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Fishing report: Salton Sea draws record fishing crowds

June 15, 2001|By AL KALIN, Special to this newspaper

Record crowds, fishing from boats and along the shore around the Salton Sea, caught numerous limits of large corvina and croakers as the California Department of Fish & Game declared Saturday a free fishing day. Fishing licenses were not required to fish.

Another hatch of pile worms during the full moon last week kept croakers and corvina feeding close to shore. Most corvina caught weighed more than 5 pounds. Local Game Warden Carol Sassie commented that all the corvina she checked last week exceeded the 18-inch minimum size.

Black Rock continued to be a hot spot for boaters drifting mudsuckers and vertical jigging Hopkin's spoons in 7 to 12 feet of water.

Jackie Hart and Tunney Williams of Brawley limited out by 7:30 a.m. Saturday. They kept the five largest corvina, which weighed 13 to 20 pounds. Williams was excited as he showed me his 20-pounder, the largest he has caught in many years. Both Hart and Williams caught their fish by vertical jigging Hopkin's Spoons in 12 feet of water. The technique is to jig the spoon up and down off the bottom until a croaker is hooked, then allowing it to stay on the bottom. The croaker's frantic action soon draws a large corvina, which inhales both the croaker and jig, and the fight begins.


Bill Thornburg of Holtville and his two children reported catching and releasing more than 60 corvina Saturday around Red Hill drifting chartreuse Lunker Grubs. Thornburg rigged the grubs Carolina-style. The Carolina rig consists of a 24-inch leader tied with a barrel swivel on one end and a hook, which is rigged on the grub, at the other end. A sliding sinker is threaded on the fishing line and then the line is tied to the remaining end of the swivel. The rig is cast out and allowed to drag behind the boat or reeled in slowly.

Mudsuckers or croaker was the bait of choice for catching corvina last week as they shunned tilapia. Salton Sea guide Ray Garnett, who caught limits all week except for Saturday, thinks tilapia only work as bait in deeper water and are ineffective in shallow water due to their abundance there.

Kyle Larson and his father, Luke, from Holtville, fished the Lack Road Dikes on Sunday and caught numerous corvina using Swim Baits in a rainbow trout pattern. Kyle, 14, had quite a battle as he tried to land a 12- pounder. After a long fight, Kyle's fishing line was cut on the barnacles near shore as he attempted to land the lunker.

Jacob Rodriguez, 7 years old, and his father, Buzzy, of Brawley, also fished the Lack Road Dikes. Jacob did a fantastic job of battling a 12-pound corvina and landing it in the rocks with his father's help. Jacob displayed battle scars on his arms, caused when he caught a 15-pound corvina last week.

When the fish made its initial run young Jacob feared his rod would be pulled from his hands so he wrapped both arms around his fishing rod and was cut by the fishing line passing over his arms as the lunker made its 75-yard run.

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