Mystery bass just short of ‘teener’ status bagged at Lake Hodges

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THIS 9-POUND LAKE HODGES LARGEMOUTH was caught by Escondido angler Joe Arenas who was working a Senko near the Pump Station.
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Not the only wall hanger to hit the scale

BY MIKE STEVENS

ESCONDIDO— Lake Hodges might not look the same with its city-mandated low water level and no trailered boats zipping around, but one characteristic that seems to have powered through is the lake’s tendency to kick out tanker largemouth in not-quite-spring-yet March. It’s been going on in essentially all but the first week since it opened for the 2024 season, and the biggest bass this time around is one that, unfortunately, will remain under the curtain of semi secrecy.

Western Outdoor News was contacted about four times in as many days when a lake regular stuck a 13 pounder. The angler (who was named by one of the sources) did not post photos anywhere, and he indicated to lake staffers that he wanted to keep the specifics of the catch on the down low. WON field staffer Brady Garrett frequents Hodges in his “flying saucer” (it will make sense if you spot him in it) and knew exactly who the angler is and described him as “a kayak guy who is always out there when I am, and he’s always cool when you talk to him.”

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According to concession manager Laina Ruiz, “he’s super legit and has been fishing at Hodges for so long. He’s one of those dedicated old timers.”

Ruiz said she also confirmed the fish was caught on a plastic worm, but that was about it for the good stuff as far as that fish is concerned, but there was plenty more to talk about.

“It was insanely busy all weekend.” Ruiz told WON. “A bunch of people said the bass are coming up to spawn already, which is super early for Hodges. A bunch of people caught sixes a couple nines. It seems like Senkos are a good way to go. Crappie are still good by the peninsula point off crappie jigs.”

One of those bigs was a 9 pounder hauled in by Escondido angler Joe Arenas who was casting a Senko from shore near the Pump Station. Joe Larson was another basser working out of a ‘yak, and after three hours of nada, he broke a couple off only to stick a 7 pounder to go along with a 4 and a pair of 3-pound largemeouth.

As for the crappie, that’s one species that has been cranking since the gate opened in February. Both huge numbers and quality are available, it’s just a matter of locating them on the right structure spot and hitting them with jigs. Kayak guys with electronics are getting the best of it.

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