shallows looking for an easy meal . Or not . The waves were getting bigger and the wind gusts harder . In the back of mind I ’ m thinking , “ I should probably leave before dark so I don ’ t have to navigate through this slop all the way back to the ramp .” Keep casting away . Bomb after bomb into the shallows . I guess its time to switch up to a different lure . Bombs away . Each cast and each crank of the handle is starting to count even more as the sun tucks away behind the mountains .
New lure , first cast , first crank , second crank . Something decides to knock on the door . Game time . The Phenix M1 is doubled over , braid humming through the guides and the Daiwa Lexa ’ s drag is letting out line smooth as butter . So on this trip , I ’ m obviously solo with no one to help me except for my trusty Minn Kota Riptide set on spot lock . Without it , I ’ d be in some major trouble trying to fight this fish and maneuver the boat manually in gale
force winds . I had no phone . I left it at home in my haste to get out of the door and on the road . The only communication method I had was a VHF radio attached to my PFD if something dire were to happen . A million things are running through your mind in moments like these . But you come to your senses when the fight is over . Yep . A respectable striper is boat side ready to say hi . No phone , but I had the GoPro . No net , but I had a knock-off Boga Grip .
Into the boat it goes , hooks out of its mouth and the GoPro falls off the dash twice as I ’ m trying to get a pose with the fish . I let out a loud primal scream as I ’ m holding the fish up to the camera . “ YEAH !” Back into the water it went for a revival session . Moments later it was biting down on my thumb and I let it go . It swam with ease . My hope is that someone else gets to meet it in the future off a fishing trip , a cast , and a crank of a reel handle . A moment where every cast counts .
GONE FISHING continued from page 2
Quality 15 to 17-inch kokanee like these are currently being taken out of Lake Pardee . These fish were caught between 100 and 113 feet deep by the 3rd place team of Jack and Gina Naves of Roseville .
Photo courtesy of John Brassfield , Trucksmart Stores
A late-season kokanee angler ’ s dream at Lake Pardee . This huge school of pre-spawn kokanee was stacked up between 98 and 110 feet deep on Jack Naves ’ s sonar screen . Getting these fish to strike isn ’ t always easy . Try speed changes , stop-start motions , and sharp turns to get them to go . his boat . Jim was coming fresh off of a victory at the New Melones derby , and I was anxious to see what kind of tricks he had up his sleeve . What impressed me the most was how aggressive Jim was with this turns . We were running short setbacks , and Jim would make almost 180 degree turns to stay on top of biting schools of kokanee . We ended the day with thirteen nice kokanee plus several smaller fish in the box . After exploring different parts of the lake , I was starting to formulate a final game plan for the derby . On the 12th of August , just two days before the derby , I made a last-minute pre-fishing run with Rj Sanchez of Oakland . Once again , we tried to scout new waters outside of the hotspot in hopes of finding big kokanee . While we picked up a few nice fish away from the crowd , the majority of fifteen to sixteen-inch fish were holding in one specific area of the lake . I figured I would just have to go down swinging , and planned to fish upriver amongst the horde of boats on the morning of the derby . As expected , there were at least 20 boats working the area I wanted to fish as dawn broke on the derby . Undeterred , I weaved through the fleet of boats looking for a school of kokanee on the fish finder . One thing I ’ ve noticed over the years is that kokanee don ’ t seem to school up until late in the morning . At least thirty minutes passed , and nobody had netted a single fish . A few boats started to scatter from the area , but I remained . I knew it was just a matter of time before kokanee would school up and start biting . While making a sharp 90-degree turn at a steep bank , one of the rods popped out of its downrigger clip . At first I thought it was from the added pressure of the turn , but it was the inside rod ! I reeled like crazy but there was nothing there but some empty hooks . I circled back through the area and my wife Gina shouted , “ Bite … Bite !” I ran to the rod and popped the line out of the clip , but it felt like the line had broken . There was no pressure at all . I knew that the fish had rocketed to the surface so reeled as fast as possible to catch up . Sure enough , I felt pressure , and then pumping action . The first kokanee of the morning was on ! Gina skillfully netted the fish and we finally broke the ice . The action steadily picked up , and boats started scratching out kokanee as they schooled up . We stuck to our game plan until 1:15 pm , when we pulled lines and raced back to the weigh-in station . I had set a goal of twelve fish , and we bested it by one – we ended with thirteen nice kokanee in the box ! I have been fishing these derbies for thirteen years , and I have never seen fishing as tough as it has been this year ! To adjust for the slower fishing , Kokanee Power changed the format of the derby . They made it a two-fish weigh-in instead of the usual three-fish weigh-in . The results are posted here :
ADULT TEAM KOKANEE ( 2 FISH ) 1 . Doug & Ron Philpott 3.26 lbs . 2 . Pat Pagnella , Jason Greene , Mark Poling 2.49 lbs 3 . Jack & Gina Naves 2.32 lbs 4 . Brian Thomas , Wade Johnson , Mike Clark 2.28 lbs 5 . Nathan , Cynthia , & Nathaniel Lenard 2.27 lbs 6 . Kevin & Karla Smith 2.21 lbs 7 . Stan Ita , Jim Fox 2.14 lbs 8 . Rene Villanueva , Brian Hough 2.09 lbs 9 . David & Julie Mayo 2.08 lbs 10 . John Dahl , Brian Austin 2.08 lbs
ADULT TEAM TROUT ( 2 FISH ) 1 . Doug & Ron Philpott 6.20 lbs 2 . Jerilyn & Kirk Emge 4.41 lbs 3 . Stan Ita , Jim Fox 3.24 lbs 4 . Randy Bergquist , Bill Back , Dave Ade 3.13 lbs 5 . Ken McDonald , Rick Silva 2.37 lbs 6 . Jack Schultz , Alan Traynor 2.25 lbs 7 . Kevin & Karla Smith 1.57 lbs 8 . John Dahl , Brian Austin 1.18 lbs 9 . Greg Vanni , Nick Davisport 0.48 lbs Junior Kokanee ( 1 fish ) 1 . Adam Naves 1.15 lbs 2 . Grace Naves 1.13 lbs 3 . Jack Duvall Jr . 1.12 lbs 4 . Emma Jo Duvall 1.11 lbs 5 . Kaitlyn Contreras 0.97 lbs
BIG KOKANEE SIDE POT 1 . Doug & Ron Philpott 1.67 lbs . Junior Trout ( 1 fish ) 1 . Aaron Lujan Jr . 1.85 lbs 2 . Jake Redding 1.31 lbs 3 . Parker Moore 0.92 lbs
BIG TROUT SIDE POT 1 . Jerilyn & Kirk Emge 4.41 lbs
As you can see , Doug and Ron Philpott ran away with the prizes . They won the team kokanee , team trout , and big kokanee side pot as well ! Unable to put any fish over sixteen inches into the box , we slid in at third place . To my delight , my son Adam won the Junior Division , with his sister Grace coming in at second place right behind . Congratulations to the winners and all of the entrants who battled the heat and slow fishing this year . Based on the huge schools of next-year ’ s fish , we ’ ll have an easier time putting fish into our boats at the 2022 Pardee derby . I ’ ll see you there .