Outdoor / Fishing

Thursday, Jul 25 2013 06:12 PM

Steve Merlo: Large Tiger Trout a nice surprise for local angler

By The Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield's Dugan Turner has spent many hours on Nevada's popular Ruby Marsh catching his fair share of large, fly-caught rainbow trout. Fishing with his wife Denise and daughter, Rheana, in late June, he got the surprise of his fishing life when a 27-inch Tiger Trout engulfed his tiny artificial ant.

The Tiger Trout, hybrid specie between a male Brook Trout and female Brown Trout, can grow to weights in excess of 20-pounds (world record Lake Michigan), but in Nevada, the state record is a shade over 13-pounds. Dugan's fish, while not quite eclipsing the state mark, had an estimated weight of nine pounds before it was released alive, and is thought to be in the top three of all Nevada-caught Tigers.

And to sweeten the deal even more, Dugan's wife, not to be outdone, also found herself on the business end of a beautiful 28-inch, 10-pound rainbow trout on the same evening.

By the way, Californian CEO Richard Beene, who writes a daily column regarding "Bakersfieldisms," might be interested to know that back in the mid 1960's, Dugan Turner had a very popular rock and roll band called the "Donnybrooks." His group played most of the local high schools in and around town, and, according to the one time guitarists turned fisherman, he was able to put himself through college with the proceeds he earned.

Golden Empire Bass Club Tournamanet results

Simply amazing -- that's what the local fishermen and pros alike are calling the bass fishing action at Isabella Lake despite the low water conditions. Roy and Justin Neal of Bakersfield proved that point by hauling in a five fish limit of largemouth bass weighing 36.68-pounds during last Saturday's Golden Empire Bass Club tournament to win the event. Distancing themselves by over 5-pounds from their nearest competitor, the father and son team also nailed down "Big Fish" of the day, a 9.74-pound beauty that nailed the win, giving them a nice $500 payday.

Mike Merlo and Duane Dalke finished second with 21.47-pounds and third big fish, while Billy Whitted and Eric Brock took third with 17.37-pounds and a 7.21-pound second big fish.

The next meeting for the Golden Empire Bass Club will be at 7:00 p.m. September 3rd at Rusty's Pizza at Ming and Ashe. The public is invited to attend and the club's next tournament will be held September 15th, once again at Isabella Lake.

Hunter safety courses

With hunting seasons almost upon us, getting a hunting license means making sure that one's hunter safety validations are in order, especially if one plans on going out of state this year. The coastal deer A-Zone rifle begins August 10 for 44 consecutive days, followed by the Inland D-8 and D-9 archery shoot on August 17th. The D-Zones' buck rifle hunts begin on September 28th, and the 'Big Daddy' of them all, dove season begins September 1st. But, no one can hunt at all without a valid hunting license and the only way to get one is to complete and pass one of the California's mandatory and accredited Hunter Safety Courses.

Fortunately, and just in the nick of time, Kern Shooting Sports will be offering a 2-day Hunter Safety Class on August 10th and 11th. They will also follow up with an Internet Course on August 19th. All prospective students must pre-register by calling Jay Busby at 661-871-9025. Time is of the essence because the classes usually fill up in a hurry.

By the way, those big game hunters thinking it's time for their kids to not only get their licenses but tags too, need to know that youth hunters must be at least twelve-years old to purchase tags and hunt big game. That includes deer, pigs, bear and any special hunts.

No help at Isabella Lake

Unfortunately, most of the boat ramps at Isabella are either completely out of the water due to the extended drought or are too shallow to safely launch boats. The Corps of Engineers has done a little work on the main dam ramp, but after attempting to launch our bass boat on Wednesday, the 'work performed' left a lot to be desired. Our boat became stuck on a sandbar within inches of floating from the trailer and we had to carefully maneuver with the electric to break free and find deep enough water to start the combustion engine.

The only realistic place to launch is from the South Fork ramp, but expect to get wet getting into the boat. The old dock that sat alongside the ramp is completely out of the water at this writing and boaters must push their crafts up on the sand to load and unload passengers. Not a good thing, believe me.

Even so, the fishing remains outstanding for catfish and bass, especially in the South Fork trees.

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