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Irvine Lake catfish going off big time; 18-1 hybrid striper is near lake record

August 12, 2010 |  9:19 am

Rex Vance made the catch of a lifetime with this monstrous striped bass, fishing on a guided trip with lake legend Donny Spencer. The fish was released to fight again another day. Here's this week's Irvine Lake fishing report, written by veteran angler Steve Carson:

Excellent catfish action at Irvine Lake this week was highlighted by a continuing great bass bite, reported Jimmy Getty at the Pro Shop. "The catfish bite has been pretty much limits in a few hours, as long as you are fishing near brush or rocks," observed Getty.

He added, "The bass fishing has been really good for a couple of months now, I can’t remember it ever being this good for this long. The quality and quantity of the bass are like what you can get at Vail or one of the other 'semiprivate' lakes. An angler who fishes hard all day can easily release 20 or 30 bass."

Good catfish baits have included mackerel, bonito, barracuda, DuMong’s, and Gulp!, with the favored depth being 5 to 15 feet. The catfish are active in the mornings from 6 to 9 a.m., and then again from 6 p.m. until midnight. Limit catches were reported from Santiago Flats and Boat Dock Cove, with the majority of the whiskerfish ranging from 2 to 6 pounds, along with a few larger units to keep things interesting.    

Bass anglers are catching fish using a variety of techniques, from topwater presentations all the way down to 40 feet, with 15 to 20 feet being the prime level. Most largemouth are in the 2- to 4-pound range, with some better-grade fish from 5- to 9-pounds being caught daily. Good locations included the Red Clay Cliffs, Rocky Point, and Sierra Cove.

Only a handful of hybrid striped bass (a.k.a. whiterock, wiper, or sunshine bass) were caught this week, mostly incidental to the pursuit of catfish. A monster wiper weighing 18-1 was caught on a chunk of mackerel by Rex Vance while fishing with veteran guide Don Spencer at Boat Dock Cove, just missing the lake record of 18-6 for the species. Although the lunker whiterock did not threaten the International Game Fish Assn. world record (27-5), it is at least 15 years old, meaning the current crop of 2-year-olds will be around making anglers happy for many years to come.    

Anglers chasing bluegill and redear are getting stringers full of half-pounders during the daytime by offering mealworms or Gulp! Crickets under a bobber. Few anglers are pursuing crappie, as the floating lanterns necessary to attract the slabs cause the catfish to depart.    

Action in the Kids Lagoon is very good on 1- to 3-pound catfish for families with children age 12 and younger. The main lake water level has gone down about two feet in the past two weeks. The surface water temperature is in the high 70s.

Outstanding catches of the week included:

-- Rex Vance of Orange Park Acres, 18-1 hybrid striped bass (released) on mackerel at Boat Dock Cove.
-- Phil Hildebrandt of Anaheim, 15-12 and 7-4 blue catfish (released) on mackerel at the flats.
-- Mike Dickerhoof of Atascadero, 10-4 and 8-6 blue catfish (released) on mackerel at the flats.
-- Elaine Dickerhoof of Artesia, 11-6 channel catfish and 10-0 blue catfish (released) on mackerel at the flats.
-- Marcus Stewart of Huntington Beach, 9-6 largemouth bass (released) on a sexy shad at the flats.
-- Jimmy Getty of Silverado, 7-2 largemouth bass (released) on a jig at the flats.

Photo: Rex Vance made the catch of a lifetime with this monstrous 18-1 striped bass, fishing on a guided trip with lake legend Donny Spencer. The fish was released. Credit: Irvine Lake

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