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Event Article

A Pro Angler Finesse and Big Bait Combo at Lake Pardee (continued)


Zander and Cody continued to work a variety of lures including jigs, drop shot, and tubes for the first few hours picking up fish wherever there were rock piles off the bank. “Do you prefer using a spinning outfit over baitcasting?” Zander asked. Cody explained “I like both, but I will fish a spinning outfit at least 50% of the time if not more, simply because I employ so many finesse techniques and really need the ability to cast very light lures.”


Pro Angler John Maes was a former Angler of the Year in many team circuits and is also an expert finesse fisherman


Cody also explained he really prefers light line and swears by lighter pound test, often using both 4 and 6lb. test on tour. “The lower lb. test absolutely increases the number of strikes,” Cody explained. “I use Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon which may not be the thinnest fluorocarbon but is also incredibly strong.” The confidence in the line’s tensile strength gives Cody the ability to fish these lighter lines when targeting big fish in deep water, of course a good drag helps too.


John horses a drop shot fish in


Meanwhile on the other side of the main lake JIP and John were also drop shotting, but unlike Cody and Zander that were getting into smallies, they were having success picking up largemouth with the same technique.


John and JIP with some nice green fish taken via finesse techniques


John was having success picking these fish off the grass line which he commented was much lower than usual because the water was so high this year. The huge amount of rain that had saturated Northern California had filled Pardee up, and though water clarity was nearly 10 feet the lake is normally crystal clear to 25 plus feet. Water was pouring out of Pardee and there was a lot of debris in the water, and the elevated water level and reduced visibility presented another challenge to the pros that were used to fishing more discernible structure, and now had to rely on their electronics to find productive spots.


It is a parking lot at the dock after the morning session, let's see how the other pros did


Switching from finesse to swimbaits: At 11:00 both boats were just shy of their limits and a number of quality fish in the 3-5lb. class had been boated. The smallmouth looked very healthy and had bellies full of trout. The swimbait anglers had thus far done reasonably well but the hope was as the water continued to warm the bite would only improve.


Kent with a beautiful smallmouth


A number of the pros had boated some really nice fish. Kent landed a beautiful 7lb. smallmouth and Russ Graves, an expert with big baits, had landed two equally giant fish using a full sized Hudd.


Russ Graves is an expert swimbait angler and used this hudd...


...to land these giants


As we grabbed our tackle and walked up the dock to the next boat FLW Pro Angler Chris Zaldain stepped off his own boat and gave Kent a big High-Five. A second later we found out exactly why as he pulled out two nice largemouth out of his livewell for pictures. Pardee was once again showing us why people come from far away to target both largemouth and smallmouth in this Mother Lode lake.


Chris Zaldain high-fives Kent...


...and shows us his trophy largemouth


The trout fishing in this lake can be phenomenal, and the trollers were out in full force on this day, no doubt watching all the bass boats zoom back and forth hitting the points. While the massive trophy trout plants are what draw the trout fishermen it is also what essentially makes Pardee so attractive for bassers, especially big bait anglers as the fish regularly gorge themselves on trout.


Angel Alorro, Mother Lode Pro and Bass Angler Magazine staffer, holds up some nice fish on his Bait Barn wrapped tournament rig


Pro Angler Chris Ricci gives the thumbs up...


...and shows us a new signature popper, the Ricci Recipe, from Lobina Lures


Next Section: The big bait fishing gets out of control











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