Ryan Block caught and released a 16.125 pound (16 pounds 2 ounces) bass at Lake Skinner on Sunday, March 22nd. Lake Skinner is located 70 miles north of downtown San Diego in Winchester, just north of Temecula.
Block is a well known name in San Diego fishing circles, most notably as a Captain for in the local Sportfishing fleet, working from Oceanside to San Diego. But he has also made a solid name for himself as a big bass angler on the freshwater reservoirs, specifically for swimbait fishing.
This bass was reportedly caught just like that, with Block casting toward the boat dock at Skinner with a large trout imitating swimbait. If all the details check out, this bass would break the existing bass lake record at Skinner, which was set in April of 2012 by Chip Gilbert at 14.5 pounds.
Skinner has been one of the hottest lakes in Southern California the last few weeks, kicking out a number of good size bass. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had suspended trout plants at Skinner this season, but resumed those plants with a stock of rainbows on February 17th, which seemed to trigger the swimbait bite for big bass.
They seem to be staging under and around the boat dock area, suspending around the structure of the dock in between periods where they feed on the trout that are schooled up in the area.
Those female bass have spent the last couple weeks gorging themselves on the stocked rainbows preparing for the spawn, and any day they’ll be moving up on flats and dumping their eggs. The next full moon is on April 4th, and that should trigger the year’s biggest bass spawn at most of the low elevation Southern California lakes, especially if the warm weather holds, which it should.
Look for bass to begin moving up in big numbers about a week before the full moon, about March 28th and continuing to do so through April 11th or 12th.
These next couple week might be the best time of the year to catch a giant bass, and Skinner should be on the radar for local bass anglers.
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