Billed as the "lowest-down city in the Western Hemisphere" because it lies 184 feet below sea level, Calipatria is famous for its standard that floats a flag at the exact level of the Pacific Ocean.
The nearby Alamo River, which flows from Baja California, across Imperial Valley to drain into the Salton Sea, is an area I frequently fish. It was formed in 1905 along with the New River and modern Salton Sea when the Colorado River flooded and broke through several levees. It took two years to control the Colorado River's inflow to the Imperial Valley. In most places, the river is a vegetation-choked ravine with a small watercourse at the bottom. However, there are areas where the river widens and clear areas along its bank allows access for fishermen.
Finding a spot to catch bait along one of the many irrigation canals.
Flathead catfish hunt the shallows at night in search of sunfish. I thought five bluegill would be enough bait to get me through the night. I was wrong.
These roads would be impassable in wet weather. Some sections require 4wheel drive even in normal conditions.
Drive around long enough and you'll come across some sketchy-looking areas.
Checking out some new areas along the Alamo River.
Many sections had a straight five foot drop to the water, which would have made fishing alone somewhat difficult.
The "road" to get here was so soft and silty that at times I was worried about getting stuck, even with 4WD.
A little ways out of town, I settled on a spot with easier shore access.
Rods out and waiting for a bite, when suddenly...
...a little beaver comes swimming downriver in front of me.
It felt much nicer out once the sun started going down.
Soon my patience was rewarded when the line began peeling of one of my reels and I landed this seven pound flathead catfish.
Soon after releasing this fish to fight another day and sending out another bait, my line took off again. I engaged the reel and held on for dear life. Whatever was one the end of my line was much stronger than the previous fish. For what seemed like an eternity, I fought to keep the fish on my line and out of the snags. Every time I got him him in close, he would take off again into deeper water. I had the drag on my reel set fairly high with 30lb line. It didn't seem to matter. I finally started making progress and just as I got into position to land this fish with net in hand, the rod snapped back and hit me as all pressure on the other end of the line was now gone. I reeled in to check the gear to see what might have happened. The hook was gone. The fish probably snapped the line on some underwater snag. It was heartbreaking. I was hoping to break my personnel best of 15 pounds, but it wasn't happening tonight.
I ended up getting two more runs that night but wasn't able to make them stick. This was the first time I had run out of bait while fishing there. I usually fish until 4AM or until the bait is gone. Next time, get more bait! It was a little after midnight when I headed out and I got home around 2:30AM. Even when you lose good fish, its always a good time getting out and wetting a line. Looking forward to next time!