Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Couple Of Firsts

My friend Yuki sent me an email the other day and asked if I wanted to fish for Stripers at New Hogan Reservoir. "Sure, why not" I said. 

We met at the Starbucks in Valley Springs and I followed him out to the lake. I asked if we were going to the area back a couple of miles from where we were, and he said no, we were going to a "secret" place. Crap, here we go again.

After a couple of miles of city streets, curvy roads, and gravel roads we arrived at the Whiskey Creek Day use area of New Hogan Reservoir. This is the first of the couple of firsts as I've never fished New Hogan before. It's as close as New Melones, but for some reason I've never gotten out here. 

In anticipation of this trip and the information I'd gleaned over the past couple of weeks, I figured a shad imitation on the fly rod would be a good way to start. Just to be prepared, I also took both of my spinning rods down to the lake too.

A little low on water
Looks more like a Florida canal that a lake
When I got to the water I put one rod out with a slip sinker rig except this time with a big (I don't know the size, it's just one I had in my tackle box) hook and a frozen shad about 5 inches long and let it sit on the bottom about half way across the "canal".

Then I tied on a fly called a "silver smelt" from a recipe I found on the Streamers 365 blog site. I figured it was a "shaddy" a looking fly as there could be. From putting out my spinning rod I know that the water was only about two feet deep so it was cast and then immediately start stripping. 

After 20 or 30 casts over an area of about 100 feet of the "canal" I switched to a Clouser Deep Minnow in white/chartreuse. Two reasons for this, one I just read in a book I'm currently reading that the Deep Minnow is good for a lot of different types of fish and the white/chartreuse color is one that has been used here in a lure called a Fluke. Nothing on the Deep Minnow except the green gunk off the bottom so I switched to a lighter version, but nothing there either.

So, shifting to plan B I got my spinning rod and put on a white Fluke on a 1/8 jig head and started back across the 100 feet I'd covered before. Then came the one and only hit (which, as usual came as a surprise) and that was it.

Reeled in my spinning rod with the frozen shad on it and since the hook was bare, put another frozen shad on it. Then I decided to move my chair (by that time my back was giving me fits and I had to sit down) over to where the guys where so I didn't have to shout as we were discussing the areas we had fished together before. The other two guys that were there, besides me and Yuki, were from the gang at Middle Bar bridge. So were sitting there talking, I'm about 75 feet from my rod, having decided to wrap it up and call it a day, I notice my rod starting to bounce.

Then it started to really bounce, in fact it was starting to bounce over my tackle box and toward the lake. I double timed it over and grabbed it just as it started to clear my tackle box and set the hook.

Now comes the second of the firsts. Never in my life (and you know this if you've read my book) have I caught a Catfish. Those little ones I caught in the canal in Florida don't count as catching one. Of course I couldn't catch a little one. No I had to catch one that weighted 4 pounds 3 ounces. Not that I'm complaining mind you.  

How do you pick this thing up?

OK, got it by the gill
Hold still !!!!

You grab it this way

OK, I'll take it home.
You can't see the end of Joe's stringer, but there is a 6 pound 11 oz Catfish on the end of it that he caught before we got there this morning.

So there you have it. First time at New Hogan Reservoir. First time I've caught a Catfish, but no Stripers to be seen unless those fish breaking the surface across the "canal" were Stripers.

That's it for this trip. It was fun, I'd do it again.



  1. Ooohweee mark! That’s a nice cat! Good job! Did he put up a nice fight? I love catching cats but don’t really like eating them. You ever go catfishing at night? You should try it sometime! It’s a real hoot!

    1. Hey Juan. It was a good fight. Lasted several minutes. Not a Catfish person. This one was caught by "mistake" since I was fishing for Stripers.

  2. Way to go Mark! I've heard of it but never seen it. Strange things are happening.

  3. Catching them ol' Cats is fun. Fun to fight, Fun to Land, "no fun" at all to hold without getting a poke or two in your hands. Mark, I actually took a few catfish, unexpectedly, a few years ago while fishing a streamer pattern I tie!

  4. That's some low water. Cornmeal that cat, with some hushpuppies...oh man.

  5. First cat, Mark? that's hard to believe - I used to catch a lot of them by accident. Of course, that was when I used to fish.


  6. Nice trip you got.
    Congratulations on your first official catfish..that was great,just a bit disappointing because i was looking forward to see the 'strippers' :)

  7. Mark
    Great trip and by the way those catfish can put a painful hurt on those hands if you are not careful. I am back after over a month of work on the Family Ancestry. It has taken me 2 years of work but I feel I have learned something about my past. I have missed reading your post. Thanks for sharing