Court Rights Reserve | Central Coast Kayak Fishing

By Ryan Arguello

I took 3 weeks off work to spend with my family and friends. One of the trips that wasn’t planned was going to Courtright Reservoir. The original plan was to hit the salt water looking for some halibut with my friends Zach and Andy. Unfortunately due to the conditions we had to change our plans. That’s where Courtright trout fishing came in. After talking to Zach, the plan was to meet at my house and I would take us both on a day fishing trip. Zach met me at my place on Friday around 7pm, it didn’t take much to convince me to go ahead and leave at 10pm to go up there so we could sleep before heading out knowing very well that I would not sleep. We loaded up the truck and trailer and started the 3 1/2 hour drive to the lake. As always on the way up the mountain, Zach and I talked about stores and upcoming fishing trips, it helps pass the time. We finally arrived at the launch parking lot at 1:30am, started setting up the kayaks with fish finders, batteries, rod holders, rods, etc, etc, etc. the kayaks leave and go fishing. After setting up all the gear, I decided to stay up a little longer to take some photos of the gorgeous night sky. I finally tried to sleep around 2:30am, end result……..I didn’t sleep at all.

I turned off the alarm before it went off because I saw it ticking closer to 4:30 am minute by minute, I got up and started cooking breakfast in the freezing cold on the stove and pan. I ended up making fried eggs, a massive amount of sausage and cheese bagels. There is something about doing food in the mountains, not sure if it was the 8100′ elevation or what, but it was good.

It is now 5:30 in the morning and we are now driving the truck and kayaks to the launch ramp which was about half a mile away. Once we got down there we finally got to see the lake and the conditions. We saw a lot of winds and mist coming off the water due to the water temperature being warmer than the air temperature. The water level was much better than we thought, although the lake was not yet full. By 6:00 am, both kayaks were in the water, I parked the truck and was heading down. As I was walking up the ramp, Zack was already in his kayak, so I took the time to do what I always do, snap a few photos to document the start of this already amazing day.

I jumped in my kayak and immediately through a deep diving crankbait with a 12″ leader coming from the back ring leading to a single hook and rattail plastic. While it was out, I was raising bottom cabin making note of the fish being marked on the fish finder, the fish suspended in 50 feet. I cast the bottom ball at that depth going up to a ring group with a fire tiger tip lure. I just sat for to relax and pedal to the back side of the lake, a fish nailed the crankbait rod. As I reeled this fish in, I realized I had forgotten my net! “Mat”! The trout are now slippery as hell . After I got the fish to the side of the kayak like I expected it came off the hook. I basically thought to myself “oh well it’s only been 5 minutes, still a lot of time in the day. The ticket was the ticket this day, I was consistently catching fish on that distance of 50 ft. All fish q they were caught, they were small, I mean small. On average I would say 9”-10”. Zach was trolling with a lure rig on a bottom rig he borrowed from his friend Jeremy and a weighted lure rig. It took Zach a while to get the hang of it, but once he found that money spot, he started killing them, by that I mean those small trout.

The wind ended up disappearing and the sun came out. It got hot fast, we both started to take off those sweaters and put on sun protection. We headed to the shore to have some lunch, again in boiling water. On the menu for today’s lunch was the easiest lunch to pack and prepare, cup noodles or cuppie noodles (Andy). Along the way, the water was so clear you could see trout swimming everywhere, so my lunch was put on hold and I started casting castmasters from the bank. As soon as I started pulling, I immediately had the fish chasing the lure. Second cast the lure bounced but didn’t hook then I heard Zach in the back state “looks like lunch is waiting”. Now we are both trying for trout from the shore. Lots of viewers but no takers, we had to try. I started making cup noodles and now I realized that I forgot my dishes, these are now two things that I forgot, but I think when you are bringing hundreds of things, forgetting two things is not bad. In the end I looked around my kayak and ended up using my favorite brand of fishing gear, Cuda dehooker brand was now Cuda branded fork. It sucks and I wish I had a fork, don’t get me wrong it’s a great tool when you use it for what it’s designed for, it just sucks like a fork.

After lunch we headed back fishing along the way we kept catching dinks actually Zach had one and didn’t even know it. We wonder how long that fish was pulled. Once at the launch, we loaded up and started up the ramp. I looked in the mirror and saw an older gentleman starting the long walk to the parking lot, since I had already walked it twice I asked him if he wanted a ride. He quickly thanked me, accepted the ride and jumped inside. After landing, Zach and I finished loading the gear out of the kayaks and into the truck and headed home. We ended up stopping for essentials in Shaver Lake and then stopped in another small town for some great Mexican food. On the drive home we discussed our next trip up north planned for late August, looking forward to getting out on the water soon.

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