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Steve Merlo

Fishing has been so good lately that if anglers don't have something biting on the ends of their lines at this time, then they might consider taking up golf or badminton and just save their fishing license money.

For example, catfish are going strong at Buena Vista and Isabella lakes, while the crappie bite continues at Isabella. The spawn has mostly ended for the zillions of black crappie that invaded the shallows two months ago, but the throngs of good-eating gamesters have merely moved a few feet deeper. Outside drops or rock piles just off the spawning flats are providing excellent catching for anglers bobbing a live minnow 8-10 feet deep.

Catfish anglers are having a field day catching lots of channel and white catfish in only 1-3 feet of water. Fishermen are feeding the cats a variety of baits, including salmon, night crawlers, chicken livers and shrimp. The only trick seems to be keeping the baits close to brush and using heavy-enough line to bull them from obstacles.

Bass fishing has also gone ballistic with the water coming up as fast as it is. With the lake now approaching 15 percent capacity, the fish are less than 10 feet deep and sticking to shoreline brush and rocks near deeper water. My wife Candy and I found excellent action a week ago on largemouth bass to over six pounds that hit our jigs and worms with abandon. We also found some quality fish to 3.5 pounds hitting our brush hogs split-shotted through the submerging growth all over the lake.

Look for some high sporting clay scores Saturday at the Kern County Gun Club when the 3rd Annual Dennis Burtch Memorial Shootout begins hammering clay targets. There will be more than $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Sponsored by the Kern County Gun Club, KSI and MMI Services, Inc., the event donates money to local charities such as Small Miracles and Wounded Warriors programs.

The 25-stand contest is restricted to 60 teams, but there's still plenty of room left for other five-man (or five-woman) teams. The cost of $100 per shooter does not cover the price of shells, but ammunition will be available to purchase. Check in is at 7 a.m. with shooting beginning at 8. Contact Mike Jones at (661) 201-4132 or Dirk O'Rear at (661) 978-1799 for information.

Dinner, games, special drawings, a huge raffle plus live and silent auctions highlight the annual Kern County Gun Club Dinner and Auction fundraiser to be held at the Bakersfield Elks Club on June 13. The special event makes money to keep the popular gun club up and running, as well as providing youth scholarships for local shooters.

The Kern County Gun Club is a state-of-the-art trap, skeet and sporting clay club located just north of the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area at 12450 Shotgun Road. Entry is a right turn at the large red shot shell at the front gate of the complex.

Contact Ken Ferra at (661) 332-4680 or Dirk O'Rear at (661) 978-1799 for tickets and information.

Ten local charities will be on the receiving end of the proceeds gathered on June 21, when the Corvettes of Bakersfield hold their first sporting clay shoot at the Kern County Gun Club. The not-for-profit organization generates income for its member-approved charitable organizations.

Five-member teams are only $100 per teammate and registration also includes lunch and awards. Shells will not be provided to shooters, but ammunition can be purchased at the club store prior to the event. Individuals can contact Berry and Diana Stokes at (661) 549-1652 for more information.

Don't forget to pick up your 2014-2015 hunting licenses and tag applications for drawings as soon as possible. With the drawing date of June 3 approaching, prospective hunters need to get their applications into the state while they still have time.

Current hunting licenses run $46.44, a one-deer application $30.81, a second tag application $38.06 (additionally), upland birds stamp $9.46, a bear $45.10, a single wild pig tag $22.17 and a duck stamp validation $20.26.