Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Death Of Fidel Castro

Just in case you missed it, Fidel Castro passed away last evening at the age of 90.

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Fidel Castro
As a kid growing up in South Florida, I was probably the closest to the "action" as one could be. In 1959 Castro over through General Fulgencio Batista.

In April 1961, the CIA launched what its leaders believed would be the definitive strike: a full-scale invasion of Cuba to remove Castro by 1,400 American-trained Cubans who had fled their homes when Castro took over. I would assume you know how that turned out.

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Bay of Pigs
There is a point to this story, not just his death. We were living in South Florida in 1959 and I remember one of the neighbors (across the street and down a couple doors) had a house in Cuba. He was relieved of the house and property and never got it back before he died. I don't recall his name, only that he had a dog with a French name so I would assume he was French also.

What I wanted to get at is the "Cuban Missile Crisis" in 1962. In July 1962 Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev reached a secret agreement with Cuban premier Fidel Castro to place Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt. Didn't sit well with President Kennedy. On October 22, he ordered a naval “quarantine” of Cuba. The use of “quarantine” legally distinguished this action from a blockade, which assumed a state of war existed.

In South Florida and in Cuba, the missile crisis put millions of people on what seemed like the front lines. At bases in the Everglades, Carol City and west of Kendall, missiles were raised to the go position and tilted in the direction of Fidel Castro's island. There, the Kennedy Administration had learned from spy plane reconnaissance, the Soviet Union was building what looked like an offensive missile base near San Cristobal.

In south Miami-Dade County, thousands of Army troops moved to and from encampments that sprang up in tomato fields and cow pastures. Portable Hawk anti-aircraft missiles were set up along beaches from Miami Beach to Key West.

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How would you like this on your beach?
In schools, students became accustomed to air raid sirens and were drilled on "duck and cover" techniques.

We would stand by Federal Highway (Highway 1) and watch truck after truck of soldiers heading South. There were machine guns, barbed wire, and soldiers on the beach. It was two months after my 16th birthday. The country was facing Nuclear Armageddon and we were smack in the middle of it.

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Looked like this all over the place.
I was there, I saw it, and it was really scary for a 16 year old. It lasted 14 long days. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Cold And Windy At The Lake

My wife spent most of yesterday cooking our Thanksgiving meal. I wanted to give her some quiet time at home, so I decided to spend the day at Lake Camanche. What a great guy huh.

Tuesday when Yuki and I were there, as we left he went by the cleaning station and found a couple guys cleaning more than 20 huge Crappies. He said they were caught on Rapala's although he didn't know what color or where.  They probably were in a boat.

When I left home it was 32 degrees. When I got to the lake it was 41 degrees and the wind was blowing pretty good. After check-in and finding out they planted Wednesday at South Shore and the Pond, I wandered out to my usual spot at the North Shore Day Use area.

As I pulled in, there was a man and his son fishing on the opposite side of the peninsula. The had caught a couple on white Power Eggs so I put out one rod with white Power Eggs and put a Firetiger Rapala on the other rod. Wanted to see if I could rustle up a Crappie or six. Apparently Firetiger wasn't the flavor of the day so I switched to a rainbow trout colored Rapala. Not that flavor either.

While I'm writing this, I'm working on a piece (about 5" square) of my wife's famous Coolwhip pumpkin pie.No, I can't share the recipe. It's a secret like the secret lake.

Since there was no interest in the Rapala's, I tried a new color Kastmaster. I rummaged through my "new lure" tacklebox yesterday and came across an orange/silver Kastmaster. My logic was that if they were hitting orange Power Eggs, why not an orange Kastmaster?

Apparently not.  

In between, while I rested my aching back, I used rainbow Power Bait and orange Power Eggs on the slip sinker rods. Nothing there.  
Now I got serious and put on the ever faithful pink Kastmaster. I figured I'd start out on the point and work back to my spot. Didn't take but four casts and I had the first fish on. Another one like the 17" ones from Tuesday. I didn't even have to take the hook out. Once in the net, the hook came out and after a quick photo, back into the lake for another day.

Big fish, good fight.
Unfortunately that was to be the only fish. Somewhere around 11:15 (I got to the lake at 8:00) I decided to drive over to the South Shore and take a shot at the pond. It's not very far, maybe 6 miles.

The first time I drove from North Shore to South Shore the girl at check-in said to just turn right at the stop sign, turn right again, then another right, and finally a fourth right to the South gate. I came around the corner and check-in looked like the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. It was packed 8 or more deep in all lanes. I did the only logical thing and that was to make a U-Turn and go home. I wasn't waiting in that line even for a stocked Trout Pond.

So that's it. Probably be back out there next week.

Stay tuned.   

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

If you haven't been over to Howard's place, you'll get a good laugh. I especially like the 5th one, but I'm a little weird.

Eat turkey, watch football, and nap. As it should be.

From our house (don't forget we missed Thanksgiving last year because of the demolished kitchen) to yours.

Fishing tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

One Apiece Is Enough

I planned on a little sit and let the fish come to me out at Lake Camanche this morning. Yuki wasn't sure he could make it, so I headed out of the house at 8:15. By 9:00 I is was parked and had two lines in the water with rainbow Power Bait.

Yuki did make it around 10:00 and since where I was fishing was rather shallow, moved to the same spot as the last two trips out.

I won't go into a lot of detail so the first hit was on a Firetiger Kastmaster, but must have been barely hooked as the fish was there and then gone.

Yuki took first blood with a 17" Mt. Lassen Rainbow on a three orange Power Egg set up.

Sometime later in the day I hooked up, again on the Firetiger Kastmaster, a nice 17" (no it wasn't the same one Yuki caught because his was on the stringer) Mt. Lassen Rainbow. 

 Both fish gave a good fight and here they are. Yuki took both for smoking.

One apiece.
One apiece, but when they are this big, one is enough.

By the way, pink, green/silver, blue/silver, and German Brown Kastmasters didn't do a thing. Goes back to "Give them what they want that day".

Sunday, November 20, 2016

OK, Here It Is

The Good:

This is the 1000th post that I’ve made on Northern California Trout. It’s hard to believe that when I started this blog in January 2009 it was only to let locals know what, where, and with what I was catching a whole bunch of fish. 

These darn things have a life of their own and seem to just drag you, as the owner of the blog, along for the ride. In the past year I’ve related a lot of information about fishing, our escapades with the destruction of our kitchen in the new house, and the medical tests I’ve endured. 

I would also like to thank each and every one who has stopped by (all 426,000 times). Kind of goes along with the 1000 posts. 

The Bad:

From October 2010 to March 2016 I wrote articles for the local newspaper. I finally stopped because it became more of a chore than a pleasure. Basically I had to go fishing so I had something to write each week as an ongoing column requires. I was burnt out. 

Some have probably noticed that I no longer have the icon for Amador Fly Fishers on the left side of the blog. This too, I’ve backed away from because one, I’ve never been a joiner.  Two, I don’t feel that just paying the dues does the club justice if you don’t participate and I haven’t. I’ve not been to a meeting this year so I’ve basically “resigned” as of the end of this year. I don’t want to be in a position where I HAVE to go to meetings or participate in outings.  
The Ugly:

I think my age is catching up with me. If you read Mel’s blog or Howard’s blog you’ll see that they’ve slowed down a lot. We’re known as the three Geezers and once you hit 65 or so, it seems your body just doesn’t have it anymore. I think I’ve been pushing it too much. 

Here’s couple of examples I’ve experienced in the past couple months. You remember the post (Big River, Big Fish) about fishing on the Mokelumne River. A long hike down to the area we fished and after walking up and down the river over mostly river rock from pebbles to ones the size of a football, and then a long hike out. That little trip took me almost 3 days to recover. The post on Monday November 14th, took me the better part of Tuesday to recover. All the walking around over “river rock” and the slippery clay on the shore of Lake Camanche is what did it. Again in the post SLDD took me a day to recover. I have to face the fact I just don’t have it anymore. My wife has even commented that I look like I’m having trouble walking. 

That said, am I going to stop fishing? Absolutely not, BUT I am going to tone it down a lot. Will I still be fly fishing? Maybe, but not hiking up and down a river bed. I might still float around in the Float Tube Cumberland occasionally. I’ll have to see how that goes. 

How about other lake fishing? Sure, but not someplace I have to walk a long way to get to. Drive to a spot, set up a chair and let the fish come to me. That is what needs to happen.  

Am I still going to post on this blog, you bet, but not at the pace I’ve done so in the past. Ten to twelve posts a month is what the pace has been in the past. Again, I feel I must fish to have something to post. The future will be considerably less, but I will keep everyone apprised of my adventures. 

I’ve still got a lot to do on the house that takes a hell of a lot energy. Currently I’m putting up gutters on the part of the roof that there never was any. To do this, I also have to replace all the fascia board (primed and painted) first. What’s up there is bent, warped, and lacking any kind of a decent paint. The other current project is finishing the, once demolished kitchen. It all takes time and energy that I don’t have much of lately. 

Since neither my doctor nor my Cardiologist can find anything wrong with me, I guess my age is just catching up with me. Although I have to admit that my brain has almost caught up with my age. My brain used to think I was still 35, but now it thinks I’m 60, could be 70. 

Getting old sucks. 

Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Good, Bad, And The Ugly

This is a little prep for the next post. Trust me, it's not going to be pretty.

I'm still writing it, so stay tuned.

Friday, November 18, 2016


I had two options today. One, I could stay home and continue with the gutter project. Probably should explain that a little. When we moved into the house a year ago last April, we had gutters over the front porch and the back porch. That was it.

I started putting up gutters a couple months ago, but I had to replace the fascia board as well. When it was originally painted, it was not primed so all the paint was cracked and because of that, it was all warped too so I had to replace all of it first. I've replaced fascia and put up gutters on half of the front of the house, all along the left side and now I'm working on half of the back. This stuff takes time. So, I'm at the point that I've hung the gutter, pop riveted all the seams, but still have to seal the seams and put in the downspout.

Or I could go fishing. Here was my plan for today. Lake Camanche hinted that they might plant 3000# soon. I took a drive out in the off chance that they MIGHT have planted, but had not put anything on their Facebook (OK, I was there again.) site. If they hadn't planted I could just turn around and head home to do GUTTERS.

But they did plant, yesterday. 1000# at each of the North and South ramps and 1000# in the pond. Which brings me to the title of this post. SLDD. Same Lake, Different Day. It was so much the same as Monday that I just used Monday's pictures.


During the time I fished, I was parked behind where the last photo was taken. I did walk over to this area and threw a pink Kastmaster. What surprised me was that I got a real good interest, even though the trout didn't take the lure, by one that if it was an inch, it was 20 inches. Got my blood flowing.

But even though they planted yesterday, that was the only fish I saw today. It was not like I didn't try. Here's a list of what I threw at them:

  • rainbow Power Bait (of course)
  • rainbow Power Bait with Pro-Cure garlic scent. 
  • Mini-crawlers with and without the white floaty things. 
  • Yellow Salmon Eggs with the white floaty things to keep it off the bottom. 
  • Pink Kastmaster
  • Green/silver Kastmaster. 

It's not like I did offer a smorgasbord of things to eat, I just didn't find any fish. Now I did get a "bite", I think. It was one of those rod tip bobbing actions that come with a bite or with a fish swimming by and accidentally hitting the line. In any event, there was nothing there and the Power Bait was gone. It was on the rod with the Power Bait/garlic on it.

I hung out for three hours and then headed back into town to take care of a couple errands. Saturday (90% chance of rain) and Sunday (100% chance of rain) are out, but I think that if Yuki is over his cold (did I mention he was sick?) we'll probably be heading out Monday or Tuesday to take another shot.

Stay tuned. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Catch The Oddest Fish With The Oddest Bait.

Yesterday I was out on Facebook (Ouch, did I really say Facebook?). Honest I was just looking at the Lake Camanche site to see if they've started planting yet. Turns out they planted for the first time last Thursday. 750# into the Trout Pond and 750# at North Shore.

My wife left for work this morning at 6:30 so I figured I'd just mosey out to North Shore (the Pond tends to be combat fishing) and see what was cooking. The girl at check-in confirmed, yes they did plant last Thursday. OK so I drove down to the launch ramp figuring I'd plant myself out at the area and fish between the launch area and the houseboats. You know the spot, the one we fished all last Winter.

Ha, gone. The lake was so full of water that that entire area was under water as well as a lot of the area out at the Day Use Area. I knew this because the Day Use area was where I ended up.   

I'd like it known that I no longer use the red Coleman Camping Chair. Sorry to say it fell apart from over use. I'm using the red camping chair I bought my wife a couple years ago because she found a couple of green Coleman camping chairs at a garage sale for $4 apiece. She is the shopper babe.

I parked and had two lines out with rainbow Power Bait at 7:15. While I waited for the first bite, I took a couple shots around the lake to show you just how full this lake is and remember, this is after Summer is over.

North Shore launch area.
In the photo below, the hump way out in the middle of the photo (you might have to make it big to see it) we used to be able to drive out there. Not this year.
Day Use Area
 We used to be able to drive out to this spot too, but again not this year.

Still part of the Day Use Area
Across the lake
This spot was dry last Winter
Let's see, where was I? Aah yes, two lines in the water with rainbow Power Bait. After two hours, I switched one rod to a size 6 bait hook and put on two mouse tails. One was red/brown and the other was orange/green. Yes, on the same hook. I was experimenting. With my third rod, I put on the ever faithful pink Kastmaster.

I pulled in the other Power Bait rod (I have a two rod license) and started in the cove in the picture above and worked my way past where I was parked and a ways down the area in the second photo.

Didn't get any interest so I went back to my Power Bait rod and this time put pink PB on.

After another hour or so, I pulled in the rod with the mice tails and started with the pink Kastmaster again. Almost straight out from where I was I got a really good drive-by, but it wouldn't hold on. When I gave up trying to get it interested again I put a single white/pink mice tail, but had to add a white Power Egg to make it float. Just to update, now I had one rod with pink Power Bait and one with a pink/white mice tail.

After a half hour or so, I pulled in the Power Bait rod and this now brings me to the title of this post.

You know this is a blog about trout fishing (duh), but once in a while I catch something else mostly by accident. Let me list the what and with what that makes the catch a little odd.

All the time fishing for trout:

A Smallmouth Bass on a silver/yellow Panther Martin.

A Crappie on the Tungsten Beadhead Thin Mint. Two actually one right after the other.

A Mackinaw on rainbow Power Bait. Very strange.

A Bass of some sort at Upper Lake in September on Tungsten Beadhead Thin Mint.

And today, the Largemouth Bass (verified by Juan Lopez aka fly fishing monster) in the photo below on a pink Kastmaster. Go figure.     

Largemouth Bass about 12" maybe a pound or so.
By the way, I also tried silver, gold, Firetiger Kastmasters and the lure called Magic Bullet, but trout were not to be had this day.

It's a little early, but Lake Camanche's website says they are planting another 3000# this week. Might have to go again.

Stay tuned. 

Super Moon

The last time we saw it was in 1948. I was 2 years old.

About 5:00 am

Same time

Same time, getting the camera adjusted.

Same time

5:52 am the optimum time. Behind the neighbor's house.
The moon is 14% bigger and 30% brighter. Closest to earth.

You won't see it again until November 25, 2034. Hope you're still around then, I probably won't be.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Preston Castle

I had a couple errands to run in Sacramento this morning. Once completed I decided, since I had my fishing gear with me, to stop at Rancho Seco Lake and soak some Power Bait. The DFW website said they were stocking the lake this week. 

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This is the view as you drive in. 
Rancho Seco Lake, in case you’ve forgotten, was established to act as a backup water supply in case of a fire emergency at the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant. Although the power plant was closed by public vote in 1989, the lake and surrounding park have flourished. The lake has a natural population of Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, and Catfish (no, they are not radioactive nor do they glow in the dark). During the winter months, the DFW stocks Rainbow Trout which brings me to why I was at the check-in gate only to find out that the DFW lied. There wasn’t any stocking to be done; in fact there won’t be any until, maybe, mid-December when the water gets cold enough to support trout.   

Knowing what I know about trout fishing I thought something was fishy about stocking this early, but you just never know.

On the way though the little town of Ione, California I thought I’d stop and take a shot of a place called Preston Castle. Preston Castle was formerly one of the oldest and best-known reform schools in the United States. It’s just off the road and has an interesting history you might like.

Make it large to read.

If you’re ever in the area, pay the $10 for the tour of the place dubbed “Preston School of Industry”. You’ll see the harsh life behind the castle walls and how, for some, it changed their lives for the better. 

You’ll see the floor – yes, the hygienically dubious floor – where doctors performed operations before 1913, the year someone finally had the notion that a gurney might be a better surface on which to cut someone open. You’ll ogle the dunking baths, where a rich chemical stew once was used to purge each newly shaved-headed boy of lice and dignity. You’ll stroll through the stark institutional green dormitory where Company B, the real incorrigible hard cases, slept in row upon row of flimsy mattresses and shared just one lidless toilet. 

You’ll see the basement kitchen area where, in 1950 cook and housekeeper Anna Corbin was bludgeoned to death. 

Life here wasn’t all unrelenting grimness. After all, these young wards of the state got three meals a day and a roof over their heads, which is more than many could say for their life on the outside, especially during the Depression years when desperate parents were known to dump their charges at the castle as if it were some day care/boarding school. They had a tennis court, rose garden, a 7000 book library, and a veranda overlooking the town of Ione.

Anybody famous been here? Oh yeah, how about Merle Haggard. He tried to escape twice during the 1950”s. First time he got out, he hotwired a car in less than a minute and was gone only to find the owner had chained the car to a tree. Second time he stole the police chief’s car and got all the way to Fresno before getting caught.

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Merle Haggard Country Western Superstar

Then you have Lee J. Cobb. You know, movie actor. 

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Lee J. Cobb

You also have Eddie Anderson. OK, so you have to be a Geezer to remember Rochester on the “Jack Benny Show”. I remember him and have watched the show.

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Eddie Anderson and Jack Benny

Last on the list is Pancho Gonzales. Once again it helps to be a Geezer to know about one of the tennis greats. He was the number 1 tennis player from 1952 to 1960. Here is where the Geezer part comes in. In 1960 I was in 8th grade. 

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In his younger years

Now that I’ve gotten the Celebs out of the way, here’s a little about the castle itself. It’s a 46,000-square-foot, 77-room mansion with no fewer than 43 fireplaces, 257 windows overlooking the Amador County foothills, a tower festooned on each side by intimidating gargoyles, hallways with ornate wainscoting. The outside is sandstone in the Romanesque Revival architectural style.

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Looks pretty much like this today

Unfortunately the place is pretty much trashed. Apparently when it closed in 1960, the State of California told the workers that they and their friends could take what they wanted because the place was going to be demolished anyway. The Preston Castle Foundation is trying to raise enough money to restore the castle, but the 15 to 30 million dollars will take a while. Some of this money is coming from the weekend tours. 

There is a lot more about the castle, but it would take many posts to tell it all. If you find this interesting, just go out to the net and Google Preston Castle and read away or if you’re in the area on a weekend, stop by I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 

As a side note, if you play golf, Castle Oaks golf course is just across the street (It’s open to the public).   

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Castle Oaks Golf Course
If you happen to know anyone at Mule Creek State Prison its right next door (I know two people there, but they work there, not incarcerated). 

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Mule Creek State Prison

Did I mention that the castle is haunted? Of course it is, almost every place around here is haunted. Comes with the territory.