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Posted by Don on April 4, 2010 in Angler Improvement Articles with No Comments

by Don Allphin

For me, springtime on Utah Lake means quick, short fishing trips using a small boat ready to go at a moment’s notice, and sharing each adventure with a friend who is just as passionate about catching largemouth bass as I.  Bob Johnson is a neighbor of mine who I met for the first time on the roof of a houseboat parked at the mouth of the San Juan River on Lake Powell a dozen years ago.  Since that time, the two of us have gone to fishing school in the marshes and bays of Utah Lake and have learned to target trophy-sized largemouth bass in a unique and effective way.

In 1999, Bob spent some time fishing with Dee Thomas, a Hall-of-Fame professional angler from California who is known for inventing “flipping”, a method of presenting bass lures in close quarters.  This method, combined with a more widely –accepted presentation called “pitching” were fascinating to Bob and upon his return, he couldn’t wait to teach me how to “flip” and “pitch.”  Since there was precious little bass water available in our area, we decided to tackle many of the reed-filled areas of Utah Lake very close to our homes in west Provo.  That decision changed both of our lives.

Pitching became our favorite bass presentation, and Utah Lake became our favorite bass water.  Pitching is simply an underhand throw that looks more like a pendulum swinging more than it does an actual “cast.”  Pitching allows anglers to move quickly through likely bass haunts, covering water much more efficiently than other methods.  Once we mastered the technique we began catching a lot of fish.  There were days that we caught and released dozens of 3-plus-pound bass in just a few hours on the lake.

Another reason for our success was the choice of fishing rods.  We purchased rods called “pitching sticks” that still come in various sizes but have similar features.  A heavy-action rod, pitching sticks are between 7’ 6” and 8 feet in length after using a built-in telescoping extension.  This type of rod enables us to hook and hold large fish that fall for our presentations in very close quarters – sometimes just a few feet from the end of our rods.

The final reason for our continued success our choice of baits.  Bob introduced me to a bait called a “Brush Hog,” a creature bait Dee Thomas successfully used on the California Delta, near Stockton, CA.  Over the course of several years we altered our bait choices to include a unique blue/black jig that looks like the crawdads in Utah Lake.  For close to 10 years we have used the same baits with surprisingly consistent results.

 Very recently, Bob and I once again found ourselves on Utah Lake when the air temperature was still in the 30s.  Though we didn’t really expect to catch many fish with the water and the air still very cold, we were both itching to see how our bass had wintered.  After just an hour of pitching our blue/black jigs, we had landed three beautiful largemouth bass, and had missed another three massive strikes.  Though the fishing wasn’t fast and furious by our standards, the companionship was great, and the promise of the coming warm weather had us looking at our Google calendars to plan our next trip.

Don’t let the spring pass you by without checking out the great fishing available right here on Utah Lake.  From walleyes and catfish to white bass and largemouth bass, there is a fish for almost any angler.

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White Bass Bonanza

By Don Allphin White bass in huge numbers are making their way up the inlet streams surrounding Utah Lake this week.  Though their size is on average a little small, their numbers are so great that anglers are enjoying the action regardless of size. My son Don Jr. enjoys taking his young ...

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Big Water Equals Big Fish

by Don Allphin After receiving several emails from anxious readers wondering why the white bass run stopped as abruptly as it began, I decided to offer an alternate fishing opportunity while there is still too much water entering Utah Lake.  White bass will still be caught in the lower Provo...

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