The catch of the week, and really the last 8 years at Barrett was made on Sunday when a float tube fisherman caught a 10 lbs. 7 oz. bass! The angler, who goes by “Fino” caught her while fishing a green pumpkin colored plastic lizard, Texas rigged on 8 lb test line.
While Barrett kicks out its share of 8-9 lbs. bass each season, fish eclipsing the magical 10 pound mark are rare. Because Barrett is a mandatory catch and release lake, there is no scale at the dock and no official lake records are kept. The largest fish we’ve seen over the years from Barrett was one caught by Jonathan Wdowiak on July 7th of 2007 (click here to see this fish).
The reason that Barrett doesn’t kick out giant bass in the same way that the other San Diego lakes is simple – it has a different strain of bass. Barrett is the only lake in San Diego which is dominated by northern strain largemouth bass, as opposed to Florida strain bass. Florida bass grow much larger, but are also much less aggressive. Still, there is a small population of Florida strain bass in Barrett, and it is likely that most fish over 8 pounds there are Floridas, or at least hybrids of the two strains.
The fishing remains relatively unchanged at Barrett from the opening week, relatively “tough” by Barrett standards, but still plenty of fish to be caught if you knew where to look for them.
There is a window before the sun crests the hills and hits the water where anglers can capitalize on a good bite with bass actively feeding on shad right at the water’s edge. Last year anglers were stroking those fish with spinnerbaits and crankbaits, but with more shoreline cover to contend with this year, small senkos which still imitate the shad are working especially well. 3-4″ baits in shad patterns will get you bites if you find fish feeding on shad.
If you start the morning on banks on the eastern side of the lake, particularly northeast banks that face southwest, you’ll find your window to capitalize on the morning bite will last a little longer as it’ll be protected from the sun for a longer period.
Once the sun hits the water, anglers are still doing well fishing drop shots, jigs, fat ikas and other similar finesse style applications in deeper water.
Most bass are in the 2 – 2.5 pound range, but some nice fish over 5 pounds were reported over the weekend, as well as Wednesday.
The slower than normal Barrett fishing conditions can be attributed almost exclusively to one thing; low water. The lake is at only 6% of capacity, 83.96 vertical feet below spill level. You can expect the fishing to dip sharply as the water warms up this summer, quicker than in year’s past. Until San Diego gets considerable rain in East County, Barrett will continue to suffer.