the delta looks like a good spot to fish to me so what areas should I focus on? I am new to fishing on the delta and need a little help.

Wow, this one is a little tough. I agree the problem with the Delta is that it all looks good. There are so many different kinds of structure, grass, trees, bamboo, vines and even docks. The thing to remember is you cannot fish the whole Delta. I would pick out a section and learn it. This will make a lot more sense than trying to run all over the Delta when you first start. Current plays a big role in the Delta. Buy a good tide book and this will help a lot. You can fish everything from dropshot to flippin' to cranking and anything else that you can even think of technique wise. At certain times of the year the fish seem to be more aggressive on low water. Other times, it may be high water. I will say you can always catch dropshot fish (use a Robo re-barb hook instead of nose hooking your baits). You can always flip fish. Senkos always work. Spinnerbaits and rattle baits always work. Smaller style 4" to 6" swimbaits always work. Big swimbaits usually work. See you can catch them on just about anything that you like to fish. Take some of the above mentioned baits, figure an area that you want to learn and just go fishing. You'll realize that on high water some techniques work a lot better and on low water other techniques will work better. This is very difficult to answer because there are just too many variables and too many possibilities. Pay attention to grass, grass lines and current and you'll have a good start. You might consider fishing with a guide just to give you a boost of confidence because the Delta is our most intimidating fishery. Good luck!


Sep 17, 2008

Hello Gary.been wanting to e-mail you for some time.I read your reports on the questions people send in and I came across one on the infamous staycee rip bait.I used your advice at Shasta spring fishing and a little luck, stuck a 7.18 lb spotted bass in a future pro tournament(a belated thank you).My question is on the different side of fishing.I and other fishing buddy's have been having trouble with trailer tires (Goodyear Marathon's to be exact) blowing out and bubbling on the sidewall area.Reading alot of reports of the same concern.What tires have you had the best luck with and are you running radial tires.thanks and hope to fish with you soon.Thanks again.

Glad to hear about your BIG Staycee spotted bass. That is a toad. Unfortunately, I know a lot more about Staycees than I do about tires. A few years ago, we had some problems with the Marathon tires. I can honestly say that I'm currently running them and haven't had any issues for several years. The problem that most people have with trailer tires is they don't keep them inflated to a high enough psi. It will say on the side of the tire but most of the time I'm running 50-55 psi. In our truck tires, we'll mostly run 32-40 psi but this doesn't work with boat trailer tires. I hope this helps a little.


Sep 15, 2008

Do you think baits that focus on stimulating fish on the molecular level are to complicated for fisherman or to expensive?

DUDE, do you know my nickname? This question is too complicated for me. I never think on a molecular level. I do have some beliefs that I would love to share. I think many times fishermen make fishing too hard. I am a very simple fisherman. I usually have my colors narrowed down to 3 or 4. I have my favorite baits that I usually reach for first. My main concerns are weather, time of year and water color. I've seen a lot of gimmicks come and go. They might not be gimmicks to some people but to me they are. I'll list a few. How about the bass computer? The color selector? The ph meter? Biosonics? How about all the cameras? Now do these things work? Possibly but not for me. I like to keep my fishing simple. I like to cover water. I like to fish for aggressive fish. This is my "style" that I like to do. I'm not saying other "styles" don't work and they may fit other fishermen but mine is the simplest and easiest I think. Someone else needs to bail me out here talking about bass on a molecular level. Any help out there guys?


Sep 10, 2008

I AM AN ARDENT FAN OF SPINNERBAITS AND USE THEM ONE HECK OF A LOT. LATELY I HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING PROBLEMS WITH ROLL UPS...IE...THE SPINNERBAIT WANTS TO LAY UP ON IT'S SIDE WHEN BEING RETRIEVED. I USE A 1/4 OUNCE HEAD WITH AN .035 WIRE AND A #3 COLORADO BLADE AND A #10 OR #12 CRANE SWIVEL AND NOT ALWAYS BUT QUITE ALOT I GET THIS PROBLEM OF THE SPINNERBAIT WANTING TO LAY FLAT OUT INSTEAD OF WEIGHTED/SKIRTED SIDE DOWN WITH BLADE TO THE TOP AS NORMALLY WOULD BE USED OR FISHED...WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE? I LIKE USING SPINNERBAITS IN OR AT DEPTH OF NO MORE THAN 3 FEET, IT'S MY SHALLOW RUNNING LURE OF CHOICE. I DON'T NECESSARILY RIP IT THROUGH THE WATER BUT I MOVE IT ALONG I MUST SAY. I'VE BEEN MAKING SPINNERBAITS FOR YEARS BUT I DON'T REMEMBER EVER HAVING THIS PROBLEM BEFORE. I LIKE BEING ABLE TO PUT THE LARGEST BLADE I CAN ON A SPINNER FOR THE FLASH IT GIVES OFF BUT TOO BIG A BLADE AND THE SPINNER WILL ACTUALLY MAKE CIRCLES..IE ROTATE DURING RETRIEVE A FULL 360 DEGREES IN A FULL CIRCULAR MOTION..WHAT'S THE REMEDY HERE? SMALLER BLADES? OR IS THERE POSSIBLY SOMETHING I HAVE OVERLOOKED. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS I'D APPRECIATE IT.

As one spinnerbait nut to another, one of your problems is easy, I think. I believe you're just using too big a blade. It's grabbing too much water and torqueing the bait. Quarter ounce spinnerbaits can be very touchy with blade size. Always remember the bigger the blade, the more lift your bait will have. I think you could go up to a 3/8 oz. and still run the bait shallow and solve this problem. I really think it's just all about torque.

Another thing to consider is crane swivels are not as smooth as ball-bearing swivels. The blade will spin but not as easy and this can also make your spinnerbait roll over. There are a lot of inexpensive ball-bearing swivels on the market. The last thing could be the head design. Some designs are much better at running true in the water than others. For me, an ideal head design will have more of the weight at the bottom of the head. This is hard to describe but basically you have more weight at the bottom and it holds the bait more straight up and down in the water on the retrieve. A perfect bullet weight style head with equal amounts of weight on the top and the bottom will not run as true as a bottom weighted head. A great example of a bottom weighted head would be the Pepper Jigs spinnerbait. This bait has more weight on the bottom and runs very true.

I hope that I don't have you totally confused. If I do, shoot me an e-mail and I can call you. I can explain it a lot better than I can type it.


Sep 4, 2008

I'm looking at buying a rod for ripping. I fish Shasta quite often and feel I keep losing a lot of fish because the rod I'm using is to stiff. What should I look for when selecting a rod for this?

It's going to depend a little bit on which bait you're throwing. I would say an all-around good choice is my Dobyns Rods 705CB. Since you're losing fish, you might want to consider the 704CB which is quite a bit softer. This is the first choice for many anglers. Be sure and swap out the factory hooks. For instance, on a Staycee 90, I take the #5 off and put on Gamakatsu Round Bend #4. I never throw stock hooks because of losing fish. Give this a try and I'm positive you'll put more fish in the boat. Let me know how it goes. Thanks for the question.


Sep 2, 2008

I will be going to Clear Lake the first part of October. Could you tell me what areas might be productive and what features I should be looking for?

You have two choices here; fish south working the rock piles and break lines with jigs and jerkbaits or fish the north end in the grass and tule lines with frogs and punching through the grass. These are my choices. This is what I would start fishing when I hit the lake. There will also be a sammy and spook bite in the south as well as a great drop-shot bite. Senkos will catch lots of fish, also. In the north, you can always fish the docks but the grass growth is pretty severe this year.

In October, the water is slowly starting to cool. It is a big transition month. Early in October, it is liable to still be hot. In late October, it can be pretty chilly with the grass and algae dying. Sometimes the water will turn a brown, dark color. When the water starts cooling a lot I love to fish the structure. The guys chucking the big crankbaits usually win this time of year. Crank DD22's in 12' - 18' of water. Red or chartreuse seem to be the two best colors. The fish also tend to start schooling up and when you find them, you're usually on them.

October can also be a frustrating month at Clear Lake. You'll always catch some fish but this isn't normally one of the best months to fish the lake. Good luck!


Aug 28, 2008

I was wondering what times of the year you use rip baits, what colors, and what nor-cal lakes, i.e. delta, clear lake, oroville, and shasta?

Rippin' or throwing jerkbaits is a year round technique. It's definitely better in the spring, winter and fall. My favorite times of the year is winter and spring. The exception is Clear Lake. The fall bite there is awesome. Shasta is loaded with shad. I tend to throw a flashy bait, like an Aurora black or American shad. Ghost minnow and chartreuse shad are also great baits on Shasta. On Oroville, I use pretty much ghost minnow and chartreuse shad. At the Delta and Clear Lake, I fish a lot of chartreuse shad and one that isn't very popular called shell white. The one other color is table rock shad. It's a true chartreuse colored bait. Chartreuse shad is basically a white bait.

The Staycee 90 is by far my favorite bait. For shallow fish, I will throw the DD78 and at Clear Lake and the Delta, I throw the Pointer 128. I'm working with Lucky Craft on a real subtle clear water bait called Phantom Chartreuse Shad. It will be released later this year. In clear water situations, I think it will be the best bait. Good luck fishing!


Aug 25, 2008

I remember last year you mentioned a partner you used to fish with was starting to guide on the Delta again. Can I have his number? My son and I fish in a small club and we have a 2 day tournament there in April of 08. I have found it easier due to the size of the Delta to fish with a guide beforehand to discover new areas that are productive. In the past we have fished with Bobby Barrack and Andy Cuccia both taught us a lot. We launch from B& W for our tournament, with the guides we launch from Russo’s and have fished Frank’s tract all the way to the marinas at Big Break.

Sorry that I didn't open this message in time. For future trips, contact Armando at 408-513-4476. He is an expert on the Delta. Heck, I expect Cooch to be calling him any day looking for tips :) . Really, you can't go wrong with the guys that you mentioned or Armando. It is actually a good idea to fish with different guys because everyone has their own style, techniques and what they look for on the water. Good luck!


Aug 21, 2008

Where can I get the rainbow trout custom painted zara spooks?

This is the easiest question that I've ever had. Contact Jeremy at Black Dog Baits. I believe he's still painting spooks. I haven't asked him in a while because I usually order a pretty good quantity. His work is awesome.


Aug 18, 2008

I have tendonitis from pitching on the weekends and painting during the week. I have been looking at your 765 and 766 for the Delta and Clear Lake and am curious to know which you'd recommend to pitch 3/8-3/4oz jigs/worms in heavy cover and in deeper water. Also I'm sure you've had a bout or two with tendonitis is there anything you can recommend to help speed up the healing time?

Tendonitis in your elbow? Dude, I'm almost an expert on this. I battled in my elbow for over two years. I finally had surgery, not arthroscopic, but a five-inch scar on my elbow. I took shots to be able to fish for two years. I had probably 15-20 shots of cortisone to keep me going. Some people will tell you that you can't have more than 1 or 2 shots. I had two different doctors and they didn't think it mattered about how many I received. They were more concerned about controlling the pain. How bad was it? I couldn't pick up a can of diet Pepsi.

First thing, over 90% of the time it will heal itself over time. You need to try to avoid whatever you're doing that aggravates it. Unfortunately with fishing, everything aggravates it. There is a tendonitis band that you wear over your elbow and it really helps. There are a lot of these bands and I tried many. The best one had a clear, 2"x2" air bubble that helped control tension and keep the band on the exact point. I don't remember the name but it's the only one that I've ever seen with the air bubble in it. If it persists for more than a year, you may be in trouble. The surgery is very successful but I'll tell you it hurts like hell. It's amazing how much a little stinking tendon can hurt but since you have tendonitis, I don't have to tell you. I laughed at a guy that had tendonitis a year or so before I got it. I called him a wuss and said there was no way an elbow could hurt that bad. BOY WAS I WRONG! Good luck with your tendonitis.

As far as rod choice, my 766 Flip is the best balanced, lightest feeling flippin' stick that I've ever had my hands on. I'm currently not shipping to dealers as I am fixing a few problems. If you're a regular on westernbass, I'm sure you know the story. We are honoring the warranty on everything and trying to take the high road. All the rods at the dealers have been flex tested hard and "shouldn't" be a problem.

Thanks for the question.


Aug 15, 2008

When setting up your motor on your jack plate, is it better to have it raised as far up as possible without your water pressure getting to low or as far low so you get more bow lift?

Good question. I love a hydraulic plate. You can fine tune it much easier than a manual plate. With a manual plate, you kind of need to set it for all around conditions. I'm going to answer this as if you're running a hydraulic plate.

The reason that I like the hydraulic is in flat water or slight chop I can run the plate higher and get everything possible out of the boat setup. When I get into rough water and my prop starts jumping out of the water or "zinging" between the wave troughs, I can run my plate all the way down and get a much better bite in the water. This really helps your handling and is much better on your motor and prop shaft.

When fishing in the Delta in extremely shallow water for a long way, I can simply run my plate all the way to the top, jump on the throttle and as the boat comes on the plane, I run my plate back down to my "running height".

Now, back to your question on water pressure and setup. Normally there is a sweet spot in the setup. I watch my water pressure very carefully and my GPS speed. At some point, you're going to pick up, pick up, stabilize and then start losing on your speed. I will usually take that stabilizing height that I just found and drop it back a quarter to a half inch in height. This is assuming that my water pressure hasn't changed thru my height adjustments. It really shouldn't change much as the prop should be hooking up and lifting the bow higher and higher. Please note that you can easily over-trim your boat. I've found that most of the time I'm running at about 3/4 trim. I have a lot more trim and bow lift available to me but the boat catches more air and slows down. The boats that you see running at full trim and throwing a high rooster tail are not running at their best. I hope this makes sense. It's kind of hard to explain and put into words. Good luck with your boat.


Aug 10, 2008

We are thinking of a vacation in say mid to late March on Clear Lake, CA and were wondering which end of the lake to fish. We have never fished in CA. What do you think?

Dang, another question that I'm late in answering. I'm going to answer it for next March.

March is such a major transition month on Clear Lake. The south end of the lake is deeper and has a lot of structure. If we haven't had a warming trend, you may want to fish this end of the lake with jigs and jerkbaits. Most of the time in March, I'd tell you that my favorite place to fish on the lake is the north end. The north end is very shallow. The fish tend to really school up as they move to the shallows and when you find them, you have found a wad of them. March is a big fish month on the north end of Clear Lake. I don't mean that you're going to catch a 6 lb. or 8 lb. fish but you're liable to catch twenty fish that are 6 lbs. or better.

Some favorite baits would be Lucky Craft Staycee 90 or Pointer 100 or 128s depending on where you are and the depth of the water. Also, almost any kind of swimbait that you can think of can put some big fish in the boat. The main forage fish in the lake are shad and hitch. On the north end of the lake, the hitch population takes a pretty good beating in March and April. There are tons of hitch in the lake ranging from 6" to 10". Of course, there are smaller and larger hitch.

A planned vacation at the right time on Clear Lake will rival the Mexican fisheries. I hope you get a chance to come to Clear Lake next spring. If you're interested the lake does have a good guide on it named Bob Myskey. Bob could turn you onto some big fish locations and patterns. I hope you make it next March.


Aug 6, 2008

In the delta there are a lot of conditions to consider I think more so than in a lake. A fisherman has to consider the tide, wind, sunny skies, water temp, current direction, and so on. Sometimes it can get overwhelming. Just to take the stress out of locating fishing what are some summer patterns that are more common to look for? Is there a type of structure that holds more quality fish than others? Is there a specific time within the tide table to look for these types of structure? What types of bait work best in the structure?

Wow, tough question. You narrowed it down to summer and that makes it a lot easier for me. Over the years, I've learned that in the summer I can catch them pretty well on a frog in very low water fishing grass patches. I like the isolated ones much more than just a bank of grass or moss. I like the isolated patches to be in a place where they catch a lot of current. For me, it seems like the best tide is the bottom of the outgoing.

When the water is up, I usually do much better flippin' the grass or punching. I still like a lot of isolated grass patches. It just kind of gives me a target that I can really key on. There are plenty of fish on grass lined banks and I do fish those, also.

You're right. The Delta has a lot of things for you to consider. To be really good on the Delta, you need to fish it a lot. You'll learn that the fish are more active during certain phases of the tide. You'll learn what areas are holding fish and you'll know exactly when to be there. The Delta is probably my favorite fishery. If I don't fish it a lot, it frustrates the crap out of me just like it sounds like it does to you. When you don't fish it a lot you have good days and bad days. I fished it yesterday as I write this and I had a bad day. I caught about 10 fish, maybe four 3-pounders. This was fishing all day. The cool thing is there is a lot of water and a lot of fish in the Delta. I wish I could have gone back today and had another try at them again. Good luck. I hope you catch one of those Delta pigs.


Aug 4, 2008

I fished my first pro am at Clear Lake for the Stren as a co angler.I also fish team tournaments with a friend of mine. I don't have a boat because I just bought my first house and I can only fish one circuit in 08. My partner doesn't make the time to pre fish two to three times before a tournament. It puts all the pressure on me and that’s fine, I can hang. Would it be better for me to start fishing the FLW Stren as a co angler or still fish future pro in 08?

Well, as you can see, I'm behind on my questions. I wonder what your decision was. I would hope you would fish both if at all possible. The reason is when fishing the Future Pro you're fishing your fish, you have to make all the decisions and that is by far the toughest part of tournament fishing. A tournament is a tournament as far as decisions and changing patterns goes. I think this will help you more than anything as you work up the levels. I mean this in a positive way. I started fishing team tournaments and worked my way up.

As far as a co-angler, here you get to see how a pro or, hopefully, a more experienced angler, makes decisions, handles the pressure and you may even learn a new technique. I think this can be a very good learning process and can actually jump you years ahead as a tournament fisherman. It does not help you make decisions on the water. Those are up to the pro. You may also see the mistakes that he makes and/or think about what you would have done differently. Please don't tell the pro what you "think" he is doing wrong. This happens a lot and believe me it's frustrating. You'll usually be told you should be running your own boat. When you constantly feel that you can make better decisions, it is time to step up.

I answered this question a little differently. I know you said that you don't have a boat. Hopefully, this economy isn't clubbing you and you'll be a boat owner one of these days soon. Also, before I ever bought a bass boat, I wore out the ponds, sloughs and smaller lakes with a 12' aluminum. It's all about getting on the water. Good luck.


Jul 31, 2008

As a long time admirer I'd like to know when on Lake Shasta fishing for spots, how does one change a pattern that covers 0-20 ft. dropshotting and catching lots of 6in. to say 1 1/2 pound fish and get into better quality? in relationship to tourney fishing, if i had a 8-10 lb bag by 9:30am, what would I change to get my kickers?

There are a few ways to look at fishing Shasta in tournaments. One way is to try to locate a better school of quality fish. This may be by fishing deeper, fishing humps or island tops off shore which does tend to produce better fish or by trying to fish reaction baits, especially spinnerbaits.

Another way would fall into your scenario of having a decent limit and looking for "a" big bite. This scenario would fit the bill for a swimbait. You're really swinging for the fence because you've got a solid limit. You might get a lot more than just "a" big bite. You might get several or even a limit. Some of the baits that I'd recommend would be a Huddleston trout, an Osprey tournament talon and the Shutter shad. The Shutter shad is a much smaller bait that will catch not only big ones but better than average quality. I like throwing these baits over long points or very steep walls. Shasta is not really known as a trophy spotted bass fishery but it certainly is one. I wish I was able to spend more time there, especially in the winter and spring.


Jul 26, 2008

This is not a question, but Gary if you actually get the opportunity to do these seminars please try to put them on DVD. It won't be possible for me to attend, I live in Washington, D.C., but I'd love to see you do techniques class on the Delta or Clear Lake. Especially your views on fishing tidal water, fishing in grass, swimbaits, frogs, and flipping. All those things would be applicable to the Potomac River and the waters of the Upper Chesapeake Bay, of course we don't have 9 to 20 pound bass, but I think it would be great to get you prospective on those topics and anything else related to bass fishing.

Thanks, Ed. We do have a lot of +9 lb. fish in the north state but not too many over 13 or 14 lbs. If I ever get a chance to do some formal classes (something that I'd really like to do) we would definitely put them on DVDs. I have some great ideas with the class and I've talked to some very good anglers about making the thing a success. It just always seems to get pushed back for another project. One day I'll surprise everyone and actually do some classes. With the Delta and Clear Lake here in the north state, we've got some very good anglers that could not only pick the fisheries apart but, also, we could have a lot of fun doing it (only a little bit of trash talk between us). Thanks for the message. Hope you catch a BIG one on your next trip.


Jul 8, 2008

My Bass Cat is listed for sale and I, (like you not so long ago) have decided to come back to the Ranger family. I want a Z-21 and have found several that are 2007/ with Yamaha or Mercury (250's) that are Pro-Staff boats and pretty good deals. The only down side is they are on the other side of the country so I posted on the NCBF for any Pro-Staff guy's ready to get a 2008 sometime soon to drop me a line. One reply said to contact you, apparently you don't just fish but put people in boats as well

Yes, you're right I did leave Ranger back in 1999 for a year and that sure seems like forever ago. I do hook a lot of guys up with boats. It's something that I just enjoy. I don't make a dime on it. Once I hook the buyer and seller up, I'm out of it. If I can help just let me know what you're looking for. I know this message is a little old and you've probably already bought your boat. Just keep me in mind for the next time or for any of your buddies. I can't guarantee that I can find you a boat but I usually know where there are a few good ones floating around. It is a buyer's market much more than a seller's right now. I think that holds the same with everything. Hope you catch a big one on your next trip!


Jun 15, 2008

Gary, What's your favorite type of top water bait? Spooks, poppers, frogs? And what is your favorite lake to fish top water on?

I have three topwater baits that I throw a lot. I throw several others, of course, but let's talk about three. Frogs. I love to throw frogs. I have caught frog fish on Lake Mead, Shasta, Oroville, the Delta, Clear Lake and many more places. I use it as an open water bait more so than bait fishing on top of the mats. River2Sea's and SnagProof's new bleeding series are my favorites. My best frog place? Dang, dude that's hard. I have won on the Delta and Clear Lake. That's a tough choice. Did I also say that I won on Lake Shasta catching them on floating debris pockets? The second would be a super spook. I love this bait and I throw it everywhere I go. It has a different action than the sammy. It's much less erratic. It's a confidence deal with me. I catch them on the sammy but I tend to like the spook a little better. It works everywhere. The last is actually a bit of a secret to many anglers. It's the Lucky Craft gun fish. This bait actually spits a little and walks side to side like a spook. The guys that throw this bait keep it very quiet. It is a go-to bait for me almost everywhere. It has a unique action and the fish are not conditioned to it. The bait is made in two sizes. Both are awesome. I tend to throw the gun fish 95 a little more. Sorry guys. I know this probably didn't make a few of you very happy. I've got to give up a few secrets on these questions. I tried to muddy the water by naming three. If I'd only named one it would have been the gun fish. This bait's money.


Jun 12, 2008

Hello Gary, I keep reading alot about swim baits and how they catch large bass. It sounds like when you are fishing swim baits that you don't catch alot of bass, but the ones you do catch are big ones.Do you throw them very much and how successful are they for you? What time of the year do they work the best. Which brand of swim bait would you use, the size, and color pattern for fishing on Oroville or Shasta? Thanks.

I do fish a lot of swimbaits. I've never caught as many big fish consistently since I started using them. I also have had more 100+ place finishes since I've been hooked with the swimbait bug. I'm not alone in this. Now, to explain that a little. Swimbaits catch big fish, period. They catch big fish more consistently than any bait that has ever come along. Swimbait fishing is almost an addiction. There are lots of great baits out there. For Shasta and Oroville, I think three baits stand out the most, Huddleston trout, Ospreys and a hard bait made by Lucky Craft. In the Huddleston, my favorite ROF's (rate of fall) are the 5 and 12. My favorite is the eight-inch bait but that six-inch catches a lot of fish and sure is a cool looking bait. It is one of the best baits that has ever been made. The Osprey has always been a great shallow water swimbait for me. There are lots of guys who count them down and fish them but, for me, I usually fish it shallow. I've caught numerous big fish on these baits. In the last year, they've come out with the six-inch tournament talon. The bait is unbelievable. It's very durable and one that I've always got with me. I haven't really talked about colors in either of these baits but it's usually something trout or ghost trout colored. The last is the Lucky Craft hard bait. This new trout bait had a short production run and had some difficulties. It's coming back strong. I've been one of the guys lucky enough to do some testing. I would like to keep on testing and keep them out of the stores but that's not Lucky Craft's goal. The bait looks as much like a trout as a trout. Stand by, it probably won't be much longer before this bait is back in all the shops. The cool thing about this one is it doesn't tear up. Speaking of tearing up, that Mend-It glue flat works on your soft plastic baits. All soft plastic baits. Good luck with your swimbait fishing. It's really frustrating when they're following, slapping at the bait, rolling with the bait but not eating the bait. Sometimes, we just seem to have those days but the days they are eating it sure make up for it. The last part of your question was about time of year. It's a year-round bait. If I had to pick the worst time of year, it would be the summer. I love the winter and early spring but I know that many fishermen's favorite time of year is post-spawn. These baits are going to continue to get better and better. I sure wish they weren't so expensive. Good luck on your next swimbait trip.


Jun 10, 2008

What types of boats are allowed to fish tournaments? Lets say if somebody had a ski boat rigged with a trolling motor and live wells and other goods, would this work? I know they would be looked at like they were an alien space craft that had just landed, but for some this type of boat is all they have. For California tournaments does either of the two fishermen have to be a pro? Can Both of them be amateures?

There are always boat restrictions in every circuit. The restrictions are always length and horsepower ratings. The make and model and type of boat is not an issue. You have to have a functioning livewell and meet the safety requirements. These are the only restrictions. Both anglers can be amateurs in any team event. That's how we all got started. Good luck fishing.


May 13, 2008

Is it really true about a new Lucky Craft color and are they going to do it? A friend of mine got to look at a sample that the Lucky Craft rep had. He wasn't all that impressed until he took it out into the sunlight. In the store, it just didn't look very impressive, not enough color. But in the sunlight, he said it was awesome and will buy the first dozen that hits any store.

First off, I think I'm going to shoot the Lucky Craft rep (kidding, of course). This color is very special. Under artificial light in the store, it is so-so. This came from the Lucky Craft rep. I called and asked him before I answered this. I can tell you that in the sunlight this color is AWESOME. The thing that is really strange is that in the water, it looks even more different and BETTER. It's funny. I've had so many questions about this new color. What is it? Is it a clear water color? The answer is yes, it is a clear water color. The best clear water color right now is ghost minnow. This color is awesome and has always been a top seller. I think there is a need for a more transparent clear water color. I really believe THIS IS IT. I believe they're going to try to have this color at I-CAST. I've caught a lot of fish on it already. The biggest decision is what baits are they going to put this color on. I'll keep everyone posted.


May 6, 2008

I have a question on the 250HO E-TEC. I just rode in my friend's Z520 with a 250HO on the Columbia here in Washington. The boat was running 76 mph on GPS turning 5600 rpm with a Raker 25" prop. I am very interested in this setup. My question is I'm running a Ranger 521 with a 250 Mercury XS with a 27" Tempest. I'm running 74 mph but I'm turning 5900 rpm. I'm running a bigger prop turning it faster but going 2 mph slower. I know nothing about the Evinrudes and my friend just wants to go fast and doesn't understand a 25" prop vs. a 35" prop so he is no help. What gives? I'm very interested in this setup.

Well, that's a really easy one. When Evinrude designed this engine they needed to make a much stronger lower unit. In doing so, they changed the gear ratio which enables you to run smaller props and still generate a lot of speed. The 25" Raker is a great prop for that setup but most of us are turning a 24" Raker instead. It gives you a much faster hole shot, seems to accelerate a lot faster and overall, it's a better prop for this setup. It's just gear ratios. If I can help set you up with a dealer, let me know.


Apr 28, 2008

I'm looking for a late model Ranger or Triton. A friend of mine said you hooked him up with a seller last year. He said you always know where some boats are. I hate to pay new boat price when I can save $10,000 or more.

I do usually know where there are a bunch of boats for sale. I know of about a half dozen right now including two of my own. I also know of a steal on a '03 522. You are in luck because the used boat market right now kind of sucks. I know I can hook you up. Please do not contact me at Ask Gary but at my personal address dobynsga@comcast.net. Have a great day!


Apr 7, 2008

Just wanted to get your take on Buying used boats. I will be in the market in about two or three months. I wanted to start doing some home work on this. A friend of mine told me he had talked to you in the past about the same thing, and you were more than helpful. My price range will be around 20k to 25k. I'm very open to any ideas or suggestions. This will be my first bass boat, and I will be taking my son who is 3 years old out in this boat. Knowing that you had kids would you ever consider a single counsel boat, or is that plain dumb. Another question is how important w-would you rank having good electronics. I do plan on fishing some tournaments, maybe about 8-10 a year. What size boat? is bigger better? What year would you say? 2000 or newer? And I know what motor you will say EVINRUDE of course! How do you feel about Mercury?

First off, I just got this message as I never open them before I get to them. I hope you purchased your boat and all is well. These are great questions that I'm going to answer anyway.

I like 20' boats as they handle the bigger water and it will give you plenty of room for your kids and their friends. 18' boats are great. I ran a lot of them. I like 20' boats a lot better and they're also a lot easier to re-sell. This is provided of course that you have the parking room for them.

I like single console boats for fishing. The cool thing is with a 20' boat you have plenty of room for a second console. I will never forget my kid always laying in the floor to stay out of the wind on the cold days. Heck, I was jealous. Even with a console, that was a lot better place to be.

On electronics, I have become a huge fan of the new Humminbirds. Johnson Outdoors has really turned that product line around. They are rapidly taking over. I also think MinnKota trolling motors are the best way to go. I feel that they are just superior products. The good thing about these is you can always put them on later. I wouldn't make the decision not to buy a boat based on something like this.

Of course I like Evinrude motors. I run them and never have any problems. If you're a Mercury fan, they are also awesome engines. They made some good upgrades with the ProXS series. Prior to purchasing a used boat, I think it would be wise to spend $100 or so and have a dealer give the engine a once over and do a readout on the hours and the hour history. This can tell you a lot on how the boat was run and taken care of. I hope by now that you've made your purchase. I still do hook up lots of buyers. If I can help, please shoot me an e-mail through www.westernbass.com with a pm. Please do not do it under Ask Gary. I may not see it for a year with the backlog of questions and the way I open them first come, first answered.

Thanks for the great question.


Apr 1, 2008

I hear we have a real winner in Armando Luzuriaga, I hear he's one of the best there is in the entire world, I have attended mostly all of his seminars, he does a wonderful job teaching the people that are really interested in learning how to fish....not just fish but F I S H.. I have personally seen him in action in the Delta, Clear Lake, Anderson, there is no stopping him.....So tell me Gary what do you know about Mando that I don't other than being a great fisherman. I caught his radio broadcast as well as his tv appearance...I was in Clear Lake when he won the bass boat a few years back as well.

Armando is one of the best fishermen that I've ever fished with. He enjoys teaching people almost as much as he likes to fish. Sometimes he's a little quiet and I'll pick on him. He is quick witted and I usually pay the price. He is also one of my very valuable pro staff members for Dobyns Rods. His e-mail address is frogdog67@yahoo.com . Give him a yell. Say something mean to him from me. Thanks for the question.


Mar 29, 2008

I have heard you speak about the new Zillion reels by Daiwa so I picked up one of the 7.1:1 version.The reel is definitely smooth but with a load on it I hear a high pitched humming sound on the retrieve. I wonder if this is normal for this reel or if I have a defective one. I have not purchased the 6.3:1 to try it out to see if the sound is inherent with the higher speed 7.1:1 version. I look forward to your thoughts.

Sorry, it sounds like you got a bad one. I still believe the Zillion is the best casting reel that I've ever used. Please send it in for repair. Daiwa will take care of you. I haven't heard of this but that's what good customer service is for. Sorry for your problems. If I can help, please let me know.


Mar 24, 2008

I’ve tried everywhere to find Picasso Shaky Heads. I can not find them on any web site or tackle shop. Can you advise?

I'm sure there are a lot of other sites but I just came from the Bassmasters Classic with the www.tacklewarehouse.com boys. They have an excellent site. Look under the Picasso Shake Down. They are the best that I've used. Thanks.


Mar 19, 2008

Does braided line affect bass on the Delta?

Good question. If at all possible, I use PowerPro on the Delta. Most of my rods I rig with PowerPro. Sometimes, when you get into those really clear situations with a senko or a worm, I think you will get more bites with mono or fluorocarbon. With the weed growth, the water has been a lot clearer the last few years. The weeds really filter the water out. We have had some of the weeds being killed out in areas and we may start seeing a little dingier water again. If so, I'm all for braid. Braid cuts through the grass, has no stretch and you have a lot more control over your fish. I like it.


Mar 15, 2008

When fishing Lake Oroville do you just go threw fish to get your best limit or do you change tactics to up size?

It's much easier to fish reaction baits for better quality in Oroville. The other way is to have a good school of fish located and then maybe you do catch them all on worms and jigs. I have had some great number days that I've culled to good limits but many times you'll catch a lot of the same size fish in one area. You have to be prepared to move around on Oroville. If you get into a bunch of schooly size smaller fish, you have to get out of there. The next school may all be two-pounders. The old sayings of "Bigger baits for bigger fish" and "Reaction baits for bigger fish" are probably never more true than on Oroville. I hope Oroville gets better soon because fishing has been really tough lately. Good luck.


Mar 13, 2008

In the cold months, what baits drive the fish nuts and where are they at?

I'm going to say that the cold months are December - February. It's cold, their metabolism has slowed down and nothing totally drives them nuts. At times, a slow worked jerkbait will pay big dividends but, day in and day out, I would say one of several colors of RoboWorms and a couple of different colors of Yamamoto hula grubs on a football head would be your best choices. My colors are usually browns or purples at that time of year. A great place to look for them is longer major points with deep water close. The good thing is they school a lot this time of year so when you find them, you've got them. March is usually a lot more fun. They are moving, it's pre-spawn and the bite is hot. See you on the water.


Mar 10, 2008

I told my partner that I felt confortable and could catch more bass in the delta than I probably could in a lake like Millerton and he says it is a proven fact that that's not true, that the lakes would be better to catch more fish. I think he's wrong.

That is a very tough question. On many of our spotted bass lakes you can catch 100 fish per day. Most of the time in the summer, you can do the same at Clear Lake. I would have to give the nod to the lakes for numbers. There are still a lot of variables here. It's an entirely different question when it comes to quality. Most of the time, the Delta will beat the lakes. Still thinking on this, I've never run around on the Delta throwing light line and a dropshot. Like I said, this is a very tough question. Call it a tie. You both lose and I'll take two diet Pepsi. That's my way of walking a line that I don't know which way to step over. Good luck fishing.


Mar 7, 2008

How do I go about checking these Dobyns Rods out to buy one?

We have dealers scattered all over the place. We're adding dealers every day. We also sell through several online shops. You can check the rods out at www.dobynsrods.com. We are going to be making website changes. Thanks for your question.


Mar 5, 2008

I have been bass fishing for around 25 years and fish tournaments competitively and I am wondering how do I go about getting sponsors in my area? What do I need to do to find sponsors? Any tips?

That's a tough question. Sponsorships aren't what a lot of fishermen think they are. Many guys think they do well in a tournament or two and you get sponsors crawling all over you paying you a bunch of cash. This simply never happens. If you're going to do it on your fishing, you had better be KVD. Another way is to have salesmanship which means working shows and moving product. Even then, many times you'll need an angler to open the door for you to even get your foot in. There are many anglers looking for a few sponsor slots. It is a tough game. Don't let me discourage you. There are new guys getting sponsors every day. I just want you to know it is a tough deal. Good luck.


Mar 3, 2008

What does the skirt represent on spinner baits and jigs? Also a football head jighead, whats it supposed to be? Part of the bait or the lake bottom? I’m speaking of uncoated lead including bullet weights. Should I paint them to look like the plastic I’m using or leave them lead “silver” uncoated? Or to look like the “earth”?

I like to paint my jigheads for a color match. I use powder paint. It seems to be the best. A jighead has a lot of lead showing and I just think it looks more natural. It probably doesn't matter as much but it's a confidence booster for me. I like my weights painted also which is not a problem when I'm using Tru-Tungsten weights. I don't use hardly any lead worm weights any longer but with lead, I still like my bullet weights to be painted to match the bait color. It's still confidence. I've caught a lot of fish on plain lead weights. I don't paint dartheads most of the time. It's a small amount of weight and, heck, I lose them so fast anyway. As far as the skirt material on jigs, it's just to add bulk that makes a body to imitate a crawdad. The material also moves in the water and provides an "action". On spinnerbaits, you get a lot of movement out of the skirt material and there are lots of different ideas on what that skirt material is supposed to represent. It could be a fish chasing minnows (the minnows being the blades). It could also be just another bait fish with the blades. It could also be all one big bait fish and I'm sure there are other ideas. A spinnerbait is a reaction bait. The bait is moving along. They have to make a decision on whether they want to get it or not. The bulk of the skirt draws most of the strikes, however, those spotted bass are really good at grabbing blades. Either way, it's a great bait. Good luck fishing.


Feb 28, 2008

I heard at the East/West Championship that in some of the matches the anglers didn't like each other. How was it between you and your match?

The problem is FLW wanted to build a big hype of East vs. West. A few anglers have way too big a mouth and start running it before they engage their brains. I really only know of one match up that was not good. Another didn't turn out well because both anglers caught them good so there was some resentment there. Unfortunately, the western guys made a much bigger deal out of this than the eastern guys. I'm lucky enough to know many of the eastern guys as well. They are great fishermen just like the group that represented the west. The east worked together better than the west did. We did have a few more egos there.

As far as my match up, it was very good. I never looked at it like I had to beat Kevin Bishop. I wasn't doing a very good job of beating the fish. I'm actually rooting for Kevin as he was the angler that beat me. He actually was pretty funny and told of walking into a tackle shop and there was a huge picture of me on my rod banner. He said it was pretty intimidating. With our match up, I was about twice his size, maybe a little more, and they played up the David and Goliath pretty well. He walked onstage swinging a sling. It was funny. I'm rooting for the west of course but if an eastern guy wins it, I hope it's Kevin. I'll be at the next one and I'll fish better.


Feb 11, 2008

What the hell is wrong with Oroville? We have two good years and now its back to 9 pounds to win. Will it get better in the spring?

That's a million dollar question. I agree. Something isn't right with Oroville. For your info, I spoke with Fish and Game and they checked the lake out this fall. Their report was we had some low water fungus on some of our fish, not a big deal. If you will check back on the forum, we had pretty lengthy discussions and Fish and Game participated. I hope the better fish start showing up in the spring like they did two years ago. We know the weights will go up in the spring as always but I want to see some of those five and six pound spotted bass showing up regularly like they were. All we can do is wait and see. I will say this is the worst fall fishing year that we've had since spotted bass have been introduced. I hope the spring gets a heck of a lot better than this fall was. Thanks.


Feb 5, 2008

What is your favorite jerk bait? What are your favorite two colors? Be honest please.

Honest always. This is the easiest question that I'll ever answer. Staycee 90 in ghost minnow or chartreuse shad. These are two can't miss baits that I throw by far more than everything else put together. However, I am working a couple of new colors for Lucky Craft. Stay tuned.


Feb 1, 2008

Okay whats up with Shasta and spinnerbait fish? I move away from Redding 8 years ago and used to fish mostly spinnerbaits. Now I finally get to move home and spinnerbait fishing sucks. I watched you win the West Coast Bass Classic on Shasta tossing a blade in the Pitt River. Can you still catch there on spinnerbaits?

You're right. Spinnerbait fishing just isn't like it used to be on Shasta. That was my go-to bait year round and I got to win a lot of tournaments on it. Now, you can catch blade fish but it's been awhile since I caught big ones and a spinnerbait has been a player in a tournament. A couple of years ago I did have one event that was good with a spinnerbait. It was spring and we had dirty water. The old days of just running down rock walls catching 3 and 4 pounders on a spinnerbait just don't happen anymore. Look at my tournament finishes the last several years. They sure aren't eating a spinnerbait like they used to. Swimbaits rule now at Shasta. I'm sure we will still have good spinnerbait fishing once in a while but those good ol' days of catching 100+ a day, and good ones, I think are gone. If you get it figured out otherwise, be sure and let me know. I still look for that spinnerbait bite and those good ol' days. Glad you're back home.


Jan 29, 2008

Hi Gary, What does the skirt represent on spinner baits and jigs? Also for example a football head jighead, what does it supposed to be? Part of the bait “animal” or the lake bottom? I’m speaking of uncoated lead including bullet weights. Should I paint them to look like the plastic I’m using or leave them lead “silver” uncoated?

The skirt on a spinnerbait and a jig pulses and gives it a life-like action whether it be bait fish on a spinnerbait or crawdad on a jig. You can actually replace your skirt on a spinnerbait with a tiny fluke or small bass assassin, and on your jig, you can replace it with Yamamoto super grub or a number of different crawdad baits.

Do you need to paint your heads? This is a total confidence thing. I always paint my jigheads, mostly brown. As far as my worm weights or dartheads, many times I don't. I prefer having them painted. I just lose so many dartheads that sometimes I don't paint them. I think if they're painted it just blends in more naturally with the bait and it looks better. Therefore, I have more confidence that I'm going to get more bites on it. If you're using tungsten, all of Tru-Tungsten's weights are painted and they will not chip off. If I'm throwing a bait colored, hologram shad Robo worm, I don't care if my darthead is the natural lead color. It just blends in. Nothing beats confidence when you're fishing. I like my baits to look as natural as possible because I believe that I will get more bites. I hope this helps a little and that I haven't gotten you totally confused. Thanks. Hope you catch a big one on your next trip.


Jan 25, 2008

Hey Gary, I know you've won a bunch of boats, my question is how do you split the boat with your winning partner? Do you sell the boat/certificate and split the money? Also, do you have to pay taxes on the value of the boat? If so, about what percentage do you have to pay? I appreciate your answer, although I haven't won a boat yet, my partners and I have won a couple of Police Olympics tournaments. I met you at the one at Folsom a couple of years ago. Thanks in advance.

I've never had this problem as the only time I won a team TOC, they were giving away two boats to the winners. We each got one. That was pretty cool in the old days. Friends of mine have had this problem many times. In most cases, they simply sold the boat and split the money. Two buddies of mine and one of them wanted it. He simply cashed out his partner. You will have to pay taxes on your prize boat. You will be 1099'd at full retail value. This is not a big deal. There is a simple tax form that you fill out for the retail value and what you sold the boat at and there is an adjustment. This is very simple and not something to worry about. Its easy to sell a boat and take care of the taxes. The hardest part is winning the dang thing. I hope you have this problem very soon. Thanks.


Jan 22, 2008

Gary what rod would you recommend for drop shot at clear lake?

Well, I'm glad its been awhile since you asked this question. I now have Dobyns Rods up and running. For Clear Lake, I personally fish a 702C which is a 7', 2-power casting rod. That's my favorite Clear Lake drop shot rod. If you're looking for spinning, I would probably say a 702SF or a 702SXF. These are 7', 2-power spinning rods with either a fast or extra-fast action. This is personal preference. I personally like the SXF better but many anglers prefer the fast action, or SF, for drop shotting. I do have them in a 1-power or a 3-power, also. If you had asked about Shasta or Oroville, I would have said a 701 but I think a 1-power is too light for Clear Lake.


Jan 16, 2008

If you are getting a lot of follows right up to the boat on LC pointers, how do you adjust to make them commit. Is it maybe the size, color, or retreive?

Well, Tom, you hit it with size, color and retrieve. I think retrieve is the main one of the three. Change your retrieves; faster, slower, more erratic and see what happens. Maybe a deeper diving bait like the Staycee 90 will work better than your Pointer. Maybe a more subtly colored bait like ghost minnow, or maybe it's just the opposite and you need something bright. In truth, sometimes you never do find a retrieve or color that they will eat and not follow. Most of the time you can figure out how to catch them but I will forever remember a tournament on Shasta where I had a large school of big smallies that would follow the baits and never commit. A fellow angler, Gary O., was on the same exact fish doing the same exact thing and he never figured out how to catch them either. We both struggled through this event because we were on winning fish and could never figure out how to catch them. That was probably fifteen years ago and it still bugs me to this day. Most of the time, I think you can change size, color or retrieve and catch them. But that one tournament I will never forget when I couldn't catch them. Sometimes the fish win and this sucks. I think you'll agree. Good luck on your next trip.


Jan 8, 2008

When is the right time to throw braid in the delta or clear lake,also can I rip in deep water with braid? Will it sink faster than mono?

I personally don't rip with braided line. I do fish a ton of PowerPro but I just don't use it for jerkbaits. Some people do. It is reaction bait fishing and you can get away with the smaller pound tests of braid. As far as cranking and getting your baits to the deeper depths, www.tackletour.com actually did a study with the different lines of mono and braid. The thing that was really weird was the 30lb. test braid actually tested out to get the baits to run the deepest. I don't understand how this happen. Why didn't 20lb. test run deeper than 30lb. and so on? They did a complete test on this and I'm sure it's archived on their website.

Anyway, I've gotten away from your question. I just don't rip with braid. Good luck fishing!


Jan 4, 2008

I fish Shasta and am wondering the best way to rig Basstrix swimbaits?

I find the best way to rig the Basstrix or Money Minnow style swimbaits is with a Revenge Lures head. Ray from Revenge has designed the most awesome swimbait head that I've ever seen. The best way to rig it is to put a small drop of crazy glue on the front of the swimbait and gluing it to the Revenge head. This works very, very well and looks totally awesome. I'm not sure on the availability of the Revenge heads. I know that Ray has them and is selling them to the shops. My favorite sizes are usually between a 1/4- and 1/2-oz. Good luck at Shasta!


Jan 2, 2008

Heard you were back with Lucky Craft. What happened, you get tired of buying Staycees? I know the answer to that. Are you going to help with some new lures? That is the word on the streets, or should I say lakes.

Yes, I am back with Lucky Craft. I'm very happy to be back and, yes, Jim, I'm tired of buying Staycees. The Staycee 90 has always been my number one jerkbait and I've always said so. The truth is I am going to try to work on some new colors and bait ideas for Lucky Craft. I'm very excited about this opportunity. As for Lucky Craft, a bait to look for in the future is their new real skin trout bait. It will be available soon. You will not believe it. Thanks for the question, Jim. See you at the shows soon.


Dec 17, 2007

I'm looking for the best livewell additive. Do they work? Who makes the best one?

That is a great question. I believe one product stands out above all others and that is PLEASE RELEASE ME. It's made by Sure-Life Laboratories. To the best of my knowledge, they are the oldest. Please Release Me calms your catch, replaces slime coats and helps heal hook wounds. This product really helps with bleeding or deep-hooked bass. I know a few anglers that actually put Please Release Me directly onto the bleeding area in powder form and swear this saves their fish, even very bad bleeders. I think it is by far the best product to help save your catch. Please check out their website, www.sure-life.com.

Thanks for the question.


Dec 10, 2007

I am going to be at Oroville around the middle of March. Can you give me any suggestions on what to do to get some quality bass??

I was at the question and answer session at the show in San Mateo last week and really enjoyed your input as well as all the other Pros. I was reminded of my youth when you talked about your youth and eating everything you caught. I spent my youth in a small Nothern Ca town and would fish the little creeks with my Dad, (a willow or maple branch and a piece of mono was my rig), never had a store bought pole until I moved away from home. Catch and release now.

Gosh, Bob, I get so many questions and I just answer them in the order that I get them. Therefore, I'm a long ways behind but, heck, March is coming up in a couple of months.

March is a great month on Oroville. Great spinnerbait and jerkbait month. It's probably the best time of year for a swimbait and the other bait on that lake that always seems to get better bites at that time of the year is a senko. Color doesn't seem to be a big deal. I throw a lot of green pumpkin myself. Jig fishing is also very popular in March but I think I can get better bites on reaction baits.

Speaking of the ISE roundtable questions, I had a good time with this also. It sounds like you were a lot like me. We kept what we caught and flat didn't know any better. Thanks to tournament fishing, that has opened all of our eyes about catch and release. Hope you have a great day.


Dec 6, 2007

I am excited to hear your new line of rods will be released soon. I, have become a big fan of your fishing, and try to emulate your ripping style. Unfortunately, my technique is a work in progress. I am waiting to buy one of your Extreme rods, but I need some guidance. First, I have a G Loomis IMX 843 which I use for worms, and a G Loomis CBR 845 for ripping. I would like to purchase one of your rods for either spinner baits or top water. Which rod would you recommend? Or would you suggest using my IMX 843 for top water or another type of bait, and buy your rod for worms? I feel, I don’t always get a good recommendation from my local tackle stores. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

You have two great rods in the 843 and CBR 845. When I was with Loomis those were two of my favorites. I'm glad you asked about spinnerbait and topwater rods. That is a very easy question. I'm making a 733C and a 734C that are awesome for both of these techniques. They are two of my most versatile rods. I use them more than anything else. They are great carolina rig rods and senko rods. I throw almost all of my topwaters on them. I also throw all of my Basstrix and Money minnow baits on them. Even though they're not a first choice for a jig rod, I fish a lot of jigs on them when I'm going with someone else and I want to keep my rod count down. Both of these rods are just very versatile.

Thanks for asking. Have a great day


Dec 6, 2007

I was wondering about fishing line. What would be the best ,and what weight would I use for a senko, in water with a lot of branches? These lakes I fish are shallow. Any good advice will help, pretty new to the game.

That's a good question. Larger lines will slow the fall of a senko, therefore, changing its action. You said your lakes are shallow with a lot of cover. Unless, they are extremely clear, I would use PowerPro in 30lb. or higher line test rating. If the water is very clear, try CXX P-Line in 12lb.-15lb. test. I like 12lb. better myself. I think you get more action but you did mention shallow so it probably isn't a big deal. You never asked about hooks but be sure and use a hook that is stout enough to be able to pull the fish from cover. I recommend a superline EWG Gamakatsu hook. Sounds like a great place to fish. Shallow water with lots of branches sounds like a challenge. Good luck.


Nov 30, 2007

Can you recommend a good swim bait for Oroville? Color, type and size. I'd appreciate it.

The best swimbait on Oroville is the Basstrix or Money minnow. The baits are very similar but I like the Money minnow better. I like the action better and it's also a more durable bait. You can catch a lot more fish on one bait than you can on a Basstrix. The Money minnow is also much easier to find than the Basstrix. Oroville Outdoors is the biggest Basstrix supplier but they are usually out, also. As far as size and colors, 6" and smaller baits are the best at Oroville. I like the more transparent colors like hologram shad. Good luck fishing.


Nov 24, 2007

Are you going to retire from tournament fishing now? When are you going to come to Don Pedro and throw swimbaits?

I'll never retire from tournament fishing. What the heck else would I do for competition? I'm getting a little old and a lot fat and that fits right in with tournament fishing. Heck, look at Dee Thomas and he's still going strong. Sorry, Dee! I owed you that one.

As far as when am I coming to Pedro? Pretty darn soon. I have this fellow named Bub Tosh that threw out the recent challenge of who was going to beat who at Clear Lake. Don't ask me how Bub came up with this but on Ultimate Bass radio, he made the challenge and the loser had to wax something. He was thinking the butt area. Well, he lost and I let him off the hook so he owes me BIG time. Bub is one of the best at catching big bass out of Pedro on swimbaits. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a trophy fish. I guarantee that you'll have a great time with Bub. The guy is not only a great fisherman but he should be doing stand up comedy in Hollywood. Anyone seeing Bub, ask him about his wax job. Good luck fishing. I'll be sure and stop by to see you Jigs.


Nov 20, 2007

Gary, I have tackle everywhere my garage is full and so is my boat. How does a guy make sure he is organized and know where to find that right lure at the right time? How can you keep track of all the stuff?

You have got to be a prankster that has seen my tackle organization. It basically doesn't exist. I have a very large garage with cabinets, uppers and lowers, and pegboard everywhere and my tackle area looks like a tornado has been in there for a few hours. Who in the heck wants to clean up a garage when they can go fishing? I've got a great idea for you. Why don't we hire some other tackle junkies and have them clean up both yours and mine and make them a heck of a deal? I wish I was more organized but I'd rather go fishing. By the way, this question made my wife's day.


Nov 14, 2007

I just went through a nightmare with my insurance company. Is one company better than another? I need to get my boat fixed and you once recommended a fiberglass shop. Can I get that number?

There is a difference between insurance companies, both in what they cover and their customer service. I would recommend that you give Gayla a call at Sawyer and Cooke. The number is 800-655-2814. They take awesome care of their customers and their claims.

As far as where to take your boat for fiberglass repairs, take it to Bragg's Marine in Anderson, CA. Bob is the best in the business and a really, really nice guy. Once you work with him I promise you and all of your buddies will never go anywhere else. Bob's number is 530-244-2545.

I hope things work out well for you.


Oct 25, 2007

I am a big fan of rip baits as you are, my questions is, do you use snaps or do you tie the line on straight to the lure?

I tie to a split ring only. The split ring gives a bait more action than tying directly to the bait. I used to use cross lock snaps but too many times on a hard strike the snap opened and I lost the fish and my bait. It only takes a few extra seconds to re-tie the bait rather than changing with a snap. A really good split ring style is the oblong one that comes on LuckyCraft and is available through Bass Pro Shops. I like these because you cannot tie your line into the split.

Good luck with your jerkbaits.


Oct 22, 2007

Hi Gary, I have been bass fishing for about 50 years. Started out in Tennessee and the Mississippi river bottoms. I've fished all over both sides of the country - Fla, Miss, Tenn, Ca, and Oregon (yeah there's some awesome Bassin on Crain Prairie Res). Caught my fair share of 5-7 pounders, but finally decided I wanted to stick some really big fish (10+) so I actually moved my family to the Bay Area so I could fish the Delta and local EBMUD reservoirs. I got into the hunt big time on San Pablo Res and gradually got the lake sorta figured out. In a 3 year period I went from a 7-11 to 17-13 with 3 over 16 pounds. Then the lake died. Lot's of reasons,but it just died in 2004. Now that I've caught some really big Bass (See TrophyBassOnly top tent list) I just can't seem to get motivated about catching a bunch of dinks ( I'm not trying to be arrogant) but fact of the matter is I haven't been fishing in almost 5 months, and when ever I think of something interesting to do I see myself winching on another 16+. I'm in the dumps, what do I do now?

Wow, Bob. It sounds like trophy hunting is in your blood and the only thing that really gets you going. You aren't the only one. There are quite a few guys that live only to catch trophies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You're going to spend a lot of days not catching much but that's the life of trophy hunting. Just for your info, the same thing happens to tournament bass fishermen. Many tournament anglers live to fish tournaments or practice for tournaments. It's hard for them to get excited about just going fishing with nothing on the line. Many tournament anglers love the hunt for the right fish for the upcoming tournament. Many anglers get super excited catching a 7- or 8lb. fish in a tournament but it's just not a big deal when fun fishing. Trophy hunters and some tournament fishermen need thrill or angle to really get them going. There's really nothing wrong with this and, by the way, I'm jealous of your big fish because I've never been lucky enough to boat one that size.

Good luck on your next one.


Oct 15, 2007

My partner and I fish Clear Lake team tournaments almost exclusively. We have got on some good bites in the hot summer months and came in at the middle of the pack. We have tried some swim baits and other large baits with no success so far. Can you help us get a couple kickers or a whole limit of quality fish?

Another problem we have is in the winter and spring tournaments. It is amazing to us how there is always a few teams that have a huge 30lb plus limit and we cant catch anything. Can you give us some tips on winter patterns to try also. How do you catch big limits on Clear Lake this time of year?

PS: It is really cool you do this Q & A thank you

Summer fishing at Clear Lake is a lot of fun. You catch lots of fish but you're asking how to catch bigger fish. A couple of different ways are structure, but you have to find the structure holding the right fish. Another way is to throw big baits like swimbaits. And last, but not least, is topwater. The frog bite gets very good and so does the super spook bite. It still requires finding the right school of fish or the area holding bigger fish.

As far as the winter and spring goes, it is all about finding the right school of big ones. In the winter and spring, I'm talking pre-spawn. There are huge schools of big ones. If you're not on one of these, you are going to get beat. If you're on one of these, it's amazing how easy fishing can be. It can happen at either end of the lake, shallow or deep. There are some move-up areas that they always pop-up in the spring, like Rodman's or the north trailer park. It just takes some time to find the right bunch of fish. Clear Lake and team fishing are a lot like Oroville, Shasta and our other bodies of water. There are some local teams that don't travel much, pre-fish like crazy prior to an event, already know the movements of the fish very well and are going to be tough as nails to beat. This is team fishing today with all the circuits throwing tournaments in divisions with one or two lakes. Clear Lake is probably our best fishery in the west and probably within the top five in the nation. You're lucky to get to spend so much time on such an awesome fishery.

Good luck. I hope you win your next one.


Oct 11, 2007

Hi Gary, Could you fill me in on how to properly use a crankbait?

Tough question. There are lots of different crankbaits that run at different depths and have different actions. Some have big diving lips, some have small square lips and some are lipless. Some work very well in the grass, some work good burning them back on a fast retrieve and some are great digging very slowly on deep ledges. There are just too many variables with how to crank.

A few simple ones: Lipless rattle baits like LuckyCraft's LV500 are great in the grass. You can work them fast or slow and they make a great shallow water crankbait. A DD22 is a great deep diving crankbait for ledges or submerged structure. A Speed Trap is a great shallow water, square billed crankbait. Line diameter is a key to cranking. A small diameter line will run deeper. I use a lot of 10lb. test P-Line. I also use a lot of PowerPro when cranking around grass. You can get more bites on a crankbait when you're banging it around structure. A huge plus is to always try to upsize your hooks from the factory's by one size and always use a Gamakatsu round bend treble. They will definitely put more fish in the boat for you.

Good luck with all your new cranks.


Oct 8, 2007

Gary, Heading to Berryessa this weekend and would like to throw swim baits. Do you have any suggestions for a rookie swim bait thrower? PS. I just bought a new swim bait rod so I am trying to not to get skunked.

Yes, probably the hottest swimbait on Berryessa is the Huddleston. Depending on how deep you're fishing use either a 5 or 12 rate of fall (ROF). Another one that catches a lot of fish over there is SPRO's BBZ. I like the matte finish the best but that's just my personal choice. Try to fish with a little wind on the water. This time of year I seem to do better early in the morning. I like the low light and before we start getting some boat pressure.

Good luck on your swimbait fishing! I hope you're ready to cast heavy baits a long ways for a few BIG bites.


Oct 2, 2007

I'm a thirty year old guy who just got into bass fishing a few years ago. The last couple years I've gotten a boat and started fishing team tournaments with my very supportive fiancee. We've gotten two 2nds, two 4ths, but a lot of time we blank. I can't think of anything more fullfilling and exciting in life then becoming a top competive angler. My home lake is a 1100 acres and is not a good fishery so its hard to learn on. Sometimes I feel defeated with the sport. I want more. I can't go 5 minutes without thinking about fishing. I'm thinking of fishing the Stren Series as a co angler. Maybe someday I'll be on the pro side. Gary is it to late for a guy like me? I've learned a lot in a short time thus far. Is it realistic to fish as an amature for 5 or 10 years and emerge as a credible pro?

Wow, it sounds like you have the tournament bass fishing bug. The fact that your better half is behind you in the sport is a huge plus.

Your age means nothing when it comes to catching bass. Actually, at 30 you've probably settled down a bit and will make a better fisherman. A couple of years fishing as an amateur or co-angler is a quick learning experience. You can quickly master techniques with the help of your pro draw partners. You can learn quickly on seasonal patterns and adjustments but nothing replaces the time in the front of the boat, making the decisions and taking your glory and hard knocks. I believe fishing amateur for a couple of years is a great deal but then it's time to move up. The more you fish, the more you can start working on those zeros or blanks. You will get much more versatile with different techniques and styles. The fact that you're getting some seconds and fourths is great and I'm betting it's with one or two techniques that you have the most confidence in. Good luck moving up. I know you can make it. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Worry about beating the fish and not the other anglers and you'll do fine. Look forward to seeing you at the next event. Good luck!


Sep 15, 2007

Hey Gary. How's it going? Curtis, Ed (my best friend and partner in the Duck Club) and I were thinking about doing an Argentina waterfowl hunt this summer. Maybe one of those trips Ron Brown's showin off at the sports shows? Curtis said he thought you went with Ron on one or more of his trips and it was quite a package deal and a trip to remember. Did you? Would be interested in what you thought about it and any other advice on what to do and NOT to do if we do go. Thanks.

First of all, with the great response to the Q & A section, I have just now got to this question. For that I apologize. I try to answer them as they come in.

Anyway, Argentina is an unbelievable hunter's paradise. Lots and lots of game, no other hunters, a very reasonably priced hunt and the townspeople line up and appreciate the game that you take. Nothing goes to waste and it's appreciated. It's a very safe country. You never feel out of place or concerned about your whereabouts. I would recommend it to anyone. I have been four times and am definitely going back this next year. I would be happy to help anyone interested in going and may even have a couple of openings with my group. Any questions on this, please contact me through a private message or pm on westernbass.com. Please do not contact me through this Q & A section as I answer the questions when I get to them. That is how I missed this one. Good luck fishing and hunting.


Sep 12, 2007

I bought a G Loomis IMX 843C rod about 3 months ago. I’m not sure I’m using it for the right applications. Currently I use it for senkos and robo worms, either wacky or Texas rigged. Is this rod suited for fishing senkos and robo worms or would it be better suited for other types of baits? I am also considering buying a CBR845, or if you would recommend another brand for jerk baits. Would I be wasting my money because both rods are suited for the same applications? Just a little confused.

A Loomis 843 is a great Senko rod but a little heavy for Robo worms unless you're fishing one of the big ribbon tails with a heavy weight. An 843 is a great lighter jig rod, Senko rod, can work as a spinnerbait rod and can actually be a versatile rod for many other techniques.

The CBR845 is a crankbait rod and it also works great for jerkbaits. These are the only uses that I really like a crankbait series for. They have a mod-fast action which means they bend and load farther into the mid-section of the rod. This really helps with treble hook lures and with the action on jerkbaits. Of course, I would recommend another brand for jerkbaits. How about a Dobyns Rod in a 705CB model? Hey, I can't miss such an easy plug. Good luck with your Loomis 843 and, hopefully, your Dobyns 705CB.


Sep 9, 2007

I fished out of your boat at the last FLW tournament at Shasta and had a blast. But what I noticed on yor boat is that you were able to run both graphs, and they were clear. I have a 135 and 480 on my Z20 and you cant run both at the same time. They work ok when only one is on but the second you turn the second one on for your non-boater they just start showing lines and garbage. Whats the secret?

There are a couple of things. Installation is a huge part. Grounding wires help. Good meters are a huge plus. If you're running Lowrance, look at investing in their backbone system. It's fairly new and I've never used it. With the new Humminbird meters that I've been running, I just don't seem to have problems. If you do have problems, contact your local boat dealer. They should be able to help. They have a lot of experience with interference and meters. Hope this helps a little and I hope we get to fish together again.


Sep 4, 2007

I was at Folsom yesterday and saw a lot of schooling bass on the fish finder but couldn't seem to catch them. I tried everything I could think of but still couldn't get one in the boat. What can I do to catch these fish?

Tough question. First of all, are you positive that they were bass? Folsom has a lot of carp, catfish, crappie and trout in the lake. I would say that my best fool-proof method for catching fish on a meter that don't seem to be very active is with a Robo worm. I would try a darthead, 1/8oz. to 3/16oz., depending on how deep they are and I would try a dropshot rig. If I couldn't catch them on a hologram shad, an ox-blood or warmouth, I'd go find someplace else to fish. The easiest way is to get right over top of them with your meter and drop straight down on top of them. Try shaking the bait pretty hard and, if that doesn't work, try letting it sit. These are the best ways that I know to catch tough biting fish on a meter.

Two other techniques that you might try are dropping a heavy jig, like 3/4 or 1oz., with a hula grub on it or you might try spooning. When they get lockjaw, they are tough to catch. Good luck.


Aug 30, 2007

What are the best split ring pliers to buy? I can't seem to find a high quality pair.

That one's easy. They are the split ring pliers from Texas Tackle. They're all surgical stainless steel. These things are durable. They don't rust and they can last forever. They're available at www.texastackle.com. I believe that Valley Rod and Gun stocks these, also. I was turned on to these by their rep. Any dealers that happen to be interested should contact Andy at 713-703-9208.


Aug 27, 2007

This is the first year that I'm going to the US Open. I remember in a seminar you once said you got into trouble with dehydration. What tips can you give me to get ready for this brutal event?

The first thing, obviously, is to drink lots of water. I've got to where I keep a gallon jug setting at my feet so it's a constant reminder. Drink even if you're not thirsty. Be sure and lather up with sunscreen. There's nothing like the sunburn you can get on Lake Mead. Dress in light colored, loose clothing.

The biggest tip I can give you is to get yourself a couple of Chilly Pads that are made by Frogg Toggs. I believe Gene at The Hook carries them. I'm not sure where else they're available. These things are unbelievable in hot weather. Be sure and get two because one is cooling off in the ice chest while you're wearing the other one. It's a pad that you can wrap around your neck. Trust me on this one. If you use one of these things on Lake Mead, you'll never be without them again. No, they're not a sponsor. It's just a great product that I use.

Good luck at the Open!


Aug 20, 2007

I'm a So Cal boy that has only spent about half a dozen days on the Delta. They were all in the last few summers and I caught fifty small fish a day dropshoting Roboworms around Franks. I am thinking about finally taking a spring trip to catch bigger fish. What areas should I fish and what areas should I avoid? What are the key baits? It is an intimidating place to us non-locals.

Well, the last few years Frank's Tract has been the hotspot. Lots of big fish have been caught dropshotting Robos and pitching Senkos around the tract and in the grass. That is still an area that I would tell you to fish. Also, look at Mildred and inside of Little Mandeville. Try throwing more topwater and swimbaits. I think this will help your size increase a lot. Also, there is a lot of floating hyacinth around. Use a 1oz. to 1 1/2oz. Tru-Tungsten punching weight rigged with a flippin' tube or a sweet beaver and punch right down through that hyacinth. These techniques will not get you as many bites as you're seeing with your Robo worms but your quality will definitely increase. Good luck on your next big sack.


Aug 17, 2007

I've been fishing club tournaments a few other higher profile team circuits over the past few years and I've faced an awkward situation in club fishing several times and was wondering what your advice would be. Basically, I've had a few non-boaters (who I'm competing with at the club level) ask me what I was using and if they could have one, when I caught a few good fish during our tournament. I could simply say, they can't have any, since we're competing but they could be offended by that and the rest of the day would be awkward. What would your reaction be in a similar situation?

Good question. I've always given my partners baits. I don't really see a problem with it. If they're fishing behind me and I fish over the top of a fish and they catch it, good for them. It sucks because obviously that fish was a biter and you either didn't make the right cast or the right presentation to catch him. Your partner caught him on your bait. Big deal. Maybe you can pick up a tip. Maybe he is fishing the bait differently than you are. Maybe he has an area that he will turn you on to since you were a good guy and gave him a bait. I strongly believe getting along with your partner in the boat will pay off big time for both of you.

On the negative side if the guy is being a pain in the butt, casting way in front of you, I might not feel the need to be such a nice guy. If at all possible, get along, talk and have a good time and more often than not, things will go your way. Remember you're competing against a lot more anglers out there than just the one in your boat. Also, if you don't beat the fish, you don't beat any of those other anglers. Good luck fishing.


Aug 14, 2007

This week I'm going out to fish the delta for the first time. I'll launch out of Pirates Lair and hit potato slough and then on to white slough, maybe Frank's if it's not too windy. What advice can you give an amateur, but improving bass angler hitting this part of the delta for the first time in the fall.

The Delta is a frustrating fishery. You've got grass, tides and lots of wind. It also is quite possibly the best fishery in the west. When I first started fishing the Delta, I stayed in the areas that you are talking about. White Slough, Potato Slough, the Mokelumne and a little bit in Frank's Tract. These are all outstanding areas even today. I think some of the biggest bass live in that White Slough area. Learn to fish these areas in high and low tide. There is so much water, you don't really have to go anywhere else. On higher water, the reaction fish seem to be some of the better bites. Be sure and flip any floating debris, hyacinth or outside grass with a little depth on it. The more you fish the Delta, the more you'll grow to like it. Get you a tide book and just start paying a little bit of attention to the tide. Hope you catch a big one.


Aug 7, 2007

Okay Gary, this should be an easy one for you. I am new to swimbait fishing and hardly ever throw them due to lack of knowledge/confidence in them. That being said, what rate of fall do like on a swimbait in terms of time of year? Thanks a ton! Hope to see you on the water sometime.

When you say rate of fall, I immediately think of Huddlestons. That is the swimbait that classifies ROF for rate of fall. On Shasta, my favorite is probably the twelve. I throw a few of all of them. I also throw Ospreys but as far as I know, they do not classify anything with ROF.

Another bait that works well on Shasta is SPRO's BBZ. I like the floater or the fast-fall the best. Jerry Rago also has some new four-jointed baits that are pretty awesome. The thing about Shasta and swimbaits is how fast that bite seems to go away. If you're throwing a swimbait when they're biting it, you will see some of the best spotted bass of your life. And just when you thought you have them all figured out, the next day you'll get lookers but no biters. Welcome to Lake Shasta and swimbaits. It's fun but it can drive you half nuts also. Good luck!


Jul 31, 2007

In your answer for question dated Aug 16, 2006 you wrote "In the fall, Top water and top water and top water". My Question is what color, size and kind of bait? How long do you throw the bait, just in the morning or all day? And what size line do you use and why?

If I remember right this was a spotted bass question and I said that regarding getting a big bite in the Fall. I will give you my thoughts on topwater, topwater, topwater....

My first choice is a walking bait like a Super Spook and my favorite colors are Okie shad, Bone Silver or one of the custom painted Rainbow Trout ones I steal from Corey at Sticky Graphics when he isn't looking. I am a bit different as I throw all my Spooks on 30 or 50 pound Power Pro Braid, I change all my hooks out to #3 Gamakatsu Round Bend Trebles with stronger split rings.

I will throw this bait in the fall from dawn to dark and sometimes that has cost me but you have to get the confidence that you will get the right bites sometime during the day and you usually will. Don't get caught with a kicker fish in the box and nobody to go wth him so you might need to have a 6" Robo on a darthead to fill your limit about 1:00. If you are in a team tournament let your partner fish for the limit and you fish for the kicker all day. Sounds easy but you will need Motrin at the end of the day.

Throw it all day!


Jul 24, 2007

What do you target after the spawn is done at Oroville??? All I seem to catch is rats and I cant find any size?

Usually after the spawn the lake is on the rise and the water is getting into the willow bushes and that is where some of the bigger spots will be hanging out. This year the water is already falling and never came close to getting full. This makes it a little tougher as the fish scatter out. My best advice is to cover water, you have to fish large areas and not be afraid to move off schools of smaller fish to search for schools of bigger fish. Spotted Bass have a tendency to group by size and often times you will find a "rat pack" of bigger fish.

Two things that may help you increase the size is throwing a topwater bait like a Super Spook or a Splash-it. With plastics I have really gotten away from the 4" Robo Worms and throw 6" or 7" Robo Worm on a dart heard. Don't be afraid to try a 5" Yamamoto Senko with a nail weight in the nose fished a little deeper rigged wacky style.

See you up there!


Jul 16, 2007

What advice can you give to anglers our west on obtaining solid sponsorship to fish the larger circuits?

The increased entry fees and expenses for these events have put many guys in search of sponsorships and help and believe me when I tell you it is pretty tough out there. There is a large number of anglers that have been waiting for this opportunity for years and many of them are already sponsored by many of the companies you may be inquiring to.

With the added possible exposure on television the FLW Series events offer you need to look outside of the fishing industry for companies that want to promote their products to anglers and outdoorsmen. Don't think that just because a guy has a wrapped boat, truck and logo'd sponsor shirt that he is getting a free ride, not many are.

Hope to see you out there!


Jul 13, 2007

Gary, I have been throwing flukes and am getting good bites and land the occasional fish . What can i do to increase my catch rate using a fluke type bait?

The Fluke is a great bait and has kinda been forgotten now that eveyone throws the Senko. First off I would start with your equipment. It is pretty tough to cast a fluke on a baitcaster but the only way I fish it. You need to rig it with at least a 4/0 or 5/0 Offset Roundbend Gamakatsu and that big hook is pretty tough to penetrate with 6lb test and medium spinning rod.

This is a good opportunity to promote one of my "Dobyns Rods" and my personal choice for this type of fishing is a 733C which is a 7'3" 3 power casting rod. The extra length and fast tip makes both casting and working the bait pretty easy. I would go up in my line at least 10 or 12lb mono or flouro line. I usually shy away from braid but there is that occasion in the Delta or Clear Lake. If a casting rod isn't an option for you move up to the 703SXF or a 704SF Dobyns spinning rod with the same line I use on the baitcaster. Both of these rods have a little more horsepower and will improve your hookups.

These changes should increase your hookup percentage. I really don't miss or lose many fish on a Fluke, I consider this bait fairly high percentage.

Good Luck fishing!


Jul 10, 2007

I am an avid small 16' boat fishermen that has to concentrate his efforts when fishing on the delta. In the summer months which tide do you find fish to be more active in the high sun (11:00-5:00)? do you find any part of the Delta to be more productive in the summer be it east,west,north,or south? also is it a good rule to run rocks in the mornin' and isolated tule banks/islands in the afternoon?

Summertime fishing to me on the Delta is topwater or flipping. That's just my style and the way I want to fish. I throw a lot of spooks in the morning, especially if I have higher water. Anytime that sun is high, I like to fish the grass. I want to frog them, and that is my first choice, but if that does not work I'll flip them. My favorite baits are a beaver or Senkos. My favorite area and tide in the summer is out west on low water throwing frogs. Franks Tract with Senkos and a drop shot rig is probably the winning place and pattern. You'll have plenty of company there. Good luck.


Jul 9, 2007

What would you consider the best method to fish bass on Lake Shasta in the fall and late summer? Also what arm of the lake do you consider the better place to fish I see people weigh in large fish consistently. I catch lots of fish but very few really good ones that put you in the money. Is it the way I fish (mostly worms and senko's) or is it where I fish?

Do you like to throw topwater because this is probably the best time of year for a big bite on a Super Spook, buzzbait or a popper. The Spook is my favorite but make sure you change out the hooks. I have been playing with three #3 Gamakatsu trebles on it and it seems to work pretty well. You will get less bites on these baits than your plastics but stick with them, you can't get biit if you aren't throwing them.

A swimbait can also be very good that time of year when the Trout start moving to the surface. My first choice would be a ROF 12 Trout colored Huddleston. I also catch quite a few on the Osprey 6" or 7" light Rainbow.

I usually won't venture very far out of the main lake area like the lower Sacramento arm basin, Mouth of the Pit arm and the mouth of Squaw Creek. That time of year the lake is usually falling pretty fast and the fish move to the outside areas like long points and island tops.


Jun 20, 2007

I am an avid small 16' boat fishermen that has to concentrate his efforts when fishing on the delta. In the summer months which tide do you find fish to be more active in the high sun (11:00-5:00)? do you find any part of the Delta to be more productive in the summer be it east,west,north,or south? also is it a good rule to run rocks in the mornin' and isolated tule banks/islands in the afternoon?

Summertime fishing to me on the Delta is topwater or flipping. That's just my style and the way I want to fish. I throw a lot of spooks in the morning, especially if I have higher water. Anytime that sun is high, I like to fish the grass. I want to frog them, and that is my first choice, but if that does not work I'll flip them. My favorite baits are a beaver or Senkos. My favorite area and tide in the summer is out west on low water throwing frogs. Franks Tract with Senkos and a drop shot rig is probably the winning place and pattern. You'll have plenty of company there. Good luck.


Jun 14, 2007

I'm heading to Clear lake this Saturday -Tuesday, any advice on what to throw?

Thanks for the question. I answer these as I get to them in order. The good thing is the Q&A is popular and successful. The bad news is your fishing trip is long over with. I sure hope you whacked them. I'm using your question just to let people know how I do the Q&As.

How about I answer the question and see how right I was on the bite? In August at Clear Lake, you will have a great early morning topwater bite. If you stay working shady areas and tules in the north end of the lake, the topwater bite could last all morning. You will have a great dock bite from mid-morning throughout the day. There will also be the most unbelievable structure bite on jigs all day. This is Clear Lake usually in July and August. How did I do?


Jun 12, 2007

Do you see yourself on the FLW or B.A.S.S. circuit any time soon? You have been tearing up the west for so long, it seems that you would be very competetive in the big leagues.

I don't ever see myself going back east. With FLW finally here in the west, we get some big time events. I really haven't been tearing anything up lately. With all of my sponsor commitments, shows and the new rod line, my fishing has been limited. Yes, I'm still cashing checks most of the time and even hitting the top 10 a fair amount but I'm sure not winning. This is funny because at the last Clear Lake event, I was too slow at abandoning my pattern and changing up. This was the first time that I know for a fact that not having the time on the water hurt me. I've always been the guy that was quick to change and never look back. In this tournament, I agonized over pulling the trigger and getting the hell out of there. Time on the water just makes it so much easier to make decisions and that is the backbone of tournament fishing. Decisions make or break you. Thanks for the question.


Jun 5, 2007

What's your opinion on the R2S baits alot of the hardbaits? I have had them get water in them and the jerkbaits would always sink and float but never suspend... also how do you like Dale's four bladed buzzbait compared to his one or two bladed baits?

R2S had some problems with their early hard baits. To the best of my knowledge, I think they have them fixed today. I know it's a pain but they will replace any problem baits.

As for Dale's buzzbait, I've never liked the four blade models. They let you run the bait very slowly but I just don't have the confidence that I'm going to catch as many or as big a fish on the four blade. The only way that I throw a four blade is to put an extra action into the bait by bouncing my rod tip. Good luck with your buzzbaits.


May 29, 2007

I met you this past January at the ISE in Sacramento. You mentioned that you were trying to put together a seminar that would be held in the Sacramento area, in which you would give us tips on how to catch fish in the local lakes. I hope you can put this together, because the majority of the articles in the various magazines seem to apply more to lakes in the midwest and south. Do these same techniques work out here?

Thanks for the question, Jan. I had all intentions of doing a series of classes this last spring. It's something that I've thought about doing for a while. I did some of the Bass Technique classes and really believe they can be done a lot better. The problem this year was trying to get my new line of rods kicked off, too many tournaments and certainly too many sports shows. I apologize.

I am once again seriously planning on starting some classes. I may try to do one this fall. I want to do them right. I want to make sure everyone really learns how to catch fish on our local waters. I'm sure I can do this and I will enjoy it a lot.

I'm serious enough about this class that I will even throw out some of my ideas. I want to charge for the class so it will be a win-win for me as well as attendees. I will talk my sponsors' products and you will receive some of it. The exact baits and colors that I use locally. I've already spoken to my sponsors and they are behind this 100%. I also am trying to figure out how to do this so that every participant walks out with a Dobyns Rod. Whatever I end up charging for the class, I hope to send you out with twice the amount in quality products that you're proud to own. I'm going to have a guarantee that if you don't feel that the class was well worth your time or will help you be a better fisherman, I will refund 100% of the fee. No questions asked and with absolutely no hard feelings. This is how I guide, also. I've just been too busy to guide lately. Will this class work? I would love to hear from anglers with both positives and negatives to help me make it a success.


May 21, 2007

When you are fishing in places like Oroville, clear lake or the delta and it’s the middle of summer... How and what do you do to deal with the extreme heat to make fishing enjoyable and to catch fish?

This one is a little easy. Oroville sucks in the summer. All you catch is a bunch of dinks and you have to put up with a pile of bozos in wakeboard boats. The only positive are the bikinis but we are talking fishing.

At the Delta, fishing usually isn't that good except for short periods of time on the right tides. In the summer, the wind on the Delta is brutal most of the time. It is great frog and topwater fishing.

Now Clear Lake. At Clear Lake in the summer, it seems that every fish in the lake goes to the bank or structure and eats everything in sight. You can catch a hundred fish a day, every day through the summer. It's no secret there will be tons of boats there to help you catch them. I don't think there is a better body of water that you can fish in the summer than Clear Lake. The downside is it is hot as hell. The water is usually full of algae, stinks and there is no way that I'm going to get in it. Bring lots of sunscreen, lots of liquids and a big hat. The fishing is so good that the heat won't be as big a factor. Get to Clear Lake this summer and have a ball!


May 16, 2007

I fish Lewiston lake for smallmouth a lot, mostly plastics. What do you do when you only catch small fish? Bigger bait? Move? Deeper water? I can catch 50 to 60 small fish a morning, but no large fish! Lewiston is a big lake and the fish are everywhere. I can't believe that all of the small fish are at one end of the lake. Hope you can solve my problem.

answer would be use bigger baits and I'm sure that this would work. Some bodies of water, like Oroville, never put out big strings of fish for years. If you could weigh 10 pounds a day, you would almost always win. There were a few big fish in the lake but not many. So to answer your question, on Oroville a few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to give you an answer that would have helped. Oroville has now gotten a lot healthier. Now I could say swimbaits, big ripbaits, larger worms and jigs would definitely produce better fish. I know this doesn't help you with Lewiston but it's just an example. Not knowing the lake, my pet answer would be to fish big baits shallow. When big fish move shallow, with the exception of spawning, something is going to be eaten. Hope this helps a little.


May 13, 2007

Dude, let me start off that you are the most awesome rip bait fisherman I can think of! Therefore, I wanted to ask you a question. This year I got hooked on rip baits and have been fishing them every time I'm out. I've had a lot of success using a 2 rip-pause-2 rip-pause retrieve with the Pointers and the Staysee. But I'd like to find out about any other retrieves you use. Any suggestions?

It's funny. I answered a couple of ripbait questions on forums today. Getting hooked on jerkbait fishing is almost a disease. Earlier today, I said, "If these rotten bass-turds hadn't of tagged me with BDO, I could have been the ripbait nut."

Now, as for your retrieves, I usually mix mine up a little more than 2 jerks and a pause. I never use more than 3 jerks before I pause the bait. I use 1, 2 or 3 jerks before the pause. If you get a cadence that's working well, stick with it. In truth, the pause is probably something to pay attention to as much or more than the jerks. Be sure to put a little slack back towards the bait on the pause. This will truly get the bait to stop in the water and not creep forward. The length of the pause is something you have to determine that day. A good bet is colder water, longer pause.

Clear Lake is the one body of water that the fish really like a long pause in the winter. What is a long pause to me? Five seconds is a long time to let a bait sit and do nothing. Glad to hear that you're obsessed with rippin'. It's an awful lot of fun.


May 10, 2007

A couple of years back you were at the Angler's Marine show and spoke about the Staysee 90. Would you please clarify a few things for me. You change out the hooks with Gamakatsu EWG #4 and you put two suspend dots on the bill just in front of the paint?

You're right. I put a couple of suspend dots under the bill and then change out the hooks to #4s. Lately, I've been throwing more round bends than EWGs. The EWG gives you a bigger bite but it's not nearly as strong as the round bend. I've bounced back and forth between the round bend and the EWG for years. Right now, my confidence is with round bends. Let me lose a couple of fish and the next time we talk, I might be throwing EWGs. In truth, both are awesome hooks and anytime you use the treble hooks, you're going to lose a few fish. Throwing jerkbaits is an awesome way to fish.


May 8, 2007

If you could pick only one snag proof lure for the delta in early August what lure would it be?

This must be a Snag Proof Open question. I would actually throw two different baits, the plain old Snag Proof frog that's been around forever and the Wiggle Wog. The Wiggle Wog looks like a tadpole and has great action. The hooking percentage isn't very good so you're going to have to change out the hooks. It's a surprisingly good bait. Good luck in the tourney!


May 1, 2007

Gary, talk to us about how you modify your ripbaits. Especially the lip and paint if you do so.

Wow. I throw lots of different ripbaits. I change the bills out on some of the old Rogues. It really helps with the action and the depths that this bait runs. I re-weight Staycees and Shad Raps and I have a few baits that I re-paint. I always change out the hooks and try to upsize to Gamakatsu round bend trebles. There are just too many things to go into about each bait. I'd be more than happy to answer any of your questions on ripbaits any time that we cross paths. Just too many things for a one fingered typist. I'm looking forward to talking Ripbaits!


Apr 26, 2007

Thanks for being a good sport. I don't know you personally well enough to give you a hard time but I do know the guys funning you pretty well. It takes a pretty confident guy to put up with that kind of abuse. We all admire and respect you. Keep up the good work!

You might as well give me a hard time, too. I have to be a good sport. With this bunch of yahoos, you don't dare show a weakness. I used to say that I gave as much as I got but I think I've been losing lately. These rotten computers are my weakness. It's all good. I've got some things planned for a couple of these bass-turds that have been giving me a bad time. Stay tuned.


Jul 23, 2004

We all know how limited we are with space for tackle on a boat. Especially if you are fishing as a non-boater and are basically limited to a single tackle bag. I've got a plano 3600 series tote that has preformed dividers for 18 slots. I am using it for jigs and plastic trailers. What size and color jigs and size and color trailers would you fill it with.

I keep my jig colors and trailers very, very basic. My jig colors are brown and purple, black brown and red in living rubber jigs. The trailers that I use are mostly Yamamoto twin tails in either green pumpkin or cinnamon with purple flake. I throw a lot of hula grubs mostly in #297 green pumpkin and #221 cinnamon with purple flake. As far as sizes, I carry a few 1/4, 3/8 and 3/4 oz., and quite a few 1/2 oz. and 1 oz. These are just my confidence sizes. You should be able to fit all the jigs you can possibly use in one Plano box. Keep jig fishing simple. Good luck!


Apr 20, 2007

I have purchased my first boat and I am currently outfitted with Lowrance X65-X75 units. I will be upgrading these units and recently started to review the HumminBird products. Specifically I am interested in the 737 unit. I was hoping you that you had an opinion on these graphs. I am very interested in the Quad Cone and WideSide Cone that this unit is boasting. I have always thought of HumminBird as a weekend warrior ho hum graph and Lowrance was the shizznit for hardcore fisherman, but it seems to me that the technology that HumminBird is instituting is well beyond its competitors.

Do you have an opinion on the 737 or 700 series Graphs? If so what are the advantages over say the Lowrance X15 or Eagle 480? Are there any articles or OP/ED’s available for review?

These are great questions and, unfortunately, I don't have all the answers. I haven't used the 737 that you speak of. Your views of the past are correct but you're also right about the changes that HumminBird has made. They have technology that none of their competitors have. When Johnson Outdoors purchased HumminBird, everyone knew they would turn that product around just like they did with MinnKota. I'm not up on the technical aspects of the meters as much as I should be. I'm kind of an automatic autopilot kind of a guy. I love the meters and they work great with the automatic settings. Tony Franchesci can probably answer these questions better than I can. Jimmy Reese possibly could also. Now Bill Townsend, he runs them just like I do, on automatic. If you see any of these guys be sure and ask them. They'd be more than willing to help in any way that they can.


Jul 17, 2007

When did you know that you were ready to start competing at the PRO level, and at that time did the quality of your boat, avialable time to pre-fish or knowledge of the competing anglers have anything to do with your decision?

When I started fishing as a pro, I was running an older boat, working an average of 64 hours/week and knew many of the pros. Have you fished a few events as a non-boater? This is a great way of getting started in the sport. Don't let an older boat stop you from fishing pro. Of course, it has to meet the safety restrictions. As far as extra pre-fish time, the more time on the water, the better. If you have to, pick a few pro events to concentrate on and practice as much as you can during the weeks leading up to the tournament. The patterns will change over the weeks, of course but you can get a feel for the fish and build some confidence and nothing beats confidence. Do not worry about who is in the tournament or how well they've done in the past. The best fishermen in the world blank. It doesn't matter who you are, first you have to beat the fish and then at the end of the day, the scales will let you know how you fared against the rest of the competition. Good luck! I hope to see you at the next event.


Apr 2, 2007

You helped a friend of mine find a good used 520 earlier this year. Last year, you helped another guy I know find a great deal on a Z20. How is it that you know of so many used boats and what do you make on the deal?

First off, I know way too many fishermen and I talk to way too many fishermen, so I just know where boats are. Because I've matched up so many buyers and sellers and bass fishermen all have big mouths, I've kind of gotten the reputation of being able to move boats. I don't always know where a boat is that you might be looking for but many times I do.

What do I get out of this or what do I make on the deal? Nothing. Well, almost nothing. It gives me a great venue to sell my own personal boats. That's what I get out of it. I've never made a dime hooking up buyers and sellers. I've been offered many times but I've never taken money to hook up sales. Most of the time, I just put the buyer and seller together and then I'm out of the deal. Do you need some help??? Shoot me an e-mail.


Mar 28, 2007

I have been told that when you are fishing an area and you have located active fish but that the fish are small in size then the only adjustment is to back off...My question: when they say back off what are they talking about? Are they talking about moving to deeper water and if so how would you approach this and what type of presentation would you use to locate the bigger fish?

There are lots of answers to this question. I would say that backing off means fishing deeper water. Sometimes this will work. Many times it won't. If you're on a school of small fish, that's what you're going to catch. Occasionally, you can weed through them and come up with a better fish. Many times, if you're after quality, you should leave these smaller fish and try to find a school of better ones. Now, you can use the pattern that you found with the smaller fish and you're next area might be big ones. If you're talking in the fall, this is one time of year that I seem to catch a lot of bigger fish deeper. There is no real right answer to this question. This is really a trial and error scenario. It's not something that will always happen one way or the other. I wish I had a black or white answer for you but this is really a gray one. Sorry. Good luck fishing!


Mar 23, 2007

In regards to ripbaits what lb test and type of line do you use on the delta? There are so many lines on the market now it can get confusing which ones to use in what situation or body of water. I have fished with Bobby Barrack and he used only braid and big game on EVERYTHING. What do you recommend?

Because the Delta is mostly a shallow water fishery, I'm not too worried about trying to get a bait in the 9'-10' range. Therefore, I step up my line size a little bit and I throw mostly 12lb. CXX P-Line. This is a very strong monofilament. I don't like throwing jerkbaits with PowerPro because of how limp the braid is and the hooks swing around and catch too often. Always remember that if you go too big on your line size it will take away some of the action of the bait. Also, remember that the bigger the line, the more resistance in the water and the shallower the bait will run. I think 12lb. is a perfect size line in the Delta and Clear Lake. Rippin' is awesome. Go have some fun.


Mar 21, 2007

Gary, I've fished a few tournaments at lakes that have an abundant supply of spotted bass. They are much easier to catch than largemouths and often get me a quick limit. My problem though is when I want to upgrade that limit. How do I go about targeting largemouths instead of spots? I always seem to keep catching the same 1-2 pound spotted bass instead of any largemouths. I've tried simply going to bigger baits, but that just seems to get me a few bigger spots, with still no largemouth to speak of. Thanks.

Great question but I wish I knew the fisheries that you're talking about. For instance, in Shasta and Oroville, very rarely do I think you can target largemouth. The spots are just too dominant in these fisheries. Yes, there are plenty of blacks, but outside of spring time when they're out around the willows, it's a crap shoot to catch a black. I think you're much better off to try to target bigger spots. I guarantee that you'll have much more success in tournaments catching bigger spots.

Now, largemouth are a factor in fisheries like Folsom and Berryessa. There are a lot of blacks in these fisheries and plenty of giants. So it really depends on where you're talking about and how strong the spotted bass fishery is. The best bait for a big bite without a doubt is a swimbait. For every day tournament fish, reaction baits like a spinnerbait, jerkbait and topwater will catch you better than average fish most of the time. Many times you can still get your big bite on one of these reaction fish. You'll be much more consistent with these baits than you will with a swimbait. I wish you luck.


Mar 17, 2007

I am in the market for a used boat. I know a couple of things to watch out for but need help choosing the right boat. I plan on doing a lot of fishing, and even some tournaments. What brand do you recommend and what size engine?

Gosh, this is a tough one. I think you need a Ranger/Evinrude combination. Throw in a MinnKota trolling motor, Humminbird electronics, some Trojan batteries and you've got the ultimate package. Thanks for sending me a question that lets me plug so many of my sponsors at one time. Seriously, I really believe in all the aforementioned products. If you will shoot me an e-mail, I will gladly help you put together a boat. I do this all the time and actually enjoy it. I promise to not twist your arm too hard if you want to change one of the above products. Again, I'll gladly answer any of your questions and help you with your boat purchase.


Mar 15, 2007

I have a subscription to just about every bass mag ever made and I see people talking about catching tons of big fish on drop shots in places like the Cal Delta and Clear Lake. What type of tackle do you use when targeting these "gurilla" bass on the west coast? Do you stick to the light line or do you upsize and throw big worms? I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that people are catching 10+lb. bass on dropshots. Please lead me in the right direction.

There are two scenarios here. The Jimmy Reese scenario with light line, little tiny baits and guppy sized hooks. This requires a good drag, lots of pure-d luck and a non-boater laying on his belly reaching as far as he can trying to net Jimmy's bass. Oh, I forgot to mention a willow limber, limp wristed spinning rod. With Jimmy's choice of boat color and his frosted hair, you would expect this from him.

Now, the Gary D. way is to use 12-15lb. test, a 2/0 or better Robo rebarb hook, a nice medium or medium heavy action casting rod and drag them to the boat. Much less stress on my non-boater as he doesn't have to stand there for 10 minutes waiting to see the fish. Unlike Jimmy, in that amount of time, I usually have another one caught.

As for baits, I generally drop-shot a 6" worm in both the Delta and Clear Lake. Many of us call this heavier line drop-shotting technique "Bubba-shotting". Now, I don't want to tell you what we call Jimmy's style. Yes, both styles catch big fish in the Delta and Clear Lake. I've caught several over 10lbs. Bubba-shotting and my best is 12lbs. 2oz. This is a serious big fish technique. I probably don't do it nearly as much as I should. Be sure and check out the rebarb hooks. They are a Gamakatsu hook that Robo puts a keeper on. You will love them. Good luck fishing!


Mar 13, 2007

I'm trying to teach myself to skip soft plastics under docks , what is the best technique , tackle and bait for Clearlake?

Most anglers find it easier to skip baits under docks with a stout spinning rod. It can be done with a bait-caster but you will get some serious professional overruns. Tube baits have been famous for years as a great skipping bait. My favorite is a frog and yes, I do throw it on a stout casting rod. There are no videos that I know of. I'm sure there are some, I just don't know of them. Honestly, back east they do much more skipping under docks than we do here in the west. This technique requires a lot of practice and patience with backlashes. Good luck!


Mar 9, 2007

With the Delta and Clear Lake tournaments coming up, what is the best shaky head?

The best one that I know of is the one that Picasso makes. It has a patented titanium screw lock holder that allows some flexibility but never breaks. Of all the shaky heads that I've used, it is by far the best.


Mar 7, 2007

I know you are sponsored by Daiwa and, by definition, should speak well of the product. However, I'd like your honest opinion of the new Daiwa Viento. The "twitchin' bar" seems intriguing, and I was wondering if you have had a chance to use one? Also, what are some of the ways you use the reels' "twitchin' " properties?

I'm going to answer this question honestly. Hopefully, it doesn't get me fired from Daiwa. I personally am not a big fan of the Viento because of the twitching bar. The reel works perfectly and is a great reel but, to me, the twitching bar is kind of a gimmick.

Now the suck up part so I don't get fired. This reel was unbelievably popular for the last year. Many fishermen like twitching bars or flipping switches on reels. I just don't. I think the blue color is cool and again the reel functions perfectly. In my opinion, Daiwa's new Zillion is the best bait casting reel that I've ever used. Check them out and drop me a line. Hope you catch a big one.


Feb 26, 2007

I hear all the pros use the phrase (a long cast). When casting a crank bait for optimal depth or casting to spooky fish etc. etc. What is your idea of a long cast? 40 ft. 50 ft. 100 ft?

My idea of a long cast with a crankbait is as far as I can throw it. I would say over 100'. The longer the cast, the longer that bait will be down at its deepest depth for the longest period of time. A good smooth reel will help. I highly recommend Daiwa's new Zillion. Also, a long rod will help sling the bait a great distance but will also help when you swing to take up more line and get a good hookset. As far as spooky fish, a 40' cast I would think would be sufficient. I like making long casts with jerkbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Of course, sometimes shorter casts are required if you're fishing in the Delta or you're shooting for targets. If you happen to be at one of the shows that I'm at, come by and let's talk cranking sticks.


Feb 23, 2007

Hi Gary, I am from Idaho and was at Western Marine when you were here. We are coming to Clear Lake on 04-15-06. This will be the first time there for us, and I was hoping you might be able to give us some advice on where to go and what to do.

Well, Sheri, as I answer this you were at Clear Lake about 8 months ago. I just got to your question. I sure hope you caught them well. I decided to answer this because it's going to be April again before we know it.

Mid-April is probably the best time of year that you could ever fish Clear Lake. You can catch them on just about anything that you like to fish. I like this time of year because it is a great reaction bait time of year. I would say start up north in the shallow end of the lake. My first baits would be swimbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Expect to catch a lot of fish and a lot of big ones. The fish will be schooled and moving into spawning areas around the mouths of the creeks. I'm amazed at the amount of people that head to the Mexico lakes when we have Clear Lake this time of year. Again, I hope you had a great trip.


Feb 20, 2007

Do you use Custom fishing rods or factory rods? If you use both, which rods are custom and which are factory? If you are using custom rods what kind of handle, guides and setup on the rod do you like?

I'm still using a lot of custom rods. This should end in the next few weeks for me. I will have a complete line of rods and they will replace my customs. All of my custom rods are Williams Custom Rods. My good buddy pulled up his roots here in California and went back home on the other side of the world. I highly recommend Lynn to build any custom rod. A contact number for him is 270-689-2078.

My favorite custom spinning rods have a split Tennessee handle. I usually run 9 guides and a tip. I like the Fuji alconite guides. The main thing about this rod is the cork on the handle is about 5 1/2" long about 9 1/4" from the butt. This lets me put my forefinger on the blank in front of the reel and the heel of my hand on the blank behind the reel. It also lets me move the reel around for perfect balance. These are going to be the hardest rods for me to give up with my new line. I did not do anything in Tennessee handle simply because it is a very hard sell. Lynn is the best at building these Tennessee handles. Good luck fishing.


Feb 16, 2007

Red Hobo red feathered weedless spoon. I need help in finding them. This all that I fish with in Brasil and the Peacock Bass hit these like crazy. My biggest is 18 pounds.

Gosh, I wish I could help but I have no info on this spoon. As I've said in the past, I believe that I'm the world's worst spoon fisherman. Yeah, they're easy to catch and yours might be 18 pounds but I'd be lucky if I caught one that was 18 ounces. With all the guys on this site, someone should be able to help. How about it guys? Can we help out a fellow nutcase?


Feb 13, 2007

What Rod would you recommend for some of the larger Swim Baits?

You asked this question this past April. I'm just now getting to it. My answer as of today would be wait for about another month and I will have a complete line of swimbait rods with one that is specifically made for the heavier baits. It will be a Dobyns Rod 806Swim.


Feb 5, 2007

I have a 7'6" CRO Gary Dobyns signature flippin/pitchn stick rated at 12lb-25lb. What reel would recommend for this rod?

Wow, are there still a few of those rods floating around? To be honest with you, that is an awesome rod but with some of the new materials and guides available today, your rod is a little bit heavy by today's standards. It still has a great action and will catch them as well as anything.

As far as a reel, I do not like a flipping switch because I do a lot of pitchin', also. My favorite reel by far is Daiwa's new Zillion. This reel is the perfect size, casts unbelievably, has an awesome drag and is the best reel that I've ever fished with. Do you need this quality of a reel on a flippin' stick? No, not really. When flippin', you can get by with a lesser quality reel. If it's in the budget, I always say buy the best that you can afford. Any reel will work well on this flippin' stick. It really does not require a special reel.

I hope to see you on the water.


Feb 1, 2007

Gary, whats your take on the hugh limits weighed in at Lake Oroville in the last few months and more important how long do you think it will last? Could this be a fluke year and we might be back to 10 or 12 pound sacks to win a tournament next year?

I really like this question. Of course, my answers are only going to be guesses. I think the limits will stay big for the next several years in the spring. They have planted tons of Cohos. The trout population is ten times higher than I've seen it in the last several years. I haven't seen any fish with the fungus that we had a few years ago. I think the fishermen are getting better with the bigger sized baits that catch the bigger fish. We haven't had drastically changing water levels during the spawn. Everything has been pretty stable. The water has been high during the spawn so all the willows and new vegetation on the bank has worked out well for the fry. I think these are all positive things for bigger limits next year and for several years to come.

Let me throw another question at you. Where in the heck have all these big spots and largemouth been hiding the last few years? Four and five pound spots don't grow to that in one year. The answer is obvious. They are living suspended much of the time. If they were on the bank, a few would always be caught. It sure is good to see some quality fish coming out of Oroville again. I'm sure I'll see you up there.


Jan 29, 2007

I was fishing Folsom lake and the wind was blowing along with sunshine. I caught two good size fish with in the first hour on a crank bait shallow and off points. However, a storm came in with the wind turning it into a stormy situation. I kept the same pattern going with no more success. Did the pattern change? Did I need to change things up a bit? What would you have done in this situation?

I think you were on the money fishing shallow in the morning. I always start out shallow in the morning if I'm looking for a good fish. I think you made the correct decisions with a storm coming in. Usually, a low pressure front and storm should fire up those shallow fish. Did you move around quite a bit? Were you fishing into the wind-blown banks? Did you get any off-colored water? Did you try spinnerbaits and jerkbaits? Did you try a little brighter color? From your question, I think I would have made the same decisions that you did. That's what keeps us chasing this species of fish around. Sometimes the fish forget to read the play book and don't do what they're supposed to in a set of circumstances. It sure sucks when the fish win, doesn't it? Do the same thing next time and you'll probably catch them.


Jan 25, 2007

When fishing deep water, with worms or jigs or drop shot, do you think that the fish can see your bait or are they just 'feeling' the bait? I'm wondering how you work the bait across the bottom. Dragging or hopping or swimming, and what size of head do you use for darters?

When drop-shotting, I have the best luck by keeping my weight on the bottom and just shaking the rod enough to give the bait some action. I will also dead stick it at times. With jigs in deep water, I like the Hula grub on a 1-ounce football head. I think the most productive way is to boat drag it. This way you can keep the bait always in the strike zone and at the depth that you think the most active fish are. I will do the same with the drop-shot but much, much slower. As far as the fish seeing the bait on the fall, I believe they see it and also feel it with their lateral lines.

With dartheads or the now popular shaky heads, I usually use three sizes 1/8-, 3/16- or 1/4-ounce. Some fishermen really like a 1/16-ounce for real shallow water and it definitely works. I've actually played around with a 5/16-ounce size lately and I'm kind of liking it. It's amazing how an extra 1/16-ounce will change the fall of the bait and the action. For catching larger fish in our reservoirs, I still have more confidence in a darthead than I do a drop-shot. Hope to see you at another show soon


Jan 23, 2007

I bought a house in the Clearlake Oaks in June my wife and 2 year old son and I moved here from So Lake Tahoe CA so I could fish a lot and start doing local tournaments. In the 10 months that we have lived here I have found it very hard to find a balance between fishing & family time! I wanted to know how you do it, being a pro and spending so much time on the water and the road how do you balance?

Well, Mike, I was one of those crazy guys that quit my job to be a bass pro. It's pretty simple. If I want to pay my bills and put diesel in the truck, I have to fish and do promotions or I'm going to be looking for a job. I'm lucky enough to have a great spouse and it works for us. Fishing has caused many problems with lots of friends of mine. Living on Clear Lake would make it even harder. Good luck, friend. You'd better work on that balance or you might be sleeping in that boat of yours. Gosh, I hope it's at least a 21 footer. Good luck. I think you really may need it.


Jan 16, 2007

Have you try Helix Buzz or Hawg Shad? According to anglers around the country, they caught big lunkers and won tournaments.

I'm afraid I haven't tried your Helix Buzz or Hawg Shad. I don't believe they've made it to my area. I checked out the website. I'm sure they'll catch fish. It's good to see that people in New York are also checking out westernbass.com. I wish you luck with your baits and thanks for the question.


Jan 15, 2007

Gary every year about this time i loose track of where the fish are , The fish are stacked up in deeper water 30-50ft all winter, then we get some warm weather and they start to move up where you can see them shallow for a few days and the bite is really good . Then here comes winter again and the fish are gone from the bank ,you would think they would go back to deep water but they dont . Where do these fish go ?

I dont graph hardly any fish on the bottom at any depth, it is like they just dissapear. Do most fish just move out horizontally into open water , from the shallow water suspending off the main structures waiting for the temp to rise before they move back shallow to spawn ?

What is the best method to put some fish in the boat when the weather is changing so much and the fish seem to have lock jaw during these changing conditions ?

Great question. Changing weather fronts are the most difficult thing that anglers face. It gets the fish totally screwed up and, therefore, gets us totally screwed up. If we have a great spinnerbait bite and catch a ton of fish one day and then the next day the weather changes, it's hard for anglers to totally forget about the previous day. With quick changing fronts this time of year, the fish tend to suspend a lot. They will suspend on structure but, many times, will just flat suspend in open water. These fish are brutally hard to pattern and catch.

What are your options? Stay home and do honey-dos? Well, this sucks for sure. Fish for the suspended fish is another option. Sometimes you can do surprisingly well. Other times, you'll catch a scattered fish here and there and sometimes, it's zip. The two safest things for me to do are go deep or fish steep walls or banks. Going deep with one ton Hula grubs or drop-shotting Robo worms is probably the easiest. Another way that I like to catch them is just fishing for the suspended fish that are not that far off steep walls or banks. I catch a lot of these on a deep diving jerkbait or slow rolling a spinnerbait. This bite is not going to be red hot most times but, if you cover a lot of water, you can still get a productive day out of it. Last but not least, pray for a low pressure cloudy front to come in the next day. See you on the water.


Jan 11, 2007

Gary, Do you sharpen your hooks from the point down to the bend or from the bend to the point?

Wow. I had to stop and think about this. Sharpening hooks is just kind of an automatic thing. I'm sure that people probably do both. I like to sharpen mine first off with a file. I sharpen from the bend towards the point. I try to take as little material off as I can to get the hook sharp. The file is just a lot faster and easier for me. Hope this helps. Good luck fishing!


Jan 9, 2007

How do you think the pro shops will be affected with Sportsman's Warehouse and Bass Pro coming to town?

This is tough. Obviously, they are great retailers and they're going to sell a lot of tackle and equipment. Are the pro shops going to go away? No. Some will be hurt more than others strictly because of location. The pro shops still will have all the latest and the greatest tackle and equipment. The big retailers can't adjust nearly as fast as the pro shops. The pro shops should be much more knowledgeable as to what the bite is on the local waters. Some of the pro shops have excellent customer service. Some don't but I'm willing to bet you they get a lot better soon. Pro shops are here to stay. They offer you a much more personal touch and many will become good friends. Nothing to worry about.


Jan 5, 2007

Last year at the Delta, I tried your sunglasses on. They fit me very well. I can't remember what model of Costa's they were.

I wear the Harpoon style. I was probably wearing the green mirrored lenses as they are my favorite. They have many new styles as well as the 580 lens now. Me, I still wear the Harpoons. Good luck fishing!


Jan 2, 2007

I’ve read that after the water temp reaches 45 degrees, crawdads burrow in and hibernate. Is a jig still a good option or would it be better to concentrate on other forage like shad, smelt and sculpins?

I actually throw lots of jigs in cold water. It's probably my number one bait. The coldest tournament that I can ever remember fishing was at Clear Lake. The water temperature was 39.8 degrees. The Keys were frozen over and there was a pretty good ring of ice around the lake. I caught all my fish on jigs. I finished in 6th place and was only a pound away from the winner. Our water temperature hits 45 or 46 degrees on many of our bodies of water. This is usually a great time of year to throw a 3/4 or 1 oz. football head with a Yamamoto hula grub on it. This is mainly for our reservoirs. If I was fishing Clear Lake, I'd probably be throwing a 3/8 or 1/2 oz. For largemouth in cold water, I throw a lot of pork. I actually like big pork better in cold water. For spotted bass, I think the hula grub is hard to beat. Good luck fishing! Take plenty of warm clothes.


Dec 26, 2006

I am wanting to start fishing the delta. I used to fish it when I was a kid years ago and want to learn how to fish it again. Can you tell me good strategy of where to start and what lure to start with. I will be launching out of Ladd's.

Wow! Tough question. It's going to boil down to time of year, weather and are you wanting to make a long run from Ladd's. I'm assuming that you have a small boat and that you don't want to travel far. A great place to start is in the Ladd's harbor. You would be amazed at how many fish are released from tournaments and actually live in here. You also have the sailboat harbor which is very, very close and you have the rip rap banks on the main channel outside of Ladd's. Crankbaits are always good in all three places. I like white or red usually.

In the two harbors at this time of year, you can rip, throw a senko, toss a jig and also pitch a spinnerbait. Treat each of these harbors like a miniature lake. There are drop-offs, pieces of wood, weed lines and rip rap in them.

I hope this helps some. If you get a chance come to your local sports show. There will be several guys doing Delta seminars. At these sports shows, feel free to approach any of the pros for tips on tackle or water. We're at the shows to talk fishing. Hope to see you there.


Dec 20, 2006

Gary, how often and on what models do you fish feathers on the rear hook of your ripbaits and topwaters? Also, what colors do you prefer for each species?

I don't throw feathers on my ripbaits.  I do occasionally throw feathers on the back of a super spook.  The reason that I'm not a big fan of feathers on the back of a bait is I want the fish hitting the front or middle of the bait where I've got more chances to get a hook in him.  If I'm trying to draw the strikes to the back of the bait, I don't feel that I'm going to get as many hookups.  This is just my theory and I'm sure that you would get a different answer out of a different fisherman.  Now, if I'm not getting bit and someone's catching them with a feathered trailer, you had best well believe that I'd stick one on there.  My confidence is no feathers.  I do believe the small front runner baits work way better with a feather.  This bait is small enough that they inhale it anyway.  I only use white feathers and, if I was to change, I would put maybe a tiny piece of red in one.  Again, this is my confidence and I do know that many people believe in feathers and that's their confidence and it works for them.  Good luck fishing!


Dec 15, 2006

What do you think is the best flippin' jig on the market and why?

Well, the problem is that I obviously haven't tried all the flippin' jigs on the market. The two that jump out at me as being the best for the way that I fish are Revenge's Flippin' jig and Gann's Flippin' jig.

The Revenge Flippin' jig has a 5/0 Mustad in the 3/8 and 1/2 oz. which is what I flip. The jig falls good and I never seem to miss a fish. Gann's Flippin' jig has got a 6/0 Gamakatsu meat hook in it. It does not miss either. Revenge's are more readily available in the market. Gann's are available at Walton's Pond and Phil's in Redding. I'm sure there are others but I only know of these off the top of my head.

What makes a good flippin' jig to me? I want a weed guard that works but is not stout enough that it costs me fish. I want a weed guard with a good angle that places it no more than about 3/16" over my hook point. I want my hook point angle to be higher than my line tie or the jig head. Basically, I want a gaff that catches a lot of meat and bone when I set the hook. I believe some jigs on the market do not have enough hook or it's at the wrong angle. We have sports shows coming up. I look forward to seeing everyone there.


Dec 11, 2006

I have been bass fishing for about 6 years, but not as often as I'd like. I live in Wilton and most of my bass fishing is done on the Delta out of Paradise Point. I enjoy fishing the Delta, but would like to do more lake fishing. I am really interested in getting to know 1 or 2 local lakes really well. Given the number of lakes around me, which lakes would you suggest I spend time on when I'm not on the Delta. Of the lakes I have fished, Amador, Camanche and Folsom are a little less than an hour away. Berryessa, Clearlake, and Oroville are a little more than 2 hours away. Any advice would be appreciated. Also, which guide or guides would you recommend for the Delta?

That's a really tough question. You have many great lakes close to you. Clear Lake would fish closer than any of them to the Delta. Berryessa, Oroville and Folsom are all great foothill reservoirs. By actually fishing these lakes, it really will make you a better fisherman. Many anglers get stuck on one body of water and are lost if they have to go anywhere else. As far as guides on the Delta, there are many but a friend of mine is just starting out guiding again. He's a real stick and will treat you right. His name is Armando. His number is 408-242-9638.


Dec 5, 2006

With spring coming into full bloom in the delta and fish setting up next to cover, flipping for those honeys seems like the way to go. My question is if you are flipping tubes, what is your choice and how much weight is the ticket? Also, what do you find the most effective action to get them to bite.

First of all, sorry I'm so out of season with this question. I just haven't seen one on tubes and wanted to answer.

There are two thoughts to this about weights. One is using just enough weight to get a nice slow fall presentation. This can be deadly really any time of the year. The other thought is using a heavy weight, say up to 1 1/2 ounces. You use the heavy weight to get through the thick vegetation and/or to get a super fast fall for a reaction strike. Either one can be the ticket on any given day. It really is almost a trial and error. How I fish the tube while flippin' is I usually let it go to the bottom, I pick it up and bounce it about twice and make another cast. I believe that most of the time it's a reaction strike when you're flippin'.

There are a few great tubes on the market. One is Reaction Innovation's Boom-Boom tube. Another is one you may not have heard of, Dry Creek Custom Baits. They are made by a company in Idaho. If you can't find them, call Western Marine in Idaho. The other one is made by Canyon Plastics who made the original Gitzit and was owned by Gary Garland. Canyon Plastics is now under new ownership and is making anything in a tube (Gitzit) bait that you can think of.


Nov 30, 2006

Gary, I am a college student who has scrounged up enough money to buy some rip baits. I live in Northern California and will likely use them on Trinity, and Whiskeytown (maybe Oroville/Clear Lake). Do you have any recommendations for which models and colors I should buy?? Brand doesn't matter...but I am kind of thinking Lucky Craft. Anything would help to start the basic rip bait/jerkbait box.

I believe four colors will cover any water conditions that you may encounter. I want a flashy colored bait like an American shad. I want a chartreuse colored bait. A good one is tablerock shad. I want a white colored bait like chartreuse shad or whitey. Chartreuse shad is really a white colored bait with a thin chartreuse line down the side. My fourth and probably my most favorite would be something like a ghost minnow. Ghost minnow is a transparent subtle color for clear water or brighter days. This gives me a white bait, a chartreuse bait, a flashy bait and my subtle clear water bait. I think these are the only four colors that you have to have. As I say this, I think back to all the fish I caught this year on a color called munky. It's a great shad imitation bait with a little orange at the throat. A company called River 2 Sea has a really good line of jerkbaits. Check them out.


Nov 27, 2006

I had the opportunity to fish with you at the BASS Western Open in Kennewick Wa.We fished day 1 together.I just wanted to tell you what a great effect you have had on my bass fishing since that day.The way I think about my set-up and how I go about things have all changed now,Thank you.

I guess I should ask a question.What is your thought on the Opens not coming to the west anymore and are you planning on staying mainly in Calf for your fishing tournaments?I heard you weren't feeling well a short time back and hope you are doing much better.You are a great guy to fish with and I would be Blessed to get the chance to fish with you again some day.

Thanks for the kind words, Jim. I still think it sucks that BASS has taken the Opens away from us. Thankfully, FLW has really stepped up for the west. I'm definitely going to stay west. All of my family and my wife's family are here. If I was going to fish back east, I'd have to move. I can't even begin to think of traveling back and forth. My hat's off to all of our anglers that do make the travels back east and many are making us proud. My health is good. I just took a bad fall and broke a vertebra in my back. I'm doing good. I'm just too danged fat. Too much ice cream and too many double-doubles. I'm sure you've seen some of that from some of my buddies on this site. I sure hope we get to fish together again. Thanks.


Nov 22, 2006

: When arriving at a new lake or when prefishing for a tourney what type of structure do you look for first and how much do you take in consideration all the variables: DO, UV , PH, water temp, clarity, TDS, ammonia levels, and thermoclines when searching for the big bass?? Do the variations of each change that much with the species targeted (bass)? Maybe I am thinking to far into it. I am a new bass fisherman but have fished forever. I have no problems catching tons of smaller fish but no luck with the big bucket mouths unless I am using live bait. I want to learn how to fish instead of catching fish. Do you recommend any good reading material as far as retrieval of different baits?? Drop shot, Carolina, Texas, jigs, jerks, swims, poppers, buzz, spoons, spinners, or cranks. I have read a few and they all tell me structure well I know that but I need to learn chemistry and different retrievals to locate and slotter the hogs. Always catch and release

I think you're making this way too hard. I know some fishermen will sit there and tell you that you've got to watch the moon, water temperature, time of year, barometric pressure and all of that other crap. Do each of these things play a role? Yes, they do but if you're trying to get the right water temperature with the right moon with the right time of year and so on and so on, you sure aren't going to get to fish very much. The biggest things to pay attention to, I believe, is the weather and just a little common sense pertaining to time of year. To make it a little bit easier, low pressure fronts will make fishing easier and the fish will be more aggressive, especially big ones. A high pressure, northern front, is going to make fishing a lot tougher. You'll probably have to fish deeper and slower. I like fishing shallow and fast if it's at all possible. You do need to be versatile on those high pressure days where you have to fish deep and slow. You have to be able to have confidence in doing so. If you're going to become a good deep water fisherman, you have to get good with your electronics. If you're looking for electronics, check out the new Humminbird. They're very good units and very user friendly.

As far as how to catch bigger fish, swimbaits, ripbaits, big crankbaits and spinnerbaits are all baits that will catch you better quality fish. Note that these are all reaction baits and it's what I like to throw. These are my confidence baits. Good luck and don't make fishing too hard. Also, if you have a chance, there are many sports shows with professional anglers doing demonstrations hourly. I'll be at many of them in the northern California area. Come by and say hi.


Nov 20, 2006

When looking at seasonal patterns for the Delta, could you break down your top bait for each of the seasons?

Spring: I'm going to always have a spinnerbait but don't overlook the flip bite, Senkos and swimbaits.

Summer: Frog, buzzbait and frog. Did I say frog?

Fall: Buzzbait and crankbait.

Winter: Ripbait and flippin'.

These are just my own personal favorites. Almost every fisherman will have a little bit of a different variation of their confidence baits. Standard baits at the Delta are spinnerbait, buzzbait, rattle baits, small crankbaits like a speed trap, Senkos and a flippin' stick with various baits. The other good thing about the Delta is you only need one or two colors in each of these baits to be in business. Be sure and use some Power Pro whenever you can. There's an awful lot of giants swimming around in the Delta.


Nov 14, 2006

On Lake Shasta, do you mainly throw the traditional darthead or do you use a ball head also? what weight do you normally throw and what size hook? Also I noticed at the show you had clear line on your rods. Do you use the crystal cxx for reaction baits .What diameter do you use for these baits at Shasta?

I do throw a traditional darthead. I'm very picky about my hooks so the darthead that I throw is custom made. I also pour them myself. I hate springy hooks so the hook that I use in my dartheads is a Gamakatsu 60412 heavy jig hook. This hook is called a heavy jig hook but it isn't heavy. I think this is the best jig hook that's ever been made. I pour my own jigs just to get this hook.

For darthead fishing, I usually use 8 to 10lb. test P-Line fluoroclear. Most fishermen are throwing some type of fluorocarbon in 6 to 8lb. test. I like a little bit heavier line and I still haven't bought into the fluorocarbon craze. When I'm throwing jerkbaits, most of the time I'm throwing 10lb. CXX P-Line. It's a small enough diameter to get the depth and action out of the bait but it's still very strong. If I'm throwing a jerkbait at Clear Lake, many times I'm throwing 12lb. CXX P-Line.


Nov 10, 2006

I’ve been fishing team tournaments for the past five years. My partner and I have had decent success, qualifying for the TOC three times. The thing is, we seem to have hit a point where we are always in the middle of the pack or a little higher. We can’t seem to get over that hump and cash a check. Limits aren’t a problem but upgrading is. We throw reaction bites when we feel conditions are right, and fish jigs and worms the rest of the time. We fish Oroville and Shasta mostly. Any tips on what we should try to move up to the next level?

Good question. I can tell you what works for me and actually several of the other super good teams that are out there. One guy fishes for big bites and the other guy fills in the limit. If you get tired of doing it this way, switch off once in a while. When fishing Shasta and Oroville, most of the time you need a kicker or two. Remember when team fishing, it doesn't matter who catches them. Many times the guy throwing the big fish bait might not catch anything all day and that's okay. He's fishing for the win. Many teams can't handle one guy catching most of the fish. Remember, it's team fishing and who cares who catches them. If you don't fish to win, 99.9% of the time you won't. What sucks is if you do fish to win you might still go a couple of years without winning. But I guarantee you that you're overall finishes will be much higher.


Nov 7, 2006

Can you recommend a good pitching stick that has good lenght,power, sensitivity, and around $150. dollars or less?

For $150 or less, I would say probably BassPro's BPS rods are a good buy. Now, if you can wait until around Christmas and for a few dollars more, I'd be happy to show you a NEW line of rods.


Nov 3, 2006

I was wondering what type of information you would take to present to a potential sponsor? Other than your own personal statistics like top finishes etc, what is the most important information to make sure you have when approaching a company and how would you present it? For example through a PowerPoint presentation or paper?

First of all, I would do it on paper. I'd put a resume together, put it in a nice folder and mail it to the appropriate person. The content should include a bio, list of top finishes, writing experience, sports shows, other current sponsors, what you bring to the sport and ideas and goals. I would include some good photos and at least 3 personal references. The hard part is getting it in the right person's hands and getting them to look at it. You have to understand that these companies are bombarded with resumes from fishermen daily. You almost have to have someone place a call or open a door for you.

How do you start? First of all, I would make a list of the companies' products that you are currently using and have confidence in. Then you need to research the representatives for these companies to see if they have any pro staff openings or if there is anything that you can do to help them promote their products. The number one place to do this is at our upcoming sports shows. The reps will be there and it's a great time to talk to them. Without them pulling or a fisherman that is already on staff opening a door for you, sponsorships are very hard to come by. Companies want to sponsor fishermen that will help them promote and sell product. Most fishermen think a sponsor is someone that gives you baits or money and all you have to do is fish. It just doesn't work that way. Good luck. I'll see you at the sports shows


Oct 31, 2006

I have become a huge fan of the Revenge spinnerbaits over the last couple seasons. I've also enjoyed reading your tips on how to be more successful with these baits. Do you ever use a soft plastic trailer with the Revenge spinnerbaits? If so, what types of trailers do you recommend and does your choice of trailer vary for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bas?. Under what conditions would you choose to run a trailer?

I don't ever use a trailer for spots or smallies. They seem to miss the bait plenty without a trailer. They are famous for short striking. I rarely use a trailer even for largemouth. It's a confidence thing. If you had asked me this question 7 or 8 years ago, I would have said to put a full 6" ribbon tail worm on as a trailer. I have gotten away from this and now thinking about all the big fish that I've caught using that ribbon tail, I might try it this spring. That's all it would take is a couple of big bites and I would be answering this question differently. My confidence right now is no trailer.


Oct 27, 2006

I was at I-CAST and saw P-Line's new Evolution. Have you used it and what do you think?

The new Evolution is low stretch and highly resistant to abrasion. It's pretty cool. Even those toothy spotted bass have a hard time damaging the line. I was using it the other day, goofing off with a dropshot at Oroville, and was absolutely amazed about how many fish I could catch without re-tying. The line seems incredibly strong, low stretch and with the abrasion resistance appears to be a homerun. At I-CAST, John Pucci was throwing overhand knots in 8lb. test and told me to break it. Let's just say I was totally amazed and stole their last spool. Don't anyone rat me out. When it becomes available, I'm going to try some in the larger sizes and I'll let you know.


Oct 25, 2006

Gary, I am assuming that you use braid for frog fishing. Are there times when you don't use braid? Do you feel like your sacrificing bites with braid vs. mono?

I always throw 65lb. test PowerPro when frog fishing. When frog fishing, we're usually fishing around cover and you need the no stretch and power to be able to jerk the fish out of it. It's a reaction bait and I don't think the fish ever notice the line anyway. This is one technique that I would never use monofilament on. PowerPro all the way!


Oct 23, 2006

Hi Gary, What type and size line do you use when rippin?

My favorite all around rippin' line is 10lb. CXX P-Line. If I'm throwing a jerkbait at Clear Lake and I'm not trying to get maximum depth, I definitely throw 12lb. Using a line bigger than 12lb., I believe, takes away action from the bait and you don't get as many bites. Occasionally, I will throw 8lb. CXX only in the clear water spotted bass fisheries if I'm trying to get as much depth as possible out of the bait. If I did percentages, I would say that I use 8lb. test maybe 10% of the time, 12lb. test maybe 5% of the time and that leaves 85% of the time I'm using 10lb. 10lb. test CXX is very strong and yet I can still get my depth and action out of my baits.


Oct 19, 2006

I do a lot of fishing on lake Berryessa. Over the past couple of years I have found my own spots in the north and south end of the lake that produce very well. But, the problem that I am having is that they are not producing any fish over the 2 to 3 pound range. I have been a bass fisherman all my life but just cannot seem to locate any bigger fish on this lake. Are there better areas that produce bigger fish on this lake than others? If so, where are they? I am very frustrated by not catching anything over three pounds. Any advice you could give in this area would be helpful.

I think that you might just need to change the techniques that you're using. If you're catching plenty of 2 to 3 pound fish, there has to be bigger fish in the area. Try a swimbait, a big ripbait or fish a heavy jig pretty quickly just for a reaction bite. I have to believe if you try these techniques that your size has got to go up. That saying, "Big bait, big fish" is really true. Now I know you can catch little fish on big baits, also, but percentage wise big baits will produce bigger fish.


Oct 16, 2006

Hi Gary, My favorite western Oregon lake features murky water. If I catch a quality fish on a high percentage spot, such as a shallow stump, do you think the odds favor another fish in that spot, or should I move along?

If you've got a move up spot with a stump on it, when you catch a fish off of it, another one will take that spot over. It just depends on how long it will take for another fish to move up on that stump. Also, many times with a piece of structure like this there is a school of fish around it and you can catch one every time that you hit that certain piece of structure. I can recall several times in tournaments where I've had consecutive hookups 6 or 7 casts in a row. A good move up spot, like what you're describing, will be a constant producer. The problem is if you move off, someone else will move on and catch the next fish. You have to make the decision to stick it out or move on and try to pick off another aggressive fish. Tough decision.


Oct 9, 2006

If you could choose one reel for under $200 that you'd use for everything what would it be? I am trying to find a good all round reel without breaking the bank.

A good all around reel is Daiwa's TDA. I believe that last year they retailed for around $129. They are a great reel and this is what I fish with almost exclusively. Now, if you want to step it up just a little bit, at I-CAST I really took a liking to the new Zillion reel from Daiwa. This reel also comes in a burner at a 7:1 ratio. I'm sure there are other reels in your price range, also, but I'm just a big believer in the TDA.


Oct 2, 2006

Hey Gary, I know you catch big bass like no other. But I know you also have a thing for big bull elk. If you could chose between the #1 bull in the world, or break the all time record for a largemouth bass. Which one would it be. Do not take into consideration the money paid back if you stuck the big bass . I know my choice, Whats yours?

Now you ruined the question when you said I couldn't take in to account the money. Up until that part, it was the world record bass making me lots of money so I could hunt record bulls for a long time. Since you ruined it and I had to make a choice, I would take the big bull. I get to fish all the time but I really love to hunt and I don't seem to get to do it very much anymore. If you're hunting big bulls and you need a partner, don't forget about the okie bass fisherman.


Sep 27, 2006

Let's say you’re fishing a 2 day pro-am and you are the AM. On day 1 you draw pro"x". During your day you learn some of the pro's techniques/tricks, which he has willingly shown you. Now, I know on day 2 (same tourney) it would be wrong to share that info or where you fished with another pro but what about after the tournament ends? Is it unethical to share that info you learned if you are fishing a different tourney with your partner, another pro or even another am? What if the pro you learned the techniques from is fishing this “other” tournament?

his is always the problem with Pro-Ams. The opinions always vary. My take on it is to use whatever you've learned from me but please don't bring your next day partner back to my areas. I think this is just common courtesy. Now next week in another event, I can't ask you to leave "my" water alone. I don't own the lake and the event that we were fishing as a team is now over. I personally would not go back to a place that someone showed me in a prior tournament but that's just me. Many fishermen feel the same way that I do and that's just sportsmanship to us. There is nothing wrong if you go back to the areas after that event. As far as the techniques, if you had a good day fishing with me on Saturday, I would be crazy to think that you wouldn't be doing the same thing on Sunday. A learned technique is a learned technique. Use it and catch some fish. I don't see anything wrong with this ever. Most Ams sign up for tournaments to learn techniques, baits and patterns. By all means, use them.


Sep 25, 2006

O.K. Gary…I have a question about Lake Berryessa...some years in early to mid March the temps are still in the 50’s. Would you target Smallmouths or look for more lethargic Largies? I can never seem to get any consistent pattern going for Largies on this lake until temps hit about 60. Which approach is more productive for you and why?

For tournaments at that time of year on Berryessa, I hope to catch some good blacks. Without them, you won't win. I would fish for spots before smallies. Most of the time you'll catch both in the same areas. Berryessa has giant largemouth in it. I have good luck catching blacks and spots on swimbaits at that time of the year. If I had my choice of water temperature, I like 55 degrees in the spring. By the time you have 60 degree water, somewhere in that lake there will be spawners. That's not a good thing for me. Be careful trying to play the water temperature game. I think this is something that's talked about a lot but I don't think it's that big of a deal. I am much more concerned about my weather is doing than I am with water temperature. In the early spring, a high pressure is not a good deal but a low on the other hand, is awesome. All the books you read will tell you 72 degrees is the optimum water temperature for black bass. I bet if you took a poll amongst the pros, and bed fishing didn't count, the preferred temperature would be around 55-58 degrees. Berryessa is one of the northern trophy black bass fisheries. Good luck catching one!


Sep 20, 2006

Why don't you do some of the smaller team circuits like 100% bass or Nor-Cal bass or even their Pro / Ams in their motherload circuits? 100% bass paid out over $4500.00 last year at lake McClure for the 1st place team, and that is not bad for a day of fishing , is that not worth your while ? They also give away a boat in their TOC and there is only 40 teams to beat for a boat ? This year it will be only 20 teams because 100% has split up from Nor-Cal Bass , so that is pretty good odds to win a boat .

Once you get to the level of fishing your at do you just forget about fishing the smaller stuff because it is just too easy for you to win ?

I would like to see a true Pro such as yourself come and fish Nor-Cal Bass like at lake Don Pedro this year and maybe a few other of their touenaments , it would draw more Ams in and get more people fishing in the future , it just seems like there needs to be someone to draw more anglers to the sport , i think it would pay off big time for the sport in the long run , i know i would sure be excited to draw you in one of the local tournaments .

P.S. and if you need a team partner im available ..............lol !

I do indeed fish a few team tournaments, usually in the Delta. Any type of tournament is a challenge and no matter who is in the event the best bag of fish wins. You never get good enough to think you can win a large portion of the events. I mean there are fishermen who think that they can do that but that's just because their ego is out of control and they're stupid. I purposely have not fished many team events or some of the smaller Pro-Ams because honestly I get too many fishermen telling me that I shouldn't be there. You would be surprised how often this happens. Also, one tournament promoter went so far as to name three guys that he did not want to see at his Pro-Am events. They were Dave Rush, Jimmy Reese and myself. Dave and Jimmy both fish this circuit. I do not. Care to guess? I don't think that I'm too good. I haven't won a team tournament in a mighty long time. When I do fish a team event, I don't put any time in it. I just show up and try to have a good time. Team tournaments are pure fun to me. Sure, I'm there to try to do well but I'm out for a good time and I usually do a lot of trash talking to the anglers that I know.

As for Pro-Ams, I'm one of the oddballs that love combined weight and working with my partner for the day. We basically are a team and that's how I look at it.

I liked your question and I hope I get to fish with you one day. Your question almost borders on politics and I'm not very good there. Hope you catch a big one on your next trip.


Sep 18, 2006

What kind of jerkbait retrieve do you use for winter bass, and how deep a jerkbait do you use?

I always vary my retrieve somewhat. My most standard retrieve is pop-pop-pause, pop-pause, pop-pop-pause. The key is finding the retrieve on a given day that draws the most strikes. The pause is usually the key. How long is almost a trial and error. A standard pause for me would be for probably 2 seconds. A long pause for me would be 7 or 8 seconds. That might not sound like a long time but when you're fishing with the bait sitting in the water doing nothing, 7 or 8 seconds seems like an hour. I have heard guys say they'll let the bait sit for 30 seconds. I guarantee you it will not be me. I'd throw dynamite at them before I'd let a bait sit for 30 seconds.

I like to use as deep a diving bait as I can get. Most deep diving jerkbaits in reality run about six feet. My goal is to get as close to ten as possible. I change hooks and usually add weight to the forward end of the bait. I am currently working on a jerkbait with SPRO and my goal is ten feet deep out of the box. Can it be done? I don't know for sure but I'm going to give it my best shot and I'll let you know.


Sep 14, 2006

Hey, I am a 13 year kid, and I was given a bass boat, so I wanted to finally get serious about bass fishing and was wondering what kind of advice you had for buying fishing tackle.

Great deal there, kid. Thirteen years old and you already have a bass boat? That's awesome! The best advice that I can give you is to keep your fishing simple and fish as much as possible. When I say to keep your fishing simple, I mean stay with a lot of basics such as jigs, worms, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits for techniques. When it comes to colors, stick with standards. For instance, with worms there are hundreds of colors but if you have an ox-blood, an MM3, warmouth and hologram shad, you have all the colors that you basically need. You have a red worm, a purple worm, a brown worm and a shad colored worm. Everything is covered. These are Robo worm colors. This is what I mean when I say to keep your fishing simple. The other advice that I can give you is to buy the best equipment that you can afford. Good equipment usually lasts a lot longer and also usually has a better warranty. If you take care of your equipment, you can get years of use out of it. Good luck fishing. I hope to see you on the trail one day.


Sep 11, 2006

No question here, just wanted to make a comment. I've been reading your question and answer section and I must say, I'm impressed with the way you don't sugar coat anything. I appreciate your honesty. Thanks for keeping it real and keep it up!

First of all, thanks for the kind words. I do always try to be as up front, truthful and direct as possible. I've been clobbered a couple of times saying that I do or don't mention sponsors enough. This Q & A lets me promote my sponsors where I see fit but I definitely try not to use it as an advertisement. I enjoy the Q & As and love to try to help someone catch an extra fish or two. The one problem is that I get many more questions than I have time to answer and so I get way behind. Thanks for the positive input and it's too bad that I'm such a rotten typist. Good luck fishing!


Sep 6, 2006

How do you go about targeting bigger spotts on Shasta during the spring? I know they like to spawn kind of deep, so that rules out sight fishing for the most part. I also know you can usually find some good fish in the willows..Just wondering if you did anything in particular to consistantly catch those bigger fish that cant be seen or found in trees.

Even though spots spawn deeper, you can still see plenty of them. Sometimes, they'll surprise you and spawn in a couple of feet of water. Now sight fishing is not my deal, so let's talk about other ways to catch them. First is swimbaits. I've been bit by the swimbait bug and you can sure catch some big ones. Usually not dependable for a limit, but it will sure help with a kicker. Spinnerbaits and ripbaits have always come through for me in the spring. In fact, they're my two best quality fish baits prior to the swimbait. They are more dependable than the swimbait. Things that will help you are off-colored water or wind. Also, in the spring, you'd be surprised at some of the kickers that I catch on topwater. Early topwater fish are usually good ones and they don't seem to miss early in the year. For jerkbaits, I like the jerk shad and the fetch minnow by R2S. I am currently working on a new jerkbait for SPRO. I'll keep you posted on this. For topwater baits, I either throw the rover or the spook. Okie shad is a great color. I throw a chartreuse and white spinnerbait usually, many times with one gold and one nickel in willow blades.

Remember, you're best bite in the willows is usually post-spawn fish. Have fun chasing spots. Sometimes, they'll drive you nuts trying to catch the big ones.


Sep 3, 2006

I am fairly new to tournament fishing, was pre-fishing the day before the tournament and got on a rip bite!!! Caught some quality fish right around 3 pounds in an area with a cove and deep water accesss. I got them around 2pm so thought it might have been an afternoon thing. The next day I fished for them in the AM first thing but only got dinks! So I came back at 12noon and ripped and got nothing plus threw a fluke. Nothing. I even fished the outsides of the points to see if they had maybe moved. Could I have caught the good fish the day before and not known it or did they simply not just move up to feed? Please help with any suggestions? I caught one good fish, but kept fishing to see if there were others and there was. Did i spook them?

First of all, the frustrating thing about spotted bass is they tend to move around like crazy. There's a chance that you just caught a school of good fish moving down the bank. There's also a chance that the fish were there and they were just not in the mood to chase anything. I don't like catching very many good fish in an area that I'm going to fish a tournament in. It's probably a confidence thing with me but after I whack them one day, I just don't seem to do that well the second day. Truthfully, the odds are the fish just moved on you or they just weren't in a feeding mood and you probably did absolutely nothing wrong. The reason that I like to fish for spotted bass is I tend to fish fast and cover a lot of water and hopefully, sometime during the day, I'll cross paths with a school of good ones. Usually, I will have some type of pattern figured out that will increase my odds of crossing the path of good ones. Don't you love spots?


Aug 29, 2006

What is the shakey head worm? Is it simply a floating worm or is it a finess robo worm thing?

There are lots of jig heads right now that people are calling the shakey head. A true shakey head design is a jig head that is some type of stand up ball head design. There are tons of them out there right now. Most of the time, you'll rig them weedlessly with a screw on design rig Texas style. It's hard to say what a true shakey head is because everyone is calling them all shakey heads. Tru-tungsten now has several shakey heads on the market, obviously made of tungsten. I am working with them to introduce one with a little heavier hook to get away from strictly finesse fishing. We use shakey heads at Clear Lake as well as all of our spotted bass lakes and they are great on Lake Havasu structure. I sure hope I haven't totally confused you. Everyone has a different idea on a shakey head.


Aug 16, 2006

Gary, I know you have answered many questions about fishing for Spots. But I have to ask, when fishing for money and you need that one big spot (and not 20-30 1.5lb'rs) how do you find the kicker Spotted bass?

This really depends on where you're at, time of year and what is a kicker. If you're at Shasta, a kicker may be 5-7 pounds in the spring. In the fall, it might be a 3-pounder. At Lake Oroville, a 3-pounder is always a good fish but especially in the fall. In the fall, topwater and topwater and topwater. In the spring, you'd have to look hard at swimbaits followed up with other reaction baits. You can get lucky with a worm or a jig but day in and day out the bigger baits or reaction baits will pay off for bigger fish. Chasing spots is always fun but you're right about catching all the pound and a halfers. Good luck chasing those kicker spotted bass around.


Aug 14, 2006

Did you ever write for a magazine called FINS AND FEATHERS out of MN? My wife was art director there and thinks your name is familiar.

Fins and Feathers definitely rings a bell. I might have done an article or someone did an article with me. My memory is not what it used to be when it comes to past articles. I've written quite a few over the years. If she liked it, I'll claim it. If she didn't, Dee probably wrote it. Good luck fishing!


Aug 10, 2006

MinnKota or MotorGuide? 24- or 36-volt?

MinnKota all the way. It's way better in the weeds and we hardly ever have any problems with them. I don't even carry a spare.

I like 36-volt because of the low amp draw and I cannot kill the batteries on a 36-volt motor in a day. If I'm fishing the Delta or running and gunning in one of our big lakes, a 24-volt motor's batteries will not last a day. I suggest the Max-Pro series with the lift assist. It works unbelievably awesome.


Aug 7, 2006

Which circuit do you think was the best we ever had in the West and why?

Western Bass was by far our best circuit, in my opinion. I'm talking about northern California because it was a northern California circuit only. They had great sponsors and 100% cash payback plus a fully rigged boat. Craig Miller and Dan Anderson were really in the sport for the fishermen. They had a great schedule, actually listened to a lot of fishermen's input and made the atmosphere around the events a lot of fun. I know many fishermen that have not been serious about tournaments since Western Bass went out. Believe it or not this topic comes up really often. I happened to have run in to Craig Miller at the I-CAST show in Vegas a few weeks ago. He is doing very well and wishes the anglers well.


Jul 19, 2006

You always talk about power fishing as your go-to tournament techniques. I know of at least two tournaments that you won boats at that you caught a majority, if not all, of your fish on worms. Why don't you talk more about fishing worms in tournaments?

I actually have won several tournaments on worms and I've won a lot more of them where, at some point in the tournament, I've had to use worms to fill in my limit. It's not that I don't fish worms in tournaments because I certainly do, a lot of them in fact. I believe I have better odds of catching a big fish on some kind of a reaction bait. I also want to point out that I've caught a half-dozen fish over 10 lbs. on 4- and 6-inch Robos. They do catch big fish. I just try to play percentages when tournament fishing. You have to be very versatile to be a successful tournament angler especially here in the west. My favorite Robo colors are warmouth, MM3, ox blood and hologram shad. This gives me a brown worm, a purple worm, a red worm and a shad colored worm. These are just my own confidence colors. I'm sure some of them are probably yours, also. You can't go wrong with probably any of the Robos.


Jul 17, 2006

I'm looking to have some custom rods built and I was talking to you at the Sacramento show a couple of years ago and I can't remember who you said to use. If possible, give me a few names. I would like to get a few different opinions.

Lynn Williams, from Williams Custom Rods, builds all of my customs. He's very knowledgeable and builds them exactly the way I want them. The worst part is my good buddy packed up and moved to Kentucky. He is still doing my rods and he's got an awesome shop just for this purpose. He can be reached at 270-689-2078.

Another builder, that I'm sure you're familiar with from this site, is Steve Beichman. I do not have a contact number for him but I'm sure he can be reached through westernbass.com.

The last guy that I know of is George Roth. He can be reached at 208-549-0454. I've seen quite a few of George's rods and he does some pretty tricky work.

Actually, all three of these guys monitor and post on this board. So if you need a custom built rod give these guys a shot and it's keeping it in the family.


Jul 14, 2006

Gary, I started using Power pro line this year. What kind of knot do you use? Do you use different knots for different applications?

Power Pro is awesome and it's the industry leader in braided line. Because braided line does not burn, knot strength is very high. You do have to worry about slippage in your knots with braid. Always leave a long tag end, usually about 1/2". I personally think the best knot for braid is the double Palomar. The single will usually work but a double Palomar will never slip. You cannot believe how many times guys have told me they are busting braid but when they switch to a Palomar, their busting problem goes away. It's very easy to tie. Just go through your hook eye twice and then tie it like you would a regular Palomar. Good luck.


Jul 11, 2006

Gary, I fish mainly clear lake. My problem is I do not know how to use my electronics to acually FIND fish. I just look for cover and go for it blind. Can you give me some tips on catching more bass.

Good electronics is the key. They need plenty of power and pixels. Give the new Humminbirds a look before you buy.

For Clear Lake, there is a problem when it comes to reading meters. The problem is the lake is way over-populated with shad. Many times your meter will not even shoot through them. Most of time when I'm using meters on Clear Lake, I'm strictly looking for breaks or the rock piles. It's no problem finding bait. It's a problem finding the bottom through the bait. It's much easier to use meters effectively probably anywhere besides Clear Lake. I know this really doesn't help you much with your question but don't believe you're the only one with this problem at Clear Lake. We're all in the same boat. On the plus side, when we have a really serious shad die-off, the lake usually cycles and fishing sucks for a few years. This has happened twice since 1990. Also, remember you're on one of the greatest fisheries in the country. Go catch some big ones!


Jul 7, 2006

Dear Gary, I've been trying to figure out the best action on my 95SP jointed stickbait. Swimming it, of course, gets the most out of the side-by-side motion. But what about a jerking retrieve, have you found that effective. How do you fish it?

Sorry, dude, I don't have a really good answer for this. The only way to fish this bait is with a slow crank. Lucky Craft has many great lures but this one, I believe, totally sucks.


Jul 5, 2006

Gary, which G Loomis rods do you use to throw the Pointer 78 and the Pointer 100? Would you use the same rod for these two baits? Also, do you ever throw the Bevy Shad 60sp? And if so, what conditions do you look for when you throw that bait?

My Loomis rippin' rod for these two baits was a CBR845. It works very well with these two baits. I never fell in love with the bevy shad 60. I did, however, fish the bigger bevy shad. Give the new Fetch Minnow a look if you're wanting a diving jerkbait. It has three hooks for better hookups and runs deeper.


Jun 30, 2006

I tried the Strike king pro buzz half ounce and it was terrible. I guess it would have been alright if I was going to fish parallel from my boat on the rocks at the delta ;) Then I tried the leverage buzzbait that struck out.majorly always running to the left, kinda of like a pickup truck that was rear ended and dog tracked after being repaired. I tried Team daiwa buzz max terrible choice. Finally, I asked around and found out for myself that persuader and the old blue fox double buzzer were the best for me. Any other recommendations?

The one that you have the most confidence in and suits your style of fishing is without a doubt the best bait for you. I personally love buzzbaits. I've thrown all the ones that you mentioned and I can name a couple of other variations. I'm really very interested in the blades and the noise of the baits. One of my favorite blades is the little bit larger offset blade that has the tabs bent in on both ends for your wire to run through. This blade is a little bit out of balance and tends to plop, plop more on a slow retrieve. The other blade that I really like is the old plastic triple wing. Sometimes this subtle, quiet blade drives fish crazy. It can also be fished very, very slow. All buzzbaits will catch fish and it's a great big fish bait. It is also a bait that leaves you saying, "Ahhh, ----. That was a big one." You tend to get some big short strikes too many times. It is still a great bait.


Jun 28, 2006

Recently a friend and I were out fishing. We found bait fish every where and bass around the edges of the bait on top and some times under. We tried dropshoting all kinds of baits, plastics, spoons etc. We got out to appox. 40 feet we don't useally have the fish finder set up arcs but we tried the fish symbol and we saw many fish in the bait balls that we figered were bass . Is it possible that these large bass were swimming along with the bait ball? These big fish were not aggressive and not feeding . Their were no dead shade floating on top of the water anywhere . Do you think the fish finder was wrong ? It is brand new. These bait balls were thick and not dispursed. It appeared to us that the bass had probably feed all night with the moon being close to a half moon . What do you think? We looked for feeding bass only found a couple of bait balls that were getting any action and we noticed that it was only a very small bait ball in both cases. I think we should have went deeper to find more aggresive fish. Whats your opion?

All fish finders are not created equal. If you're serious with your meters and want to use them for fish and bait, then you should invest in quality units. You need units with good pixel counts and plenty of power. Stay with the quality units only. Be sure to give the new Humminbird units a good look. Johnson Outdoors purchased Humminbird a couple of years ago and has turned this product into a leader just as they did with MinnKota.

If you're seeing strings of bait on your meter, they are probably being pushed. If it's just straight balls of bait with no activity, you should probably move on. I like marking fish on or near the bottom. I find these much easier to catch. The last few years I've really started catching a lot of fish with my meters. They are a very useful tool. Sometimes you can see all the fish you want in an area and you get no bites. Are they inactive? Are they carp? Other times, it seems like I catch almost every fish on my meter. It's still fishing and sometimes the fish win.


Jun 23, 2006

Gary, when it comes to pre-fishing what do you expect from your Co-Angler? Do you expect them to have pre-fished? Does it bother you if they haven't? And if they have would you fish their water?

For me this is a great question. Would I fish their water? If it was indeed their water and they had faith in it, I would seriously consider it. If I had them patterned and stacked up, I might not be interested in their water. If it was a goofy pattern that I didn't have faith in or it was a really long ways away from where I was already fishing, I might not be interested. I would probably make this call on the tournament day depending on how things were going.

I don't expect them to have pre-fished. Great if they have but I'm the pro and I'm the one that is responsible the way I see it to put us on fish. Of course, this doesn't always work. I believe when you sign up as a pro, you have a responsibility to practice a couple of days and therefore put forth a good effort for the non-boater that you draw. I believe a non-boater practicing can only be helpful but they are at the mercy of the boater and many, many times would not get to go to their fish anyway. I like it if I draw a partner that has been practicing because most of the time they are probably catching fish a different way than I am and they can use their pattern or technique on my water. This provides a great one-two punch. I hope we get to pair up in a tournament one day.


Jun 20, 2006

I fished the Future Pro Tour TOC at Clear Lake and as you predicted at the pre tourney meeting, the tourney was won in the North end on a rat-l trap. Aside from your vast knowledge, skill sets and time on the water, is there a clear cut reason that the bite was better in the North than it is in the South at this time of year? - Mike

Good question, Mike. The reason I prefer fishing the north end of the lake at that time of the year is the fish are shallow and they can't really get away from you. There's no deep water access. They may pull back off the bank but they're still not deep and they're still really accessible to rattle baits. There are some good fish to be caught south in November but playing the percentages, the north end is the place to be if you can get that rattle trap bite going. This happens every year. Your TOC will be at Clear Lake again so look for it to happen again.


Jun 17, 2006

What's up Gary?
I just wanted to know if you ever throw tubes on spinning tackle for bass. If so, do you find that this method tends to catch mostly keepers, or do you catch quality fish as well? Your input is greatly appreciated.

For tough fishing conditions, one of my first choices as a confidence bait would be a tube.  I fish the Yamamoto tubes in green pumpkin and watermelon the most.  For fun fishing, where I'm just out to get a lot of bites, tubes are also one of my number one choices.  I do catch good quality fish on tubes.  I fish the brown and green colors on the bottom as a crawdad imitation.  To me, a tube is nothing but a finesse or downsized jig.  I could not leave my tubes out of the boat any time from October through April.  Most of the time I rig them with a 3/16- or 1/4-oz. darthead with an exposed hook.  If you're fishing around brush or cover use the Gitzit weight that slides into the body of the tube and making it weedless. 


Jun 14, 2006

Many people tell me when thiers a mud line to fish it when they do they catch alot of fish.When I fish I don,t catch anything. What am I doing wrong?

Mud lines are a great pattern to fish.  I love fishing mud lines.  Which mud lines do you fish?  That's probably the best question.  All mud lines don't hold fish.  The best way to do it is to take the pattern you're fishing, say steep banks, flat points or whatever, and put that together with the mud line.  This will be a win-win situation.  A lot of times, mud lines are only on the surface.  If you run your trolling motor through them, you'll see clear water underneath.  This is great.  It basically is just providing shade or cover over the top of them.  These are my favorite mud lines.  The best time of year to fish mud lines for me would be May through September.  They will work all the time but these are the best times for me.  I throw a lot of ripbaits, some spinnerbaits and a pile of Senkos.  Give this a try and see if you don't start to love mud lines. 


Jun 10, 2006

I am an avid fishierman who likes to take his son to Lake Shasta to catch some decent size bass.  I was told there are numerous ways to catch these bass in deep water. None of them have worked out, drop shotting, brn jig, shaking a worm, rip baits, darter head ect. My son thinks that the bass at Shasta lake are all one pounders. Do you have any advise for my son and me (where to fish on the lake). Thanks for your time

This is kind of tough because of the different baits and techniques for different seasons and weather patterns.  If I was taking a kid fishing on Shasta, the first thing I would do is to make sure he gets a lot of bites.  Believe me with kids, small bites are better than no bites.  For me on Shasta this means Robo worms.  If you want a little bit better fish, throw more 6" worms.  Fish a lot of points and humps or island tops.  Don't be afraid to move around if you're not catching better fish.  A 3/16 oz. darthead with a 6" Robo worm catches plenty of big spots at Shasta.  Use 6 or 8 lb. test line.  I prefer 8 lb. P-Line on a spinning rod with a reel that has a good drag.  Daiwa has an excellent new spinning reel out that retails for $59 and is unbelievable.  You must have a good drag otherwise you're never going to land one of the big spots on light line.   

Areas in the lake that have always produced for me are main lake points and the flat points going up the Sacramento arm.  I wish you and your son the best of luck with big spots on Lake Shasta.


Jun 7, 2006

Hi Gary , I just read your answer on Western Bass website regarding fishing Shasta in May, my question is about the same, except I will be there for Thanksgiving week, could you please give me suggestions for what and where to fish Shasta in November, also what area is a good area to launch from?

Fishing in late November on Lake Shasta is a difficult question to answer. I have seen several different scenarios at this time. I've seen a great topwater bite on spooks and buzzbaits. Look at River2Sea's new Rover bait. I've seen tournaments totally dominated by spoons, Kastmasters or Hopkins. I can't be a lot of help here. I call myself the world's worst spoon fisherman. The one bite you can usually count on is a darthead bite or a dropshot bite. On dartheads, I like 6" Robos in ox-blood, Aaron's magic or one of the shad colors. For dropshotting, I like one of the shad colors. Late November is also a time when the big spots are really on the trout. So I have to say swimbaits will definitely be a factor. Huddleston's and Osprey's for the plastic swimbaits and Rago's Raptor for the hard bait. All these baits fish differently and have a different purpose for me.

Bridge Bay, Jones Valley or Packer's Bay are the best places to launch at that time of year. My favorite is Packer's. Good luck fishing and be sure to take lots of Robos.


Jun 5, 2006

Gary - Do you buy into using feathered trebles on your rip baits? If so, can you elaborate a little?

I really don't use feathered trailers on my ripbaits. Sometimes I do on topwater baits. I'm not saying that feathers on ripbaits won't work. It's just in my experience, I seem to catch too many small fish. My confidence is using a regular hook with no feathers. I am sure there are anglers that have confidence in feathers and do very well with them. I'm just not one of them. Thanks.


Jun 1, 2006

Gary, With the vast amount of tackle available today, How do you store it in your boat? How do you keep your tackle organized?

I'm not sure how to answer this because I don't know if I'm getting a serious question or a prank. Just about everyone knows I'm one of the most unorganized fishermen on the water. I carry enough tackle for 15 guys. I always keep my ripbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater baits, weights and hooks in separate Plano boxes that are fairly organized. My problem is I fish a bunch of different bodies of water so as I leave Shasta headed for the Delta, I just throw a bunch more Delta stuff in. The next week, I'm at Oroville, therefore, I have to throw my Oroville favorites in and so on, and so on, and so on. Then one day, I can't find anything. I go home and remove 500 pounds of Senkos, Robos, jigs and crap that I've been carrying around and can't find when I need it and I start all over again. The best advice that I can give you is do not do it the Gary D way. Every time I clean out my boat, I swear I'm not going to do this again. I've been saying that for about 20 years. Sorry I don't really have a better answer.


May 30, 2006

Gary, could you please go a little into detail as to what kind of swimbait you would use at Shasta? Shasta's Spots aren't known for swallowing Trout.

Actually, spotted bass at Shasta eat trout like crazy. They are a little hard to fool sometimes on a swimbait. Bad weather conditions are a huge plus. Clear, calm days are brutally tough with swimbaits. I'm throwing several different swimbaits. The Huddleston is a big 8" bait. The Osprey which I tend to fish in the smaller sizes, mostly 6" and Rago's Raptor hard bait in his new 6". Remember you're never fishing for very many bites. Just big bites.


May 25, 2006

Gary, When your pre-fishing the week of your tournament, do yo stick everything that bites or do you shake them off?

It depends. At spotted bass fisheries with tons of fish, I'll stick them to see what size they're running. Generally, if I'm flippin' or throwing topwater, I try to shake these fish off or I have my hooks bent over. Your best bet is to never stick fish. I like to get a pattern established. For example, long points on the main body with a deep break, then I simply look for the same things elsewhere. I will not even fish these areas. I have a pattern to what the fish are doing and I'll check them on game day. I believe any fish you stick you're probably not going to catch in the tournament. If you're fishing some of the desert lakes that do not have many fish, it's suicide to stick them before the tournament. Good luck!


May 22, 2005

I know you wear Costas.  Are they really worth the extra few bucks and why?  What is your favorite model and lens?

Costa Del Mar has an outstanding product.  At times, you might pay a little bit more but they're well worth it.  Really, how many pairs of glasses do you buy and how important are your eyes?  Costa Del Mar advertises 100% UV protection.  Looking at many of the other glasses, they say maximum protection against UV or high UV protection but they don't say 100% protection.  They have many different frame styles to choose from as well as many lenses.  I personally wear the style called Harpoon with a green mirror lens.  Another great thing about Costas is on many of their styles they have spring hinges on the earpieces.  Therefore, they fit like new forever.  Many of the sunglass companies, the glasses fit great when you first put them on but after a few weeks, they are loose, don't fit well and also, want to slide down the bridge of your nose.  You do not have this problem with Costas. 


May 18, 2006

I just got back home from the BASS Western Open at Clear Lake. I fished as a Am. and did fairly well. It is extremely hard to fish behind a GOOD pro, they are very thorough and methodical. What are some tips you could share with me that would make my fishing more effective from the back of the boat when faced with used water. Also I noticed that on day 2 you really came in with an exceptional weight, compared to your first day catch, what adjustments did you make? What would you have done differently, if given the chance, on day 3? Thanks for your time and sound advice.

The best advice that I can give you when you're fishing behind someone else in the boat is to change baits and presentations. For example, I will usually tell my partners not to do the same thing that I'm doing. The fish that want to react on the bait that I'm throwing, I will catch. For instance, in the Delta if I'm throwing a frog, my partner should be tossing Senkos or flippin' behind me. Most fish that are aggressive enough on topwater, I will catch. All the others I'm passing over. You would not believe how many big fish I net for partners who are throwing Senkos in this exact scenario.

I believe different fish react to different baits. The one thing that you have to keep in mind here is it's hard to fish a real slow presentation bait if the guy operating the trolling motor is going warp speed down the bank. If he's blading, throw a jerkbait or a crankbait. If he's throwing Senkos, shake a worm or throw a jig. You need to use techniques that can be fished at the speed the pro is using.

At Clear Lake, I just fished better on day two. The fish just bit better for me. I fished the same exact areas and the better fish that I knew were there, bit for me. On day three, the wind gave me some problems and I had to abandon some of my areas. I lost a couple of fish that I needed and my partner caught a couple that I could have used, also. My partner on the last day never casted over me. He just fished a little bit differently and did a great job and I didn't.


May 16, 2006

As a regular in Hi's Tackle Box, I have heard you're going to start a new line of rods. Is this true? Is it going to be bass only? When will they be available? Price? What are they going to be called?

I am starting a new line of rods. I am currently working on models right now. They will certainly be bass rods but we might actually have a few of those other "species" rods in the line. I'm hoping to have rods available in 3-5 months. As for the price, I don't want to quote it because I'm not sure what it will be. I will promise you a great rod with a great warranty at a great price. I would love to stay under $200. How far under I don't know yet. What are they going to be called? That's a really good question. The only thing that I can tell you for sure is my last name will be used somehow. I'm actually trying to put this whole thing together by using advice from retailers, pro staff and friends. Yes, I already have retailers and pro staff. Quite a few of each. I'm very lucky to have been a fisherman for 25+ years and have so many great friends.


May 5, 2006

I know you are no longer with G Loomis but I was wondering if you could still recommend a good G Loomis rod for topwater baits such as sammy's and splash-it's.

This one is easy. For larger Sammies, my old personal favorite was a 864X 7'2" GL3 rod. For the Splash-its and smaller Sammies, I always liked the CBR845.


May 2, 2005

Gary, From my experience I guestimate that is takes about 40% physical ability, 50% mental aptitude/fortitude and 10% luck to compete in any given tournament. These percentages are arguably debatable but that's not why I'm writing. My question is regarding the mental part of the game. When faced with tough conditions, or a bad tournament or even worse a string of bad tournaments what advise can you give me to stay mentally focused and not let the bad days get me down? I recently completed one of my worst years in a circuit and not sure how to pull myself out of this mental drowning.

You're not alone here. Every tournament fisherman and athlete goes through slumps. I've personally had a couple of dandies. In 2001, I joked about slitting my wrists it was so bad. The best advice that I can give you is go to your strength techniques. Go back to how you like to fish and build on it. The one positive thing that I can really tell you is one good tournament is a confidence builder and all you need to get on an uphill roll. Two of my best articles were about fishing chicken. One was when I was in my slump; the other a year later in what I think was my best tournament season ever. I think Tony Stoltz has access to these articles through Bass West. The thing to remember is our sport has the highest highs and the lowest lows and it's hard at times to stay positive and have a good attitude. If you have a bad tournament, be man enough to say "I sucked today". But remember there's another tournament next week and you're going to catch them.


Apr 27, 2006

My dad and I fish folsom alot. I like to throw the lizard and senkos alot. Do you have any suggestions on what else would work in late fall to early winter?

I'm out of season again and I would like to take this question and explain the reasoning. Because of such a great response on the Ask Gary questions, I simply go down the list. The problem is the list keeps getting farther ahead of me. In the future, I'm going to skip questions that are out of season just to try to stay with our current conditions. I certainly don't want to offend anyone and I thank everyone for making this Q&A a success.

Folsom in the fall can really be a rippin', topwater time of year or it can be a deep jig dragging, drop-shotting time of year. You kind of need to sample a little of both to make sure you get on the best patterns. If you see a lot of action on topwater like shad getting busted or trout chasing or being chased, you want the topwater and rippin'. If everything is just kind of dead and your meter is showing you deep bait balls and fish, then you're probably going to need to drop-shot Robos or drag a Yamamoto Hula grub. These are great techniques in all of our valley reservoirs in the fall. If you want to beat your dad in numbers, you throw the drop-shot and let dad fish the jig. If you want to smoke him with the big ones, grab a green pumpkin Hula grub and tell the old man you heard the drop-shot bite was the deal. Always remember, one of these days you're going to be taking your dad fishing. Hope you catch the big ones.


Apr 25, 2006

What would you consider the best way to approach a Fall tournament at Berryessa? How would you go about devising a game plan, what would be your first inclination as to what you think would be a successful approach?

Well, I'm a little out of season on this question but I like it. First of all, I'm going to answer this as a tournament fisherman looking for better fish. I would start with topwater walking baits like the Spook or Rover. I'd also have a Huddleston trout within easy reach. This bait has become popular at Berryessa. I would also have a rattle bait, probably a red RattleTrap, a green pumpkin Hula grub on a football head and an assortment of Robo worms. Robo worm colors would be hologram shad, MM3 and ox blood. I would look at main lake points and I would also look very hard in the Narrows on points. I've done very well in the Narrows in the fall. Spoons work very well in the fall for everyone except me. Looking at this question as a fun fisherman out for a good time, I'd stick to drop-shotting and dart-heading Robos. I'd also make some occasional casts with my walking baits. I hope this helps. Good luck fishing!


Apr 20, 2006

I talked with you at Clear Lake and again at Shasta. Ripbaits don't seem to be your thing this year. What's the problem? Did the fish quit eating them? Is this a technique that is going to go by the wayside like grub fishing and split-shotting?

I certainly haven't had a problem catching fish on jerkbaits this year. I've just had a problem catching big ones. I've actually had a great year catching numbers of fish. I just haven't hit a tournament where a jerkbait is one of my big fish baits. I've actually caught a bunch of fish on a couple of new baits that are out, the Jerk Shad and Fetch Minnow. Both of these baits are out by the River2Sea company.

This technique will never go by the wayside. It's a reaction bait that looks like a crippled or injured minnow, a main forage for bass. Rippin' has been one of my go-to techniques for well over 20 years. Grub fishing and split-shotting have not been nearly as popular the last few years but they are not dead techniques. Tie on a Yamamoto grub and you will get bit. Split-shot a Robo worm and you'll definitely catch a fish. Good luck.


Apr 17, 2006

On your sponsor page, you seem to have a few new ones, SPRO, Tru-Tungsten and Humminbird. Two additions and a change. Why the change and are you running out of room on that jersey?

Yes, I have some new sponsors. I actually have been with SPRO for several months and am currently working on a line of spinnerbaits for them. SPRO is actually working on several different lines of baits and will be releasing a new swimbait soon. I have just started with Tru-Tungsten. They have an excellent pro staff and are marketing very hard. They are already one of the big players and will soon be the biggest. They have tungsten spinnerbaits, jigs, buzzbaits, shakey heads and, of course, every size worm weight that you could possibly think of. They also have every color that you could think of. No inserts are necessary with Tru-Tungsten. They use a high grade of tungsten with more density so their weights are smaller.

I do have a change. I am going to be with Humminbird. I am confident of that. Johnson Outdoors (MinnKota) purchased Humminbird two years ago and have completely turned that line around. They now have the most dependable meters and technology that everyone else is playing catch up to. And the best part is they're a very easy company to work with. I work with them already with MinnKota.


Apr 13, 2006

My fishing partner drew you at the Stren tournament at Shasta. He swears you had a smaller Raptor hard bait then what we can buy. Is this true? Do you think this is fair to everyone else?

Yes, it's true. I had a new 6" version and it is awesome. All companies put out products to be fished before they hit the market. It doesn't matter if it's rods, reels, baits, fishing line or whatever. It gets fished before it hits the market. Is this fair? Maybe not depending on how you look at it. Is it crooked or cheating? Hell no. Products have to be tested and I was just lucky enough to run into Mike Long at the San Diego-Del Mar show. He ordered a few for me from Jerry Rago. The big question is "How did I do on the bait?" Well, the truth is, I was fishing dirty water with a spinnerbait and that's where my confidence was. I had just received the baits and hadn't had a chance to play with them to get confidence. However, since then, WOW!


Apr 10, 2006

I was talking to a friend the other day, and he told me that beginning in 2006 the state of california is going to ban two stoke boat motors. Is this true, and if so where can I find more info. on this subject?

California has no regulations on two stroke or four stroke motors. Actually, most of the two strokes are running cleaner than the four strokes. The only thing the California Air and Resource Board (C.A.R.B.) cares about is the cleanliness of the engines. Evinrudes E-TEC just won an award from the EPA for the cleanliness of their engines. You can view this on the EPA website. Again, no regulations on two verse four stroke engines. The only thing that matters is how clean they are and the star rating on the back of the cowling. A three star rated engine is very clean and meets all requirements.


Apr 5, 2006

Gary I'm planning a trip to oroville in a couple weeks and this time of year I always have a hard time catching fish.I've only fished their once before at the Yamamoto Open, didn't do very good. Should I stay on the main lake or go up river and what would you look for? Also what would you throw and what colors would you use for this time of year? I have and use hula grubs,senkos, roboworms,keeper worms, staysee 90's and pointers 100's and a few crank baits and spinner baits.

With your tackle selection I think you have everything you could possibly need. As I write this, we are going through a cold snap in the middle of March, fishing has slowed only a little. It is still a great bite and only going to get better. I like muddy banks this time of year and always points with spotted bass. Way up the river runs are cold and dirty; I think you would fare better in the lower end of the river arms or on the main body. With a little warming weather in the next couple of weeks the entire lake will be on fire.


Apr 3, 2006

I know you're a great bass fisherman but could you give me some ideas on what to use to catch coho salmon that are gonna be planted soon in oroville? One last thing, what would be the perfect lure lookalike and size for pond smelt in oroville?

I don't fish for Coho but I catch a lot by accident. The best way to catch them is with a live minnow. Another way to catch them and the best pond smelt imitation that I know of is a River2Sea glass vibe. It's a transparent little vibrating bait.


Mar 30, 2006

Since most of us younger anglers can not afford a bass boat, I fish out of a bayliner riged with a troling motor. I do farly decent and would like to fish some small tourneyments and show my skills, but need a livewell to keep fish alive. Do you ever see any boats other than bass boats in any of the smaller tourneyments? How would you rig a (cheep dependable) livewell out of an ice chest or anything else?

They actually sell livewell kits for ice chests. I believe you can probably get one from BassPro or maybe even Cabellas. Your local tackle shop may have them as well. I have seen them used a lot in ski barges and river boats and they work well.


Mar 27, 2006

Gary, this is a question I believe you have had much experience with. How do you sell the boat certificates you have won in tournaments? What is a good way of selling one and what should a first time seller be careful of?

This really depends on the make of the boat and also what circuit is giving the certificate away. Different circuits actually cut different deals for their certificates. Some include shipping and rigging and some don't. I have even seen a couple that didn't cover control boxes and propellers. The certificates usually aren't hard to sell if you discount them a few thousand dollars. The best thing you can do is go your nearest dealer and sell him the boat brand of the certificate and let them help you. Most are more than willing and sometimes will even turn a buyer your way or purchase the certificate from you. Good luck!


Mar 22, 2006

Hi Gary, I just moved to Oroville and am kinda new to bass fishing, could you steer me in the right direction as far as what, when, why to use to catch bass at Lake Oroville?

They do plant large numbers of salmon in the lake and they are pretty easy to catch. The most common way is with minnows. I catch plenty by accident on Senkos, though. As far as catching bass, for sure numbers and lots of fun you can't beat a roboworm on a darthead. Use a 4 1/2 inch straight tail in Aaron's Magic or Warmouth colors. My favorite darthead size is 3/16 ounce. Use can also catch a ton of fish throwing Yamamoto tubes in green pumpkin color. Fish lots of points or banks with visible rock on them. Be prepared to catch a lot and have fun!


Mar 20, 2006

How do you catch bigger bass on lake oroville?

Reaction baits including rip baits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Reaction baits almost always catch a larger fish in Oroville. You have to leave the schools of smaller fish and keep moving and looking for better fish. Many people get hung up catching lots of fish and not fishing for quality.


Mar 15, 2006

Over the past month I have been fishing folsom every other day.I can't get the fish to bite. I've tried deep structure from 90 feet up.I've tried sandy areas, red bank areas, rocky areas. I've tried using darthead worms,draging hula grubs,drop shoting worms,and top water. Any suggestions?

Right now at Folsom there is a decent jig bite, a really good darthead bite and some crank and rip fish. To win a tournament you might have to be chucking a swimbait. Start way out on the main lake points in 30 feet or so of water and work shallower. The bite has slowed a little bit with this recent cold snap. Get ready in a couple of weeks the bite will be off the hook with just about anything you want to throw. Me, I am liking that off-color water and look for an awesome blade bite.


Feb 27, 2006

Gary, how does wind effect your fishing? Are there certain times of the year that wind on your spots is better? Do you always fish the wind or is it better to get out of it sometimes? What wind directions are better? Do ever run to eastern points if a west wind picks up in the middle of the day? The wind doesn't seem to always help my reaction bite.

I generally like to fish in the wind.  What this does is it breaks a lot of the light penetration and makes it easier to fool the fish.  I like fishing into the wind unless it is just too strong and then I will fish with it.  If you're a jig fisherman or a reaction bait fisherman, you'll hate flat, slick water.  I prefer to fish in a south wind.  In the winter or spring, I do not like fishing in a north wind.  This is usually a colder, high pressure situation.  I will usually run to fish windy points almost regardless of the direction of the wind.


Feb 24, 2006

I’ve read a lot about you’re rip fishing techniques and wondered how you go about it on Lake Shasta. I usually fish Shasta from January thru March and use mostly plastics on dart heads and spinner baits. I’ve got a good supply of Lucky Craft baits now and I’m ready to give it a try.

Shasta is an awesome rip lake.  The problem is trying to figure out what the best type of structure on a given day is.  Long, flat points are almost always a good place.  Humps and island tops are almost always good, also.  These places get fished a lot.  I like to throw jerkbaits on some of the secondary points that are not getting as much pressure.  I also like to throw them on steep walls.  I've actually caught rip fish everywhere on Shasta.  I do like big baits at Shasta.  I fish a lot of 1/2 oz. Rattlin' Rogues, Mag 18 Rapala, and 128 Pointer.  River2Sea has a new jerkbait out called a Fetch Minnow.  This is a good looking bait and, as I write this, I just tied one on and I will be testing it tomorrow.  The good thing about Shasta is it's full of fish.  You just have to find the ones you want to catch, meaning better quality.  


Feb 20, 2006

Hi my name is Gary Sawyer i met you at the Long beach fishing show in march i was glad to finally met you because i like to fish alot of the same lures and techinques you do . jerkbaits are my favorite i also like spinnerbaits,topwater and lipless crankbaits and fishing worms. My questions is what size and what kind of hook you use for buzzbaits trailer and the Gamakatsu EWG trebles you use for the jerkbaits are they bronze or black nickel colored or does it make a differents my last question is i live in so cal the lakes i fish are clear what color in the lucky craft sammy would you reconmmend. thank you.

My main choice for a trailer hook on a buzzbait is usually a 2/0.  Occasionally, I will throw a 3/0.  These are Gamakatsu siwash hooks.  As far as the colors of my trebles, I really like the black nickel the best.  I also use a lot of round bend trebles.  Always remember that round bend hooks are stronger than EWG style hooks.  With the EWG you do get a wider bite.  Also, for your information, Gamakatsu now makes a #3 and #5 round bend treble.  Unfortunately, they are in bronze color only.  Still an awesome hook.    My favorite Sammy color is chartreuse shad.  My favorite spook color is okie shad.  These are just my confidence colors in these baits.  Lots of colors will work fine. 


Feb 16, 2006

When you, Bobby Barrack and others fish frogs on the Delta, how do you tie them on? By this I mean do you tie direct, use a loop knot a strong snap or how do you do it? Especially, if you want to walk it like a spook.

The knot that I totally believe in for frog fishing is the double palomar. This knot does not slip. I tie it directly to the frog and I do not use a split ring or a loop. I use 65lb. test Power Pro and I whack them pretty good. I want to try to set the hook and keep the fish on top and not let them run down into the grass. The key to making the frog walk is short, quick pops of your rod tip. It helps if the rod has a little bit of tip action. My frog rod is a Powell 735C. Do you catch a lot of frog fish in Indiana? I hope so because it's a blast.


Feb 13, 2006

My question is when you fish your revenge spinnerbait what position do you hold your rod up or, down or sideways? My other question is when do you fish a 3/8oz over 1/2oz on lakes?

When throwing a spinnerbait, I usually hold my rod tip down a little bit. The main thing is I usually have my rod forward to where I can get a good swing with the spinnerbait. My favorite spinnerbait rod is 7'3" long. It's a Powell 734C. I almost always throw a 1/2oz.and I never throw 3/8oz. If I want my spinnerbait to ride a little higher in the water, I'll just put a little larger blade on it. My favorite color is white and chartreuse with a nickel and gold willow leaf usually the blade sizes are #4 and 4 1/2. Good luck fishing.


Feb 9, 2006

Gary, When you have blacks bustin tiny shad all over the lake and the bass are not hitting cranks,rip baits spinnerbaits,but will sometimes hit a topwater bait if you throw it in the boils. What baits have you found to be really effective in those tough conditions?

Spoons and spinners. I consider myself the world's worst spoon fisherman. Everyone catches bigger fish on spoons than I do but I do catch a lot of good ones reeling a spoon just under the surface through these busting fish. My favorite is the old standby Kastmaster usually in 1/4- or 3/8-oz. You also might try a spinner like a Rooster Tail. Another one of my favorites is the little TD Minnow. The TD Minnow is an awesome bait. The only problem is you catch a ton of those stinkin' rainbows in the process, especially at Shasta.


Feb 8, 2006

I was looking for a specific color of Robo Worm and have had no luck getting a response from Robo Worm themselves. I was told that you were sponsored by them and may be able to help me. The color is "Neon Shad". I have been using this color at Oroville with great sucess in the 2.5" drop shot shad bait that came out a few months ago, but I was trying to find the color in a bigger form, 4 or 6 inch worm or reaper hoping to catch larger fish. So far I have not had any luck talking to the local tackle shops, of the three I have been to that carry Robo Worms, none even knew there was such a color. Any help would be appreciated.

I am sponsored by Robo Worm. I think they have the most consistent, best baits that you can buy. The problem is they don't make all of their colors in all of their different style baits. I have personally run into this problem myself. We get a confidence color and want to throw that color in every bait. Unfortunately, Robo tries to stay with their best selling colors in any given style of bait. I myself love the Baby Bass color in the 5" shaker model. They did not sell enough of these and discontinued it. That's just business and it sure does suck when we lose a confidence bait. Tackle shops can order special runs but they have to buy a large quantity. I don't know what that quantity is. Sorry on Robo's behalf.


Feb 3, 2006

When do use a colorado/willow over a double willow and when would you choose a 1/2 over 3/8oz? Theses are the lakes i fish Lake Perris, Diamond Valley Lake. I've read a lot of your articles about Jerkbaits and been very productive catching some good size bass!

Trying to determine what blade combination is pretty much your preference. Here in the west we mostly throw willows or double-willows. A Colorado willow combination will give a little more thump than a double-willow combination. Always remember, willow leaf blades put out a lot of flash and Colorado blades put out a lot of thump. If the water is dirty, a Colorado could work better. Most of the time, it's just a confidence deal with the fisherman. I throw 1/2-oz. probably 95% of the time. The only time I would throw a 3/8-oz. is over shallow grass. Something else to remember is the larger the blade the more lift to your spinnerbait. The smaller blades are easiest to fish deep and the bigger blades,because they grab so much water and lift, are easy to fish shallow. I do change blades a lot. A spinnerbait is a very efficient and productive bait and one of my favorites.


Feb 2, 2006

I heard you at the San Francisco Cow Palace show say Evinrude had a no charge 7-year warranty. My local Ranger dealer said that the warranty is not free. Who is right?

All of our bass boat dealers have been authorized by Evinrude to give a no charge 7-year warranty. This ends March 31, 2006. It is a boat show promotion special. If you have any questions or need help with a purchase, please contact me at dobynsga@comcast.net.


Jan 30, 2006

What do you do with your braided line once the color fades out? I had a well known fisherman tell me that if I colored my line with a magic marker that it would weaken it.

I don't know who told you that you couldn't use a magic marker on your line. I totally disagree with this. I use a lot of Power Pro braid and the color does bleach out. I think all braids bleach out. I use a Colt 44 Magic Marker made by Marks-A-Lot. I take my knife or a razor blade and make a slot in the tip for my line to run through. Occasionally, I will use a magic marker on brand new line if I don't think the line is colored dark enough. I use black most of the time. I can tell you with Power Pro this will not weaken the line.


Jan 25, 2006

I know you run an Evinrude but I have a question concerning my Mercury. I have a 2002 225-OptiMax that dies often unless it is really, really warmed up. I also have an overheat warning alarm go off for no reason. I've been fighting with this for 6 months. I've had it in the shop 4 times at 2 different places. They cannot seem to get it fixed. Who would you recommend that I could take my boat to? I live in Disco Bay.

I always recommend the same guy for problem outboards regardless of brand. I know it's a long drive, but if you want it fixed once and for all, take it to Calvin at Oasis Watersports in Redding. Calvin is the best and he has a gift with problem outboards. I even told a guy the other day that I'd pay for his gas if Calvin couldn't fix it. I've actually said this several times and I've never bought gas yet. While you're up there, you might as well try to spend a day or two on Shasta as fishing has been awesome.


Jan 23, 2006

Last year I spent a week on Clear lake in late September. The fishing was excellent as far as numbers, but, the size of fish was a little disappointing. I realize you are not going to catch a 10 every trip. I was spinning in circles trying to find small concentrations of the larger fish. Tules, docks, deeper points and whatever rockpiles that could find held fish. Every where I looked had tons of bait. I do believe there had to be big fish in the areas where I was. I tried a variety of baits but I was hung up on beavers and c - rigs because they produced most of the bigger fish. I know you are the king of rip baits. They are one of my favorites too, but, they didn't get it done for me. Maybe color,cadence or profile wasn't right. For some reason or another I could not get much of a reaction bite even when conditions seemed to be perfect. Is that a good time to throw swimbaits? I left the lake impressed and a little disappointed. I will be going out again about the same time and hope to have a little better results. I don't need some to hold my hand, rather, get some insight to get pointed in the right direction. It's a long drive from Durango, Co. and I hope this trip will be better. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Well, I'm glad you caught a bunch of fish. Clear Lake is known for it's big fish but in the time frame that you were there, this past September, it was kicking out huge numbers but a five-pounder was a dang good one. As a matter of fact, so was a four-pounder. I could rip some fish but nothing worth talking about. My best bait was a jig tipped with a Yamamoto twin tail. There was a deep crank bite (which I hate) and a decent rattlebait bite. The flip bite was pretty strong up north in the tules. These are pretty standard techniques at that time of the year. Clear Lake is a great fishery through the summer and September. You just don't seem to catch very many big ones. No one does. Sure there's an occasional big one caught but it's not like when you go to a tournament in the spring and it seems like everyone has 25 pounds. There was a good c-rig bite and it was putting out the better quality fish. All in all, I think you had the pattern figured for better fish.


Jan 17, 2006

Hey Gary, why don't you fish don pedro at the C & C Ranger owners tournament just for fun? I'd like to see how well some of the local pros would stack up against a real pro such as yourself.

The C & C tournament is a fun event for Ranger owners. All of Ranger's staff is there to help with the event, do demo rides, answer any fishing questions and, generally, just have a good time. Knock on wood, Don Pedro has always been very good to me in tournaments. It always gives me a check, even if it's been last check a couple of times. I have won two pro tournaments on Pedro. I never fun fish the lake. I only show up for tournaments and it's usually fairly tough. I think it would be fun to mix some of the pros in and I think you'd be really surprised at how the fish usually even out the playing field. The pros should do better. They have a lot more experience in tournaments and should adjust to patterns faster. The problem is the fish don't always know who the pro is. The tournaments the last couple of years have been in August and have been double tough. This year's tournament, however, is in March.


Jan 13, 2006

Hey Gary, thanks for speaking at the recent Police/ Fire Games. You gave some great advice regarding the lake. I'm not real confident in drop shot or darter head fishing. Do you offer a guide service for that lake? I would really appreciate some instruction on these types of presentations. I was able to catch one fish per day utilizing a popper and buzz bait. Thanks for your time.

I would trade guide trips for speeding tickets any day. I really enjoyed my time at the Police/Fire Games. You're all a great bunch of guys. However, I do remember rooting for the firemen since I had just gotten a speeding citation. I don't guide much if at all anymore. I just don't seem to have the time. I would love to give you some pointers on your darthead and worm fishing. I think I could explain this better by showing you. I think it's really easy and by far the best way to catch fish day in and day out. I'll be at most of our sports shows with the exception of San Mateo. If you can make it, I'm sure I can give you some pointers and would love to. As a matter of fact, all of us running around in our billboard shirts are there to promote product and to b.s. with fishermen. If we can't be fishing, we love to be talking about it. I hope to see you there.


Jan 9, 2006

Gary, I was wondering if it is true that most of the larger lure company's give there sponsored pros, proto type lures to use that the general public has no access to. Do you think this gives the pro's an unfair advantage in a tournament against the everyday anglers ? I have been in the boat with a few pros and have seen some specialty lure colors also lures that have different actions and diving depth from the standard lures you could normally buy from a tackle store. I've tried to find the same lures in stores without any success , then a year later they come out with it ? I just can't help but wonder if these so called swimbait experts who dominated the scene this last year at Don Pedro have some lures that the general public cant get.Keeping them one step ahead of everyone else. Also do you know of any other way a person can compete at Pedro in the pre-spawn /spring time without throwing swimbaits? If the swimbaits are the only way to go what types of areas do you look for to fish and how would you fish it.

It is true that sometimes pros do get proto-type lures and can use for a year or so before they hit the market. This is how the companies test their products before coming to market. Sometimes the pros have to make changes or adjustments to the bait in order to make it work. Is it fair? That's a hard question. It's the best way to test product before it's brought to market. In most cases, I think there are baits out and available that will do the same job. If an angler has a good tournament finish and talks up the lure, it builds a lot of hype for the company and is great promotion. As for swimbaits, there are many great baits. The Huddleston Trout is a great bait and is usually in limited supply and, therefore, always being looked for and talked about. They are getting easier to get finally. The Osprey is still an awesome bait. The Eagles are an awesome bait and you might look for the new Tiny E. Castaic has also got out a couple of new good looking swimbaits. Don Pedro and swimbaits just seem to go hand in hand.


Jan 5, 2006

I would like to start fishing in some Pro / Am tournaments as the Co angler. Can you please let me know which ones are the shared weight formats? The places I would like to fish at are Clear Lake and the Delta.

I think the shared weight format is the best for starting co-anglers. The pros are much more likely to make you feel welcome and be helpful with information and tackle. The shared weight tournaments that we have for the Delta and Clear Lake are WON Bass, Angler's Choice and 100% Bass. If I have missed anyone it was totally unintentional and I apologize.


Jan 3, 2006

What do you do if you go to a lake that you have never been to? How would you fish it if it did/did'nt have any cover? Also if you could use any type of lure in any contditon night,day,rain,sunshine,dark,clear water what would it be?

I usually buy a map on a new body of water but not always. I hardly ever look at it except to get the general lay of the lake. I like to fish shallow and fast. It's my style of fishing, so you're approach might definitely be different than mine. I like to start running the banks, preferably those with cover. If not, hopefully I have some wind or some mud lines or something to help me start looking for a pattern to fish. Depending on the time of year, it might help me pick a starting area. For example, many times our canyon reservoirs have shade in the upper end of the river arms until way late in the morning. So, if I was fishing in the summer, this would be one of my first stops. I really like main bodies on lakes, so I would also give these a hard look. Some things I would look for are stained water or abrupt changes in bank structure. As far as lures, the sky is the limit here. Time of year and water clarity would help with these decisions. I usually will look for a jerkbait, spinnerbait or topwater bite. If things aren't going well, I'll have a Yamamoto tube handy, as well as a Robo shakin' worm or a 6-inch straight tail. These are the old standards that you can always catch fish on.

I hope this helps a little.


Dec 30, 2005

Gary, Hi, first of all I want to say thanks for all the great pointers I learned from you this year at the Sacramento ISE fishing seminar at Cal Expo. Good stuff. This is my second season with my first ever bass boat and I am having a blast. I am a ten year belly boat veteran. I have two completely different questions for you. The first. I get out at least once a week and my home lake is Folsom. Last year I really learned the north fork and this year I have learned the south. I am doing great, I average about 10 fish per trip but I find myself spending a lot of time on one spot. I believe I am this way because this is how I fished out of the belly boat(I had no other choice but to fish slow). How do I get away from that and How long should I spend in one spot ? Is there one good pattern to use to figure out if the fish are there or not? #2. I fished my first tournament this year. It was at clear lake(future pro) I attended the tourney seminar before the event and all they talked about was rippin' . I never really tried ripping and jerk bait fishing until this year because I have had zero luck with it in the past. I tried it first thing in the morning of the tournament and boom, third cast I nail a whopper! She makes a big run this way...another that way, she has me all bent over heading for under the boat, I am thinking wow, 10+ lbr tourney fish right.. wrong 20 lb clear lake carp. What a heart breaker. That thing hit it on the pause, just like the pros said the night before. I didn't even know a carp hit a lure. The first I have ever heard of it. It had the whole rip bait in it's mouth. Not another bit on it all day. Dam carp must have stunk it up. Geez, well today at Folsom, I decided to change my pattern that I have used all year because it finally is not working anymore. I switched to the lucky craft pointer in ghost. I figured I better learn the jerk bait and rip bait this year. I learned a retrieve motion the other day watching Kevin Van Dam on Bassmasters. It is a quick downward twitch twitch twitch pause twitch pause twitch twitch. I couldn't believe it, boom, right off the bat, 5lb largie in the NORTH FORK! First bass on a jerk bait for me and I loved it. I then used it for the remaining hour I had and continued with 4 more in the 3lb range. Now I am hooked. I wish I could ask you to tell me all you know about this bait but what I really need to know is this the time, the summer, to use jerk bait and rip bait and anything else you can tell me about this bait to help me would be great. Thanks a ton, I am a real fan and I really admire all you do for this sport.

Wow, dude. I hope Tony prints this whole question. You are the master of the keyboard. I'm just joking.

I think your first question is how long you should stay. I think fishing out of that belly boat was a great learning experience for you. I myself spent years fishing out of a 10' john boat. What that's taught us is that fish school and there's a good chance there are more fish moving up on structure. Many times with the big bass rigs we tend to run away from our fish. A great case in point is this year a friend of mine blew his engine before blast off. He was devastated. I told him it was probably the best thing that could happen to him because he was going to have to fish today and not run all over the place. Guess what? He had a big bag. The next day with a running boat, guess what? It wasn't good. The point is many times there's a lot more fish in an area than we think there are and we leave too early. I'm very guilty of this myself. There's no right way to answer when it's time to leave. I've stuck it out and been a hero. I've stuck it out and been bloodied.

As for rippin' in the summer, I will throw a jerkbait all year long. It's a year round technique but it really shines in the winter and pre-spawn spring. Rippin' is a very easy technique. It just requires some confidence. I love to talk rippin' and can probably answer this better in person. I'm going to be at many of the sports shows. Come by and let's talk jerkbaits.


Dec 27, 2005

Hey Gary, If you had to fish Clearlake in the fall, what one bait would you use to locate fish? And whats your opinion on how the South end of the lake differs from the North end in Fall?

I hate questions that lock me into one bait. I don't think there's only one bait for this job. I want to give you several baits; the first would be a rattle bait like an SPRO Aruku Shad or a twin vibe. If the water got cold really quick in the late fall, I would say a jerkbait. If it's early fall or stable weather, I'd throw a spook or a frog. I'd fish it fast and cover a lot of water looking for a few aggressive bites. Most of the time in the fall when you get a few topwater bites in an area, there's a lot more fish there to be caught other ways. The last bait I would try would be a deep running crankbait. All of these baits I can fish fast to help locate schools of fish.

As far as south end vs. north end of the lake at Clear Lake in the fall, it's the one time of year I really don't have a favorite end of the lake. I fish the whole lake in the fall, just wherever I can find the best schools of fish.


Dec 21, 2005

I'm going to be fishing the Open for the second time this year. I know a couple of years ago you did well on nothing but reaction baits and last year you were forced to pick up the worm rod. At what point do you put down the reaction baits and pick up a worm rod. I know 2 years ago John Kerr didn’t get fish going until after 11am on a couple of the days (Or so I read). Last year I stuck with reaction baits until 11am and end up blanking trying to chase a limit on worms that last day (went into the last day in 22nd place). When do you decide to change and do you complete shut down your reaction efforts?

Well, I'm a little late answering this one for the Open. I think it's a great question and I want to try to answer it anyway. First of all, I approach Lake Mead a little differently than I do most lakes. Reaction fish, I think, will almost always beat worm fish on Mead. This is kind of true everywhere but not like on Mead. This year on Mead, I had a great early practice topwater bite. I located lots of areas that had fish. Four days prior to the tournament, we got big cool winds and it was timed just right with the full moon. The water temperature dropped about 12 degrees and, with the full moon, my topwater fish vanished. I continued to chase and look for reaction fish until about 2:30 on my final practice day. I fished 2 1/2 hours with a dropshot Robo on this last day of practice and developed a worm bite. I tried hard not to fish worms in this event, especially with the size of my early practice topwater fish, but in the end the Robo saved my butt. It's very hard sometimes when to say enough is enough and start fishing chicken (trying to get a limit). I almost never totally give up my reaction bite. I've always got it laying there and I'll always pick it up and throw it once in a while. When I miss a great topwater ripbait or spinnerbait bite, I almost feel like slitting my wrists (not quite that bad!). By the way, Aaron won throwing topwater and a spinnerbait. I found these fish but I just couldn't catch enough of them and never went back. Of course, when Aaron goes there, they're all wanting a ride back to Callville.


Dec 16, 2005

Hello Gary, I wanted to ask your opinion on clear water versus muddy water in the summer. We can go to the mud and flip,crank,blade, 12" fish all day long but can't come up with a kicker, always just out of the money. The guys down in the clear water are getting good fish. There is only one ramp in the lower end of the lake that every tournament goes out of, So all the fish get put back in down in the lower end, clear water and the speed zone. I'm starting to think that alot of the better fish are down there by the ramp do to the number of tournaments on this lake. I wanted to know if you thought that these fish ever make it back up to the mud? Have you ever been faced with this before and how do you deal with it?

Also I have a Aqua-Vu and I'm seeing shad, bluegills, crappie's, saugeye's, white's, carp in 7' to 10' of water but no Large or Smallmouths and I'm talking about some good looking stuff that's holding all of these other fish. Am I looking in the wrong place's these bank's are at a 45 degree angle? Should I be looking more for the flats or gradual sloping bank? What bait's do you like to throw in the summer with clear water? Any thing would be a big help.

Tournaments definitely move fish around. I'm guessing your dirty water is shallow. Otherwise, I can't explain the dirty water with no runoff in the summer. My guess would be your bigger fish are simply not up in the shallow water. I would love to know what lake and what the structure is like. Is there any deep water close to this dirty water? I like fishing mud lines, especially in the summer. A lot of times in our reservoirs, the mud line will only be on the surface out over deeper water. If you get any wind it will blow a mud line out into the lake, but the water underneath will be clear. This is an excellent scenario. Low light penetration and with the fact that the fish will suspend right underneath that mud line makes for great fishing. You asked if the fish move. Yes, I believe they move. If there's not a lot of food available in that area, they have no choice but to move. Also, with rising water, I've been amazed at how fast and how far the fish will move. I hope this helps some.


Dec 14, 2005

How do you think WON Bass will draw this year? I heard they're not going to have a Western Classic this year. Is this true? Also, is it true that you have to fish all 6 Pro-Ams, North and South, to win the Daiwa Cup? If this is true, it looks like you're a shoe-in. Don't you like a challenge anymore?

Very interesting. I'll try not to dance around too much. Most of my information about this is coming from a WON Bass newspaper and, also, talking to Chuck and Hutch at the Bass-A-Thon. I can only guess about the draw turnout this year. I would really be surprised if it was very strong. With no points to chase other than Angler of the Year and the Daiwa Cup, I don't think you'll keep enough fishermen interested. Chasing points, I believe, is a big deal.

It is true there will not be a Western Classic. It is also true that you have to fish all 6 Pro-Ams and the US Open to win the Daiwa Cup. I am not a shoe-in. Right now I don't believe I will fish south. It's too much travel, and with two conflicts with the Stren series, to try to win a $5,000 Daiwa Cup trophy. I believe you'll only have a handful of guys that fish all 7 events and maybe less than that.

I always like a challenge fishing. I've only won the Daiwa Cup twice. I would've like to have shot Tom Matsunaga for beating me last year by one freaking point. No offense, Tom. You did a great job!

Please understand that I'm not slamming WON Bass here. I am a long time WON Bass supporter and wish them only the best. I'm only answering a question here. Do I think they could do a better job? Yes.


Dec 11, 2005

I have been fishing since I can remember (25yrs old) and after fishing out of a small aluminium for a couple years I decided 3 yrs ago buy a small 181 champ and fish some team stuff. The thing is I did very well never using electronics and basically pounding the banks or any visible type structure. This could be deep structure but it had to be visible in a sense I could determine a break by picturing how a bank stretched to deep water. After a awesome year doing the team stuff I decided to fish Evertart on the pro side and really exceeded my expectations and easily made the championship and in fact I feel a few bad breaks cost me top 10 or 12. The question is this year everything seemed to go backwards. I upgraded the boat, got the bet graphs and basically purchased all the things I had never needed before to catch fish. I seemed to stop thinking and start looking at that stupid graph or would try to slow down. I started the year off breaking down when I was on some good fish at Havasu, do you think that messed my head up for the year? Should I through all the fancy stuff away and start pounding away again? Do you have suggestions on the dramatic change in my ability to catch fish?

I always say buy the best equipment that you can afford. I also say that in my younger days I've still caught more fish out of a 12' aluminum than I have my Rangers. Bigger boats with bigger motors many times let us run around a lot more and many times we're running away from our fish. When you speak of now having the fancy meters, I think a meter helps a lot at times. I'm using the new Lowrances and they're awesome. Most times I use a meter to determine the depth, the structure or location of bait. They are a great tool but when you described yourself as a bank pounder, most times a locator is not needed. I myself am definitely a bank beater. It sounds to me like you seriously upgraded your equipment but you changed your style of fishing. Tournament fishermen have to be very versatile but you're still going to have your favorite styles and that's where your confidence is. Also, a break down can get in anyone's head. It's also easy to let one bad tournament roll into another bad tournament. You just start trying too hard and things just don't go your way. I can remember 2001 like yesterday and it sucked. It's also great to get on a roll and catch them tournament after tournament after tournament. Now that's cool! Don't let a bad year drag you down. I had the worst year of my career in 2001 and 2002 was probably the strongest season that I've ever had. Keep your head up and catch them this year. See you at Havasu.


Dec 9, 2005

Does leaving your hooks open (not bending them over) on reaction baits hurt during pre-fish? I fish a large desert lake with tons of stripers and want to know that a Largemouth or Smallie is hitting. Also, I would be throwing these untampered hooks one to two days before the tournament. Any advise?

You definitely have to find out if they're stripers or bass. Many times there is a mixture, hopefully. I don't bend my reaction baits' hooks over very often. What I do is simply leave the area. I try to find another similar area. If I get a good pattern going, I simply will not fish the same kind of areas. What I like most about throwing reaction baits is the amount of water that I can cover. So, if I get a good looking area that works with my pattern, I just want to fish it on the first day of the tournament. I'm a firm believer that the first tournament day is also a major pre-fish. You're in your area, you're swinging and sticking all your bites and you really find out what's there. If you stick them in practice on reaction baits, I firmly believe that you've just screwed yourself for the tournament. Many fishermen simply cannot leave them alone once they've located them. If you're fishing one of our spotted bass factories up north, you can definitely get away with sticking a lot more in practice. However, on Lake Mead, I think it's a really bad deal to stick fish. Good luck fishing!


Dec 8, 2005

Hey Gary when your fishing for fun do you ever use swimbaits? And if so what kind do you use?

I do fish swimbaits some for fun but I can't say that I have one or two that I always throw. I probably throw the Eagle swimbaits more than any other. Check out the new Tiny E. The Huddleston is a great bait but, many times, they're hard to find. Both Optimum and Castaic have new baits out that look pretty awesome. I just haven't had a chance to put much time on them. I honestly don't consider myself a really good swimbait fisherman. I catch them on them but I lose a lot also. If you want a big bite, there probably isn't a better bait to throw. The southern California fishermen, especially the likes of Mike Long, are light years ahead of most of us up here in the north when it comes to swimbaits. But hey, we can learn.


Dec 5, 2005

Gary, I fish Clear Lake several times a year in a few different tournaments circuits and wanted to know how you go about picking apart the good and the bad water before a tournament. I have had some good success but at times I get frustrated because everything looks good at Clear Lake. I sometimes just wonder if I had gotten lucky and stumbled on some fish that wanted to bite. I throw several different baits ranging from LV500’s to the Stacy’s and several flipping baits; I also have a love for throwing FROGS and SUPER SPOOKS. It would be really great if you could give me some advice to step up my game plan, and by the way I pour custom SWIMBAITS and would be will to send you some to see how well you think they might work.

Wow, tough question. This is a much easier question to answer if we're not thinking of tournaments and fishing pressure. With fishing pressure from tournaments, you need to try to find a few subtle areas that everyone is not beating. Let's talk early March. The problem with this time of year is there are a few places up north where the fish always come up. Over the years, everyone has learned where they are. Therefore, you end up fishing in a crowd which I hate. An example is the the EverStart last March. I went south to get away from all the pressure figuring that I could find them coming up somewhere. I got stung hard. The fish just weren't moving up good in the south like they were in the north. In the summer and the dead of winter, I catch myself fishing mostly in the deeper end of the lake down south. There are lots of structure and break lines for the fish to move up on. Many times I'm still not fishing deep but there's deep water access close. In the fall, I actually like the whole lake. I may be north or south depending on where I can find the best fish. Trying to further answer your question, tule points, mouths of sloughs or creeks, docks closer to deep water are some of the things that I always look for. I hope this helps some. Good luck.


Dec 2, 2005

I've tried everything, lightening my drag, yank the fish in quickly, don't yank the fish quickly, stick the rod under the water, etc. I fish rip baits alot (mostly staycees and pointers), and I catch a ton of fish on them. But it seems when I need them the most during a tournament I loose fish. I seldom loose them if they stay under, but a fish coming to the surface is almost certain death, esp if it's a largemouth. I've missed several top 5 finishes due to lost fish on the surface with a rip bait. I can accept that rip baits and crank baits have a certain percentage of lost fish due to the nature of treble hooks, but do you have any advice that could help.

The best thing you can do is upsize your hooks. Make danged sure they're razor sharp. I personally like Gamakatsu and I usually change a set out during the day. The fastest way that I've found for changing hooks is with a pair of side cutters or dikes. I cut the old hooks off and slip new ones on the split ring. You can get to where you can change these in a minute or two and I believe it's a big deal.

As far as losing fish on top of the water, I find that many times I will actually pull and try to lay the fish over. I'm trying to keep him from swinging his head to throw the bait. With a little practice, I believe this helps a lot. I do the same thing with my topwater baits. I don't let a fish walk across the water if I can help it. But, as you know, anytime we're using treble hooks, we're going to lose some. It just seems like it happens too often on tournament day and it sure sucks.


Dec 1, 2005

What is your theory on hooking bass during the practice period??

Good question. I think hooking the bass in the practice period really hurts you but you have to know what's there size wise. When I'm practicing, if I stick one or two in an area I leave. Then I'll try to find similar water and if I stick one, I'm gone. I might do this two or three times. Then I stop fishing and just start traveling and looking for like water. If I'm worried about sticking fish in an area, I usually just leave. If I'm fishing a multiple day event, I think the first day of the tournament is a huge prefish. I'm going back into areas where I've gotten a bite or two and I'm really going to find out what's there. So basically, you've got to stick a few fish but try not to hurt your area. Also, most times there are going to be other anglers coming through the same area and also sticking a few. Remember, winning prefish pays poorly and usually screws up your tournament fish for when it counts.


Nov 28, 2005

Gary, I find myself lately fishing only baits like 4 to 6 inch worms texas and carolina rig on the local lakes here in Northern California. My method produces fish, but just smaller fish in the range from 1-3 lbs. What can I do to catch the larger fish using the same style of fishing method I enjoy so much? Also are lighter colored baits better in the late spring and summer?

You say you want to use the same style of fishing so that rules out reaction baits. The reason that you want to use the same style is pretty to guess. That's where your confidence is. The only thing that I can tell you is if you want bigger fish but stay with your technique is to upsize your baits. Go bigger. Don't be afraid to throw a 10" or 12" worm or maybe a big 8" lizard. Bigger baits will definitely catch bigger fish. You will also be amazed at the number of small fish you'll still catch. One thing though, you'll start missing more bites with the bigger baits. These are usually your smaller fish. As far as light colored baits, I don't think that has any effect on the size of your fish. I mainly pick colors based upon water clarity and light penetration. Carolina rigging really is a big fish technique. Oh, by the way, don't forget about a big brush hog. This is a number one carolina bait.


Nov 22, 2005

I fish clear lake all of the time. When sight fishing and frog fishing do the carp scare the bass. Is it a waste of time to throw frogs when carp are busting all around. Same question for sight fishing, will the bass bed up when the carp are swimming all around them.

When it comes to frog fishing, I really don't like the carp running around where I'm fishing. But when it comes to bed fishing, if the bass are on a bed and a carp is running around, it probably could agitate them and make them easier for you to catch. I would try using a swimbait in that case. If they're locked onto a bed, they're not going anywhere regardless of what the carp are doing. The bad thing about carp running around is they usually muddy up the water and you can't see the bass very well. I don't like fishing around running carp with any technique. Oh, and by the way, I suck as a sight fisherman. No patience.


Nov 20, 2005

What pound test do you use on your jerkbaits/ripbaits?

Generally, I use 10 lb. CXX P-Line. It's very strong, breaking somewhere around 17 lb., but the diameter is small enough that I don't get a lot of resistance in the water. Therefore, I still get great action on my baits as well as the depth I'm looking for. If I'm fishing around cover at Clear Lake, sometimes I will throw 12 lb. Good luck!


Nov 18, 2005

Gary, when I catch bass the same weight some of their eyes are bulging out and others aren't. Do you you know why this is?

As far as the bug eyed bass syndrome, I have seen it in all sizes of fish but I've seen it many more times in the really big fish. I flat do not know what causes this. I think I will ask Dennis Lee at DFG the next time I see him. When I find out, I'll come back and answer.


Nov 16, 2005

Gary, I was just wondering if you have tried cajun red line and if you have how do you like it? Do you like it better than the stuff you're using now or would you rather stick to the stuff you're using now?

I've honestly never tried it. I'm very happy with the performance I'm getting out of my CXX and floroclear P Line. I use CXX on my casters and floroclear on my spinning. It's a confidence thing and I'm sure that you have a lot of confidence in Cajun Red also.


Nov 15, 2005

Maybe you can settle a debate for me. I fish with several friends at various lakes in our area and one of them always seems to bring a Banana into the boat when he is with me with his lunch. I have heard before that a Banana is bad luck (to us fisherman that believe in such nonsense.....

As far as the banana in the boat for bad luck, I personally don't believe in it but let me tell you the majority do believe a banana in the boat is bad luck. One time I made a joke about hiding bananas in everyone's boats. Within about two minutes, it was going to be 12 to 1 and I was fixing to take a whipping. I guarantee bananas in most bass fishermen's boats are going to cause SERIOUS problems. I've asked many fishermen who are very adamant about the banana jinx, "How in the hell does a bass even know what a banana is let alone if it's in the boat?" I've never really gotten a good answer. Most answers start with, "If you put a @%$# banana in my boat, it's a fight." It is kind of funny but again most fishermen believe in the banana jinx.


Nov 14, 2005

I'm having some technical difficulties with buzzbaits that I have purchased. Each and everyone of them runs to the left right out of the package. I have tried to tune them by bending the wire to the opposite side, but it is not correcting the problem. The only thing I can think of is that I need to mount the buzzbaits to a fan and leave it on for a day. I'm really frustrated at this point and would like some advice.

Gosh, dude, the best way to correct a buzzbait is to bend the wire in the opposite direction that it is running just like you suggested. I wonder what blades you're using on the bait? Sometimes the buzzbait will run off a little bit but nothing to even worry about. If possible, can you let me know what baits and blades you're using because I really don't have an answer to your problem? Sorry.


Nov 10, 2005

I fish a lake that was a real good smallmouth lake years back they put spot's in it.How do you tell which one's are the cross between the two and why are all the smallmouth basicly gone?

The smallmouth are basically gone because the spotted bass are such an aggressive fish. Spotted bass also spawn a lot deeper so if you have fluctuating water it doesn't affect their spawn like it would a largemouth or a smallie. Spotted bass simply take over most fisheries. Shasta and Oroville are two prime examples but, for some reason, in Folsom and Berryessa they coexist with the blacks and smallies very well. Spotted bass are not only an aggressive fish, they move around a lot and spend huge amounts of time suspended in open water. I think most of the time spotted bass are more like a striper than they are a smallie or a black. As far as a hybrid, it'll usually be colored a little funny and just flat doesn't look like either a spot or a smallmouth. Many times it will have the bars on its head like a smallie but be greenish in color. If it doesn't really look like a spot or a smallie, you've got a hybrid. They are fairly common. The biggest one I've personally ever seen was at Shasta and Dub LaShot weighed in a 6.50 lb. hybrid. I hope this helps.


Nov 8, 2005

Can you tell me why I can't do any good on a full moon day. Is there any trick to fish on a full moon day?

I actually think you've let the full moon get in your head. It's basically a confidence thing. Fish eat well on a full moon. Many night fishermen totally prefer it. I believe the fish do feed more at night on a full moon. Also, in our Cal Delta, the weights at tournaments always seem to be higher around a full moon. Also, on a full moon we have higher tides and more water movement. Good luck!


Nov 7, 2005

The words "success" and "lucky" do not come into play when fishing Oroville. Being your backyard playground, what do you do to gain the maximum recreation in recruiting the spots to come out and play?

I think I've actually had success and have been very lucky at Oroville. For instance, the last three years at the WON Bass tournaments, we've caught a big storm on at least one of the days. Any time I get that low pressure storm system, I know I can catch spotted bass on reaction baits. In all honesty, most of the time it's a numbers game unless I run into a better school of fish. On those low pressure fronts, I'm usually catching pretty big numbers of fish. For instance, this year the first day of the tournament I caught seven keepers and my non-boater caught two. The second day of the tournament with the big storm, with my first two casts and my partner's first cast, we had three fish in the boat. At one point during the day, I caught nine on consecutive casts. I don't know how many we caught but it was a bunch We weighed 9.99 lbs. and the fish were all identical. I just have tremendous confidence in the storms.


Nov 4, 2005

Gary, what is the best way to approach a potential sponsor or should a guy just wait for them to approach him? Would you suggest sponsors outside the bass fishing industry for the begginer or sponsors within the industry?

You should definitely approach any sponsor you're interested in. They will almost never, ever approach you. If you have a chance to pursue an out of the industry sponsor, I think that should be your first choice. The in-industry sponsorships are always there for a guy that is willing to work for them but there are also a lot of fishermen already in place. Out of the industry sponsors would more likely be money, in the industry would more likely be product. Out of the industry sponsors are very hard to get. I sure wish you luck with anything out of the industry because it will help growth in our sport.


Nov 3, 2005

How much do think noise effects the bass? I've seen guy's catch fish while blasting Led Zepplin, and I've heard guy's say they turn off thier sonar cause the ticking makes too much noise! What do you think?

I believe the quieter you are the better chance you have of catching big fish. The bigger fish that have been caught and released a few times, I believe, are a lot harder to fool and noise really decreases your chances. I am one of the guys in shallow water who will turn off my sonar. I don't like the tick, tick, tick of the transducer in shallow water. Of course, if you have any wind and wave action, I believe you can get away with a lot more noise. Try not to slam rod locker lids or jump around in the boat if you're fishing shallow water. I also think anyone that plays Led Zeppelin on the water, we ought to be able to shoot and, of course, not have any bag limits.


Nov 2, 2005

I'm going to be staying at Konocti June 19-24. What is you favorite Buzz bait there for that time of year?

orry it took me so long to get to your question. Now you're trip to Konocti has come and gone. My favorite buzzbait for largemouth is a 3/8 or 1/2 oz. black with a metal blade and clacker. This past June was an excellent senko, jig with a Yamamoto trailer and a drop-shot with Robo worms in ox blood or MM3. I hope you had a good trip in June.


Nov 1, 2005

I was just wondering what types of reaction baits you would be throwing for spots this time of year. I love to throw spooks and buzz baits and have had a lot of luck. Just would like to get a little more input on colors and size of baits. Do you throw the super spook for spots or the standard size. Is it more important to fish a spinnerbait at the right depth or draw strikes by fishing at the right speed. I basically fish Melones and Oroville most of the time. Just looking to upgrade my bags at weigh-in.

My favorite topwater baits for spots are a super spook in okie shad, black back silver side or the light blue back shad. As far as buzz baits go, my favorite for spots is a 1/4 oz white with a metal blade and no clacker. This is my confidence buzz bait for spots. On your spinnerbait question, the obvious answer would be the right depth but also, along with the right depth, you do have to use the correct speed. I have a pretty simple rule of thumb, cold water slow roll, deep and slow. If the water is warmer, the faster and shallower you can go. For instance, in the desert lakes or fishing for small mouth, I tend to burn a spinnerbait pretty often. My favorite colored spinnerbait for spotted bass is a shad colored bait with a little chartreuse in it with a gold and a nickel willow blades. My other favorite is a white on white bait. Good luck chasing those spots!


Oct 31, 2005

Gary I know that rip baits are your specialty. Do you use rip baits on the Delta as well and if so which ones do you use?

I do throw ripbaits on the Delta. They are the deadliest in the winter. All you need is a little bit of clear water. I throw the same ripbaits on the Delta that I throw on the lakes. I will throw the deeper diving jerkbaits in the winter whenever I can. The only thing stopping me is if I'm fishing around too much grass. This time of the year look at dead end sloughs or marinas and don't be afraid to fish in the middle.


Oct 27, 2005

Gary, I've noticed that it seems like the rod you use for darterheading is not a G Loomis. What rod do you prefer for darterheading and why?

You're right. I never used a Loomis rod for my dartheads. I had a custom built rod for my dartheads. I like an extra fast action rod, 7' in length with a lot of guides. The rod needs to be well balanced and sensitive. I just never found an ideal rod in Loomis's line. Now, I'm not picking on Loomis. They are the industry leader. I just didn't find a rod that worked for me.


Oct 26, 2005

Gary, how would you fish Lake Oroville in June?

Well, unfortunately, I'm very late in getting to your question. But next June, you can catch some great fish on topwater and wacky rigged senkos. I like fishing in the ends of the rivers an awful lot in June. Good luck!


Oct 25, 2005

How did you prepare to fish WON Bass Diamond Valley Lake Tournament? What was you pattern for catching fish? What adjustments did you make for fishing suchg a small like with so many anglers?

I pre-fished for four days which was an awful lot for this size lake. I had three patterns, slow rolling a spinnerbait, drop-shotting a Robo worm and fishing a wacky rigged senko. The first day was pretty easy. The second day was much slower. I thought I could still catch some fish on a spinnerbait on the second day but because of all the pressure on day one, my spinnerbait bite was pretty slow. I just simply moved farther off the bank and drop-shotted Robos and got a couple of good bites. I also stayed in just a couple of areas and waited out the fish that were moving up. I didn't see a lot of sense in moving around given the small size of the lake. Everything was taking a beating. Diamond Valley is an exceptionally good fishery with awesome quality fish. I can't believe all the big trout I caught by pure accident while I was there. One afternoon, I put a small jerkbait on and just whaled on those big rainbows. I look forward to fishing it again.


Oct 24, 2005

You must take good care of your feet considering all that belly they are supporting. Do you use any special shoes or inserts?

I actually do use some special insoles. They give me more arch support so I can stand on my feet all day. They do have an extra heavy duty pair that you might be interested in, my friend. Hell, maybe I can get a sponsorship from these guys. I'm going to put in a good word for you, Mr. Sault and now that I think about it, I'm going to put in a good word for Mr. Dee Thomas, also. For our sponsorship photos, I'll stand in the middle between you two and I'll be looking gooood! Sorry, Dee.


Oct 20, 2005

I'm going to be able to fish Lake Shasta for a week in May... what would you recommend I do to try and catch fish bigger than 2lbs?

Shasta has definitely changed over the last few years. Shasta was one of my strongest tournament lakes forever and now things have just changed up there and I haven't had a really strong tournament in a while. Shasta used to be a ripbait and spinnerbait lake and you could win doing it. Now don't get me wrong. You can still catch fish on a ripbait and a spinnerbait on Shasta. Most of the time, a four- or six-inch Robo worm rigged on a 3/16 oz. darthead is beating my spinnerbaits. For fish over two pounds at Shasta, in May specifically, I would say the Robo worm on a darthead, without a doubt senkos around the willow bushes, and, quite possibly, a little topwater and swimbaits. Remember, on Shasta it always seems like once you start catching good ones, there are a lot of good ones in the area. I can't tell you how many back to back 3 or back to back 4 pounders I've caught on consecutive casts. Spots really school a lot and they school a lot by size. If you're catching a bunch of one-pounders, move and keep moving until you find some better fish.


Oct 19, 2005

Hey Gary, how are you... I would like to know if you teach classes on bass angling.

I have done a few classes in the past. I really enjoy them and am thinking about doing one in the near future. I really enjoy teaching people how to catch fish. I spent quite a bit of time this summer on Oroville on a houseboat and found myself always trying to help someone try to catch fish. I'm really trying to decide how to approach doing a class. Do I do a class that just flat helps people learn how to catch fish or do I try and bring the tournament scene into it? I would rather teach people how to go to Oroville and catch 30-40 fish per day almost every day. When I decide to do a class, of course westernbass.com will be a part of it.


Oct 18, 2005

Gary, I fish SF bay area lakes a lot and I've had decent success with senkos rigged Texas style and no weight. But recently I've caught more bass drop shot'in with senkos, wacky style and a 3/8 oz weight. Can you explain why? What time of year and where would you use senkos straight vs. wacky, with weight vs. no weight?

I can't say that there is a certain time of year to do it one way or another. Senko fishing is awesome and you just about can't hardly do it wrong. Rigging it regular Texas rig or wacky style or drop-shotting it are all awesome techniques. Most of the time, I will fish it one way or the other totally depending on whether or not I'm fishing in heavy cover or open banks like at Oroville and whether or not I'm fishing it deep. If I'm fishing it deep, I'm more apt to drop-shot it or maybe even put a darthead in it. Fishing shallow in heavy cover, I usually use Texas rig with no weight. My favorite way to fish a senko is straight up wacky style with no weight. I just have a lot of confidence fishing it this way and I get a lot of bites. Be sure to check out Gamakatsu's new wacky style hooks made both with and without a weed guard. They are pretty awesome.


Oct 17, 2005

What are some good patterns, techniques, and lures for post spawn bass?

Good ways to catch post spawn bass are by throwing small jerkbaits, some topwater and probably drop-shotting. Sometimes you need to slow down and even downsize your baits. Always remember they don't all spawn at the same time. Even when there is a full blown spawn going on you're still going to have some pre-spawn fish and some post-spawn fish that spawned early.


Oct 14, 2005

When do you start throwing topwater lures? Also, I have trouble on how to fish a swimbait. Can you give me any sugestions on what is one of the most efective way to swim one?

I start throwing topwater usually sometime in March. By the end of April, you'd better be thinking about throwing some topwater. Early in the year, it just seems like your topwater bites are always big and they eat it.

As far as tips on a swimbait, I surely don't consider myself an expert. One of the things that I do to catch fish on a swimbait is use a steady slow retrieve. Sometimes I let the bait sink to the bottom and slowly swim it back. On lakes like Diamond Valley that have a lot of brush, you need to let the bait touch the brush once in a while (yes, you're going to lose some baits). There really is no set one way to fish a swimbait or just about any other bait as far as that goes. The thing with swimbaits is you have to have a lot of patience and have confidence in the bait.


Oct 12, 2005

When rippin a Staycee, I have a hard time keeping up with the line when I am moving down a bank and find it hard to fish this bait when moving down a bank. I fish a Chronarch 6.2 ratio reel and would like to know if you slow the boat down to fish this bait? And which bait do you fish more, the Pointer or the Staycee?

I fish the Staycee the most and I'm guessing you're probably standing on your trolling motor at a pretty good clip. Most of the time I do not fish ripbaits that fast. You should use a fast retrieve reel like a 6.1 or better to help you pick up your line. Chronarchs are good. Also, check out Daiwa's new TDAs. They are awesome. If you try to work Staycees too fast, you won't get the depth or the correct action out of them. I'm sure I'll run into you at one of the sports shows. Come up and let's talk about ripbait fishing. I'll be happy to show you the retrieve and how I do it. Throwing a jerkbait is an awesome way to catch a pile of fish.


Oct 11, 2005

I have been fishing for bass now for a while, I have been fishing with a club and the WONBASS team tournaments and doing fairly well. How do I take the next step to become a professional angler like yourself?

Stepping up to the next level is as simple as paying the higher entry fee. If you're going to try to make it as a fulltime fisherman, that's a completely different story. Most all the pro fishermen have jobs and other sources of income. If you're not very well sponsored, you'd better have a job to pay the bills. You cannot count on tournament winnings. If you want to fish full time, you need to think about going east. That's where all the big money tournaments are happening. This requires a complete life style change and it is still very, very hard to make it. If you want to fish pro and stay here in the west, we do have some great circuits. This is better on stress levels, road time, and no doubt, divorce rates.


Oct 6, 2005

Gary, I Have fished a few tournaments at my local lake and lately all the tournaments have been won with some huge weights. The anglers have been suing swimbaits exclusively and coming in with 30 pounds for five fish. IS there any other way to compete with this type of bite? I keep thinking the swimbait bite will die off but nothing has changed. Do you have any tips on what to do?

Unfortunately, if that swimbait bite is on nothing I know of can compete with it. Swimbaits flat catch giant fish. The lakes that have great trout populations or are regularly planted with trout, will be great swimbait fisheries. Fishing swimbaits is very expensive and flat out hard work. To do it right, you need a special rod, a bunch of custom swimbaits, a lot of patience and some damned strong forearms. You can use a flippin' stick but a regular swimbait rod makes it much easier. If you're in a tournament and they're eating swimbaits, you'd better be throwing one if you want to be in the top.


Oct 4, 2005

I had the privilege of seeing your presentation at the Long Beach outdoors show. There you said that your "go to, multi purpose" rod was an 843 Loomis in GL3 graphite. My question is why you would fish GL3 graphite when I imagine someone such as yourself could fish IMX, or GLX if they chose to?

The rod that I actually talked about was an MBR 864X that is made only in GL3 material. This is a very unique rod in the fact that it can be used for so many different techniques and baits. I always preferred IMX material when it was available in the rod that I wanted. I like the IMX material simply because it is stronger and more durable than a GLX. Since the Long Beach show, I have been working with a new line of rods called Powell that are soon to be out. Check them out if you get a chance.


Oct 3, 2005

When you talked to DFG rep did they ever show you this so called law in CCR title 14? If not maybe because it might not be in it. Our club voted to keep the 5 fish limit in our tournaments.Do you know what CCR title 14 is?

When I talked to the Fish and Game representative, he did not show me CCR Title 14.  In total honesty, I do not know what the CCR Title 14 says.  It's my feelings that as bass fishermen we do so much for the resources and have brought catch and release to the forefront.  We do not kill fish at tournaments and I think that's enough in itself to think their new law is bs.  Of course, they could care less what I think.  I do believe this is resolved completely now and is a moot issue.


Sep 27, 2005

Could you please tell us what style and size replacement hooks you would use on the Lucky Craft Sammys and lucky craft ripbaits. Also what replacement hooks would you use on the Zara Super Spook and Smithwick Roques ripbaits. Do you know where the new size 3 and 5 Gamakatsu treble hooks can be purchased. I haven't been able to find them even on the internet.

When it comes to replacing hooks, I like to up-size if possible without changing the action of the bait.  I am a firm believer in Gamakatsu trebles.  Its hard to tell you what hooks to use on what baits because there are all different size Sammys and ripbaits.  On the Super Spook, I will usually replace the two end #4 with #2 leaving the #4 in the middle.  If you change out the middle hook, they tangle too often.  With Gamakatsu's new size, #3, I have been playing around with all #3's on Super Spooks.  It's working very well.  Up-size whenever you can.  It will help you catch some of those slapping fish that aren't eating the bait.  I alternate between round bend and EWG style hooks.  Always remember the round bends are stronger and the EWG's have a little bit wider gap.  Any store that carries the Gamakatsu hooks can get the #3 or #5.  Another hook that you might consider is the 2X strong trebles.  For big fish or stripers, these are awesome.  They are not heavy enough that they change actions on baits.  Almost a must with swimbaits. 


Sep 26, 2005

Gary, when I last posted a message on this site I asked about the ride difference between the 520 and the new "Z" model Ranger. You hadn't had time to really evaluate the new boat but raved about the ride in the 520. I have fished a couple of tournaments where your son competed and probably could have coaxed him into getting a ride in the new boat, but I didn't. Is it worth spending more money for the Z, when I could have the same ride in the 520?

The ride in the new Z is awesome but it has a completely different feel than that of a 520.  Coming out of a 520 going into a Z20, you will need to drive it on a few trips and get used to the difference.  If you're a diehard 520 fan, you might not like the Z ride to start with.  It just feels different.  After a couple of trips, you will love your new Z.  Anytime you see my son Richard ask him for a test drive.  He is part of the Ranger staff and would be honored to give you a test drive.  In fact, anyone ever wanting a test drive should feel free to approach any of us Ranger staff members.  It's not only our job, but we love to do it.  If at all possible, try to catch the guy before he loads his boat or pre-arrange a test drive.  This does make it a little bit easier.    

As far as the Z being worth the extra money, that's a tough question.  They are both exceptional boats.  They have different styles and features as well as price.  The Z boat is the new one but the 520 sales are still outstanding.  Tough choice. 


Sep 23, 2005

Do you every fish soft jerk baits?  Can you speak a bit about the differences between a soft jerk bait vs. a hard one?  I.e., when do you like to throw the soft ones vs. the hard ones? 

I throw both the hard baits and soft baits.  They're really completely different baits at least the way I fish them.  The hard baits, or jerkbaits, I tend to fish a lot faster and cover a lot more water.  I'll also throw these baits in the winter or early spring much more than I will a soft bait.  Some great hard baits are Trophy 78 Minnow, Staycee 90 or Rattlin' Rogue.  For soft baits, my favorites are definitely the Senkos and a super fluke.  I fish them completely different, usually using a senko as a fall bait and a super fluke with a slow twitch and fall bait.  The senko is probably the number one soft jerk bait.  I normally fish it as a fall bait but occasionally I'll twitch it fast and erratically back to the boat on a retrieve particularly on the Delta and Clear Lake.  You can also rig this bait wacky style and do the same thing.  Most of the time when you're fishing a soft plastic jerk bait, I would say they're best from April through October.  The hard baits, I think, are the best from October through March.  Both of these types of jerk baits can be fished year round.  Good luck fishing!


Sep 21, 2005

Gary, I was wondering if you knew what techniques or what lures would be good for the Delta? Do you think that drop shoting would work? Anything will help thanks

This question is a little bit hard because of time of year and water conditions.  On the Delta, spinnerbaits are awesome and flippin' always works.  As far as dropshotting, it's a technique that works everywhere and especially well on the Delta.  I personally don't do much dropshotting on the Delta but it has been a proven tournament winner many times the last couple of years.  Great baits to dropshot on the Delta are 6" Robo straight tails.  Robo worm colors for the Delta are oxblood with red flake, warmouth and Aaron's Magic with red flake.  These colors will produce day in and day out.  Good luck!


Sep 19, 2005

I hear that you have left G. Loomis for a rod company called Powell.  How could you leave the best rod company and how is your relationship with the people from Loomis?  Do you maintain a relationship with a sponsor after you leave? 

First of all, it's true that I'm no longer sponsored by G. Loomis.  I have actually designed a full line of rods with a company named Powell.  It was a great opportunity for me to get to design and start from scratch a bass rod line.  Powell has been around in fly rods since 1910.  The owner, Keith Bryan, approached me about designing bass rods.  They will hit the market in late October, first of November.  I've always used a few custom rods and I've incorporated all these into the Powell line.  G. Loomis is the industry leader and has been for many years.  Their people are awesome.  I've gotten to know the whole Loomis crowd over the last six or seven years.  These people have all become friends of mine and it was very hard to leave because of this.  As with any good friend, they have all wished me well and I continue having contact with them even today.  In the fishing industry, it is business and sometimes business changes, but the friendships you make last forever.   


Sep 16, 2005

Do you have a work out routine for both your mental and physical awareness?

Okay, I think I'm being played like a fish here.  Obviously, the way I've been gaining weight the last couple of years, my physical workout hasn't been that good. As far as diet, I eat everything in sight (seefood diet).  Now that my weight is totally out of hand, I am starting to have some problems fishing, mostly with my feet.  It is something that I'm going to have to get a handle on.   

The mental part, I think, is a big deal.  It's very hard for me to explain but the best way I can say it is what works for me.  I like to concentrate on my fishing, what the fish are doing, what they may start doing without any other distractions.  I've always thought that I'm a little bit odd in the fact that I get so focused for tournaments, I don't do anything else but think fishing.  I don't handle distractions well.  If you're having wife or girlfriend problems, this is definitely a killer.  Financial difficulties or other major distractions and you're mind is not totally on your fishing job at hand, then you're going to get beat.  If you're fishing during the day and you catch yourself thinking of something other than what you're doing, you're not 100% in the game. 


Sep 14, 2005

How come I did not see you at the Snag Proof Open this year?  Also, I did not see you at the BASS on the Delta and I heard that your sponsors did not want you to fish, I guess because you have different sponsors than BASS.  Is this true? 

I missed the Snag Proof Open this year because even with the long cast I couldn't make it from China.  I was in China working with a sponsor and dates conflicted with the frog tournament.  If I had been home, I would have been fishing.   

As for the BASS on the Delta, I have never, nor will I ever, let a sponsor tell me what I will or will not fish.  This is something that many people believe goes on.  I personally do not know of a single incident where any fishermen has been told not to fish.  Sponsors want you to fish and promote as much as you possibly can.  Sponsors would like you to support certain events but again I've never had a demand to fish any circuit.  I missed the Delta event because my wife had surgery and I was there to support her.  That is the only reason I missed the Delta event.   

I will add the fact that BASS is shafting the west again.  If my sponsor, Evinrude, does not provide a support trailer at Shasta or Clear Lake, I may not fish.  Evinrude will provide a support trailer and so I will be there.  I feel that this is my responsibility.  To all of our western fishermen, we in the west outdrew the Northern Opens.  We had different scheduled pay-outs and qualification numbers than the Northern Opens.  BASS has kept the Northern Opens and closed the door once again on the west.  Another note, BASS had a better pay back when we were paying $600 entry fees than the $1200 entry fee.  We used to receive 3 fully rigged top of the line Ranger boats for first, second and third places at every tournament.  BASS does not give a **** about the west in my opinion.   


Sep 12, 2005

At a recent Clear Lake tournament we prefished two days prior and found bass busting on shad in the flats, we ripped four nice fish from six different spots on pointer 100s, the day of the tournament our water turned muddy, we still found the bass feeding on shad but they had moved inside the tules. We tried twitching a stickbait, flukes, weedless swim baits, blades but could not get bit, do you have any tips?

It sounds like you tried most everything that I would have tried except a spinnerbait.  Off-colored water with busting shad, I would have definitely grabbed a spinnerbait.  My second bait would have been what you tried, a fluke.  My next bait would have been a small swimbait.  Sometimes the fish win.  It sucks when they win.


Sep 8, 2005

Fished on AAA side of the 2004 US Open, and just wanted to know how you ended up catching your limit. How did the AAA contribute? Is it something you will be competing in this year?

At the U.S. Open last year, I actually caught fish on quite a few different baits.  I caught topwater fish, spinnerbait fish, rattle trap fish and some key worm fish.  I was throwing a lot of different baits.  My ams did contribute a couple of fish but in honesty, lost a couple of really good ones, too.  That's fishing.  I will be at the Open again this year and I'm really looking forward to it.  If you're a competitor on the AAA side, I hope we get to fish together.  If you're on the Pro side, dropshotting at the dam in 100+ feet of water, I heard is the bite.


Sep 6, 2005

Gary, once a person has established a pattern, how does one prioritize their fishing areas?

This is a really good question.  There are a couple of different ways to answer.  The first would be to always go to the area where I'm catching my biggest fish first.  The other is fish the areas that you know are going to get the most pressure from the other anglers.  I like to always try to save out of the way places for later in the day or for day two.  If you're fishing the most popular areas in the morning, catch what you can and then you have something to fall back on where most anglers won't have a backup.  This is a gamble that has paid off many times for me but a couple of times, when I've arrived at my so called secret spot or an out of the way place that I didn't think would get fished, I've found a very happy fisherman with a livewell full of my big fish.  It's a tough call and a gamble.  I think tournament fishing is a game of decisions.  The fact that you are thinking of this, I would consider you a threat in tournaments. 


Aug 31, 2005

I have a question about my local lake Pine Flat. I have fished this lake for years and even won a few team tournaments and club events there over the years. I was there pre-fishing yesterday for a tournament tomorrow. I never even got bit! Water temp got up to 61 in the afternoon and lot's of creeks running in to the lake. I fished flukes, floating worms, spinnerbaits and senkos shallow and nothing. Then I went deeper 15-20 with splitshotted Robo's and still nothing. The water is rising 2 feet a day. Do you think the fish maybe stayed put and are extremely deep? I left there scratching my head yesterday. What do you think Gary?

Anytime you have fast rising water, you can basically count on two different scenarios.  One is the fish stay where they are particularly if they are on structure.  If you're catching them at 20' and the water comes up 5' in a couple of days, they may still be in the same place which is now 25'.   

The other scenario is they may be in the top couple of feet or have their nose on the bank.  They could do either one of these things.  The one difference is if it's a super warm storm, like a Hawaiian storm, they will be more apt to put their noses on the bank.  The last couple of years we've had mostly cold storms and I feel that most of the time the fish are hanging out at the deeper depths.


Aug 30, 2005

If you were fishing the a lake or river such as Clear Lake or the Delta, what would your stradegies throughout the day? What would you start with in the morning, then after that lure, and so on?

This is very tough to answer because it is going to be different depending on the time of year and what the fish are doing.  For instance, let's say early March, I'd probably be throwing a lot of spinnerbaits and flippin'.  At Clear Lake, I'd also be doing a lot of swimbaits and jerkbaits.  If I was answering this for say July, I'd be throwing a lot of topwater in the morning and maybe even throughout the day.  I might be pitching a lot of Senkos or even throwing a small crankbait.  At Clear Lake in July, I'd be fishing structure as well as docks with jigs and worms and I'd be thinking about shade.  Hope this helps some.   


Aug 25, 2005

At Clear Lake, you dont find many thick tulies, but there are many sparse tulie patches. How would you go about fishing these tulies, and where are the fish usually located in these areas?

When you look at a tule bank, there will be some points.  There will also be some pockets in the tules.  These points and pockets are your high percentage areas.  When the fish are moving up, the points are a no brainer.  Once a lot of fish are up, the pockets tend to hold a lot of fish.  I'm not saying that you can't catch them on the straight walls of the tules because you definitely can.  Percentage wise, points, pockets and the mouths of the sloughs and creeks are better.   

How would I fish the tules?  It really depends on weather and time of year.  My favorite would definitely be throwing a spinnerbait.  I catch a lot of ripbait fish as well as a lot of topwater and swimbait fish.  This year at Clear Lake, the River 2 Sea bottom walker swimbait was dominant.  You can also flip and throw Senkos.  I prefer to try to fish fast.  You can't go wrong fishing tules at Clear Lake.  Be sure you have some big mono or Power Pro braid handy. 


Aug 23, 2005

Dear Mr. Dobyns, it's pretty obvious you are quite the expert out at Oroville.  For the past 3 years I've watch you win all 3 WON Bass tourneys out there.  I'm now old enough to take my Dad's boat out and am somewhat overwhelmed with the size and options that Oroville presents.  Is there any advice you can give me on where to start or structure to look for.

The trouble with Oroville is it's full of fish.  If you're thinking of tournament fishing, you simply have to keep looking until you find a better school of fish.  This means catching 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound fish and leaving them.  You need to find some fish in the 2 pound range.  I know 2 pounds doesn't sound like a lot but that's just the way Oroville is fishing the last few years.   

I do fish a lot of points and you can't go wrong with spotted bass on points any time of year.  Certain times of the year I really key on a lot of rock like in the middle fork or the slot.  Sometimes I get a really good pattern on those hard sandstone looking banks that are predominant in the middle or south forks.  I really don't have any one arm that I fish more than another in tournaments.  When fun fishing, I tend to fish the south fork more because I really think there are more fish in the south.   

I've been lucky on the last 3 events on Oroville.  In the February and March time frame that they've been at Oroville, we've caught a good storm and I've been able to throw a lot of reaction baits.  This year for the Pro-Am, the first day I only caught 7 keepers and my partner caught 2.  A tough day and I got a couple of good bites in the last hour.  On Sunday, a major storm hit and I caught a pile of them on a ripbait.  A simple adjustment to the weather and, of course, rippin' is my strength and confidence.  I was lucky.


Aug 22, 2005

Normally every year the bass in the local pond are on their spawning beds by March 18-24.  This year the weather has not let the water clear up, or the to sun come out.  What happens to the bass in this situation? Will they start to spawn despite the bad weather, or will they hang deep and continue to feed in preparation for the spawn?

The weather will knock the bass back off of the beds unless they are on the beds and spawning.  The ones that are just moving up in preparation to bed will get knocked back.  The bass can spawn in dirty water.  Think of all the places that the water is never clear and yet there are plenty of fish.  Nature always seems to find a way.  You're right.  Ponds tend to warm faster and the bass will spawn earlier.  This was one of the strangest weather years that I can remember. 


Aug 16, 2005

I am a beginner at Bass fishing and I do not have a boat.  Since I am always fishing from shore: "What method should I or could use in order to catch fish?"  Plastic's ?  Crank-baits? ( On plastics: "what rig?") I know we are in the Pre spawn or Spawning time.  I did read your article in Fishing & Hunting News and it was great.  I live in Sacramento so I have different areas to fish; Delta to the South and Amador, Folsom,and Camanche to the East.  I dont go North at all but would like to explore in the future.

First of all, fishing from shore makes it a lot tougher with just about any of our reservoirs and even the Delta.  As a beginner, I think you'll do a lot better fishing as many jigs and worms as you can.  There are lots of different ways to fish a worm, shaking a bullet weighted worm, a darthead rig or dropshotting.  Dropshotting is probably the most favored.  For the most part, you're usually going to be fishing up hill, casting out and retrieving back to the bank, an ideal scenario for worms and jigs.  I've caught a lot of spinnerbait fish from the bank, also.  They make some great kick boats these days and it would sure help to make your access a lot easier. Good luck fishing.  Chasing bass is about as addictive as it gets. 


Aug 12, 2005

I really like Ripping Pointer minnows (78 & 100's). What is the best rod for these baits? I currently use a GL2 783.

I personally believe the 783 rod you're currently using has too fast of an action.  What this does is recovers too quickly between the jerks and is a little too positive when you swing on a fish (pulling hooks out).  Can you use this rod?  Sure you can.  I think you'd be better off if you'd go to a Loomis crankbait rod model CB845 or check out one of the new Powell 704 crankbait rods that are soon to be released.  Don't let a 7' rod get into your head.  There are lots of advantages to the 7' rod.  Longer casts and better hook sets (especially if you're caught out of position) are a couple of things that make a 7' rod better.  If you'll give a 7' rod a try, I'll almost guarantee you'll not only like it better but you'll boat more fish. 


Aug 9, 2005

Here is Australia, our bass comps feature a two week prefishing ban up to the day before the comp, which is the official practice day. Assuming that the dam is not your home dam, how would you deal with this? Should I spend a pile of time at the lake before the prefishing ban starts? Should I just go "fishing" before this period, and then get serious on the one practice day (sounds risky to me)? A lot can change in two weeks.

Wow, from Australia!  I have been lucky enough to fish with a couple of anglers from Australia and we had an absolute blast.  Great guys and their accents just kill me.   

Great question.  Some of our circuits have off limits but most don't.  When I first started fishing tournaments in the early 80's, we did have off limit periods.  There's two different ways to look at this.  If I'm familiar with the lake and I've got a lot of time on it, I wouldn't fish much two weeks out before an event.  If it was a body of water that I didn't know, I would definitely try to practice as much as I could.  This would help me with the layout of the lake and the structure and, depending on the weather, give me an idea of where to start.  One of the best things you can do with or without an off limits period is pay attention to the weather.  What's the weather been the last few days before the event starts and what is the forecast throughout the event (hopefully your weather forecasters are better than most of ours).  With the layout and knowledge of the lake and the weather factored in, you can usually come up with a pretty good starting game plan. 


Aug 8, 2005

I hear people talking all the time about dragging worms or jigs.  What is dragging exactly?  How do you control your presentation while dragging?  I would assume that you are just letting your boat drift while letting your bait "Drag" the bottom, but what keeps you from hanging up, or spooking the fish with your trolling motor?

When people talk of dragging worms or jigs, it is a technique that's basically used in the fall and winter.  What it amounts to is making a controlled drag or drift with your bait, most times keeping it in a specific depth range.  For instance, I drag a lot of 1 oz. football heads rigged with the Yamamoto hula grub.  Most of the time when I'm doing this, I'm targeting deeper fish that are in the 35' to 60' range.  There isn't a more efficient way to fish deep water.  Your bait is always in the strike zone depth that you've determined.  If you're fishing a lake with a lot of points, and say you're fishing in 50' of water, you'll simply move out farther off the bank on the points to keep your bait in the 50' depth.  Sometimes on steep banks you might be dragging right next to the shore.   This is an absolutely deadly technique.  It just requires you to pay attention to your meters and control the boat.  Give it a try this fall with a Robo worm rigged anyway you want or with a hula grub and be ready to catch some very good quality fish. 


Aug 1, 2005

I've seen you on the water, at touraments and read about you in the papers.  you're one of the best in the west.  So tell me if I am using a jig the best color in March and April on Clear Lake is ?  I've been using browns/purple, black/browns, orange/browns (Larrys colors), your choice ?

As far as jig colors, my personal favorites are either brown with a little purple, brown with a little black, or brown with a little black and red.  My favorite hula grub colors are #297-green pumpkin, #221-cinnamon with black and purple flake or #176-cinnamon black flake.  These are my personal favorites and the ones I have my confidence in.  The trouble with colors is everyone has their own favorites.  For instance, Yamamoto has about 300 colors.  I believe in keeping colors simple and basic.  Crawdads for the most part are browns, blacks or greens.  Fish whatever you have confidence in and you will catch them. 


Jul 29, 2005

If you went to a lake that you had never fished before and knew nothing about, what would be your basic thought process assuming the fish are in the pre-spawn stage? For example, what would your experience tell you as it relates to the fish and where they "should" be located? Would you fish in shallow or deep water?  If deep, what type of bait would you use? I recently moved from Folsom to Fresno (don't ask) and got skunked at Millerton. Finally, what waterways do you enjoy fishing in Central California?  

One thing that you didn't mention was weather.  Do you have a low pressure front?  Do we have a high pressure cold north wind?  These are things that you definitely have to think about.  I don't mean to make it sound difficult but the main choice here is baits.  I'm going to fish them basically in the same places regardless of the weather.  When you say pre-spawn I'm going to still be fishing close to deep water with, hopefully, some shallow water flats nearby.  This time of year can be really fickle depending upon the weather.  If I have the high pressure cold, I know it's going to be more of a jig and worm slow bite.  If I've got a low pressure front or it's been stable and warm for several days, reaction baits here I come.  Rippin', spinnerbaits, crankbaits or maybe just fishing a jig really fast will work really well in these conditions.  The lake I trash the most, Don Pedro, is my favorite lake in the central state.  Don Pedro really is a great fishery.  It's just seems to always be tough come tournament time. 


Jul 28, 2005

What are your favorite techniques for fishing the Delta this time of year? How much does weather and the tide affect what you will be doing on a daily basis?

I'm a little late answering this question.  I just got to it and it's from mid-March.  First of all, mid-March is probably the absolute best time of the year for throwing spinnerbaits on the Delta.  Flippin' jigs is awesome and so is throwing a crankbait.  My favorite will always be the spinnerbait.  My favorite colors are chartreuse, blue and white with a pair of gold blades.  As far as how the weather and tides effect fish this time of year, first of all, the tides are always going to be a factor to deal with on the Delta, regardless of time of year.  You'll need to determine at what stage of the tide the fish are feeding the most.  Many times in March I will have to come off my spinnerbait and do a little flippin' at certain stages of the tide.  Give me an overcast or rainy day and the spinnerbait bite will most often be off the charts.  I love low pressure fronts.  Also, this is probably the best time of year to catch your once in a life time trophy. 


Jul 26, 2005

How would you approach a clear lake type shallow lake with a ton of vegatation and only a few docks in the post spawn/early summer?

First of all, if you have vegetation, the fish will be in it.  Depending on what type of vegetation and how thick it is will help you determine your bait choice.  I'd try to start with a topwater frog, some Senkos, and flippin' a worm.  The docks can still be a factor strictly because of the shade and post-spawn fish.  It seems like docks and post-spawn go hand in hand if the docks are available.  This can be a very tough time of year but will still usually have a good morning bite.  This time of year think shade and if you're not getting bit, downsize your baits. 


Jul 24, 2005

I hear people talking all the time about dragging worms or jigs.  What is dragging exactly?  How do you control your presentation while dragging?  I would assume that you are just letting your boat drift while letting your bait "Drag" the bottom, but what keeps you from hanging up, or spooking the fish with your trolling motor?

When people talk of dragging worms or jigs, it is a technique that's basically used in the fall and winter.  What it amounts to is making a controlled drag or drift with your bait, most times keeping it in a specific depth range.  For instance, I drag a lot of 1 oz. football heads rigged with the Yamamoto hula grub.  Most of the time when I'm doing this, I'm targeting deeper fish that are in the 35' to 60' range.  There isn't a more efficient way to fish deep water.  Your bait is always in the strike zone depth that you've determined.  If you're fishing a lake with a lot of points, and say you're fishing in 50' of water, you'll simply move out farther off the bank on the points to keep your bait in the 50' depth.  Sometimes on steep banks you might be dragging right next to the shore.   This is an absolutely deadly technique.  It just requires you to pay attention to your meters and control the boat.  Give it a try this fall with a Robo worm rigged anyway you want or with a hula grub and be ready to catch some very good quality fish. 


Jul 21, 2005

I was out at a South Bay Reservoir and was catching alot of fish on a ripbait. All of the fish were quite small and I did notice alot of larger fish missing my ripbait at the boat. I was paralleling the bank in about 15' of water. All of the small fish were being caught in the 3-10' range. I then tried a blade, jig and worm in the 15' range and couldn't get those larger fish to hit. What would you have done to catch those larger fish in the 15' range?

If I was getting the bigger fish to react on the ripbait, I would have moved farther off the bank out to 20' or 25'. I would have tried varying my retrieve, first of all. If that didn't work, I would have selected the deepest diving jerkbaits that I had and started all over again. What I mean by starting all over again is new bait and a bunch of different retrieves to try to get the fish to commit.


Jul 18, 2005

Gary, in recent weeks I have heard alot of people talk about area fishing versus pattern fishing and how some fisheries are either or, not both. I just wanted to know your views on this and how popular Nor-Cal fisheries might play into this theroy.

I think pattern fishing is the only way to go.  If you've got a pattern, you can usually come up with several different areas.  With a pattern, you can move away from heavily pressured areas and still have confidence and catch them.  If you're trying to target an area, once that area is used up, you have nothing left.  You get a lot of boats in there helping you and it gets used up that much faster.  There are always exceptions.  Sometimes a spot has so many fish moving up that at that point you are spot fishing and not really fishing an area.  Another example of an exception is Clear Lake in March.  The fish are going to move up in certain areas and they do it every year.  At this point, area fishing is better but always try to look for a pattern.   


Jul 14, 2005

Gary: When you use braided lines like spiderwire, what do you fish them on and do you recommend spinning or baitcasting setups with the newer super lines?

First of all, you should give Power Pro a try. It's the best braid that I've ever used. I only use braid on casting reels. The casting reel I use is Daiwa's new TDA. It's an absolutely awesome reel. I have seen several guys use smaller braid on spinning reels. Braid works excellent on spinning reels because it has no memory. I use only light line monofilament in the clear reservoirs on a spinning reel. The place that I've seen a lot of guys use braided line on a spinning reel is on the Columbia River in Washington. These guys were locals and they kicked butt.


Jul 8, 2005

What is it that you expect from your amateur in a Pro-Am? We have all seen it discussed but I would like to get a definitive answer from a seasoned pro. Tackle, equipment, fees, etc.

Great question and one that I've answered before.  Don't get me wrong.  I'll answer this one every time.  It's a great question.  My idea of the perfect partner is someone that's willing to fish my way on my fish.  Someone that I can offer suggestions to (not boss or demand) and will at least try my ideas because I want them to catch US some fish.  The old saying about one bad apple in the barrel, well, I've only had a half dozen ams that I never want to fish with again.  The other hundreds that I've fished with were great.  Most of the time, me and my partners are not fishing the same bait.  Sometimes, I'm throwing the bait that's catching 99% of the fish but I've got my partner throwing a bait I only want him to catch one on.  Many times I'm throwing the bait that's going to get damn few bites and I'm banking on my partner for our limit.  I look at combined weight pro-ams as a team tournament once the draw is made.  My ideal partner has got a good attitude and fishes hard all day.  The other thing about my ideal partner is he doesn't hate me or want to hang me in the parking lot if we don't catch them.  All pros have different ideas about tackle.  My idea is I've pre-fished, know what I'm going to be fishing and I have enough equipment on board for both of us.  I usually tell my partners to bring what they want but you don't have to bring anything other than your favorite rods.  You'll have a good time with most pros.  Some pros like to talk and carry on all day and some concentrate and don't talk much during the day.  That's their style and how they compete.  I encourage everyone to fish pro-am events.  If you're just starting, I honestly think you'll have more fun in combined weight tournaments.  Good luck fishing.


Jul 3, 2005

I will make this as short as I can but it may be a little tough. I am kinda not happy with the way B.A.S.S treats our Western Anglers such as yourself. I have never heard of anybody ever winning as many boats as you have and you are a very versatile fisherman. And yet your name hardly ever comes up in anything BASS has to do with. Is it a clique thing or what? Skeet Reese is about the only one I here about and now Velvick , But I think they are using his playboy persona  as  cutsie thing cause it has some legs and they are definitely running with it. Also, What kind of electronics are you running now and what do you recommend?

This answer is definitely going to get me some bad phone calls from the people at B.A.S.S.  The western anglers have always been treated unfairly with B.A.S.S.  They are a national circuit that basically fishes the southeast.  We travel more fishing the west than they usually do fishing their national circuit.  We are always treated like a step-child simply because they are a southeastern circuit and their fishermen don't want to come and fish in the west.  Western fishermen are far more versatile than the southeastern fishermen.  We have to be with all the different kinds of water we fish.   

I had my own personal experience with B.A.S.S. that I will never forget.  While at the BassMasters Classic in 1999, they called five anglers in front of the crowd to talk about what the Classic meant to them.  Three were superstars in the sport, the fourth was a local federation fisherman named Rodney Wagley and the fifth was myself.  This was a shock to me when my name was called and I was really kind of amazed that they called me.  I was quickly straightened out to the fact, over the microphone in front of thousands of people, that the only reason that I was called was my press partner on practice day, Dan Mathisen, had won the big bass honors.  Dan had caught a four pounder in my boat in practice earning both of us $500.  Dewey Kendrick publicly tried to humiliate me in front of thousands of people because I was from the west at the BassMasters Classic.  Sitting beside me was my friend Gary Klein and he leans over and says to me, "I don't believe he said that."  This is something I probably shouldn't have said but that's how I felt we were treated at the Classic.  Another good story about the same tournament pertaining to the guys from the west, B.A.S.S. scheduled our air flights.  When we arrived on time and made it to our hotel and tournament headquarters, we were met at the front door and told we had two minutes to make a mandatory meeting or be disqualified.  We had to throw our luggage in the lobby and run to a meeting that everyone else seemed to have plenty of time to make.  This story is much longer but I don't want to get into it.   

B.A.S.S. has many great people working for them and some of them are good friends of mine.  B.A.S.S. in my opinion needs to wake up because FLW is coming on strong.  B.A.S.S. has enough problems.  I'm sure one fat bass fishermen named Gary D. doesn't rate very high on the list.  

To any I have offended, I will apologize now.  I don't usually do anything negative to the sport.  Obviously, 1999 is not far from my memory.   

Dang, I got so wound up I almost forgot the electronics question.  I'm running a Lowrance X19 and a LMS330.  Both units have been discontinued and the new models are X25 and LMS332.  The boys at Lowrance keep making them better, but for you guys that are running the old, outdated X15s, these units are still awesome and always will be.  There are some really good buys on X15s that dealers still have in stock.  I promise you you could not be disappointed with this unit. 


Jun 30, 2005

Just wanted to let you know that I always enjoy listening to you whenever you give a seminar, whether its at a tackle store or show....my 2 questions are when do you know when switch from a shallow jerkbait to a deeper diving one and vice/versa?...question #2...in fishing berryessa or shasta from what depths will a bass come up from to eat a jerk bait or a crank...in other words if the boat is in 30' to 40' and i'm throwing up to the bank do i need to work the bait all the way back to the boat?

Good question.  I have two different approaches on how deep to throw a jerkbait.  Early in the year, I like a deep diving jerkbait.  If I'm fishing in water shallower than 20', I think the depth of your jerkbait is a huge key.  So one approach is I try to have my bait running as close to the bottom as I can.  If I'm in 10' of water, I want a jerkbait that will run 8' to 10'.  If I'm in 5' of water, I want a bait that will run 3' to 5' and so on.  But if you're sitting in water that is 40', 50', 60' deep or more, I find a shallower jerkbait will work better many times.  And if you think about it a little bit, most shallow running jerkbaits have a lot more erratic action and I think that's the key.  Offshore suspended fish are not getting the pressure and they're easier to fool.  More action, more bites.  Great fishing.


Jun 27, 2005

I love to catch fish jerking. My question is what do you do on days or times during a days fishing when the fish follow the bait to the boat but dont take it? Sometimes I have seen as many as one to a dozen fish follow the bait to the boat and no takers. I know to change cadance in the presentation or colors of bait or size, but it just seems like during those times their into the chase but not wanting to eat it. I know you have seen this a zillion times. What are your thoughts on what to do to get them to take the bait?

Dude, you've covered all my textbook answers with cadence, size and color.  The simple answer is sometimes I wish I had a shotgun and I could at least shoot at the @#%%@ that are driving me crazy.  The best story that I can tell you is one time on Lake Shasta in March I found a school of huge smallmouth that were following my baits and no matter what I did, I was catching nothing.  Gary Okasako, known as Gary O. and Mr. Consistency, was on the other end of this long bank also throwing a jerkbait.  After about an hour, he starts his engine and runs up to me and said, "Alright. I can't stand it any more.  Are you catching some of these big smallies?"  Gary O. is an awesome jerkbait fisherman.  Between the two of us, we no doubt would have finished first and second if we could have figured out how to catch them.  We never did.  Sometimes, the fish win and you lose.  It sucks. 


Jun 25, 2005

Gary, Do you use braid when you're throwing swimbaits?

First of all, I've caught a lot of fish on swimbaits, but I definitely don't consider myself one of the swimbait gurus.  Most of the good swimbait fishermen that I know are in So. California and they use 25 lb. test mono for the most part.  Some use 20 lb. but 25 lb. is more common.  I personally use 50 lb. Power Pro braid.  Our lakes have a little more color and, in the case of the Delta and Clear Lake, grass.  I like using Power Pro.  I get good hook-ups and lose far less fish than I do with mono.  My confidence is with braid.  Remember that swimbaits are reaction baits.  It's not like a worm or a jig where the fish get to study the bait.  They have to react. 


Jun 22, 2005

Something that has happend many times on the Delta!  Say you Pre-fish for a Delta event and tide is up around tules and current is moving slightly.  You find your fish shallow in the tulles flipping plastics, jigs etc.  Now its tourny day and you head out to find every spot you caught fish is high and dry.  This might be a simple process for the guys that know the delta, the tides and where the fish go if you have a drastic water change, but this is a problem that I need to work on and fing these fish.  Thanks for any help you can give me.

This is everyone's problem on the Delta and why many people hate the Delta.  The fish live with the tides.  They get conditioned to them and it's their environment.  You have to figure out where these fish are going and what they're doing when the water is not high up in the tules.  One thing on the Delta, it's hard to force feed the fish.  What I mean by that is when they are biting, they're biting and when they're not, they're damn tough to catch.  In our reservoirs, you can still fish around them and catch some of them even when they're not biting.  At the Delta, it's almost a lost cause at times.  I can't count the number of times where I've caught all of my fish within an hour.  Frustrating?  You better believe it but that's what makes the Delta such an intriguing and awesome fishery. 


Jun 21, 2005

Whats your go to crankbait and crankbait color for Berryessa?  I haven't been able to find a crankbait that will consistently catch smallmouth, spots, and largemouth.

My favorite crankbait color on Berryessa has always been something in a brown crawfish color.  Berryessa is loaded with crawdads and I've already just had confidence in brown.  The key word was confidence because the next fisherman you talk to will tell you red or orange.  Rapala's Fat Rap and Storm's wiggle wart are my two favorites.  Don't forget about a jerkbait at Berryessa. 


Jun 20, 2005

When fishing the pre-spawn on a big body of water that is loaded with tules, like Clear Lake, how would you go about finding the productive areas without spending a lot of time searching the miles of available tule infested shoreline?

The best way to shortcut a lake like Clear Lake with miles of shoreline is points, pockets and creeks.  These are always going to be places that fish either move up to or hold.  When fishing straight lines of tules the fish can literally be anywhere.  They will be in these straight stretches of tules but much harder to find and even harder to stay on (they'll be moving).  Another thing is pay attention to the water depth.  If you have a little deeper water on some stretches of tules, they'll probably be more productive.  You can run down them with a meter and locate the deeper water.


Jun 20, 2005

What types of boats are allowed to fish tournaments? Lets say if somebody had a ski boat rigged with a trolling motor and live wells and other goods, would this work? I know they would be looked at like they were an alien space craft that had just landed, but for some this type of boat is all they have. For California tournaments does either of the two fishermen have to be a pro? Can Both of them be amateures?  

There are always boat restrictions in every circuit.  The restrictions are always length and horsepower ratings.  The make and model and type of boat is not an issue.  You have to have a functioning livewell and meet the safety requirements.  These are the only restrictions.  Both anglers can be amateurs in any team event.  That's how we all got started.  Good luck fishing


Jun 17, 2005

What types of boats are allowed to fish tournaments? Lets say if somebody had a ski boat rigged with a trolling motor and live wells and other goods, would this work? I know they would be looked at like they were an alien space craft that had just landed, but for some this type of boat is all they have. For California tournaments does either of the two fishermen have to be a pro? Can Both of them be amateures?

There are always boat restrictions in every circuit.  The restrictions are always length and horsepower ratings.  The make and model and type of boat is not an issue.  You have to have a functioning livewell and meet the safety requirements.  These are the only restrictions.  Both anglers can be amateurs in any team event.  That's how we all got started.  Good luck fishing.


Jun 16, 2005

Gary , I recently started to fish some local team tournaments . And some controversy arose. It all had to do with being on another anglers so called water. This other angler came in on me and basically cut me off so i couldn't fish so i left, then went around telling everyone that i was on his water , kind of giving me a bad rap.He has been fishing tournaments for 20 years and is well respected , although I have been fishing for many years too just not in tournaments .  I didn't know there was so much b.s. involved with tournament fishing , im sure there have been some bad rumors that have came up in the past about you that are not true at all . How do you go about putting an end to this kind of crap? Will it hurt an anglers career to have these rumors spread ? Also how do you feel about an amateur fishing the same water you have fished in a tournament on another day? I hear that a lot of the good team anglers in my area say they don't fish pro ams because of this , do you think it is just their insecurities as an angler that is talking and they really lack the skills to win? It sure doesn't seem to affect your performance over the years your just the best angler this state has ever had . And I have one other question , how do you find the open water schools of fish , that you target with a rip bait that are suspended over deep water say 100ft? Do you look off main points over deep humps what makes them hold? I have graphed my local lakes New Melones, McClure, Don Pedro and can't find anything. What makes these fish hold in the open water? Also how many bites/ fish do you expect in a day fishing this way ?

Wow.  A hot subject with a few fishing questions thrown in.  First of all, about who's water is what.  This has really changed over time.  A dozen or more years ago, if you were leading the tournament or even in the top 5 after the first day, everybody avoided you like the plague.  They wanted to give you every opportunity to win the tournament on the fish that you'd found.  We called this sportsmanship.  Many anglers still do the same thing today.  However, there seems to be another group of anglers that look at the guy sitting on a bank and instead of avoiding him like the plague, his thought is, "There's the leader.  Now I'm on them."  I believe this is totally wrong but it is the changing of the times.  As far as owning water, there's no such thing.  I personally always try to avoid anyone doing well in the event or crowds of fishermen on the water.  Again, as far as owning water, I believe the guys on that school of fish should be allowed to fish them for the whole event.  This does not mean they forever own the bank or cove or whatever the location is.  Everybody thinks they have a secret spot and, in most cases, their secret spot will be fished a dozen times a day by different fishermen.  As far as fishermen bad-mouthing or starting rumors, there is simply no way to stop it and, in most cases, the guys running their mouths aren't paid much attention to anyway.  Don't let a few idiots stop you from the sport.  98% of the fishermen are great guys you can probably actually learn some things from and have a good time.   

As far as partners going back to where I fished with them the day before, you have no idea how many times this has happened.  Does it piss me off?  You better believe it.  Most cases I just try to go about my business and catch my fish.   

On the team fishermen part of your question, there are several points to make.  First of all, team fishing is just pure fun.  You get to fish with your buddy or kid, go out and catch a bunch of fish and see how you fare against your other buddies.  The entry fees are less and its a one day event so the expenses are far less and all in all, it's a lot less expensive to fish the team events.  On the other hand, you can win a lot more money fishing the pro-ams.  I know a lot of team fishermen that could definitely be a top level pro on the pro-am circuits.  I don't think skill is a question at all.  Confidence is definitely an issue with a lot of the team fishermen.  You have to fish pro level events to get confidant that you can find, catch and pattern fish for multiple days.  You also have to be confidant that you can compete with the top pros.  I can tell you right now that half of the team anglers are probably better than half of the pros fishing on the pro side.  Many of the pros fish a lot of the team events for the pure fun.   

There are always a lot of suspended fish.  Certain times they're just a lot easier to catch than other times.  I think spotted bass are by far the easiest and largemouth the hardest.  Threadfin shad in the fishery I think makes it easier and for big fish, good rainbow trout fisheries are the best.  Good places are out on top of points and humps where the fish have just actually pulled out and suspended.  You are on the right track here.   

Don't let a few fishermen and all the b.s. stop you from enjoying a great sport and meeting some really great people. 


Jun 15, 2006

Weather was getting really bad, I was using a Stacey90 and I picked up my first fish close to the boat in just a few feet of water, I later picked up another one a away from the boat and a little deeper. My last fish came again at the boat. One thing I noticed was that I was also graphing fish in the upper 10 - 0 feet of water. The question.

Should I have switched to a shallower diving Rip Bait? Or maybe try burning a Spinnerbait? I didn't have the time to experiment so I was wondering what you might have done.

I think many times we catch ripbait fish by the boat that have followed the bait for a ways.  Once the bait starts to come up towards the boat and away from them, they react.  Noting the date of your e-mail and the clear reservoir at Camanche, I think you probably had the right bait and could have varied your retrieve and got more strikes.  I really think the way you describe what happened that these fish were following for a ways.  I don't think burning a spinnerbait would have been the answer in mid-February.  Usually early in the year like that most times the jerkbait will outfish the spinnerbait on our clear reservoirs.  Good luck.


Jun 10, 2005

Gary, I live in Atascadero.  I fish Lake Nacimiento and Santa Margarita.  Nacimiento has large numbers of spotted bass with a few scattered largemouth.  Santa Margarita has some quality largemouth, no spots.  Although I have many jigs in the boat, they are not a big confidence bait for me.  I have never hooked up on a jig.  What is the best way to jig fish?  Santa Margarita, where the hawgs are, does not offer much in the way of cover.  The lake has pretty much no structure at all.  Nacimiento however, offers pretty much a full range of structure.  I would like for this to be the year I finally hook up with a double digit and am looking for the best way to do so.  I would appreciate any tips you may have to send my way. Thanks, hope you have a great tournament season

If you're looking for a double digit fish and you don't mind fishing for a few bites, my suggestions would be to throw some swimbaits and some big ripbaits.  Also, you might think of going to Clear Lake in the middle of March.  As far as with jigs, they are a very simple bait to fish.  For the most part, they're a crawdad imitation to be fished on the bottom.  Sometimes we'll swim jigs to imitate bait fish, but again, jigs are a crawdad imitation to be fished on the bottom.  You can drag them which is a very popular, productive way to fish them.  You can hop them up off the bottom and let them fall back.  If you'll pick rocky shoreline to where the jig is always climbing up and down the rocks or structure, it's very easy to imitate a crawdad.  By your question I think you have fished them enough and not had any good luck and you've totally lost confidence in the bait.  You need to go out on a good bite, catch some fish on a jig and gain some confidence in the bait because jigs are a bait everyone should have in their arsenal.  One of my confidence baits is a 5" Hula grub from Yamamoto fished on a 3/4 or 1 ounce football head.  This is just a can't miss bait.  Try green pumpkin #297.  This color works everywhere.  Good luck on your jig fishing.


Jun 9, 2005

Gary: You probably won't answer my question but here goes anyway. Although I haven't fished with you, the times I have been around you you seem to be a laid back fun kind of guy who likes to have fun fishing. At the first day everstart weigh in you seemed angry and frustrated. What happened to your charming personality???

I don't honestly know.  I just got to your question today, the first part of June and I just can't remember after so many tournaments, days on the water and sports shows.  I do try to always have fun and have a positive attitude.  Otherwise, I swear, I just don't get bit.  It's possible that I had a distraction on the water that day.  I might have let a fisherman get in my head and I let it carry on.  Also, by March 14, I hadn't been home except for a couple of days since January 3.  I could have just been tired and really wanting to go home for a few days.  Hopefully, I wasn't too much of a jerk.  I look forward to running into you again.


Jun 7, 2005

What Loomis rod do you use for jerkbaits/ripbaits? I have a cbr783 for smaller cranks and a cbr 845 for LV's and big cranks but I need an idea on what to get for rogues and pointers.

You already have the perfect jerkbait rod for the Staycee in the CBR 845.  Its the best that I've ever used.  For the 1/2 ounce Rattlin' Rogue it's borderline between the 845 and 847.  Either one will really work.  I have both and I tend to like the 847 a little bit better.  Again, either one will work. 


May 23, 2005

When prefishing do you use a smaller size ripbait just to get some bites, Just to let you know they are in the area and if they are taking reaction baits?

Nope.  I fish the baits that I'm going to be fishing in the tournament.  I want to make sure of the quality of the fish that are biting and how aggressively they're hitting the bait.  Are they eating it or slapping at it?  I want to build confidence in the bait and the retrieve that I'm using to get bit on.  Also, don't forget that depth is very important when throwing jerkbaits. 


May 19, 2005

Lately, whenever I catch bass, they all seem to have red on their upper jaw.  Do you know what this means?

I'm not sure about this.  If you had said lower jaw, they could be digging for crawdads in the rocks or gravel but on the upper jaw, I really have no idea.  Anybody have any ideas? 


May 16, 2005

I was wondering what you thoughts are on all the hoopla about red hooks for bass fishing. Do you think they help get more bites, or are the red hooks over rated? Even my favorite tube baits, are now coming with red strands in them, what do you think?

I still personally haven't bought into the red hook theory.  My personal choice is the black nickels but I'll tell you this,  my hook sponsor is Gamakatsu and they're building red hooks in everything.  Somebody sure is buying a lot of them.  I think it boils down to a confidence factor.  If you believe in them, by all means use them.  Maybe I'm missing the boat. 


May 13, 2005

Gary, I know you don't like to use mono leader with braid because of the knots, so do you tie braid directly to the jig? If so, do you think the bass see it enough to not it or are they going to eat it no matte what?

I believe sometimes in our clear reservoirs braid can hurt you when jig fishing.  I'll tell you this.  There's a lot of super good jig fishermen that fish braided line at Lake Mead.  This is mainly in the early spring, but the lake is still gin clear.  I throw jigs in the Delta or Clear Lake on braid but never in the reservoirs.  With some fish it just doesn't matter.  They're aggressively feeding and they'll hit anything.  Once at Shasta, a friend of mine and I tried worm fishing deep with 8lb. Power Pro.  One of us would use mono, the other the Power Pro and we traded back and forth.  The guy with the mono always won.  There's a time and a place for braid but for jig fishing, I think mono is better all around.  Try some CXX P-Line.  This stuff is as strong as rope.  I am still experimenting with knots that tie braid to mono.  If I ever get one that I have faith in, I'll pass it along.  And if one of you guys want to give me a tip on your favorite knots, I'm always willing to learn. 


May 11, 2005

Gary, honestly how often do you get backlashes?

Too often to suit me!  Everyone gets backlashes.  I like to run a loose cast control for the ease of longer casting.  If the bait cartwheels in the wind, or if I hit a tule on the cast, I've had plenty that I've fixed with a pair of scissors.  If you're just starting out, tighten your cast control tight enough that you don't get any backlashes and as you get better simply start backing your control off for easier long distance casting.  You will always still pick out some backlashes each day.  Be glad to help you set up your reels if you see me at any of the shows or on the water. 


May 10, 2005

I just can't wait till it's time to throw frogs, what does the temp have to be before you would think about throwing a frog? Is there a magic number?

I don't really think there is a magic water temperature number.  I'll start catching some topwater fish here locally in March.  At Havasu, I caught one in early January but their seasons are ahead of ours.  We get a couple of warm days and I'll instantly start pitching topwater around.  The cool thing about early season topwater baits is the fish are usually big and they don't usually miss.


May 9, 2005

How many Northern California tournament anglers, in your opinion, are using the aqua-vu for pre-fishing? Do you use them?

I don't use the underwater cameras.  I think it takes up too much time.  There aren't many guys that I know of that use them here up north.  Two guys that do use them a lot are great fishermen and that is Dave Rush and Albert Berends.  It takes two guys to operate one, somebody on the trolling motor and one guy with his face stuck in the screen.  I do believe they will help a guy learn to read his electronics better.  When they first became available, they were a big hit and everybody had them.  I think the novelty has worn off.


May 5, 2005

I live in Central California and in the Spring we get 2 different kinds of storms...the cold storms from the north and the warm storms from the south.  Can you give me an idea of how each type of storm affects the bass differently? 

Any time you get the cold northern storms, it usually slows the fishing down some.  I prefer these by far to the cold north wind, bluebird days.  On the other hand, you give me a warmer southern storm and the reaction bait bite is going to be on.  I pray for these kind of days in tournaments.  I'd love to see a good El Nino year next year. 


May 4, 2005

How do you catch Delta bass in the heart of the winter? Do you fish the north , middle, east, west, or south? Dead end sloughs with very little current or main channel where water stays more consistant? Also, are weeds a factor? If so, what kind?

In the dead of winter, the best places you can usually look are in dead end sloughs and marinas.  The water here is usually clearer and might even be a little colder.  These areas absolutely load up with fish in the winter.  If the water is clear, use ripbaits, rattletraps or Senkos.  If the water has color, use spinnerbaits or flip. 


May 3, 2005

Having been a Delta fisherman most of my life - I have always been used to filling up the spools with 12- 15lb big game and 50-65lb power pro.  Now that I am fishing a circuit that includes Oroville, Berryessa and Shasta – What do you recommend for throwing the various types of baits needed to catch fish i.e drop-shot, ripping, cranking, spinner bait, and jigs? Fluorocarbon vs. Monofilament?

The thing you have to realize is there are pros and cons with every fishing line.  It seems everybody has gone fluorocarbon crazy.  The advantages to fluorocarbon is it is invisible in the water (not a big deal to me) and its low stretch which helps considerably when fishing deep.  The disadvantage is because of the low stretch, it breaks much easier than regular mono.  For instance, 10 lb. fluorocarbon will usually break at 10 lb.  10 lb. CXX P-Line breaks at 17 or 18 lbs. and has a little stretch for the shock of a hookset.  I personally am not using hardly any fluorocarbon.  The reason being we've always caught fish on regular monofilament and I like the tougher line myself.  I have many friends that totally swear by fluorocarbon.  I thing you need to fish both and realize the advantages and disadvantages and go with the one you have the most confidence in.  I'm not being evasive.  This is really a personal choice.  You're on the money with your Power-Pro on the Delta.


May 3, 2005

I currently have a CBR843 that I use for small topwaters, long A's & cranks but I want something heavier for ripping Lucky Crafts, Rattle Traps, Superspooks & larger deep diving crankbaits. I will use primarily 12-15#. Which rod would you recommend- the CBR845 or the CBR847?

A couple of rods that I think would work really well for you would be the CBR 845 and the MBR 864X.  The 845 is the best all around rippin' rod that I've ever used.  It will also work well for your rattletraps in the lakes.  As for the spinnerbait rod or Delta rattletrap rod, I think the 864X cannot be beat.  The 864X is a 7'2" collapsible and is the most versatile rod that I know of.  If you give these two a try I think you'll love them. 


May 2, 2005

Gary I have a three part question.  I like to throw the lucky pointer 128.  I was wondering what rod you like to use with this bigger ripbait?  My next question is what rod you like for zara spooks? And my last question is what rod you like for spinnerbaits?  These are my favorite lures to throw but I quite haven't found the perfect rods yet.

My favorite 128 rod is a CBR 847.  It has a perfect action and is heavy enough to handle the bigger ripbaits.  You can do it with an 845, but if you try them both, I'm sure you'll like the 847 better for the 128.   

The next one is easy.  A friend once told me he had the world's best spook rod and you know what?  He did.  It also happens to be my favorite spinnerbait rod.  Loomis makes an MBR 864X.  It's made of GL3 material only.  This rod is probably the most versatile rod that I know of.  It's not only my spook and blade rod, I pitch Senkos, drag Carolina rigs (that's what this rod was designed for), and in a pinch, can even jig fish with it.  It's a 7' 2" collapsible rod.  If you try one, I'd almost guarantee you'll love it.


Apr 30, 2005

Gary, Sometimes we have conditions that are contradicting. For instance, after all the rain our lakes have muddied up and the water level's have risin. Text book, would put the bass up shallow but what happens when the water is still muddy but the water level is falling on a consistent basis and then throw a cold front on top of that?  

Stay home!  Really brutal, tough conditions.  Put your head down and fish.  Every one is going to have a very tough day.  I would fish shallow with bulky baits like a jig and I'd fish any available cover, if any.  Good luck!  I hope I'm not there.


Apr 29, 2005

Gary, Congrats on your Victory at Oroville, Feb. 12, & 13. What where your keys to your success? With sunday's rain, Was Ripp'n your choice ? and if so, What lure was preferred?

The key to my win on Oroville was being versatile, doing a great rain dance and getting lucky.  Saturday was a very tough day.  I caught seven fish, my partner caught two and it was a slow, tough day.  I caught two on a ripbait and my other five on a Yamamoto tube with a 3/16 oz. darthead in 30'-40' of water.  In the last hour, I caught my two best fish, including a 2.55 lb. hybrid (spotted bass/smallmouth cross).   

On Sunday, with the rain and wind, I completely changed and lived on my jerkbait.  The lure was a secret, a Staycee 90 in ghost color.  I caught a lot of fish on Sunday.  My partner contributed two to the bag, also on a jerkbait.  We weighed five clones for 9.99 lbs. 


Apr 28, 2005

First time fishing at Oroville, first time ever targeting spots. Any easy pointers for March spots?

As you can tell, I'm way behind on my questions, but fortunately March spotted bass aren't much different than April or May spotted bass.  Places for a first trip to Oroville would be main lake points or up the south fork on some of those flatter points.  Spotted bass love points.  If you want to just catch fish this time of year, you can't go wrong fishing just about any kind of 4" or 6" Robo.  My favorite colors are war-mouth, Aaron's magic or ox-blood.  Another can't miss bait is a Yamamoto 3 1/2" tube in whatever your favorite crawdad color is.  Mine is green pumpkin.  One of the best tips I can tell you is spotted bass school so if you're not catching them, move.  There are tons of fish in this lake.  I know you'll have fun.


Apr 27, 2005

Hey Gary, What do you look for in electronics and what are you using.  What do think about color?

I'm currently using an X19 and a LMS 330.  The 330 is awesome.  The X19 is hard to see with your glasses on.  I understand they have a new screen that solves this problem.  I still think the X15 was one of the best units that was ever made and it isn't color.  What I look for in a unit is just a good, clear picture that will show me bait and bottom contour.  The fish I see on it, as far as I'm concerned, are a bonus.  Lowrance kind of slacked for a few years there but are back as the industry leader.


Apr 26, 2005

Like you, I'm an avid user of Lucky Craft rip-baits.  Sometimes I have good success, sometimes not.  My set up is a Loomis PR845S, 4000 series Abu spinning reel, using 12 lb Berkley Big Game line.  I also always use the "Norman Speed Clip" to attach the bait to the line.  What is your recommendation as far as using speed clips like this?  Does the use of clips affect the action of the bait or is it better in your experience, to tie directly to the line?  Also, would it be better to use 10 pound line?  I generally fish the foothill lakes.

First of all, I think you'd do better with 10 lb. test line.  I really like the CXX P-Line in 10 lb. test.  I think you'll get a little bit better action and definitely more depth.  I used to use cross lock snaps but I had several get knocked open on the strike and lost the lure and fish.  I'm not familiar with the Norman clip.  I like a plain old split ring.  Lucky Craft does have the oval split ring that makes tying knots much easier (you never tie it in the split).  The split rings never come apart and I have total confidence in them.  Have you ever tried a CBR 845?  Its my personal favorite but if you have confidence in the PR 845, more power to you.  Great rippin'. 


Apr 25, 2005

Hey I just wanted to find out your opinion on bait scents. I am a smoker and i catch plenty of fish. Do you think it would improve my fishing if i used it? And what if you dont smoke should you still use bait scents?

I am a believer in scents to cover up foreign odors.  I always talk about the time I was fishing a tournament at Shasta dragging a one-ton hula grub.  I'd been catching these fish steady for about a week.  On the final day of the tournament, a Sunday, I was dieseling up my truck for my trip home following the weighin and I got diesel all over my hands.  I went into the restroom and washed as best I could and headed to the lake.  My amateur partner that day used my rods, reels and hula grubs.  We were dragging the hula grubs in about 45' of water.  At 1:00 in the afternoon, I was still fishless and my partner had caught over a dozen.  I was about to go crazy.  I'd been catching these fish and they were easy.  I thought about the diesel smell that was still on my hands.  I got a bottle of scent out, put it all over my jig as well as all over my hands.  I wiped off the excess and started fishing.  The results were mind boggling.  I immediately started boating fish just like I had been for the last week.  Do fish attractants attract fish?  Maybe.  Do I believe they help me catch fish by covering up bad scents?  DEFINITELY.  Now I'll preach.  You need to quit smoking because it will help your fishing and you get to fish a lot longer in life.  And for you wiseguys, I am thinking about going on a diet. 


Apr 25, 2005

What lures and techniques do you suggest for lakes with no shad? I fish a local (100 acre) lake that has bluegill, crayfish, and red ears. It has fairly clear water, and the most dominant structure is weedbeds. I have a lot of success split shotting 4" worms. What should I do to round out my presentations?

Great baits for fishing in weeds would be Senkos and topwater frogs.  These are the first two baits that I thought of in your situation.  You could also use flukes and a weightless Ika from Yamamoto.  Good fishing.


Apr 21, 2005

Have you ever fished Lake Almanor? If so, what parts of the lake produce best for you and what type of presentations produce best during the spring time? summertime?

I fish Almanor a lot but only at certain times of the year.  For years we took a week of vacation the first part of June when the kids got out of school.  The fishing at Almanor is so good at that time of year we would only throw our favorite baits, topwater and rippin'.  That time of year on Almanor, we just flat never had to throw anything else.  We caught lots of big smallies, usually in the flats around the stumps.  Almanor is an awesome fishery.  It has been hurt some by the people who catch and keep the big bedding smallies.  Catching smallies off a bed is fun but they need to be released. 


Apr 20, 2005

I recently seen on the evening news that the state was releasing quantities of misquito fish to address the issue of west nile virus. they informed us that these fish eat the larva of the misquitos,and i know the misquitos hatch in farely shallow water where bass will be spawning.Is this going to be a new souce of food for bass and if so what type of lure pattern should be used to simulate these fish? P.S. I thought you guys did a great job with  the seminars at the ISE in san mateo on saturday.I especially liked the round table.

Thanks for the positive comments about the ISE show.  The roundtable is really a lot of fun.  As far as your mosquito fish question, I don't expect this to change much of anything with our fishing.  The reason I say this is we already have a lot of small bait fish anyway.  We have silver-sides, pond smelt, small threadfin shad, plus all the fry from the different hatches.  As far as what baits you should use, small ripbaits, weightless baits like a fluke or a small senko, or a 4" Robo worm in a bait fish color.  Just downsize your baits to match the hatch. 


Apr 19, 2005

On several occasions you have voiced to me that you much prefer the West Coast shared weight Pro/Am format to the draw type tournaments where the boater and non boater are not fishing as a team. I wonder if you could give us your reasons for your opinion.

The reasons I've always been a proponent of the shared weight format are as follows:  

1 I really believe it helps bring new blood in the sport and keep it in the sport.  If I put a guy in the back of my boat and front seat him, I weigh a big bag and he weighs nothing, he's liable to not have too much fun and become one of the anti-tournament guys instead of a member of our sport.

2 I like to work as a team, fishing different baits for different fish, so it works out to be a one-two punch.  I want my partner to catch fish. 

3 I found that it is much easier to work with my partner towards a common goal instead of fighting with him in the boat.  I don't like my partners casting over me or forcing me to make much longer casts than I want to.  I can fish much more efficiently working with someone. 

4 The fish that I'm fishing are my fish that I found in practice and its nice to be able to put them ALL into OUR livewell. 

When the shared weight format started, I was one of the loudest opponents against the format.  As a power fisherman that was having success, I figured this format would help the worm fishermen and hurt me.  After a couple of years, you still had Dee Thomas, Mike Reynolds, Dave Rush and a slew of other great fishermen in the top just like they were in the boat-on-boat draws.  I've seen many of my amateur partners learn and turn pro.  I think the shared weight concept is largely responsible for this.  Do the Ams change the outcome in tournaments?  You bet.  I've had them catch a fish to win me a tournament and I've lost because of some they've caught.  It evens out. 


Apr 18, 2005

This weekend we had a tounament at Oroville. As I pulled up to my spot I could see the fish busting on shad. I through everything but the kitchen sink at them for the next hour it was on the main body on a red long sloping point with a drop off right next to it. This place had it all. I even left and came back later. Not a single fish or bite all day,yes I Blanked, this has never Happend,and it has been a tough year. Any advise ? Please don't say quit. 

I would never say quit.  Some days the bass are going to win and I don't care who you are or how long you've been fishing.  The fish were busting pond smelt not shad.  The other thing I'd like to point out is there's a really good chance those chasing fish were some of the planted salmon in the lake.  Most of the time when they're busting the pond smelt, it's real small bait.  Very rarely are they good sized pond smelt chased on the surface.  You might have been fishing baits that were too big.  One thing that will always catch the busting fish is a castmaster.  Throw a 1/8 up to 1/4 oz. and you'll quickly find what the fish are and if they're even worth fishing for. 


Apr 15, 2005

Gary, Do you use a CBR847 and if you do what do you use it for?

I actually do throw a lot of the CBR847.  I use it for my heavy rippin' rod.  If you're fishing Shad-Raps, 1/2 oz. Rattlin' Rogues, Mag-18 Rapala or a Pointer 128, you'll find the 847 to be a great rod.  Its also great for what it was designed for and that's chucking big crankbaits.


Apr 13, 2005

My question for you is most of the tournaments on Shasta are being won with 16 to 20LBs. I only seem to be able to bring in a consistant 7to 8 LBs. Can you tell me what I might be missing.  

This time of year, reaction baits will usually bring the big bags.  My question, are you throwing a lot of 4" worms?  Are you fishing too conservatively?  Are you limit fishing?  To consistently catch 16 lb. - 20 lb. bags of spots on Shasta, you have to be catching rip fish, spinnerbait fish or swimbait fish.  You can catch the big weights on worms but not consistently.  If you want to worm fish, I would suggest fishing shallow and fast and cover as many points as you can.  Also, remember there is never only one spotted bass on a point.  So if you catch one four pounder off a point, get rigged and throw back as quickly as you can because he will have a buddy.   


Apr 12, 2005

Do you think that boat bottom/side colors have a significant effect spooking fish?  Do some colors (brighter or darker) work better than others?

I don't believe the bottom colors of your boat makes any difference.  Many fishermen believe a black bottom boat is better for fishing.  I always run a white bottom boat.  I like the way it looks.  For example, Jimmy Reese's boat was mistakenly built with a white bottom and he was an adamant black bottom believer.  The result was that Jimmy had his best year ever with the white bottom boat.  Has anyone seen Jimmy's boat colors the last few years?  These were not mistakes.  I think he is color-blind.  Maybe he needs to have a mistakenly built boat again.  Yes, I've told him so. 


Apr 11, 2005

My local club has read in the 2005 DFG Regs that you may no longer cull bass at all. After looking at the reg in the book, I see it too. Is this true, and if so, what is the point of a tournament anymore? Why hasn't there been more publicity on this issue?

You sound like this could be a hot topic.  It's a very hot topic with me.  Why does this piss me off?  We as bass fishermen raise money for the stocking of largemouth bass in lakes, habitat improvement and educate people about catch and release.  The Department of Fish and Game does none of this in the state of California.  Without tournament bass fishermen, we would not know catch and release as it is today.  We have brought catch and release to the forefront (I know because I used to kill them all, too.  I flat didn't know better).  When I spoke with a high ranking Department of Fish and Game person at San Mateo this year, he was behind this law and didn't even realize that first of all we had livewells and we practically do mouth to mouth to keep our catch alive.  The DFG stance on this was to stop what they call "high grading".  His example to me was they want to stop an angler from dropping a 20 lb. salmon over the side, off a rope, dead and replacing it with a recently caught 30 lb. fish.  I'm sure we all would like to stop this.  On the plus side, the fishermen and our tournament organizations have brought this before the DFG and it has been worked out.  We will not see the results of this for 3-5 months.  It takes time to make a change.  I would suggest that in the meantime your club adopt either a 4-fish limit or a 5-fish no culling rule.  Otherwise, you are in violation of the law and subject to citation.   


Apr 11, 2005

What would be the difference in your approach to fishing a lake that doesn't have shad versus one that does? I fish a small (100 acre) lake for bass that has red ear sunfish, bluegill, and a few catfish. I do well split shotting 4" worms, but would like to expand my approach. The dominate structure in the lake is weed beds. Any suggestions?

Most of the lakes that we fish have shad, but not all.  Oroville is a great example.  It used to have shad but none have shown up in the last 10 years or so.  You have red ear, catfish, baby bass and, no doubt, crawdads and sculpin.  Bass are predators and will make do with whatever forage is available.  I would not worry as much about the forage as I would fishing the grass.  Some great baits in the grass would be Senkos or flipping down through the grass with crawdad imitations and throwing weightless baits over top of the grass, as well as topwater frogs.   A 100-acre lake is not very big, so my question would be is how much pressure is this body of water getting.  If its not getting a lot of pressure, you're a lucky man.  I'd probably fish weightless baits like the Senko, fluke and topwater frogs an awful lot. 


Apr 11, 2005

What type of cadence do you use when rippin the Staycee? Do you fish it just like a pointer? The longer lip makes me feel like I should be doing something different.

I don't have a set cadence that I always fish with a Staycee or any ripbait.  Sometimes, I'll do more pulling on the bait than popping on the bait.  Sometimes you have to let it set longer than other times.  If you're confident fishing the Pointer, I think you can do the exact same cadence with the Staycee and do well.  I usually start with a pop pop pause, pop pause cadence letting the bait set for 3 or 4 seconds.  This is a good starting point.  If you're not getting bit, vary your retrieves and this holds true with whatever bait or technique you're using.  Good luck.


Apr 6, 2005

Do you think rippin is a way to cover a lot of water, like crankin, or something to really pick apart an area for finicky fish, or are there times for both. if theres times for both what would be the situations?

Rippin' is one of the best ways that I know of to cover water.  I personally am a rip bait fisherman.  I throw ripbaits probably 95% of the time vs. 5% for crankbaits.  Rippin' is a confidence technique for me.  I know plenty of die hard crankbait fishermen who would probably argue but going head to head many times in the boat, rippin', I believe, is a better technique.  There are definitely times for both, so go with your confidence.  Mine is rippin'.


Apr 6, 2005

When you use braided line , do you tie direct or do you use a flourocarbon leader ? If you use the flourocarbon leader, what kind of knot do you use to join the two ?

I tie direct.  I do not like to tie the braid to mono simply because I have personally had mixed results.  One of my knots that you could tow a boat with; the next one a bluegill would break.  The success I've had is by tying a double uni-knot and gluing it.  Gluing a knot is a big deal.  For me, I fish P-Line mono OR Power Pro.  I don't combine the two.   


Apr 5, 2005

Gary my question to you is about how to start fishing draw tournaments as a co-angler and how to prepare for them, and do you recommend combined weight draws to start or what?

I think combined weight pro-ams is a great place to start.  With combined weight, you're basically a team and the pro will work with you because he wants you to catch fish.  After you get some experience, then you can go to the non-shared weight tournaments if you choose.  You realize that in non-shared weight tournaments you are competing for fish against the pro.  The pro makes the decisions and has first shot at the fish.  As far as how to get started, it's simple.  You simply join the organization and pay your entry fee.  All the organizations have websites and the information on them.  If you're going to sign up for a tournament and you don't have a pro to sign up with, you should pay early to guarantee you a spot in the event.  If you're thinking about it, I hope you give it a shot.  It's an unbelievably great sport.  


Apr 5, 2005

Gary with these western waters warming up what is the earliest you will start throwing that old faithful spook for largemouth and what is the key water temperature for that type of lure presentation?

I don't have a specific water temperature that I look for.  As soon as it starts warming, I start throwing topwater.  I like to throw it early in the year before everyone does.  I caught a fish in January this year on a topwater at Lake Havasu.  As a matter of fact, that is the first bait that I threw on my two practice days before the event.  I've been fishing it at Clear Lake in early March with only a few bites.  When I fish a topwater early in the year, I do not expect to catch a lot of fish, just some key big ones.  My key with topwater is I like to throw it earlier in the year and later in the year than most people.


Apr 5, 2005

Gary, What are your top 3 or 5 things that you do to prepare for a tournament that are really in your mind are the difference makers between positioning yourself to be competitive or just donating for the day? and typically how long does it take you to perform these top 3 or 5 things?

I don't know about 3 or 5, but the things that I consider before a tournament are the baits I figure I'll be throwing and the locations of the fish.  I make sure my equipment is 100% ready.  My batteries are 100% ready to go.  I have plenty of the baits that I'll be using, plenty of new line in the boat to re-line with and I make sure my hook box is loaded up with plenty of extra trebles, flippin' hooks, worm hooks or whatever I'll need.  So basically, I'm looking at my baits and the locations of the fish and my equipment.  I also consider what the weather is like prior to and during the tournament and what season it is.  This gives me a good idea of when and where I'm going to start.   


Mar 30, 2005

Would you rather use a two piece flipping stick or a one piece and what is the diffrence between them?

You have the choice in flippin' sticks between a one-piece or a telescoping collapsible one.  The benefit of the collapsible one is rod locker storage.  The benefits of a one-piece are they're considerably lighter, stronger and more sensitive.  I'm lucky enough to have big rod lockers in my Ranger so a one-piece is by far my first choice.  The only negative to a one-piece rod is storage.  They're better in every other way. 


Mar 30, 2005

I am very new to the teniques of "Flipping and Pitching". As far as rod lengths? What are the advantages and disadvantages of shorter versus longer? Also reel settings. Brake and drag. What would you recomend?

First of all, pitching is a technique of standing back and literally pitching your baits to your targets.  There are 7' 2" all the way up to 8' flipping sticks.  For pitching, you can really use any of them, whichever one is more comfortable for you.  Starting out, you'd probably like the shorter ones.  Just remember the longer the rod, the more line you pick up on hook sets and the more leverage you have on the fish.  For flippin',  you should stick with a 7' 6" or 8' rod.  I personally like an 8' rod.  You'll need at least a 7' 6" because you're flippin' a controlled amount of line.  Usually, I use an 8' and I pitch and flip with it.  You need to learn both.  You're going down a bank and all of a sudden you have a target that is farther than you can flip.  You simply pitch to it.  Loomis makes a 7' 2", a 7' 5" and 7' 11" flippin' stick.  I had a lot of input on the actions of these rods.  I did not have any input on these oddball sizes.  As for the reel, I'm throwing a Daiwa TDA in 6:3 gear ratio.  This is an awesome pitching reel with a magnetic adjustment as well as a manual adjustment.  Load it up with 50 lb. Power Pro or 20 lb. CXX P-Line with a stiff drag and go to work.  Pitching will take a little practice but it will be well worth it.  The next time you're flippin' down a bank and the fish are skittish or pressured, simply back off and pitch to them.


Mar 30, 2005

I've been a fan of yours for some time now and follow the professional circuits closely. I have been part of Honeylake bass club since 1996 which is out of Susanville, Ca.. Well Gary, for this upcoming season I was voted weigh master for our club. Can you please tell me what you look for to tell the differences between a largemouth and a spotted bass?

It's very easy for me to tell the difference between a spot and a largemouth.  I get to see so many of both species with the different lakes that I fish.  Many people will think this is a dumb question but if you don't see them, you never learn.  One funny story on this subject was an argument I settled between two Fish & Game representatives working a release boat.  One insisted a fish was a black and the other insisted that it was a spot and I got to make the call.  It was a 5 lb. spot.  My best advice is really to lay them side by side and you'll quickly notice the differences.  The spot is really shaped much more like a smallie with the green colors of a largemouth.  With a little practice, it is very easy to tell the difference.


Mar 29, 2005

If you had one reaction bait to use in cold dirty water and lets say the water temp. is 47 to 49 degrees with less than a foot of visibility. What would be your lure of choice?

A very easy question.  I would throw a Revenge 1/2 oz. chartreuse and white tandem gold willow blades spinnerbait.  It is my complete confidence bait for this water temperature and clarity.


Mar 29, 2005

My question is on the rod movement part of the ripping technique. I read a couple of your articles on bassdozer. You covered everything about ripping which was fantastic of you to do so. It's unheard of to have someone in your profession to give up tread secrets as you have. I commend you. Now my question is this when you make your cast do you crank it down or do you just start popping right away. The next part of the question is. When you got your bait at the depth that you want. What kind of rod movement makes up a pop. I read about the old days having to pop the baits hard to get the correct action out of the lures. I also read the part about the new baits being easy to use not taking as much force to get the right action. And can you over power the new baits and kill the action and waste fishing catching time. So popping is it a sweeping movement of 4 to 6ft. Or is it like using a surface minnow  twitching the bait along. You described your cadence as pop pop pop pause pop pop pause pop pause, On those pop's how much does your rod & bait move each time and are you slapping the slack out of your line. I do use jerkbaits not as much as I did before I started fishing tournaments. Last year we got our rumps kicked buy the guys throwing Carolina rigs In the spring after a front would come through. I need a technique that we can cover water  with in the lower end of the lake after the fronts. Carolina rigs are to slow in a 8 hour tournament.

First of all, please understand that I'm not being evasive.  There are many different ways to work different ripbaits.  Currently, I throw four different ripbaits the most; one being a Shad Rap in #8 or #9.  I pop these baits really hard.  Most of the time, my retrieves are the same; pop pop pause, pop pause, pop pop pop pause.  I don't believe you can really work a ripbait wrong.  There are a couple of things you can do that I guarantee will get you more strikes.  I'll get back to this in a minute.    

A second bait I throw is a 1/2 oz. Rattlin' Rogue.  I do quite a bit of modifications to this bait (too hard to explain) but I work this bait hard also.  A third bait is a Staycee 90.  I make subtle pops when using this bait.  My other bait is a Pointer 128.  My usual retrieve is what I would call a medium pop.  These are all starting points.  You really have to get the cadence figured out that the fish are reacting to.  The Staycee is a bait that fishes much better with lighter pops.    

Equipment is a big deal with rippin'.  You have to have the right rod to get the right actions out of the bait.  You can make adjustments in your jerk and use a fast action rod but I prefer to use a mod-fast action.  Loomis has the perfect rippin' rod in my opinion, a CBR 845.  If you want a little more power for the Shad Rap #9 or the Pointer 128, use a CBR 847.  Line is a big deal.  Usually, I use 10 lb. test CXX P-Line.  Its the perfect size.  Smaller than 10 lb. gets too much stretch and I'm not comfortable with light line.  Larger than 10 lb. will first of all cost you one to two feet in the depth of your bait.  Bigger than 12 lb., I believe, starts taking away from the action of your bait.  The next thing is the reel.  You must use a fast retrieve reel.  Otherwise, you're always trying to play catch up with your bait.  My personal favorite is the new Daiwa TDA caster.    

As for tips, the biggest mistake I see anglers make is not putting slack back in their line for the pause.  If you keep tension on your line, the bait creeps forward and never makes a complete stop and you won't get as many straight up reaction strikes.  Another tip is how long to pause the bait.  This always varies.  The colder the water, the longer the pause.  For me, a five to seven second pause is a long pause.  I hear guys say let the bait set for thirty seconds.  I just don't buy into it.  Try using your watch.  Seven seconds is a long time to be sitting there doing nothing.   

  I've just returned from the River 2 Sea factory in China where I worked on three different models of ripbaits all for specific depths and actions.  We probably won't see these baits before I-CAST in July.  I'm very excited with some of the prototypes I tested last week.   

I hope this helps.  Good luck.


Mar 29, 2005

Gary, I know everyone has a mentor or someone they viewed as their angling hero, who was yours and why? And despite Kent Brown telling me he was yours, I want to know the truth!

The people that I looked up to the most were actually my father and grandfather.  They took me fishing and got me hooked on the sport (not the tournament side) of fishing when I was knee-high.  I have always fished and I've always given credit to my dad and grandpa for getting me hooked at an early age. 


Mar 28, 2005

I know everyone has a mentor or someone they viewed as their angling hero, who was yours and why? And despite Kent Brown telling me he was yours, I want to know the truth!

The people that I looked up to the most were actually my father and grandfather.  They took me fishing and got me hooked on the sport (not the tournament side) of fishing when I was knee-high.  I have always fished and I've always given credit to my dad and grandpa for getting me hooked at an early age.   


Mar 26, 2005

I know you are a good fisherman of these spots. For the past ten years I've only concentrated on largemouth, this year I will fish 100% bass future pro tour and i have only caught a few spots while fishing at melones on accident. What are some simple tips for spotted bass fishing on Oroville Shasta?

What makes spots so different is they move around a lot.  They are serious open water feeders and move with the bait fish.  Why spots are frustrating for anglers is they'll find them someplace and they'll go back to catch them the next day and they're gone.  This is spotted bass fishing.  Why I like to fish for spots is I like to travel around a lot and fish many places during the day.  Sooner or later, I still run into some of them from practice the day before.  You cannot expect spotted bass to always be where you found them previously.  Great techniques for spots include spinnerbaits, ripbaits and topwater.  These baits are ones you can cover a lot of water with.  If you're worming, you might just try speeding up.  Spots love to suspend.  Check for these once in a while.  Just remember that spots are roamers and tend to act more like a striper than they do a bass. 


Mar 24, 2005

On lake Berryessa where the fish are on deep-water structure how would you fish an area from a kickboat without electronics?  Without a motor to run around the lake i would have to pick apart one area for the majority of a tournament and live or die there, and without electronics how could i fish more efficiently without fishing the obvious visibles like points, docks, rocks, etc.  On lake Berryessa where would be a good place to fish a whole tournament at, im thinking markley cove?

First of all, this is a great way to get exercise and is sure to stop the run and gun approach.  Obviously, this isn't one of my strengths.  I've had some really good conversations with guys in float tubes over the last couple of years.  I've been lucky enough to draw some float-tubers in pro-ams.  You guys have some awesome clubs and it sounds like you have a lot of fun.   

You would need to do some research on where to put in.  Obviously, this is a big deal.  On Berryessa, I don't think you could go wrong with Markley cove.  Putah Creek would also be a great choice and so would Spanish Flat.  Without the use of electronics, I would fish shallow or, as you probably already do, is just guess the depth from the steepness of the bank.  Its not too hard if you're fishing 1/2 oz. jigs or better.  You guys do a better job of fishing a school of fish by not being able to run away from them as quick.  You would be amazed at how many tournaments have been won by guys with boat problems that had to fish on their trolling motors only.  Good luck. 


Mar 12, 2005

What leadeer do you use or would you use on power pro line for jigs and plastics in grass? Do you use power pro line with leader for plastics and jigs around wood? I fish Loomis rods as well but have hesitated to use braided line due to my concern the lack of line stretch on the hookset may lead to rod breakage. What has your experience been in this area with IMX and GLX rods? Thanks.

I personally do not tie leaders to my Power Pro braid. I lack the confidence in the braid to mono knots. One I tie will be strong enough to tow a truck. The next one breaks too easily for me. A tip that I'll give you is I believe gluing the knot is a big deal. It stops any and all slippage. I have never broken an IMX Loomis rod. I have broken several in the GLX material. The GLX is lighter and a more brittle material. I haven't broken one with braid, only mono. However, the new GLX worm and jig series are a much, much tougher rod. During the experimental stages, I was trying to blow them up with 65 lb. Power Pro on my trailer hitch. No failures. I'm currently using a lot of braid on the new GLX's and haven't had any problems. I would say use your rods. If you do have a failure, send it to Loomis. They are a great company.


Mar 9, 2005

What are your thought on the Bassmaster University that is held every year throughout the country? Do you think that it is a useful event for anglers who want to learn more and perfect their skills?

This answer is definitely going to get me in trouble. I believe Bass University is a great idea, but could be done much, much better. For example, the last one that I did I was opposite Don Iovino, the doodle master, and Brett Hite who really only fishes worms, specifically drop-shotting and my topic was finesse worming. Having Don and Brett talking spinnerbaits, rippin' and flippin' and me doing worms was kind of crazy. I was third up after Don and Brett. They went out of their topics to talk of their strengths which was worming. Then they had me last to talk about worming again. They do many things well. You have to have slides for the overhead projectors to show your baits and make it easier to understand what you're talking about. I was confident with my worming seminar but was quickly begged to talk on a different topic because everyone had been wormed to death. My main strengths are rippin', bladin', top-water and flippin'. I contracted to do worming so I did a quick run through on worming and talked power fishing at length. I believe you can actually learn more at the tank demos at the sports shows. The anglers on the demo tank are way more knowledgeable of local waters and techniques than the pros from back East. Also, after the tank demos are over, the fishermen will gladly answer any and all questions and these are great one on ones. If one of the Bass University seminar speakers is one of the sport's superstars, and you'd like to meet him, then by all means, you should attend.


Mar 7, 2005

At Lake Shasta and Oroville the Spotted Bass for the most part are caught deep. At what depth do you start letting the air out their Bladders? Do you do this in tournaments as well?

There's no magical depth to start thinking about having to poke your fish. I've seen fish in Clear Lake caught 10 feet deep that had to be deflated. I've caught spotted bass out of 30-40 feet of water that were fine. The best way is to release them right away and you don't have to do anything. If you're in a tournament, you can drop them in the well and check on them in a couple of minutes. If they're not swimming normally or if they're floating or on their side, you should take a couple of seconds and deflate their air bladder. Yes, I do this in tournaments. It really only takes a couple of seconds.


Mar 7, 2005

Can you explain boat positioning through the seasons? What are the basics? What are the does and don'ts for not spooking fish?

I don't really know that boat positioning changes with the seasons. If I'm fishing close to the bank, I like to always be working forward of the boat. I think boat positioning is a great question. Boat position to me is a very critical part of fishing. When you're thinking of boat position, you also must be conscious of your trolling motor noise and if you're washing the area with your prop. Sounds like common sense, but I believe it is one of the biggest mistakes that fishermen make. If I screw up and wash a bank or bang my trolling motor, I simply move farther down the bank away from that area. Try to fish 45 or less degree angles with your bank. This will keep your bait in the strike zone much longer. I can't believe how many fishermen I see making 90 degree angle casts to the bank with a spinnerbait or crankbait. If you're flippin' and pitchin', be conscious of your shadows on the water. Again, this is boat position. Next time you fish just be conscious of boat position and keeping your bait in the strike zone longer.


Mar 4, 2005

I have been bass fishing for about 9 years. I now live in Sacramento and have been fishing Folsom for about 2 years. Over the past year as water levels have dropped, so has my confidence and ability to catch fish in my regular spots and similar areas. How should I go about attacking this lake to be successful on a more regular basis when these kinds of conditions exist?

I believe, in reality, low water conditions are easier to pinpoint the fish. In Folsom, this means simply go to structure. You've probably had great success with the higher water, maybe around the willows or in the back of pockets, and this is where your confidence is. Don't let low water throw you. Just go to the structure. There are some great maps and even a listing with GPS coordinates of all the structure in Folsom. Try drop-shotting 6-inch Robos and dragging Yamamoto hula grubs on 3/4 and 1-ounce football heads. Folsom with its high fishing pressure still is an unbelievable big fish fishery. My personal two best blacks and my best spot have come out of Folsom and I hardly ever fish it. Most people have a love or hate relationship with Folsom. Again, go to structure in low water.


Mar 3, 2005

What patterns would you look for, on a deep reservoir, with both a large mouth and a spot population, during late winter? How would intermittent storms, with rain followed by sun, effect how you would fish each condition?

With late winter, let's say February, spot and large mouth fisheries that come to mind in the north state would be Folsom and Berryessa. They both have abundant numbers of all three species, spots, blacks and smallies. Main lake points would be my starting spots, unless I had good in-flow in the creeks from recent rain storms. If I've got running creeks, I'd look here first. Late winter main lake points are always a factor. I like the points that are long and run to deep water or the creek channel. These are usually the best points to start with. As far as how your fishing is affected with the storms, stable conditions are good. If it's raining and blowing, reaction baits will win. If it's sunny and calm, the worm and plastic fishermen will rule. Right after a storm, sunny skies are a curse. You will have fishing tough. I personally prefer low barometric pressure and hate a high barometer. It's a great time of the year to fish.


Mar 2, 2005

How do you like to fish a spider grub on Shasta and Oroville? What weight heads do you like to throw and at what depths? How do you work the grub? Do you swim it, drag it, hop it, dead stick it. It's hard for me to stay with the spider grub because I know I can catch more fish with a worm or a tube.

The spider grub, also known as the hula grub, is a very versatile bait. It can be hopped or drug on the bottom or you can swim it. My favorite ways to fish it is with a 1/2 or 3/4 oz. head fished fast and shallow. I like to hop and swim and just work the bait really fast. I fish it basically as a reaction bait.

Another way I fish it is with a 3/4 or 1 oz. head dragging it deep. This is a very effective technique usually in November - February. Basically, I try to get a few bites to determine the depths that I want to fish and I slowly boat drag the hula grub in that depth range. This is where a meter comes in handy, also.

To handle these bigger jigs, the rig is pretty important. A Loomis IMX844 rod loaded with 10 or 12 lb. CXX P-Line will do the trick. Also, be sure to use a fast retrieve reel because sometimes these fish will come straight up. If you haven't seen Daiwa's new TDA casting reel, you should give it a look.


Feb 17, 2005

I plan on fishing Clear lake in a couple of weeks. Could you suggest size and colors of ripbaits for Clear Lake. I fish Lucky Crafts and love them. With all the colors, it can be confusing.

Clear Lake early in the year is a great time to be throwing a rip bait.  I usually throw some brighter colors or flashier baits.  In Lucky Craft Staycee 90, chartreuse shad or aurora black are a couple of good ones.  Mag 18 Rapalas in black and silver will also catch you some big fish.  A 1/2 oz. clown colored Rogue or a black back silver side orange belly Rogue will also catch them.  The fish will be schooled up so when you find them don't run off too quick.  I'm a little jealous.  I wish I was going with you.


Feb 15, 2005

What approach would you have in a rising, cold and muddy water situation? Water temp is about 51 degrees. This is a resevoir question. Could not get bit in the creek today. Tried everything(tight,shallow and slow)with jigs and shakin a worm to crankin. Went back out to main lake(clearer water) and got bit. Can these creek fish be caught in muddy,cold water or is it a waste of time? Do they need to adjust from all the storms? Will these fish go to the incoming water in the creeks even though these are cold fronts?

Anytime I have water temperature around 51 degrees and incoming dirty water, I'm definitely going to be looking for a spinnerbait and jig bite in the running water.  This is a great way to not only catch big fish but to put a bunch of them in the boat in a hurry.  Once the storms quit and the flow slows down, the fish will start dropping back.  You should still be able to catch some but your big numbers won't be there.


Feb 15, 2005

I have recently joined Angler's Choice. This is my first year fishing it and the next tournament is at Berryessa. What baits and techniques would you suggest for this lake? Do you have any recommendations on where to start?

For this time of year, I would throw Revenge football head jigs, Yamamoto tubes and Robo worms on a darthead.  There will also be some spinnerbait, crankbait and rip fish.  Day in and day out this time of year, the tubes, jigs and worms are pretty stable.  As far as where I would start, my favorite areas of the lake are the Narrows, the Vineyards and around Putah Creek.  Beware of wind on this lake.  It can get very rough quickly.  If it's windy, the Narrows is a great place to fish.  Berryessa has great populations of fish in all three species, spots, blacks and smallies.  Good luck!


Feb 15, 2005

Is there any way to eliminate water and give yourself a fair chance of doing well? Taking into consideration time of year and weather patterns, is there anything else I could do to help myself out? The lakes will be mostly Pedro(your favorite HA HA), Mc Clure and Melones).

You've covered the main two, weather patterns and time of year.  Maybe scan the Internet and pick up a tip or two.  You should approach it the same way that you would if you had practiced and had nothing figured out.  I'd try to keep my bait selection simple and try to cover water and put together a quick pattern.  When all else fails, just go fishing.   


Feb 15, 2005

Gary, I see that you are now using Daiwa casting reels.  Several of their high-end models are for fresh water only.  Which models would you recommend for use in places that might have brackish water, such as the Delta?

Daiwa has several new reels in their line.  The two that I'm throwing the most are the TD-A153HST and TD-A150P.  The 153 is a 6.3:1 gear ratio and the 150 is 5.1:1.  These reels can be used in the Delta with the brackish water or anywhere else and have absolutely no problems.  These are the best casting reels that Daiwa has ever made.  If you want to check them out, just ask your retailer for a TD-A reel and he'll know what you're talking about. 


Feb 15, 2005

Gary, What color are freshwater crawfish during different times of the year?

This is getting to be a popular question.  Maybe I should do some research because I might be missing out on something.  I really think crawdads vary in color depending on not only time of year, but probably on what they're living in, rocks or mud.  Water clarity might possibly play a factor, also.  These are guesses only because I've really never studied them.  I fish browns, greens and occasionally black.  To me, these are my crawdad colors.  Yamamoto colors that you can't go wrong with are green pumpkin, cinnamon black flake, watermelon black flake or cinnamon purple flake.  These are my standard four colors and they're all basically browns and greens.  I probably should just say I don't know. 


Feb 11, 2005

Why do you think that Revenge has the best spinnerbait?

Revenge has the best spinnerbaits for several reasons. First of all, the detail in the casting. It is a perfect minnow shaped head with details all the way down to having gill plates. Second, Ray's crazy with his painting. Everything has a special base coat. Then he paints it in whatever color is under the rainbow and then he clear coats them. He uses high quality hooks and swivels and has the blades custom plated. He uses a special high grade stainless steel wire that costs him plenty extra so you don't have any wire breakage problems. His quality control is so high it borders on being ridiculous. And last, but not least, Ray has also been a friend for a long time. Anyone that knows Ray feels sorry for him because he is a 97 lb. weakling. Ha!


Feb 11, 2005

I see that you are now using Daiwa casting reels. Several of their high-end models are for fresh water only. Which models would you recommend for use in places that might have brackish water, such as the Delta?

Daiwa has several new reels in their line. The two that I'm throwing the most are the TD-A153HST and TD-A150P. The 153 is a 6.3:1 gear ratio and the 150 is 5.1:1. These reels can be used in the Delta with the brackish water or anywhere else and have absolutely no problems. These are the best casting reels that Daiwa has ever made. If you want to check them out, just ask your retailer for a TD-A reel and he'll know what you're talking about.


Feb 9, 2005

What color are freshwater crawfish during different times of the year?

This is getting to be a popular question. Maybe I should do some research because I might be missing out on something. I really think crawdads vary in color depending on not only time of year, but probably on what they're living in, rocks or mud. Water clarity might possibly play a factor, also. These are guesses only because I've really never studied them. I fish browns, greens and occasionally black. To me, these are my crawdad colors. Yamamoto colors that you can't go wrong with are green pumpkin, cinnamon black flake, watermelon black flake or cinnamon purple flake. These are my standard four colors and they're all basically browns and greens. I probably should just say I don't know.


Feb 9, 2005

DOES SONAR AFFECT THE BASS ? IF SO DOES IT AFFECT THE BITE?

I don't believe sonar affects the fish in deep water. I've caught many fish that I've seen on the meter and dropped straight down to them and caught them. If I'm fishing in shallow water, I do turn my meter off. I just don't like the tick, tick, tick from the transducer. It really might not matter but it's a confidence thing with me.


Feb 7, 2005

Hey Gary, My brother and I invested in a new bass boat last year and we started fishing some local tournaments. We have done well in some and poorly in others. My question is, new to fishing in a boat and in many of these lakes, what would be the easiest and fastest way to learn a lake? Maps, reports, other fisherman? Or is it just a matter of time i.e. on the water. Thank you in advance.

The text book answer would be maps. I believe that's probably the right answer. As I answer this, I just came from pre-fishing at Havasu and everyone kept trying to get me to buy a map. I never bought one because, honestly, I don't use maps. I like to drive the lake and locate areas with flats or a lot of points. Pay attention to the different kind of structure, whether it's wood or rock. Once I start catching some fish and I come up with a pattern, I can remember the same type of related structure or areas around the lake. That's how I like to scout out a new lake. This works particularly well for me because I like to fish shallow and I'm usually looking shallow. The one thing I am starting to use more and more are the map programs on my GPS units. The Lowrance units are very user friendly. The mapping programs have great detail.


Feb 7, 2005

Hey Gary, I like to fish Shasta in the winter sometimes and I have never realy thrown a spinnerbait to much. What kind of blades/colors do you recomend for the cold winter months.

I always throw a Revenge spinnerbait and, in the winter, I usually only use a few colors. My number one favorite is chartreuse and white with a gold and a nickel willow leaf. If the water is really clear, I may also throw a shad pattern with nickel blades or a white with nickel blades. Because you specifically said Shasta, never go to Shasta without a white on white spinnerbait. When I say white on white, I mean white spinnerbait with white blades. I always throw only willows in the reservoirs.


Feb 5, 2005

Do you use braided line with a mono leader while you rip and if so what knot do you recommend to attach the braid to mono?

I do not use braided line to rip.  I use monofilament, usually CXX P-Line in either 10 lb. or 12 lb. test.  As far as the knot that will tie monofilament to braid, most people have the best success with the double Uni knot.  I do not personally ever tie braid to mono for the simple reason that I don't trust the knots.  Whatever knot you use to tie braid to mono, the general consensus among most of the fishermen I've talked to is to be sure and glue the knot.   


Feb 5, 2005

Can you please tell me the different colors Crawfish turn at different times of the year?

Wow, what a question.  I honestly cannot answer this.  When I'm imitating crawdads my favorite colors are always browns, greens and black.  The crawdads in the fall on the Delta are bright red because I've seen many of them down there.  One thing to remember, crawdads that are spit back up in your livewells might not necessarily be the same color they were when they were alive.   


Feb 4, 2005

Gary, I  have  tournaments at oroville with anglerschoice gold city trail. so far I've had two tournaments one last month and one this month I cant seem to get more than two keepers and there small, I cant seem to catch a limit what am i doing wrong? I fished deep, shallow, and dropshoted in 10ft all the way to 80 and nothing. Can you help me and give me some tips for my next tournament in january?

Oroville, as of late, has been fishing tougher than normal.  When I fished it in December, I did not have a drop-shot bite but I caught plenty of fish on jigs and tubes.  I was fishing a cold front with high pressure conditions.  These are the worst.  In trying to help you, I would think you're probably fishing too fast.  I think you probably let Oroville get in your head and you're just struggling.  I don't mean this in a bad way.  When I'm struggling, I don't think I could catch them with a dip net if they were flopping in the bottom of the boat.  This is fishing.  When you're catching them, its easy and when you're not, its brutal.  I think you need to regroup, change areas, put a buddy in the boat so you can b.s. throughout the day and start over.  Forget about your past couple of tournaments.  They're over and the conditions have changed anyway.  I'd really try fishing a tube or a jig in your favorite colors (mine would be green pumpkin) slow in 15'-40'.  As soon as you get a couple of bites, fish a lot more in that depth.  Fish the same kind of banks.  At this time of year, I fish a lot of the red mud.  I know this probably isn't a good answer.  I just think you're trying too hard and you're frustrated. 


Feb 4, 2005

Would you recommend using a braid like Power Pro for fishing with ripbaits?  I realize that the action of the lure might be different, so is a softer rod recommended?  Also, should one use a shorter twitch being that the line has no stretch?

I honestly have not ripped with Power Pro.  I do have a good friend who rips with nothing but Power Pro and he does well.  For me, I've gotten so used to my rod, my line and my retrieve (jerk) that even fluorocarbon because of the low stretch doesn't feel right to me.  Its a confidence thing with me.  As far as your retrieve if you're going to use Power Pro, you're on the money with the softer rod and a lighter twitch, as you call it.  I know it will work.  It boils down to confidence.


Feb 4, 2005

I was thinking of using braided line combined with a leader of floracarbon line so the fish won't see the braided line for dropshoting for better sensitivity. What do you think of my idea?

Its a great idea and one that many anglers are using.  You get the feel of your braid and the fluorocarbon is invisible.  I don't do it because I'm very nervous of the added knots.  It takes a special knot to tie braid to the fluorocarbon.  If you tie it wrong, it will break very easily.  If you practice your knots a lot and glue them, you can get away with it.  The gluing stops the slippage and really helps a lot.  Good luck!  


Feb 1, 2005

When fishing jigs and spoons what colors and sizes do you prefer for deeper lakes, like Oroville and Shasta?

As for jigs, I'm really hung up on the Yamamoto hula grub.  My favorite colors are green pumpkin, cinnamon purple, watermelon black flake or cinnamon black flake.  How big a jig head I use depends on the depth.  I do, however, fish a lot of 3/4 or 1 oz. football heads.   

I still maintain I'm the worst spoon fisherman there is.  I don't even own one.  I know it is a weakness in my fishing.  I just get tired of catching 10" fish and when I do catch a keeper, that's what he is, a keeper.  I try to always come up with a different pattern.  The only place that I've seen a dominant spoon bite is Shasta.  I just take my whipping. 


Feb 1, 2005

How does physical health effect tournament fishing or does it?

I think physical health is a definite factor.  I've had my share of shoulder and elbow problems over the years.  Having a physical problem really just breaks your concentration as well as putting up with the pain.  I had to set out a year in the early '90s with a rebuilt shoulder.  I can think of several fishermen that lost a year or two because of surgery.  If you can't physically fish or do the things you need to, you can't compete.  There are a few guys that had to quit altogether.  The good thing about our sport is the fact that we can fish well into old age.  Look at Dee Thomas!  Ha, Ha! 


Jan 28, 2005

I once read an article where you said to file the lip on a jerk bait that does not run straight. I have 2 that run to the right. Could you possibly be more specific in a wrttin format as where to file the lip and how much occordingly?

First of all, on a Staycee 90, you'll never need to file the lip.  The Staycee was not in your question but you listed it in your subject.  That's why I responded to it.  The main bait that you'll need to file the bill on is the original Rattlin' Rogue.  Its a great bait that I still use a lot today but they do have quality control issues.  Try adjusting the line tie first.  If you can't get it adjusted by tweaking the line tie, its time to use a file.  File the side of the bill that the bait is running to in the water.  If its running to the right, you want to file the right side.  If you think about it you're just taking away surface area that the water is pushing on and it straightens the bait out.  I try to always tune my rogues in real clear water or a swimming pool before I ever put them in my box.  It saves a lot of frustration on the water.  Always remember with any crankbait or jerkbait, your first cast should be a fairly quick retrieve just to make sure that your bait is running straight or you won't get the right action or depth out of the bait.


Jan 28, 2005

Why didn't you go back east and fish the big money circuits in the past?

I never went back East because, up until a few years ago, I had a full time job plus worked a lot of overtime and this was my security blanket.  I would not gamble everything and put my family in that position.  I always put my family first and my competitive nature second.  I have considered it the last couple of years but haven't done it for several reasons.  One of which is I've had success and I've been spoiled with all the great tournaments that we've had in the west.  As we all know, this is changing.  Second of all, I've got a great group of sponsors, six of which specifically want me for support in the west.  Third, I'm not too excited about driving 3 or 4 days to go fishing.  Fourth, I was born and raised here, all of my family is here, all of Kathy's family is here and this is home.  Fifth, and a big one for me, it really pisses me off that the guys fishing "national circuits" most times don't log the miles that we do and we're the little regional guys.  The national circuits are southeastern regional only.  They just get to carry the big title.  If these are national circuits, they should fish nationally.  Boy, this ought to start some arguments.


Jan 24, 2005

How do you handle distractions on the water?  For example, if someone cuts you off while you're fishing down a bank, does this hurt your concentration?

There are always distractions on the water whether it be somebody cutting you off, lost fish or maybe boat traffic.  I can deal pretty well with everything but the lost fish.  This is one of the weaknesses of my fishing.  As far as getting cut off on the water, I think each situation is different and has to be handled differently.  Anytime you let things get into your head that are not how, when and where to catch them, you're not going to be competing at the level you need to.  If I get sidetracked with a distraction, I try to re-focus strictly on the fish.  I start trying to refine my pattern or think of a way to catch a big fish and just get myself back into a positive mode.  I can't explain it but I think attitude plays a big part on how well you do.  When I have a really good positive attitude, things go good.  If I'm pissed off or have a sh@tty attitude, things go down hill in a hurry. 


Jan 22, 2004

It is no secret that your Ams in shared weight tournaments seem to be very productive, often contributing substantially to your success.  How do you help your Ams fish so good?  

Great question and one I love to answer.  Over the years, my amateurs have helped considerably.  I have had two partners catch fish over 10 lbs. in tournaments.  I like to coach and have a good time while fishing.  I have pre-fished and have confidence in my pattern and I would just like my partners to work with me.  Sometimes this means fishing a completely different pattern than what I'm doing.  I might be throwing topwater but have my partner throwing a crankbait or spinnerbait.  Fish react differently to different baits.  This way you can give them a one two punch.   Depending on what I'm fishing and my partner's skill level, I try to come up with something for them to fish that will help put fish in the livewell.   

As crazy as it sounds, I've had partners totally ignore any suggestions or baits that I recommend.  One in particular, drove me crazy refusing to fish a Senko behind me.  After about 3 hours, he finally threw a Senko and on his first cast, he caught a 10 1/2 pounder.  Five minutes later, still hating Senkos, he refused to fish it any longer (true story, I swear).   

I usually have rods rigged for my partners just in case they don't have the proper equipment.  If they'll fish my patterns and work with me, we'll have a great day whether we catch fish or not.  I like to talk and have fun during a tournament.  It helps to keep me from being a stress case.  The bottom line is non-boaters should try to fish the pro's pattern if he pre-fished and has an idea on what's going on.  Sometimes I pre-fish for a couple of days and still have no pattern and, as many of my partners will attest to, we just go fishing. 


Jan 22, 2005

I am fishing Oroville the week of January 15th. I have never been on the lake. This will be my first trip. With your years of success on this lake, what type of pattern would you have the most confidence in for catching better than average fish? Will there be more fish shallow or deep?

There's definitely going to be some shallow fish.  The question is are they going to be any quality?  I would definitely check them for I'd rather fish shallow than deep.  The tournament will probably be won on a school of deeper fish though.  How deep?  Probably somewhere between 30'-60'.  I'm not trying to be evasive.  The way Oroville fishes in January and February, the fish can be literally at any depth.  I just fish all around at different depths until I start catching better quality fish and I pretty much try to lock into that depth range.  Popular techniques are drop-shotting or shaking 6" Robo worms.  There will also be a carolina rig bite and a heavy jig bite.  With the carolina rig, baby brush hogs or Yamamoto's new Kreature bait will be hard to beat.  Football jigs in 3/4 or 1 oz. size with a Yamamoto hula grub will definitely count for some fish also.  Popular colors will be green pumpkin, cinnamon black flake, watermelon black flake or cinnamon purple flake.    Oroville is loaded with fish.  Don't get hung up just catching keepers.  You have to locate some two-pounders.    


Jan 21, 2005

What is the difference between the staysee 90 and the pointer 100DD? Do they have a different action? When would you throw one instead of the other? Do you make any modifications to the baits before you use them? Do you ever use the Bevyshad or Flashminnow?

I don't fish the bevyshad or flashminnow much.  The Staycee 90 and the Pointer DD100 are two baits I do fish a lot.  I usually fish the DD100 only at Clear Lake.  Its a larger profile and mimics the larger threadfin shad in Clear Lake.  The Staycee 90 is still my favorite jerkbait.  Anytime I'm needing a deeper diving bait, it is one of my first choices.  Some of my favorite colors are ghost minnow, chartreuse shad and american shad.  I am currently working on a line of jerkbaits for the new company River2Sea.  They're probably 6 months or so out on these baits.  I've got some really good ideas (I think) on some different jerkbaits.  Stay tuned.   


Jan 21, 2005

What part of the delta do you stay away from and Why?

This is a tough question because I really fish all over the Delta.  Areas that I don't fish much are Stockton, Lost Slough or Snodgrass area, and lately, not too much in White and Disappointment.  I've just never really done well in downtown Stockton.  I'd rather have a lot more grass to fish around.  Lost Slough and Snodgrass used to be one of my favorite areas.  I've caught a lot of big fish there.  I just don't seem to ever catch big ones there any more.  My only guess is it's over fished by people not practicing catch and release.  White and Disappointment were my absolute favorites for years and they still hold a lot of big fish.  During the week, I still fish White and Disappointment, but on weekends, with all the boat traffic, I just can't consistently catch the better fish.  I can't say I stay away from White and Disappointment because I practice every tournament there but it's been years since it was a place that I thought I would do well on in a tournament .  I think Robert Lee has trained these fish to only bite his baits. 


Jan 19, 2005

Hey what is wrong with Don Pedro! Where would you start your search in January, and what would you use?

There's nothing wrong with Don Pedro.  It's the only tournament lake I've fished that I've always cashed a check on.  I have some friends down there that I like to give a bad time to.  Honestly, my gripe about Pedro is that it has such clear water and everytime we go there for a tournament, it seems to be a tough bite.   

If I was fishing in January on Pedro for a tournament, I'd probably have two key baits.  I'd try to catch them on a swimbait or a Yamamoto hula grub.  The swimbait can be an absolute barn burner catching very large fish or nothing at all.  I'd fish the hula grub in green pumpkin or cinnamon purple (my confidence colors) with a one ounce Revenge football head.  I would probably concentrate somewhere between 25'-60'.  I know this is quite a big range but somewhere within that range you'll find your fish.  Once I get confidence in a certain depth, I just stick with it.   

Two other baits that'll definitely catch a lot of fish this time of the year is a 6" Robo worm in either Aaron's Magic Oxblood Light or Margarita Mutilator and the other would be a Carolina rig.  I'd drag at least a one ounce Carolina weight with a 30"-36" leader with a brush hog or Yamamoto's new Kreature bait.   

As far as where I would start, I'd start on the main lake or not very far up the river arms.


Jan 19, 2005

Have you ever used Live Cats as bait in the delta? I heard you had a bad cat experience once. Steve Nelson

Nelson, I have no idea what you're talking about.  We need to go hunting.  You might have an accident. 


Jan 19, 2005

I fish the south end of the delta, Tracy area,and have noticed that when the carp are very active, busting on the surface, rolling, just plain makin a racket, the bass bite about completely shuts off. is it just me getting distracted by all the splashing, or do you think this affects the bass?

I totally agree with you.  I think running carp actually shut down the bass bite, also.  When carp start spawning and running in the shallows, I usually try to fish areas that are not getting disturbed so much by them.  I've always said bass fishermen ought to pay the carp shooters to have more carp tournaments.


Jan 17, 2005

What kind of approach do you take when the wind is supposed to blow hard, 15 to 30 mph and its gonna be cooooold?

I really wish you hadn't said coooold.  This definitely changes my answer.  There are two kinds of wind here in the north state, north wind or south wind.  With a north wind, its usually going to be a high pressure, brutally cold wind this time of year.  The wind is blowing right off all of our snow packs and it makes it extremely cold.  The other thing with a north wind is its going to be bright and clear.  On these days, I actually try to get out of the wind, fish protected areas and slow down and usually fish deeper.  With a south wind, its going to be just the opposite.  Its going to be warmer.  We stand a good chance of having some cloud cover or a storm.  On these days, it actually helps our fishing.  I'll be fishing in the wind trying to catch shallow reaction fish.  I love a south wind and absolutely hate fishing in a north wind. 


Jan 17, 2005

My question, on average, how much time do you commit to pre fishing for multi day events and do you allow yourself a few trips a couple weeks prior to the official pre-fish dates? How do you approach the water with a 2 day prefish? I assume you are already pretty familiar with most waters in California.

For pre-fishing, I normally like to have 3 or 4 days and, if I only have 2 days, I have to plan my pre-fish differently.  With a 3 or 4 day practice, I like to take at least one day and just plain go fishin'.  I don't try to lock in on anything.  I just want to try a bunch of different baits with a bunch of different techniques and start building from there.  If I only have 2 days of practice, I will try to decide where I'm more than likely going to fish and lock into that area.  For instance, this year at Clear Lake for the Western Classic, I only had a day and a half of practice so I decided to fish the north end and I stayed there.  Some of the ways to shortcut practice days is by paying attention to the weather and the season and it will give you a good starting point with baits and patterns. 


Jan 12, 2005

When you’re rippin’ Stacee 90’s and pointer 78’s and 100’s, at places like the Delta, Clear Lake, or at a lakes like Oroville (when there full) what type of lines do you like to use? Mono or braid, and what pound tests do you like to use at each different place?

I always use CXX P-Line. It has some memory but you can't hardly break the stuff. If I'm after depth with the lure I usually always throw 10lb test. If I'm at Clear Lake with a 128 Pointer I use 12 lb. If you tie a good knot and are using the right rod (CBR845 or CBR847) it is impossible to break 12 lb. CXX.  I never use more than 12 lb. because I believe it hurts the action of the bait. I just don't get as many bites.


Jan 12, 2005

We are all in awe of your ability to get reaction strikes when the rest of us can't even buy a bite on finesse tackle! I know ripbaits work in cold water but is it worth throwing crankbaits in clear water lakes in the winter?

In the winter, crankbaits don't seem to catch nearly as many fish as a jerkbait.  Although many times I've watched a guy carry big fish of the tournament to the scales and it was caught on a crankbait.  Cranking can be very good in the winter, but if you're playing percentages, you probably won't be throwing it much.  There are just a lot better ways to catch them in the dead of winter than cranking.  Have your crankbaits rigged and ready because the percentages will probably fall back in your camp in early March.


Jan 12, 2004

What boat and sport shows can we look forward to seeing you at this year?

I will be at the Fred Hall shows in San Francisco and Long Beach and ISE shows in Sacramento, San Mateo, Pleasanton and Phoenix.  I hope everyone gets a chance to attend a show near them.  Be sure and check out the new rods, reels and baits for the upcoming year.  If you see me running around the show, be sure to come over and we'll talk some fishing. 


Jan 10, 2005

In water 100 feet deep  fish are marked at 35 t0 65 feet with large consertation at both levels.what s the best method?

This is a very tough situation.  There are several things to try.  Dropping spoons would probably be the best choice, except for me.  I'm the world's worst spoon fisherman.  The way that I catch them is working a drop-shot or swimming a Yamamoto grub.  Electronics play a big part.  I use a Lowrance X19 and, when dropping right on the fish, many times I can watch the fish come up to take the bait.  If the fish were suspended at say 10-20 feet, I think they're a lot easier to catch with several different methods.  Beware.  It's been my experience that many times when the fish are in 35-60 feet of water suspended, they are planted salmon.  At Shasta, I fish for suspended fish quite a bit.  At Oroville, I rarely do.  These two lakes are a lot different because of the shad versus pond smelt and the great rainbow population at Shasta.   


Jan 7, 2005

It is no secret that your Ams in shared weight tournaments seem to be very productive, often contributing substantially to your success.  How do you help your Ams fish so good?

Great question and one I love to answer.  Over the years, my amateurs have helped considerably.  I have had two partners catch fish over 10 lbs. in tournaments.  I like to coach and have a good time while fishing.  I have pre-fished and have confidence in my pattern and I would just like my partners to work with me.  Sometimes this means fishing a completely different pattern than what I'm doing.  I might be throwing topwater but have my partner throwing a crankbait or spinnerbait.  Fish react differently to different baits.  This way you can give them a one two punch.   Depending on what I'm fishing and my partner's skill level, I try to come up with something for them to fish that will help put fish in the livewell.   

As crazy as it sounds, I've had partners totally ignore any suggestions or baits that I recommend.  One in particular, drove me crazy refusing to fish a Senko behind me.  After about 3 hours, he finally threw a Senko and on his first cast, he caught a 10 1/2 pounder.  Five minutes later, still hating Senkos, he refused to fish it any longer (true story, I swear).   

I usually have rods rigged for my partners just in case they don't have the proper equipment.  If they'll fish my patterns and work with me, we'll have a great day whether we catch fish or not.  I like to talk and have fun during a tournament.  It helps to keep me from being a stress case.  The bottom line is non-boaters should try to fish the pro's pattern if he pre-fished and has an idea on what's going on.  Sometimes I pre-fish for a couple of days and still have no pattern and, as many of my partners will attest to, we just go fishing. 


Jan 4, 2005

For someone that is just starting out with bass fishing, what is the most effective and inexpensive way to locate and catch fish with little tackle. With all of the different lures on the market, I often hear others talking about having all of the new things out and others saying not to waste money on too many. I do understand that certain lures will work in certain situations, but to stay on a budget - on the same local bodies of water that you fish, what 4 lures would you not be on the water without - regardless of the season.  

If I had to pick only four lures for the whole year, first off I'd probably go crazy.  I would much rather pick four per season, but that wasn't your question.  I'd pick a 6" Robo straight tail worm, probably in Aaron's Magic color.  I'd have to have a jerkbait.  Today it would be a Staycee 90 in Ghost color.  I would also take a Revenge 1/2 oz. spinnerbait in chartreuse and white with a nickel and a gold blade.  For my fourth pick, I'm going to cheat.  It would be a topwater bait, either a River 2 Sea frog (to be out early next year) or a Super Spook.  The frog would be white with white and chartreuse legs; the spook in Okie Shad.   


Jan 4, 2005

Where should i look for stripers this November in the Delta?

I don't honestly fish the Delta much for stripers this time of the year.  I have the Feather River right by my house and that's where I fish for them.  The places that I've caught them really good in November and December are Disco Bay, inside of Mildred, inside of Little Mandeville (I understand this is being closed off) and if the water is clear, Frank's Tract.   Beware of the duck hunters.  You have a fishing pole and they have a shotgun.  


Jan 1, 2005

You could be sponsored by any company you want.  How do you select your sponsors and who are they?

I have a great group of sponsors.  I totally believe in their products or I would not be a good representative for the companies.  I think this is number one when pursuing a sponsor.  In all honesty, I wavered on this a couple of times early in my career for sponsor dollars.  I realized I could not honestly back a product I didn't believe in.  I'm lucky in the fact that I've had success fishing and been in the industry for 20+ years and have gotten to know a lot of great people.  I remember how hard sponsorships used to be and I don't take them for granted.    

One funny story was my Gamakatsu sponsorship.  I sent them a resume and tried to get on board with them for about 5 years straight.  I finally gave up, still bought all my Gamakatsus and about 3 years later, I got a call from my now boss at Gamakatsu offering me a very good sponsorship.  I was caught off guard and said, "I wined and dined you ______ for 5 years and couldn't even get a return phone call and now you're offering me this kind of contract?"  His response was, "Well, this is new.  I've never had a reply like that before."  We had a good laugh and they are still a great sponsor with awesome product.    

My sponsors are:   

Ranger Boats - This is my 20th year running a Ranger.  They are the industry leader in bass boats.   

Evinrude Outboards - This was a major change for me two years ago.  Evinrude's new E-TEC is unbelievable.  Anyone looking for a new engine should be sure to get a test drive.    

River2Sea - A new sponsor that I'm very excited about.  They're a strong company overseas and are looking to grow to be a strong US company.  They've asked me to design their line of jerkbaits.  I also have a new frog in the works.  I'm excited that I get to help build the company.  I hope I'm up to it.   

Yamamoto Custom Baits - They've been a sponsor for 5 years.  I'm also a staff writer for Yamamoto's Inside Line.  This sponsorship has been very important because I'd hate to guess at the dollar amount of Senkos, hula grubs and double-tails that I've gone through.    

MinnKota - I've been with MinnKota 5 years.  As much as I abuse my trolling motor, I've only had one failure.  These motors are tough, quiet and dependable.  There's not another motor on the market that will fish with them in the weeds.    

Power Pro - I've been with Power Pro for 5 years.  I've never broken a fish off in 5 years of using Power Pro.  It is the strongest, most consistent braid on the market.  They make braided lines from 8 lb. test to well over 100 lb. test.  My personal favorites are 30, 50 and 65 lb. tests.    

G. Loomis - I've been a staffer for Loomis for the last 4 years.  It's a great company and another industry leader.  Be sure and check out the new flippin' sticks.    

Gamakatsu - I believe I've been with Gamakatsu for 6 years.  Gamies have always been the best.  They make so many hooks I can't keep track of them all.  New for them this year are number 3 and number 5 treble hooks.   

Costa Del Mar - This is only my second year with Costa.  They make unbelievable sunglasses.  My favorites are the Harpoons.  This year they are introducing a frameless set of glasses that weigh practically nothing.  I don't know if they'll be the best for running the boat down the lake at 70mph. but for everyday use and driving, they can't be beat.    

Lowrance - This is my second year sponsored by Lowrance and my second go around with them.  I was a budget cut casualty about 6 years ago.  I was sponsored that time for 5 years.  When I had a chance, I jumped right back on with them.  Another industry leader with nobody even close.    

P Line - Again, this is my second year as a staffer for P Line.  The P Line that I use is CXX for my everyday line on bait casters, flouroclear for all my spinning and now I'm getting hooked on their fluorocarbon.  They make a line for every purpose.    

Sawyer and Cook Insurance - I've worked with Sawyer and Cook for the last 5 years.  They have a great reputation and are quick to take care of any claim.  Their prices are competitive, they have no speed restrictions and they cover your propellers.  Sawyer and Cook offers all different types of insurance.    

Robo Worms - I've worked as a staff person with Robo for two years.  There's no company that can compete with Robo when it comes to consistency and quality.  They're in a league of their own.     

Revenge Baits - I have fished Revenge since day one of the company.  Revenge has, without a doubt, the best lead cast products on the market.  These baits have the best detail, paint jobs and components that money can buy.   

  Daiwa - As of today, I am now a staff person for Daiwa reels.  I've always used only Daiwa spinning reels and have been testing a brand new line of casting reels since August.  They are lower profile and lighter with a better drag system than anything I've fished.  I'm excited about the opportunity.  

C & C Marine - Chet and Carol have had their Modesto dealership for many years.  Last year, they opened their second location in Citrus Heights with Mike Van Waggoner.  They take care of everything from sales to service and the Modesto store even has a great line of tackle.  At Modesto, see Chet or Richard and in Citrus Heights, stop in and see Mike. 


Dec 28, 2004

I recently fished a team tournament fishoff at Clear Lake and heard a lot of talk about how unfair the fishoffs can be in almost every circuit. How do you feel or how would you feel if you lived say in the south end of the valley and know that you will never see a fishoff on any of the water you would call local and then for your most important tournament of the year, had to fish against good fisherman on their home lake of which they have been on the last 30 days prior without an off limit period ? I heard a solution to this I though sounded really good also and i am interested in how you feel about this as  a consideration for A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD the solution would be to fish your region as normal but at the end of the year have the fishoff in an opposite region i.e.; like if you qualify in a northern region  then all northern teams  have to travel to the southern region for there fishoff and vise a versa southern to northern causing all teams to have to travel and no one having a home field advantage or being able to fish on the tournament lake for 30 days consecutively prior to the tour?

This is a tough proposition. In most of the championships, there's not enough money past the first three spots or so to get the guys to travel. Also, the tournament circuits are combining many regions for a championship. I'm totally with you.  Some locals do have an advantage, but it hurts many also. Many times the tournaments are still won by non-locals. I agree it would be a lot more even if there was an off limits period. I know this is not what you're asking, but by fishing different bodies of water, it really will make you a better fisherman.


Dec 25, 2004

Gary, I would love to here about your three days on Clear Lake with Bassmasters. How did you get them on day two and what happened to them on day three?

On day one, I was prepared to cover a lot of water with a twin vibe 65 rattle bait and fish a 1/2 oz. jig.  Because of the fog delay and only a three hour tournament, I really stressed myself trying to fish too fast.  There were too many boats on all the stuff I really wanted to fish.  With an hour left, I ran south.  Something I definitely didn't want to do with the weigh-in up north.  I finally started catching some jerkbait fish.  I had four in the boat and was going through many non-keepers.  The fish were not eating well and I had a horrible ten minute stretch right before weigh-in where I lost five keepers including three good ones.  I only weighed four.  My partner was drop-shotting behind me and culled several fish.   

The second day, there was a short fog delay but we had all day to fish.  I realized my rattle bait bite was slowing but the jerkbait was actually getting better.  The water temp was really dropping.  I just fished around a lot, covered a lot of water on both ends of the lake and caught jig fish, ripbait fish and one good crankbait fish.  I went through probably fifteen fish or so and never lost anything.  It was a 20 lb. plus day anchored by a 7 lb. 14 oz. kicker.  My partner caught so many fish at times, I thought about strangling him.  I had the same partner the first two days.  He did very well and was an absolutely awesome partner.  He caught all of his fish behind me, never pushed me and just fished different baits than I did, mostly a drop-shot.   

On the third day, I was expecting a good day.  We had no fog, therefore, no delays.  My partner on this day had only weighed one fish for the first two days and had agreed to totally back off and let me try to win the tournament.  This is where the good stops.  I had people all over everything I fished on day one up north and where I could fish, I just wasn't getting bit.  I missed a lot of fish that were just slapping at my baits.  About 10:00 am, I lost a big fish on a jerkbait.  My drag had backed off.  That was the first cast I'd made with this rod that day.  She ate it, I swung and the drag just slipped all the way.  She came right at me, came towards the top and came off.  This really bothered me because it was an error on my part.  I knew to check the drags because Chronarchs are famous for the drag backing off.  Another mistake I made was I ran south.  I hadn't been able to catch them down there except late in the afternoon.  I wasted three hours and went totally biteless.  I ran back up north, caught a couple of fish and with 25 minutes left, I ran back down south, filled out my limit and caught a 3-pounder.  I weighed 9 lbs. 15 oz. and finished 7th for the event.  I had the bites in this event to win.  I really wasn't on the fish and was just fishing every day.


Dec 22, 2004

I met you at the FTP in at Oroville a few months ago. We talked about your use of braid for the majority of your top water baits. I agree...braid is the way to go. The problem I have is when fishing topwater is  about 1 in 30 casts the treble hook splits the braid and tends to be a pain to remove. Or it gets caught in the split ring that holds the treble to the bait. Do you or have you had this problem? And if so what was your solution?

I don't really have a solution because braided line has no memory and is very limp, it's going to get wrapped in the hooks and split rings once in a while.  I probably don't have as many problems as you're describing.  It usually happens to me a couple of times an hour.  Fishing Power Pro on topwater baits kind of goes against what we've always been taught but I believe I catch a lot more fish because of it.  I'm wondering if maybe your style of casting is not causing you a little more grief.  Are you snap casting?  If you make it to one of the sports shows I'm attending, please come by.  Let's see if we can figure it out. 


Dec 21, 2004

I fish "spotted bass lakes" and the tournement winners always have a kicker or two of largemouths. How would you target Largemouth in a lake predominately full of spotted bass?

I wish I knew what spotted bass lakes you're fishing.  It would make this a lot easier to answer.  If the lake is like Shasta or Oroville, I would say fish for spots and take the blacks when they come.  I don't think anyone can say you're fishing for blacks.  If you're fishing reservoirs, like say Folsom or Berryessa, that have great populations of blacks, spots and smallies, you need to approach it a little differently.  You should probably fish more jigs than worms.  I think this would increase your chance of catching a big spot or black.  Also, think about larger baits such as big spinnerbaits, crankbaits or swimbaits.  You're just fishing a larger bait to try to catch the blacks.  I hope this helps.  You can always drop me a line and let me know what lake and I'll try to answer it better. 


Dec 15, 2004

I have fished a "turkey shoot" tournament at McClure for the past few years. The weather is always different but you can count on cold water, 54 or less. In the past the winners have used everything from big 3/4oz. Poes (last year) to spooning, drop shotting, to dragging worms. I will prefish 4-5 times and spend half my day just reading my graph looking for fish. I can usually find shad in the river and there are always bass there but they don't always bite. My problem is that I have my old lucky spots that sometimes produce and sometimes don't. I like throwing a jig and have confidence in them but usually I throw them in my old lucky holes and never catch the quality of fish I need to place in the money. Don't get me wrong, I don't really care about the money but I would like to have a respectable limit at weigh in. I think my question for you is what would you do with the cold water, and what and where would you start off. I seem to never give the fish I find prefishing a chance. If I don't catch a fish the first hour I gun it back to my old stand by areas, usually the lower end of the lake. I feel like an old dog that wont learn from his mistakes in the past.

First of all, you've made several points that I'd like to cover.  What you described is what all local anglers are faced with, what I call spot fishing.  You fish this lake often enough that you have your favorite spots.  The problem with this is you need a pattern, something the fish are doing throughout an area on the lake.  Maybe your pattern is island tops or humps in 50' of water or less.  Then you would key in and start looking for the same kind of water throughout the lake.   

Another thing, you made a comment about spending half your day with your electronics.  This is very costly with your time . You need a pattern or an area of the lake to fish and then pay attention to your electronics while you're fishing.   

Another thing you said was you give up on your pre-fish areas after an hour and run back to your favorite holes.  Actually, this time of year I believe your better bite will probably be mid-day or early afternoon.  You're probably running away from your fish before they are feeding.  When pre-fishing, pay attention to the time of day and the depths when you had your most success.  Also, on tournament day, be careful because usually on a slow bite during the tournament you'll start stressing and fishing faster and in reality, you should probably be slowing down.  I think one of the biggest mistakes anglers make is they don't fish the same way in practice as they do once the event starts.   

As for your finishes, don't let a bad finish drag you down.  The best fishermen in the world take horrible beatings.  This is the nature of our sport.  We have the highest highs and the lowest lows.  We can't control those green fish we chase.  This is easy for me to say, but I've sure had problems here myself.


Dec 13, 2004

Gary, after prefishing a lake this weekend for a w o n tourney i fished all day and never got bit.I threw jigs, worms, cranks,spinner baits,drop shots.I fished shallow and deep down to 40 ft, still nothing.It was between storms and was clear and cool.Still no fish. How would approach the tournament next week end?

You were faced with the absolute worst conditions.  When faced with these conditions, always remember your deeper fish will be less affected by the changing weather patterns.  Remember, I'm saying less affected.  Definitely, downsizing your baits is a big plus.  Also, slow down.  Don't be afraid to fish deeper than forty feet, especially this time of year.  A couple of questions I would ask, is it a spotted bass lake or is there any cover in the way of wood or bushes in the lake?  For spotted bass, depth and downsizing baits should really help you.  I really use a lot of the Robo Worm bait imitations in 4 1/2 inch straight tail or body shads.  If there is brush, I've always done better in these conditions by fishing slowly and methodically in the brush.  Leave your bait in the strike zone twice as long as you normally would.  Last but not least, pray for rain.  Anything to get rid of that high pressure after a storm. 


Dec 10, 2004

Yesterday, I fished the main lake at Castaic.  I had five small fish, two on topwater and three on dropshot.  I threw lipless in ghost pattern and 1/4oz. Revenge spinnerbaits to boils, but no luck.  When I was putting my boat on the trailer, several guys were netting shad off the dock, and one said they had over 70 fish on live shad.  I've fished with live shad before at Cachuma, and had a fish on every bait.  My question is how should I fish with artificials when the shad bite is so dominant?

Great question.  The worst part is I've been in this same situation many times.  You are right with the traps, topwater and Revenge spinnerbaits.  Another couple of baits could have been rip baits, tail spinners or spoons.  The main thing is continually changing your action to try to trigger a strike.  Most of the time, I find that the faster retrieves are usually better.  Usually, by changing up I can always catch at least a few fish.  In this scenario, it's usually the fish who win.  Times like this is when I really wish for a hand grenade.  I really just don't have a better answer. 


Dec 8, 2004

You've spoken alot about fishing the Staysee 90. It dives about 10 feet. What do you use when you want to rip but either the water level is shallower or you've got grass that comes up to about 5 feet?

his is a little bit tough to answer because there are so many baits that work in the 5' or less range.  My personal favorites are the DD78 Pointer, 128 Pointer, 1/2 ounce Rattlin' Rogue and a Bomber Long A.  Your question is right on the money about baits and depths.  When it comes to rippin', the first thing you do with bait selection is determine the depth you need to be fishing.  Everything else is way secondary.  Good luck!  


Dec 6, 2004

Gary, it seems you are able to, on a consistant basis, bring in a few good blackies while fishin Oroville. Is this a case of find one blackie and you can get more or are there just a few areas you know where they seem to be? And no I'm not asking you to give up any water. But do you target them differently than spots or just hope to get lucky with that largemouth bite?

Trying to pattern blacks in Oroville is almost a lost cause.  The only time you can do this is when they move up into the willows.  Then you can catch a few blacks.  As for the pro-ams that are early in the year, if you catch a good black, it was your lucky day.  I don't believe anyone can say they're fishing for largemouth at Oroville.  The spotted bass are just way too dominant.  This year, I never weighed a black in a tournament at Oroville.  Last year, on the first day of the WON Bass Pro-Am, I weighed a beautiful 3.33 lb. largemouth caught by my partner, Glenda.   

The one thing you can do to boost your chances of catching a largemouth is by fishing the wooded coves in the lake.  Some of the coves are McCabe's, Potter's, Dark Canyon, Spring Valley and so on.  The largemouth seem to do better around the wood. 


Dec 6, 2004

Are you using any of the new G•Loomis one-piece pitching and flipping rods or any of their ne senko rods? If so, which models do you like?

I'm using all the new flippin' sticks. I believe they are the best on the market. The old GLX flippin' sticks had breakage problems, especially if you high-sticked them. The new flippin' sticks were given to me for testing and I really gave them a work out (65 lb. Power Pro on my trailer ball hitch).  I literally abused them and, to date, I've had NO failures at all.  

The senko rod that I've been using is the 7' 5" model. It's a great rod and very versatile. I'm using it more as a spinnerbait and buzzbait rod. I've used it throwing traps and even caught jig fish on it. It will also be an outstanding carolina rig rod.


Apr 4, 2004

How many plates can you eat at one sitting? Also is ice cream your true confidence tool? - Gary Estes, Extreme Angler

As you witnessed, Mr. Estes, I can eat a lot.  You were a light weight.  I was really disappointed in you.  They were lucky that I was on a diet at the time.  Ice cream is my confidence booster.  You need to try some since we're both so skinny anyway.  Same time, same place next year.  


Apr 4, 2004

In your opinion, whats the best riding Ranger boat on the market today? Is it worth opting for the special seating offered by Ranger? Last, whats your opinion of the Evenrude motors offered on the new Rangers?

As I write this, I haven't run my new Z-boat.  I'm an unbelievable fan of the 520.  I'm having a hard time believing Ranger can improve on this boat.  It has a great top end with lots of lift and it runs rough water like no other boat I've been in.  The soft ride seats are standard on VX packages and are well worth it.   

As for the Evinrude motor, the new E-Tecs are totally unbelievable.  They're quiet, powerful, off the chart with emissions control and very fuel and oil efficient.  If you're thinking of an Evinrude, please contact me and I'll either do a demo or set you up with someone local to do a demo.   

Good luck in your new boat and motor.


Dec 1, 2004

Hey Gary, just wondering if you could elaborate a little more on what you mean by "bays" in Clear Lake. Maybe one example. Would the front of State Park be considered a bay? Just trying to get an idea what to look for to throw the trap. Is this mainly a north or south end pattern?

There are bays at both the north and south ends of Clear Lake.  I probably confused you with the word 'bay'.  What I mean is like a big cove but its really more than a cove.  If you think about Clear Lake, we have Jago Bay and what I call Frazier's Bay around the corner from Konocti in the south end of the lake.  Up north, we have the swimbait corner up by the condos or the bay right in front of Cat Fish where the new Indian casino is.  That's really what I'm calling bays.  Now you know a little Okie terminology. 


Dec 1, 2004

Do you throw a rip-bait on the Delta ? If yes, Which one ? Time of  the year ? & what's the best structure to fish this bait on the delta (rocks, docks, wood, tulles or weeds) ? Also if I could ask one more thing, What's your favorite bait on the delta and why ?

Yes, I do some rippin' on the Delta.  It seems that the dead of winter, especially if the water is really clear, is by far the best time of year.  I like mainly to rip the grass lines, regardless of whether they are on the rock banks or tulle berms.  The bait choice really just depends on how deep I'm trying to rip.  Some great baits are Staycees, Pointer minnows, Bomber Long A and really just about whatever your favorite rip bait is.  Winter, with clear water in the Delta, is so easy it doesn't matter really what bait you use.   

As far as my favorite bait on the Delta, I have to name two; a Revenge 1/2 oz. spinnerbait and a topwater frog.  The reason is they both are baits that I can fish fast and cover a lot of water with and I catch an incredible amount of big fish on both baits.  Another thing, both these baits are very versatile and I can fish them just about anywhere.  I throw the spinnerbait the most from November - April and the frog the most in May - October.  Be sure and try Power Pro braid on both baits.  You'll be surprised at how many more fish you catch. 


Nov 27, 2004

Hello and happy fishing! Gary, my question to you is what fishing club would you recommend to a new fisherman in the Folsom area, one that teaches someone how to fish from a boat in many different conditions and from many bodies of water. Yes, that person is me!

Boy, I'm sure to offend someone with this answer.  I haven't done much with clubs in the last several years, but a club that really sticks in my mind is the Chico club.  Don Reighley and I did a seminar at this club quite a few years ago and it was a blast.  The thing that I really recall was how unbelievably organized and well run this club was.  They had way too much fun.  This club welcomed everyone and had a very high percentage of women anglers (probably accounts for the organization).  I would recommend them but I'm sure there's a great club probably closer to you.   


Nov 27, 2004

Gary, I saw you mention somewhere about filing the bill on a staysee to tune it. Could you give some specific instructions on how to do this?

When I was talking about filing the bills, I was mainly talking about Rattlin' Rogues or Mag 18 Rapalas.  I have never had to file a bill on a Staycee.  As a matter of fact, Staycees are very touchy to tune by tweaking the line tie.  The ever so slightest adjustment will usually throw the bait in the other direction.  Remember anytime you're filing your bill on a bait, you want to file the side the bait is running to. 


Nov 27, 2004

I am pretty new at bass fishing and my first club tournament was this month in the Delta and I did not have a very good plan or bait presentation.  I have a five pole set-up, three are spinning and two bait casters, I have another club event in November at Del Valle.  My question is can you give me some help on a bait selection for the five pole set-up that might give a new guy a better shot at it.

A five rod setup pretty much could cover most bases.  I think you're a little heavy in spinning.  For me, spinning is light line only.  I think you would be more efficient fishing with an extra casting rod.  As far as Del Valle, I know nothing about this body of water.  At the Delta, you need a flippin' stick for straight up flippin' or throwing frogs, a couple of good medium heavy casting rod for Senkos, flukes, Texas rigged worms, spinnerbaits, rattletraps and buzzbaits.  In the Delta, I pretty much fish with 15 lb. test or heavier P-Line CXX or PowerPro braid.  There are a lot of light line, deeper fish in the bends of the channels or water drain outs like at Little Frank's.  I don't personally fish light line in the Delta, but I've donated to a lot of guys that do.    

When I fish the lakes, that's when the spinning rods come into play for me.  The water is clear, there usually isn't a lot of cover and with light line get more bites.  Time on the water is the key.  Just keep fishing.  Good luck!


Nov 24, 2004

There are delta rats and the shasta locals that have success on their home bodies of water but are an average fisherman on other lakes. There are guys that are best on spotted bass lakes and those that are strickly largemouth fisherman. How did you get to the point where you are a feared compeditor on just about every body of water in northern California?

Well to start with, the way I've been fishing lately, I don't think I'm too feared but thanks for the kind words anyway.  To answer your question, I purposely live in Yuba City and if you think about it, almost all of our tournament lakes are within a two hour drive.  I consider them all local lakes and I get to spend a lot of time on each one.  And, as always, nothing beats time on the water.  I also really get tired of fishing the same body of water the same way.  By moving around from Shasta, Oroville, Folsom, Berryessa, Delta, Clear Lake and I'll even mention that rotten Don Pedro, I get to fish all different kinds of water with all different kinds of techniques.  I believe this gives me a big advantage as far as versatility and mechanics.  I'm very confidant with the power fishing techniques but I'm also confident with the finesse or light line baits anytime I have to use them.  I believe all these regional team tournaments have really hurt local anglers' skills.  Many anglers try to stay on one body of water and master it.  But usually when there is a big event, the anglers who travel around and face different bodies of water and are schooled with different techniques, more often than not, come out ahead.  The Don Pedro comment is a shot at a couple of buddies but this lake is rotten. 


Nov 24, 2004

Recently a lake in Arizona rose 37 feet in two weeks. The water looks like chocolate milk. How would you approach a situation like this?

Anytime I'm faced with really dirty water, I go shallow. The time of year and water temp is a factor you need to consider, also. Bait choices need to be jigs or other bulky baits and don't forget your spinnerbaits. Jig colors in black/blue, black/red, or black/chartreuse are pretty much standard for dirty water. I love to throw spinnerbaits in these conditions and my personal favorites are chartreuse with chartreuse blades or a bright red and orange one from Revenge baits. Also be sure and fish any available cover, preferably lay downs or bushes. These are a can't miss in bad dirty water.  


Nov 24, 2004

Hey Gary what depth are the fish right now at oroville? I have been catching bass but nothing big.

The spots at Oroville can be caught both shallow and deep right now. It's just a time of year you can't really lock on to any particular depth. This is the hardest time of year to try and figure the 2 pound and larger spotted bass out. Keep moving, and when you do find them, be prepared to start hunting them again the next day because there's a good chance they will move on you.


Nov 19, 2004

Gary what type of baits and colors would be used on Oroville in November?

If I was fishing a tournament, I'd be looking for a top water bite with a spook or a buzzbait.  The spook, probably Okie shad.  The buzzbait in white or shad.  I'd fill in my limit with a Yamamoto hula grub in either green pumpkin or cinnamon purple or a Robo worm.  If I was fun fishing and just out to catch a bunch of fish, I'd throw Robo worms, Robo worms and Robo worms.  Lots of great colors here, Aaron's Magic, oxblood, prism shad, hologram shad, they all catch fish.  I'd darthead them as well as drop shot them.  Be prepared to go through a lot of baits and have sore thumbs.  Good luck!


Nov 16, 2004

Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of yours and have been admiring your professionalism for a few years now. I am recently new to tournament bass fishing (2 years) and have yet to find a productive pattern for rippin'. Since you are the KING of Rippin' would you be willing to share some pointers with me? Like, when is the best time (season) for rippin and what are favorable conditions for throwing the rip bait--when is it most productive? When it comes to technique, is it a violent rip through the water or is it more like a pause and pull method? I am lost and could use your professional advice.

Rippin' is without a doubt a very strong tournament technique.  It just flat catches better quality fish.  To build confidence in the technique, the best time of year to fish it is pre-spawn, say February-April.  The best conditions possible would be a little wind, cloud cover or a good storm.  These conditions don't allow for as much light penetration, therefore the fish don't get as good a look at the baits and are easier to catch.  One thing you touched on was how hard do you rip the bait?  That's a great question and very much overlooked.  Some baits cannot take a violent jerk.  They don't get the right action and, therefore, you can't get your depth (most Lucky Craft baits).  Baits like the Rattlin' Rogue or Shad-Raps are baits that I hit very hard.  It's definitely a trial and error part of throwing jerk baits.  Good luck rippin' and if you get a chance, I have a rippin' article in the January edition of Yamamoto's Inside Line. 


Nov 16, 2004

At what time of the day are the shallow fish most active in November and December?

They can be active all day during these months but the number of fish up shallow this time of year is limited so staying shallow in November and December all day might not be the best pattern. You really need to pay attention to your meter and at what depth the active fish and bait are in. Don’t be hardheaded and fish shallow when the fish are showing you they are deeper, drop down to where they are and catch them.


Nov 16, 2004

Do you have any secret tips for staying dry/warm during the winter?

No real secrets but a good Gore Tex rain suit is very important. You need a suit that won’t allow the water to run down your sleeves when you are fishing and have a hood that you can zip up to protect your neck and face when you are running. Gore Tex socks or a good pair of Gore Tex boots will keep your feet dry. I have recently started wearing a paint ball mask and goggle when driving the boat. They don’t fog up and protect your eyes and face from the rain.


Nov 12, 2004

My question is when selecting jerk baits what is a go to bait for you and cadence.  I usually know when to throw them however, I get confused as to what jerk bait is key to where I am fishing along with cadences to start at.   I usually start with a pointer 78 or bevy shad depending on what depth I believe the fish to be in, and jerk them on a slack line with a rip rip pause 10 count Rip  Rip rip pause etc.  However I feel there is a lot of room for growth for me in this bait.  Do you have any suggestions?

First of all, you made a great statement as far as bait selection depending on what depth you're fishing.  That is the key of where to get started with what bait.  My personal favorite is a Staycee 90 but I also throw many Lucky Craft baits, some Rattlin' Rogues and several Rapala's.  Be sure to watch the company River2Sea.  They've got some exciting new baits coming soon.  As far as the cadence, I believe for the most part, a 10 count is way too slow.  I usually pause a bait 2-3 seconds and pop it again.  Just try to make this bait look like a crippled or injured bait fish.  The cadence I use is usually one, two or three pops and then pause.  A 10 second pause is something I usually only do at Clear Lake in the dead of winter.  Be sure and change out your trebles.  By the way, Gamakatsu now has sizes 3 and 5 in their trebles.


Nov 12, 2004

Have you tried the new loomis senko rods and flipping rods? What can you tell me about them. Are there any that will become a mainstay in your rod locker?

have tried the new Senko and flippin' rods.  The Senko rod is a very versatile stick for me.  I'm throwing a lot of top water, spinnerbaits and even some traps on it.  Its a great Senko rod as well as a Carolina rig rod.  A very versatile rod.   

I had a big hand in the design of the flippin' sticks.  I love them and I think this is a much needed change to Loomis's flippin' sticks.  These rods are stout, fast and tough.  I actually tried to blow them up during test stages and had no failures.  I have never liked a 7 1/2' flippin' stick but this one is so fast and so well balanced I'm having a hard time deciding between it and the 8'.  The 8' is without a doubt the best flippin' stick on the market.   

As far as what's in my rod locker, let's just say I sure am glad Loomis is a sponsor. 


Nov 10, 2004

What type of depth/structure would you be looking for this time of year to throw a spinnerbait?

Late October and November are really good times of the year to slow roll spinnerbaits.  I love to fish it around wood like in and around the mouth of the Squaw or up the Pit Arm.  But believe it or not, I catch a lot of spinnerbait fish just on steep banks.  Wind is always a big help.  Don't overlook the long points in the McCloud and if slow rolling a spinnerbait is not working, you might try speeding it up.  This time of year I usually throw 1/2 oz. or 3/4 oz. Revenge spinnerbaits in a shad color.  You might downsize your blades a little bit.  Good luck!


Nov 10, 2004

What's your favorite carolina rig setup?

When I am fishing a Carolina Rig I am usually dragging a heavy weight 3/4 to 1 ounce and I like to fish a lizard or brush hog or the new Yamamoto creature bait. My leader length is usually somewhere between 30-36”. I like at least a 7’ rod with a little bit of tip but a fast, stout action. My favorite rod right now is Loomis’s new 7’5” Senko rod. I like a fast retrieve reel so I can pick up the line quickly.


Nov 10, 2004

The great hook debate: What's you favorite hook for flipping large soft plastics? When are EWG worm hooks better than round bend?

I like the Gamakatsu EWG Super Line hooks. With larger plastics, the EWG has more bite and you will lose less fish. These larger EWG hooks have very little flex and will penetrate much better than lighter hooks. When I am flipping large plastics I am looking for a big bite and I don’t want my kicker fish to straighten out a hook. As far as when do I use round bend, I don’t. The EWG super line is the best flippin’ hook ever made.


Nov 8, 2004

How do you layout a pre fish plan? Consider if you have two week-ends before an event, or two days immediately before an event, or both. Asking this primarily as a lake oriented question, not so much the Delta. And finally if your pre-fish plan is not producing anything, what adjustments do you make?

The best way to start your practice really takes place before you hit the water.  First of all, the time of year.  For instance in late spring, you know you'll be fishing shallow.  The next thing is what has your weather been doing the last few days and what's it going to be doing for the event.  Pay attention, especially to cold northern fronts.  That said, I almost always start shallow.  It's easier to find and pattern shallow fish.  Given two days before an event, I would try to make an educated guess on which part of the lake I wanted to fish and I'd spend my two days concentrating on this cut down lake rather than trying to fish the whole body of water.  I think concentrating in an area of a lake is more productive than trying to spend a little bit of time on the whole lake.   

If my practice is not going well, I just keep trying to make adjustments and trying to get a bite or two to build a pattern on.  Even a tough practice, if you really think about it, you have learned something.  Say you got five or six bites in two days, there has to be something in common.  Did you get several of these bites on one bait?  Were they on windy sides of the bank?  Was there a common depth?  Were they on rocks, weeds or wood?  If you really think about it, you have learned something.  You just have to expand on it. 


Nov 8, 2004

When are creeks inlets dumping in water a good place to fish?

The best time to fish creek inlets is during and right after a good storm with lots of rainfall. There are always fish in the running creeks provided that its not snow runoff with super cold temperatures.


Nov 8, 2004

As the storms begin to muddy up the water, do the fish tend to move to the clearer or muddier portion of the lake?

During the storms you usually have a couple of factors, one is incoming water from runoff and the other is dirty water from winds associated with the storms. Both of these usually begin to clear when the storm passes and often times the fish you were catching in the dirty water vanish. In the early spring when the water is running in the feeder creeks you can find a large concentration on fish in the clear water, this clear water usually has dirty water out in front and will clear as you work your way into the back


Nov 2, 2004

What do you think of WON Bass going to a three tournament schedule, North and South?  How do you think this will affect numbers?  What do you think of 100% Bass's Pro-Am schedule?  Why haven't you been fishing Anglers Choice Pro-Ams?  What's the best circuits to fish to get sponsor recognition?

Well first of all, I think the three tournament schedule for WON Bass's Pro-Am is a huge mistake on their part.  This year, for instance, we have two spotted bass fisheries and the Delta on the schedule for the north.  No Clear Lake so we only have one largemouth fishery.  The spotted bass guys are definitely a lot happier than the flippin', pitchin' largemouth guys.  Many of the spotted bass light line fishermen don't feel competitive on the Delta or Clear Lake.  On the other hand, your big line, flippin' stick fishermen don't feel too comfortable going to Shasta or Oroville.  We normally have a couple of spotted bass tournaments and a couple of largemouth tournaments so it evens out.  Its very hard to have a points race with only three events.  I think it will be hard to get the numbers that we've had the last few years with this schedule.  I think its a big mistake.  Time will tell.  

As far as 100% Bass's schedule, I think they would have probably drawn more fishermen with only one Delta event.  The lake fishermen are intimidated by the Delta and with two stops on the schedule I think they'll just fish their local events.  To build numbers, you have to get the fishermen to travel.  The Delta guys on the other hand, have gotten to where they don't even want to travel to the other side of the Delta for an event.  This east/west Delta schedules are killing the numbers at all the events.  The east guys only want to fish east and the west guys don't want to travel and only want to fish west.  I believe Bob made a good decision by going back to a solid single Delta team circuit instead of cutting the fishermen into four groups like last year.  Hopefully, we'll have 75 to 100 boats at his team events with a 100% payback.  It'd be nice to see $4,000 to $5,000 paychecks for first place again.   

As for Angler's Choice, you can only fish so much and this is the circuit that I haven't followed.  I don't know what they're doing next year.   

If you want recognition from sponsors, you have to follow the circuits that are going to give you the most recognition.  FLW Everstarts, the B.A.S.S. Western Opens or WON Bass are the cream of the crop in the west.  All three of these circuits not only have great magazines or newspapers, they also have their Internet web sites and bassfan.com gives them tremendous exposure. 


Nov 1, 2004

When fishing a texas rigged bait, when would you use a noisy "brass-n-glass" versus a plain lead weight?

I rarely ever fish a brass weight but I do fish the Tungsten weights with a glass bead. You need to be careful as the Tungsten can break the glass beads. I will usually fish this combo in dirty or off colored water when I feel like I need to call the fish to a bait. I think the noise is much more important when I am fishing dark colored baits that imitate crawdads. I will fish a plain lead weight or plain Tungsten weight without a bead in clearer water and when the fish are getting quite a bit of pressure. When I am flipping I am usually fishing a plain weight.


Nov 1, 2004

With all the different types of line out there such as braid flouracarbon and monos. What types of line do you use for different rigs like cranking, flipping, topwaters and worming?

Bill, I fish all of the above mentioned lines in different applications. When I am fishing light line finesse techniques like drop shotting or dart heads, I fish the P-Line Fluorocarbon lines. I fish the fluorocarbons because of the low stretch and I can feel my bait better in deeper water. For my topwater fishing including buzzbaits, frogs, zara spooks, etc., I fish the Power Pro braided line usually in 50 or 65 pound test. I get better hook sets and miss fewer fish with braided line. I can also make much longer casts and because there isn’t any stretch, I get solid hookups. Changing out your treble hooks on topwater plugs is very important as you will straighten out most of the factory hooks with braided line. I fish a great deal of the 2x strong Gamakatsu treble hooks. I flip with both Power Pro braid and P Line CXX mono depending on the type of cover I’m flipping. .


Oct 28, 2004

How does it feel, to watch and see your son jump into the bassin' arena? What advice have you given him, that our readers should pass on to their kids who want to pursue this adventure?

Richard has fished with me steadily since he was 3 years old.  He learned early on the value of time on the water and versatility.  The main thing that I really worked on with Richard is the fact that you will have tough days and you just have to make the best of it.  We're not always going to be able to catch them on rip baits, so you have to be versatile.  The next thing is mechanics.  Richard has very good mechanics and I still catch myself lecturing him if he makes an out of position hook set.  The last thing is there is no way you can spend too much time on the water.  I believe these are the three most important things to try to teach young anglers. 


Oct 28, 2004

Over the years, we have watched you tear up these California bass with a jerk bait. Most recently, we saw George Cochran push Dean Rojas's BASS 4 day record, using this same technique. This is a technique that most anglers either don't use or are intimidated by. What drew you to using this bait? And what is your reasoning for why it seems to draw those better quality of fish we seem to see being caught in these tournaments?

I was one of the early anglers throwing rip baits.  The fish were not accustomed to seeing baits with this erratic jerk, jerk, pause technique.  I'd use the flashiest baits I could find and would pull fish 20' and 30' away.  Rippin' was one of the few techniques that I used early in my career.  I had and still do have a ton of confidence in this technique.  The fish have become quite accustomed to this stop and go retrieve, so now I try to use more subtle colors, overcast skies, or windy days to try help me fool these conditioned fish.  Winter and pre-spawn are by far the best times of the year to be throwing a jerk bait.  It is a year-round technique.  Bass are a predator and any time a crippled or injured bait fish stops in front of their face and goes to take off again, they'll hit strictly out of reaction.  This is what makes it a better quality fish technique.  They hit it out of reaction even if they are not in a feeding mode.   


Oct 27, 2004

I regards to the previous question, if forced with a choice, what one bait would you select for your amature to use when fishing a shared weight event with you?

I don't believe there is a one bait answer to this question.  The most obvious answer would be a 4 1/2 or 6 inch Robo straight tail worm.  For numbers of fish, this would definitely be the answer.  Robo worms account for a lot of fish throughout the year.  Depending on the skill of my partner, many times I'd rather have them throwing a rip bait or top water bait fishing for our kicker fish. 


Oct 25, 2004

We have seen over the years that you have had tremendous results fishing the various pro-ams, especially in the shared weight events. Many times the amature has helped contribute to your sacks, more so than other pros. This is a great attribute to you being able to utilize that second person in the boat to your advantage. What is the most important thing that you emphasize to those ams who fish with you?

I love the combined weight format. Basically, once the draw is done, you're a team. I try to utilize my partner because it doesn't matter if I catch them or he does. The only thing I ask of my partners is that they work with me. I've pre-fished and have a game plan and it usually involves them throwing a different bait than I'm fishing with. This sounds really easy but you wouldn't believe how difficult a few of my partners have been. All I ask is work with me, hopefully take a few suggestions throughout the day, and have a lot of fun.


Oct 24, 2004

Every fall, we begin to hear the constant rumblings of the "One Ton" rig. What are your thoughts on this bait, how often do you use it and why do you believe it's so productive in the fall and winter? Any favortie color?

For me, a one ton rig is usually a deep water technique over 25 feet. Its a crawdad imitation and can be fished fast and cover a lot of water. You get good hookups and don't lose many fish so its a very efficient bait. In the fall and winter, the deeper fish caught on a one ton rig seem to be the best quality. Yamamoto Hula grubs put on a Revenge football head are my choice for a one ton rig. My favorite colors in the Hula grubs are green pumpkin #297, watermelon black flake #194, cinnamon pepper #176 or cinnamon purple and black flake #221.

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