After a crazy start to the year, things are starting to turn around in Southern California. The lakes closures and restrictions are mostly in the past and the bass are biting.
Last Chance Tackle's Matt Magnone gave us a rundown of what's happening in his area, what people are buying, and what lakes are hot right now.
Now that things are starting to get back to normal, Magnone has noticed a few trends. For one, more people are getting into fishing and some manufacturers are still playing catch up with orders.
"We are seeing a lot of new people coming in after taking an interest in fishing. We are also seeing our boat sales skyrocketing," he said. "It is good to see all of the interest and I've also noticed a bigger interest in multi-species and not just bass fishing."
Some orders have been delayed on the product side of things and made it hard for them to keep things in stock.
"We are getting orders in and having customers standing around boxes waiting to see what stuff came in," Magnone said. "That's made it tough to keep the shelves stocked since we can't get everything we order."
There have been several different bites happening at the area lakes and one of the noticeable trends is frog fishing.
"It has been a total frog year and I can't tell you how many black, brown, or Natural Red Spro frogs we have sold. It seems like every person is buying at least one," he shared and believes it is due to the perfect storm of conditions. "The water is a little higher and there is water in the tules. Plus, with the lakes being closed, the fish didn't get much pressure and everyone wanted to get in on a fun bite when things opened back up."
Magnone has also seen an uptick in hand-poured soft plastics from Bass Chow and Rader. Mainly the six-inch size in proven colors like Chocolate Blue Vein, but some are also having luck with larger nine-inch baits.
ChatterBaits have been another hot item, with the Jack Hammer being the top seller, followed by the Z-Man Project Z.
"Clearwater Shad and B. Hite Delite have been great baits and they have been catching fish. It's also hard to beat a Green Pumpkin," he shared.
For trailers, the Keitech Swing Impact FAT, Reaction Innovations Skinny Dippers, flukes, and Arizona Custom Baits swimbaits have been top sellers.
"Guys are adjusting their trailers on how they are fishing them and there is a good bite slow-rolling ChatterBaits in a little deeper water," he shared.
The Swimbait Bite
The bluegill wake baits were getting bit according to Magnone.
"That bite had really picked up for bluegill wake baits. It is also almost the perfect time of the year for the 7" Triple Trout bite.
Through the summer Magnone likes to burn a baby bass pattern on 65-pound braid.
"I'll burn it and twitch it and make it erratic. I always say I like to challenge the bass and make them bite," he said.
Rods, Reels, and Terminal Tackle
Another trend they have seen is the under $100 rods and reels and terminal tackle have been selling quickly.
"There is a major push toward the under $200 rod and reel combo and the stuff that is coming out now is really good quality stuff. A $100 reel is almost like a $300 reel ten years ago," said Magnone.
For terminal tackle, the Neko-specific gear and Tokyo Rig have been hot sellers. "It is hard to knock the Neko Rig because it gets so many bites and everyone has been going crazy over trying the Tokyo Rig," Magnone said.
He also mentioned some Owner terminal tackle is being noticed by customers as well.
"Their new Cover Shot hooks, which are their version of the Rebarb, are selling well. So are the Flashy Swimmer weighted swimbait hooks," he added.
Photo: Matt Magnone from Lastchancetackle.com patterning Post Spawn Bass with a Megabass V Flat Power Bomb spinner bait
Magnone says the bass are mostly out of the post-spawn funk and headed firmly into their summer patterns. He shared the Perris, Diamond Valley, and Skinner are all fishing good right now.
"There is a good bite happening at all of them," he said. "We are starting to see the bigger fish show up at Diamond and the frog bite at Skinner has been excellent. Perris, too, it is a free-for-all and you can catch them a bunch of different ways right now."
Local shops like Last Chance Tackle always keep a close eye on what people are buying and see the current trends for area lakes. Plus, they fish all the time and know what is happening right now. They should be your first stop if you are headed to a lake nearby or at their online store at lastchancetackle.com.