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BASS FISHERMEN LOOKING TO LAKE PERRIS FOR RECORD.

Byline: Jim Mathews Special to the Daily News

Trophy-bass anglers are packing their bags.

The Castaic largemouth fishery has fizzled. Casitas is still good, but most anglers don't believe it has the right combination any longer to produce a bucketmouth that will top the coveted 22-1/4-pound world record that has stood since 1932. San Diego city lakes haven't produced an honest 20-pounder in a decade. The cadre of monster-bass-seeking anglers are looking fondly at Lake Perris in western Riverside County as the Southland's next best hope of producing a record bass.

It is not only the string of exceedingly large bass that have come out of the lake so far this year or the lake record caught last year, but the combination of a relatively new population of Florida-strain largemouth bass (illegally introduced from Riverside County's Vail Lake in the early 1980s, when the spotted bass fishery was at a low ebb because of three successive years of draw downs during the spawn) and the regular stockings of rainbow trout that make the bass grow to enormous proportions.

It also doesn't hurt that Perris has a track record of producing world-record bass. It cranked out a succession of record spotted bass before the largemouths were introduced and effectively eliminated the spotted bass fishery.

The Perris record is a 16-1/2-pound fish caught by Scott Brownlie of Apple Valley last February. On the same day he landed that leviathan, Brownlie caught fish at 14-1/2 and 15-1/2 pounds. All three broke the previous lake record of 14 pounds.

"I think an 18 (pounder) is almost guaranteed this year," said Charlie Lamkin, marina manager at Perris, noting that two of Brownlie's fish were released, along with another 16-pounder netted last year. "But it might be next year before we have a shot at the world record."

In the past two weeks, Perris anglers have boated more than a dozen fish topping the 10-pound mark, including four by Allan Cole of Lancaster, the originator of the A.C. Plug, on his big troutlike baits. An 11-1/2-pounder recently chomped down on Cole's 12-inch bait right off the boat's stern in Climbing Rock Cove.

For anglers accustomed to seeing 2 and 3 pounders, an 11-pound bass is mammoth. It was Cole's first time fishing the lake. "This Perris is quite a special place," Cole said. "I've beat the brush at these other lakes - Casitas and Castaic - and I haven't caught a big fish this season, but I come out here, my first time here, and I've caught four over 10 pounds in three days. Oh, this is a good spot."

There have been several other impressive catches. Most have been released in hopes they will grow to world-record girth by next year or the year after.

Last week, veteran big-fish angler Troy Folkestad lost a fish he estimated at 18 pounds. Gregg Silks, the designer of the Z-Plug and the new Flex Bait, caught and released a 15-pound largemouth. Gil Rowe boated a 12-3/4-pounder on Sunday. And Del East, the Silverwood Lake striper guru, landed a 12-1/2-pound largemouth on his homemade plug.

The key to catching the big hawgs with consistency is to use huge, troutlike lures. Most anglers cast the big baits from stout rods with 25- to 30-pound-test line. Make no mistake, this is not fishing for the faint of muscle or heart.

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PHOTO

Photo (color) Allan Cole of Lancaster with the 11-1/2-pound bass he caught at Lake Perris on big troutlike baits. Jim Mathews / Special to the Daily News
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 15, 1996
Words:595
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