Fisherman's Retreat Bass Fishing Blast in Redlands

I was told the bass bite was good at Fisherman's Retreat, near Redlands, so off I went. This was my first time to this private/pay to fish set of ponds, so I was kind of hesitant. Entry was $15 for 12 hours of fishing, considerably more affordable than many other pay-to-fish private lakes. When I got there, about 10-15 other anglers were bank fishing, soaking bait for "whatever" would bite. Sun was peeking out and the water was super clear, not a fish in sight. Lots of swell lily pads though!
Fisherman's Retreat is in San Timoteo Canyon, a scenic valley. The ponds have excellent bank access for shore-bound anglers like myself and have a lot of awesome cover for bass fishing. Take a look at the following:
 (Big bass story after the break)

I neglected to take photos of the massive shrub/reed fortress that harbors loads of bass in one of the ponds (there is two ponds available for non-member anglers). It's nice to finally find a SoCal fishing spot with lots of cover to fish. Casting to nothing (except grocery carts) at city park lakes isn't anywhere as exciting as this! Coming out to Fisherman's Retreat and seeing "true" bass cover reminded me of fishing back in Oklahoma and Texas-loads of cover that just begged to be casted to.
So, on to the fishing. I spent a lot of time hiking around the smaller pond, looking for bass. The water was crystal clear, but I only spotted a few at first. I did see a very large female, but she wouldn't take any lures. However, I finally angered one 14'' bass with a Yum Crawbug:
After that, I started nailing fish on the Crawbug. It's one of the more realistic and affordable crawfish lures I've found and bass always seem intrigued. I have to fish it on a jighead, rigged like this

(closeup of the last fish)
I met up with several other FNN members, really great guys. They were fishing plastic worms, so I switched it up and got this guy on a Berkely plastic worm:
Got one more on the Crawbug, then I took a break and re-rigged my poles with some topwater stuff. I know it's early for a topwater bite, but I just had to try it out at dusk. I went back to the spot where I had seen the huge female, and pitched the Crawbug back out to her. I was aiming for a spot about the size of a trash can lid. Messed up the first cast, thankfully the sun had just gone down and it didn't spook the bass. Second cast was right on and I saw her race over, inspect the Crawbug, and engulf it. I have never had a bass pull like this one did, with long, powerful runs, heart-stopping leaps and mad thrashing. 6lb mono held up in the end. Enjoy the results.

Super thanks to the guys who got the pictures (they caught a 20lb+ carp that day, nice fish!). This bass was 20 inches long, didn't get the girth measurement (absolutely loaded with eggs). She was quickly released back after a few photos. Definitely a fish I will never forget, might even be heavier than my longer (but skinnier) PB from last year. Judging from the photos, I'm pretty tempted to say this new fish is the better one, but who knows?
Anyway, I had a blast fishing Fisherman's Retreat. It's a little expensive, and it's definitely not like most SoCal lakes/ponds, but it was fun. 
I'm running out of these bugs.

Parting shot.

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April 5, 2011 at 7:44 PM delete

Wow, a 20 inch long bass? Way to go, bro! The higher fee seems worth it!

January 15, 2018 at 11:33 PM delete

I use to go camping their and fishing all the time when I was a young boy but one camping trip in 1967 was one I will never forget writing it on my book will try and publish one day


Be nice.