Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chasing the State Record at Yuba

Fishing Time: 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Weather: Windy, high 80's
Moon Phase: Full Moon
Location: Yuba Reservoir, Utah Lake
Water Temp: Yuba - 65 F, Utah Lake - 78 F
Bait: Yuba - Swimbaits and Tubes, Utah Lake - carp meat
Who Went: JJ, Rick, Me
It’s late June and I just barely made my first trip to Yuba Reservoir. A lot of it has been weather induced, but some of it has been the fact that I am just plain busy! Two kids is a life changer and I don’t mean that in a bad way! I have absolutely loved the new improved life with children, but it has put a slight damper on the amount of fishing trips this year. Well today we were finally on our way down there leaving my house at 4:30 a.m., and at the lake by 6:30 a.m. The weather looked perfect and we were very excited to get on the water. I put on my new found favorite lure for Yuba Pike that has now since made headlines in the daily herald, the mighty weedless swimbait. I rigged JJ with the same set up and Rick put one on as well all in different colors. We began the casting game for almost two straight hours with no bites. Just as our spirits were starting to head downhill I saw a large black object come out from the weedline and slam my swimbait. I yelled to Rick and JJ that I had fish on, but I assured them not to get too excited as it was just an average fish. This pike didn’t fight like most others that I’ve caught with the head shakes and aggressive jerks, he just began swimming to the side with constant pressure and I figured it was going to be an easy land and release. The pike slowly made his way to the surface and we all got to take a good look at him and this is where it all changed. It was a monster! At first sight I thought I was about to put myself in the state record books. I began to get very nervous about losing this big guy and Rick didn’t help calm my nerves as he told me it didn’t look like I had him hooked very well! Of course this is when the big fish went into fight mode realizing that he wanted nothing to do with entering my boat! It was a very good, nervous and fairly short fight until we finally got a net on him and even then only his head would fit, but at least he was secured. Rick helped me get the hook out then measure and weigh this beast and he came out at 42 inches long and 19 pounds! The state record is 43 inches long and 24 pounds. Either way it was a fish of a lifetime and I was very excited to say the least. We took a bunch of photos with me and the pike and then let him swim away for others to enjoy. Many people have asked me how I let a fish of that magnitude swim away and not bring it home, and the answer to that question is easy. A fish that old and big is not going to be worth eating because the meat is tough and it will taste very poor, but the number one reason I didn’t keep it is because even if I decided to get this fish mounted down the road, I already have everything I need. I have measurements along with the weight, and I have great pictures that show the detail and color of this fish. With the amazing detail that taxidermists can do with replica mounts compared to skin mounts, I prefer them anyway. Big fish do not have to be killed just so you can go home and show it to your neighbor and then throw it in the freezer for two years before it gets freezer burned and you end up throwing it away. Let the fish go and someone else might get to experience the same enjoyment you did reeling in a fish of that caliber. Not to mention the good fish karma it produces for the future:). Okay now that I’m off my soap box back to the fishing. I had another pike hit a couple hours later that instantly snapped my line. This is not uncommon when fishing for pike using monofilament line, but I was using 30 pound test, steel leader! My only thought is the fish must have swam head on to my bait and over shot it running right into my monofilament line above my steel leader. With big pike teeth it will snap monofilament line instantly. Frustrating but just part of the esox game. After getting that hit it went stagnant for another two hours and the concentration started to slip. Rick began fishing for walleye and I started rigging something for pike that I had always wanted to try, but never have. From my experience it seems that the pike like a slow retrieve, but with a swimbait you can only go so slowly before you begin to lose the action that the swimbait was designed for. So I started thinking about tube jigs. They work for every other fish and you can rig them weedless and fish them as slow as you want! The only difference is these are not your regular tube jigs I’m using, they are 7 inch long tora tubes that most fish wouldn’t dream about eating! After perfecting the rig we decided to try one more run down the shoreline for pike, and on my first cast with the tora tube jig I had a pike on! I couldn’t believe it and I began wondering if I had found the ultimate secret for pike at Yuba! This pike ended up getting off before being landed and it was a fairly nice pike. Rick and I laughed when JJ referred to this one as a little guy! I think I ruined JJ for life on pike fishing, because the first one he’s ever seen was not far off the state record! I continued casting that tube jig for about a half hour with no more bites, but by then the wind was really bad and our fishing was going downhill fast, so I still have faith that this method might work just yet! With the wind and boat traffic at Yuba we decided that we would call it a half day and hit Utah Lake for an evening run on channel catfish! We were on Utah Lake by 5:00 p.m., but the wind had only gotten worse and Utah Lake is not the most enjoyable lake to be on when the wind is blowing. We slowly made our way out to Bird Island through the 4 foot swells and surprisingly were able to anchor up with no problems. We landed quite a few channel catfish and Rick had the hot hand of the evening. He landed his largest catfish ever which was a very nice 10 lb female whose belly looked like it was going to explode! The waves got so bad that JJ started getting sea sick and I could tell he was looking forward to ending the night a little early. We ended up fighting the waves for another hour or so, but left short of night fall. The fishing was actually really good for channels and I bet if our boat wasn’t rocking like crazy we probably would have felt more bites and caught a lot more fish, but oh well! What a good day of fishing and I caught a fish that I will never forget!


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