Denis Peirce: Following your passion pays off |

Denis Peirce: Following your passion pays off

It happens to everyone who gets serious about their fishing. You go out and have one of those magical days where you just can’t miss. The fish seem to be taking numbers to jump on the end of your line. You just know that this is not serendipity, you have moved to the next skill level where this successful outing will be the norm not the exception.

From there the fantasy progresses on to making a living pursuing the passion you are so good at. For the trout angler becoming a fishing guide comes into focus. You will get paid to take others out and “get them on fish”.

Salt-water anglers want to open their own tackle shop, where you have unlimited access to the best gear. Your days will go back and forth between selling tackle and using it out on the water.

The ultimate dream for bass anglers is to turn professional and fish for wealth as well as pleasure. You travel the continent with your boat, testing you skills on bass from coast to coast and border to border. All you need to do is win an occasional tournament and have good sponsors.

For many of us, our dreams are followed by the alarm going off in the next morning, calling us back to our world.

This past weekend one of our own has proven that dreams can come true. Michael Bennett, 24, won the FLW Bass Fishing Championship. He is the youngest angler ever to win the “Gold Medal of Bass fishing.” The finals which were held outside Columbia, S.C. on Lake Murray were a culmination of more than a decade of hard work and the belief that he could do it.

I first be came aware of Michael and his brother R.J. when they were competing in the youth casting contest at the Sportsman’s Expo in Sacramento a decade ago. Both of the brothers have gone on to compete as professional bass anglers. Michael has gone on to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

I want to congratulate Michael for his accomplishment. But also for his example to the rest of us that it can be done. Not many of us will earn a living, much less a million dollars, by fishing.

But on a broader scale, he followed his passion and succeeded. He should be an inspiration to all of us.


I received a kokanee report from Rick Kennedy,, after he fished Little Grass Valley a week ago. He has been looking for some water with a good kokanee bite and found it. It was some of the fastest action he has had in his boat this year.

He was picking up his fish 35 to 40 feet down in 50 feet of water. He was using uncle Larry’s spinner in pink behind a dodger. He had limits for four anglers by 10:30 a.m. Most of the fish were from 10 to 13 inches. He also picked and released four rainbows incidental to kokanee fishing.

Keith Kerrigan has been fishing both Donner and Stampede. The bite at Donner is fair for kokanee. His best results have come from the China Cove area at 45 to 55 feet down. The kokanee are small. In the same area there are macs staging on the bench 70 feet down. Keith tried to get them trolling with out success. He finally got them to bite by jigging.

At Stampede the bite is also fair at best. The most productive area has been between the ramp and the east end of the island. The kokanee are 35-45 feet down at first light and were hitting on orange and glow lures. When the sun came up they went down to 50-60 feet and responded best to pink/purple and chartreuse/black color combinations.

For larger fish Kerrigan suggests targeting the macs. They with 5-inch black over white kokanee imitating lures such as an A.C. Plug.


There is some good news on the salmon scene. If you have been following the side bar reporting the salmon counted going over the Red Bluff fish ladder things have been improving relative to last year.

From May through late July the 2008 count averaged about 66 percent of the 2007 numbers. This year’s numbers as a percentage have been increasing steadily in early August.

Two thousand eight is now at 92 percent of the 2007 count. This past week 617 salmon were counted passing the dam. This is by no means the end of the salmon crisis, but it is a hopeful sign that we are moving in the right direction at the moment.

Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. He may be reached via e-mail at

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