31st 2011

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

Here’s a photo of Cliff Wentworth with his 6 lb 2 oz Largemouth Bass caught recently at Lake Berryessa while pre-fishing with his dad Bill Wentworth for a tournament. He caught the fish using 8lb Dacron line and a single tail hula worm, yellow in color.

They claimed they  junk fished (using a variety of baits) for most of the day. Bill caught three nice fish on a blue square-billed chatter rattle crank deep diver near the rock pile on Lunker Ridge (sorry no gps coordinates) by the dam. Cliff caught a couple more at Bassy Flat ( that’s south of crawdad corners)  using a tandem willow blade spin craw with a white robo-tube trailer and another one at Putah Cove on a 1 oz Shakey Head with a Bruised Banana trick craw.

Twice now we have caught 16 lbs (that’s tournament talk for a five fish limit) while pre-fishing but can’t seem to do well when tournament day comes around. I guess that’s just fishing. I’m not afraid to share some secrets, just don’t spy on us during tournaments or while we are pre-fishing.( Editors note: I guess no one has told Bill or Cliff that a few of us chipped in together and had lo-jack installed on his boat.)

  I spent the day up at Berryessa this past Sunday and if you haven’t been up there in a while you need to plan a little time and take a ride up there. The lake is only about four or five feet from going over the glory hole. I’m sure it won’t make it this year, but with a normal winter next year it should reach maximum capacity. Everything is nice and green with the wild flowers starting to bloom so if you are looking for something to do one Saturday afternoon, real soon, now is the time to go up and take a look before the road gets packed full of ski boats. If you are worried about all those bass boats on the road, I can tell you that most are on the water by sun up and don’t get off the water until three or four in the afternoon. There you go…an eight to nine hour window with very little traffic. Enjoy the day.

California Outdoors Q&As

Legal to have a loaded firearm in a parked car?

Question: Is it legal to have a loaded firearm in a parked vehicle while hunting? (Scott D. Beyer)

Answer: No. Possessing a loaded rifle or shotgun (live round in the chamber) in a vehicle, even when parked and you are away from your vehicle for any purpose, is still prohibited (Fish and Game Code, section 2006). This law applies when you are on a public roadway or other way open to the public. This means any place the public can go, including roadless or “off road” areas.

Deer validation requirements 

Question: I just went through the validation part of the Department of Fish and Game site and can’t locate the following requirement. What happened was a friend stopped Saturday at a California Highway Patrol office to have his deer tag validated. The carcass was in the truck in a deer bag and the horns were cut off. The officer told him he was in violation of the law as the head MUST be attached to the deer until dropped off at a butcher shop or cut up at home. I’ve never heard of this before in California. Is this the case? If so, it’s a severe imposition on successful hunters. The book says the head must be retained in case a warden asks to see it after the fact, but what if you want it mounted and must skin it as soon as possible? I cannot locate anything referring to the horns attached issue. Why not require proof of sex be left on the carcass instead? (Bill A.)

Answer: For hunters who backpack into roadless areas, they are required to pack out of the field all edible meat and the portion of the head which normally bears the antlers (skull cap) with the tag attached. The remainder of the skull may be discarded at the kill site. The tag must be validated prior to transportation to the nearest person authorized to validate the tag. Hunters are then required to maintain the portion of the head which normally bears the antlers with the tag attached during the open season and for 15 days thereafter, and it must be produced upon demand to any officer authorized to enforce the regulations (California Code of Regulations, Title 14 sections 708(3)(4) & (5) and FGC sections 4302, 4304 & 4306).

Why no fishing license displays?

Question: Can you tell me the reason why anglers are not required to display their fishing licenses anymore? How are wardens supposed to catch poachers and unlicensed people? I know we have fewer wardens than needed, but this just makes their job harder and decreases revenue for the state in the form of fines. (Danny F.)

Answer: The Fish and Game Commission agreed to do away with the required display law this year because fishermen have been asking for it to be overturned for a number of years. People were constantly complaining about losing their licenses or finding it to be a big hassle. Our enforcement staff too said this law didn’t help them that much because they still had to walk up to the person to see the license to make sure it was valid. Many people were making copies of licenses and displaying the illegal license while fishing. The theory that more people would purchase a license due to peer pressure did not prove to be true.  Many people would be upset when a game warden asked to see the license because it was already visible, yet the only way to check if it was valid was to have it removed from the case.

While it may cause a decline in fine revenue, it was the predominant voice of the anglers in California to not have to display their licenses above their waist anymore, and so the Commission finally agreed. Although it’s no longer the law, many anglers do still choose to proudly display their licenses.

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