Fishing with Noble / Noble Smith
This summer was a busy one in the Kern River Valley. I did not fish the upper Kern like I normally do. Temperatures were very high in Bakersfield as well as the Kern River Valley. People were seeking a cool place to hang out. Of course, the upper Kern is a great place to take the family for a day of swimming or tubing. The river flows slowed down early this summer, creating good conditions for both. I noticed people swimming and setting up day camps by the old cemetery. This is usually a great place to fish during summer months.
Now that Labor Day has come and gone, there is a change in fishing opportunities. Temps cool, kids back in school and football season begins. This is a great time to river fish. The fish are still very active. The DFW should still be stocking, just not as often. There are still plenty of holdovers from summer stocking.
Lake fishing is also wide open. The boat pressure on the lake is down this time of year. Less water sport boating means a lot more calm fishable water. The lake drop has slowed way down. The shad are thick, and all game fish are feeding actively on them. This is a great time to fish for bass, catfish and crappie. They are actively feeding in shallow water. I have not seen much activity on rainbow trout. I am sure as water temps cool, the trout will become more active.
During our club bass tournament on September 8, we found active fish. We caught a limit of fish weighing just over 8 pounds. I was surprised only three teams showed up to fish. The weather was nice, and fishing was good.
Jon VanRensselaer and Brett Ege found some nice fish and won with a five fish limit weighing over 18 pounds.
My partner Roy almost had a grand slam. By grand slam I mean catching four of the main species in one outing. He caught bass, crappie, and catfish during the tournament. Only fish missing was a trout. We were working a rock bank along the flume in the North Fork. We were using shad pattern crank baits. All the fish were caught in the same area.
It always surprises me when catfish are caught on a fast moving crank bait. They were nice, healthy 3 or 4 pound cats. It just goes to show a fisherman: find the shad, and the fish will be close by. I caught plenty of bass on my chrome crank bait. I did not catch any crappie or catfish. The difference, I believe, was Roy’s lure had a blue back along with the chrome. It also ran a little shallower than my lure.
The ABA tournament on September 15 had a much better turnout. Seven teams showed up to fish. There were some big bags of fish brought in. Father and son team McAbee won again. Their total weight for five fish was well over 20 pounds. All of the teams brought in double digit bags of fish. Team King and Smith had a tough time. We could only manage three keepers for a little over 4 pounds.
We fished the same area we fished the week before, the rock bank along the flume north of Orrick Cove. There is a lot of shad in this area. We caught a lot of fish that were just short of the 13-inch minimum for tournament fishing.
I hooked into one fish we thought to be a lunker. As my rod bent almost in half, I told Roy to get the net. I fought the fish quite a while. All I could think about was, “We’re in the money.” After a great fight, the fish came into view. It was a large channel catfish hooked in its side. That explains the extra pull weight. Got the heart pumping pretty good.
Talked to a lot of crappie fishermen. The bite is still on. One guy told me he has never seen such a good bite for this long. That should be great for the crappie tournament on September 22.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to fish it. I will also miss our last club tournament on October 8. My number has been called for a stem cell transplant at City of Hope. Hopefully, they have the fishing network on cable and lots of fishing magazines. Otherwise, I may go crazy.
Hope to see you on the water soon.