TroutfesT 2019 champion returns midweek after tourney to have yet another great day on Big Bear Lake

Andrew Mack was trolling Rapalas


BIG BEAR LAKE – Talk about a good string of trout fishing days and reward for perserverance. After claiming the Adult Male title and the overall top weight of Big Bear Lake TroutfesT 2019, Andrew Mack came back for a shot at what he lost during the tournament, not what he found. After having a couple hooks bend out on a huge bite the prior Saturday Mack returned determined to see if he could drum up what he might have missed.

FISHING WITH Fish Big Bear Charter Service and Capt. Sean Rabago, Bevlin, Dresden, Noah and Camilla from Whittier had a blast catching quality rainbows, capped off by this fat 5.6 pounder.

Mack was trolling Rapalas midweek and had caught a half dozen trout, releasing four of them, when he decided to make one final run through the area he found success at TroutfesT on his way back to the launch ramp. Bam, a rod goes off, and a few minutes later, a 5 pounder is in the boat. Ten minutes after that, the drag rips again… a 7.38-pound rainbow would find its way to the net.

“It was then that I realized I’d just caught my personal best trout from Big Bear,” Mack said. “So after the cheering and high fives with my buddy Mike, I told him, ‘This is the spot where I lost that massive fish when the hooks pulled on Saturday.’ Not 10, 15 seconds later I get hit hard, but this time I was prepared with new hooks and split rings. It ripped lots of drag and jumped two times but finally Mike did a deep scoop and the fish was in the net – this one went 9.3 pounds! I wondered if it was the same fish from a few days ago. It hit the same lure at the same spot, the only difference this time was dipping my lure in fish attractant and the replaced hooks and rings.”

Those final three bites while meandering back toward the launch ramp would cap an epic day for Mack, who stacked up a 5-fish rainbow limit going just a smidgen over 24 pounds – for context, he dominated the TroutfesT competition with a two-day total of 26.37 pounds, the heaviest weight in recent memory at the tournament. Safe to say, the early days of October have been good ones to the Rancho Cucamonga trout angler.


Big Bear Sporting Goods Manager Steve Raphael told WON the trout bite continues to improve for both boaters and bank anglers alike. Along with trolled Rapalas doing the trick, Needlefish are also working for bites, and those choosing to drift with wedding rings and nightcrawlers are also finding more limits than not along with some stout rainbows. Along with the North Shore, the Juniper Point area has also been productive for shoreline anglers soaking various colors and scents of PowerBait, both on Carolina rigs and on slip bobber setups.

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