By Chris Shaffer | 05/18/2012
Bridgeport, CA – The Eastern Sierra is littered with some of the most heavily stocked trout fisheries in North America. From south of Lone Pine to roughly Topaz Lake, there’s 200 miles of Highway 395 that shuttles anglers to 100s of the nation’s most plentiful rainbow trout fisheries.
However, endless options make choosing where you are going to fish (and in this case, film Episode III of Pautzke TV) a chore. FireBait is our gem right now. The dough bait line is growing tremendously for us. More anglers are realizing that FireBait does in fact rival Power Bait. And, while many anglers are hesitant to give it a try because so many other formulas have hit the market and failed, we set out to prove that FireBait is worthy and anglers aren’t discounting their catches by trying it.
I’ll be honest; the first few hours of fishing on Bridgeport Reservoir were disappointing. We caught two fish in the first two hours while fishing with Will Clayton and Jim Reid of Ken’s Sporting Goods. For those who don’t know Reid, he’s a fixture in the Sierra. He’s owned Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport for more than a dozen years and doesn’t play favorites or fabricate fishing reports to generate business. This is one of many reasons why he’s well respected in the fishing community.
And, for the purpose of testing FireBait Reid has no ties to Pautzke and isn’t employed by us. This was the first time we’d ever met him. In fact, he doesn’t carry FireBait in his store (not prior to this trip, at least). All tests would be on camera and policed by the local general himself.
Prior to the first cast, Reid warned us that the morning bite isn’t very good at Bridgeport. We shouldn’t expect many bites till after 10, he said. Still, when we tossed out FireBait and didn’t get bit early on, I was nervous.
“Don’t worry,” Reid told me. “We have a few more spots to try. The bugs aren’t hatching yet. When they do, we’ll see if this stuff works.”
The sun climbed higher, the temperature crept into the 80s, bug activity increased and minutes later we couldn’t keep the trout off the FireBait. Ironically, surrounded by a congregation of a half-dozen boats, action wasn’t easy to come by elsewhere. We noticed a mere three fish caught in the next two hours.
“I guess your FireBait works,” Reid said.
That didn’t surprise us. It did many others, however, who have been disappointed for the last decade with competitor dough baits. Fortunately, we didn’t fall into that category as more than a dozen California rainbows fell for every color of FireBait in the line, except natural, green and yellow, which we left in the car. And, this occurred between 10am and Noon.
For the next hour we experimented by testing FireBait with other applications. For example the hottest bait of the day was what we call the “CK Special”: a single Green Label salmon egg on a single salmon egg hook completely covered with Peach Garlic FireBait. Our second best offering was our “Pautzke Tickler”: a inflated night crawler with a glob of Chartreuse Garlic FireBait rolled up on the hook. This helps float the worm off the bottom.
This spring hasn’t been normal in the Eastern Sierra. A well below average snowpack and warmer temperatures have fish thinking it’s early summer, rather than mid-May. At Bridgeport, water has already reached 60 degrees and while the three-to-five-pound bows we’ve been accustomed to a few years back aren’t the norm those fish are still around.
Head here with FireBait and you’re likely to find them.
To learn more about fishing Bridgeport Reservoir please contact Ken’s Sporting Goods (760) 932-7707