Outdoor report: Hot action returns to Red Hill

August 31, 2001|By AL KALIN, Special to this newspaper

First of all, the corvina have moved back to Red Hill and are biting with a vengeance. More on that in a minute.

Dove season starts tomorrow and the prospects are better than ever north and east of Niland and around Finney and Ramer lakes.

Lt. Joe Branna of the California Department of Fish and Game asked me to tell you he and his gang will have a check station set up at the Winterhaven agricultural station from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The purpose is to educate the public and ensure compliance with hunting regulations. This could be an expensive educational experience if you have broken any laws, so be on your best behavior.

I remember getting stuck in one of those checkpoints back in my high school days. Wardens were looking high and low for illegal birds. They searched the entire car, even used mirrors to check underneath the car. We had two six packs of sodas in an ice chest. In those days six packs came in a cardboard box. They took all the cans out of the cardboard box to see if the bottoms of the cans had been cut out and illegal doves stuffed inside.


After all that searching, I popped off and asked why they hadn't checked inside my hubcaps. Forty-five minutes later, after all hubcaps had been removed and inspected, we were on our way home.

Now back to the corvina. On Thursday and Friday, Allen Martin of Westmorland reported catching one corvina each day from the dikes at the south end of the Salton Sea.

Saturday morning I checked with Eugene Patterson and John Henry Mahaffey of San Diego. They had come down Friday afternoon, fished all night from the dike at the end of Young Road and hadn't gotten a bite. They were getting ready to leave after they fixed breakfast.

I wished them luck and moved onto the dike at the end of Lack Road, where the water color looked perfect. Casting Rat-L-Traps, Fire Tiger Kastmasters and Brown Bait-colored Swim Baits, I limited out in 20 minutes, catching fish from 10 to 15 pounds.

When I returned to tell Patterson and Mahaffey where the hot action was, they were all smiles and showed me their three large ice chests stuffed full of eight corvina that ranged from 15 to 20 pounds. They, too, had been busy.

Sunday morning found Gerry Merten and I drifting in my boat off the end of Lack Road dike. We didn't catch a fish every cast but it was close to it. I lost count of the big corvina we caught and released. They seemed to bite anything we threw at them.

Years ago I tried catching corvina with a spinnerbait. It worked well but the corvinas' powerful jaws rolled the spinnerbait's wire up in a ball. It was impossible to straighten the wire out and I gave up on the idea until recently when a friend of mine, who reps spinnerbaits, sent me some new Terminator T-1 Spinnerbaits with gold willow leaf blades and chartreuse skirts. These new lures are made with tempered titanium wire. The wire is guaranteed to always snap back to its original shape and never rust in saltwater.

After catching four big corvina, the spinnerbait looked as good as new. I'll be using this bait a lot for corvina. It's a lure that has lots of flash when worked slow at any depth.

Although fishing from the dikes slowed Tuesday, Salton Sea guide Ray Garnett reported his customers had limited out by 7 a.m. with corvina in the 8- to 15-pound range. Garnett drifted live tilapia off the old Red Hill jetty to catch the large stringers of fish.

The Salton Sea water temperature is 92 degrees and the elevation is 227.9 feet below sea level and still going down due to the hot weather.

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