Before Tackle Express was even open for business, this skinny, heavily tattooed guy came through the front door, looked me in the eye with a big smile on his face and said, "I know you!" At first sight, you're not quite sure if he's going to kill you or hug you. That was 6 years ago when he blasted through the front door, I was putting up new pegboard on the wall where Yamamoto Baits would call their home. I had seen him around and I knew this guy was a hardcore fisherman. He's not soft spoken and he always speaks his mind, there is no guessing what he thinks about you or others. Behind this tough attitude is a really, really good dude. He'll go out of his way to help you and always has your back. Every year at Christmas, his mom makes the best tamales and he brings us a giant bag to gorge on. If you haven't had his mom's tamales, trust me, you haven't had a tamale.
Nice Smallmouth on a Homemade Bait
I've fished with Miege many times over the years and I can tell you he knows his stuff. He is out on the water a minimum of 4-5 times a week and to say he is in tune with our local lakes is understatement. All of us swear he has some kind of Jedi status, he will catch more and bigger fish than you time and time again and at lightning speed. He can cover ground so fast you'd swear he had hooves instead of feet. He seemingly floats over the roughest terrain, even in the pitch black of night. Anyone that dares go with him struggles to keep up, slipping and tripping their way to bruised shins and twisted ankles.
A commercial electrician by trade, he goes to work as early as 4AM heading down to areas of Los Angeles to work on high rise office and apartment buildings. Most days he gets off early, heads home to make baits, and then grabs his gear to fish Pyramid or Castaic Lakes. His dedication to the sport shows as eats and sleeps fishing, spending more time on the water than anyone I've ever met. He hasn't just done this for the past couple years, he has been hitting it hard for 15 years straight. "Since I bought an old Toyota truck in 2001, you couldn't keep me away from the water" Miege says. Fishing is not a hobby or weekend getaway, it consumes his life with a passion that very few have.
Miege with a Handful of Castaic Lake Stripers
He makes his own hard and soft swimbaits and does some serious damage in deeper water with them. Most of the time he swimbaits the bottom, or at least lower column of the water, more than he fishes the surface. One day in the shop, I asked him why he fishes the bottom more, he said "That's where the bigger fish are. You can get big fish on the surface too, but I find it more consistent on or near the bottom most of the year ." That's not to say he doesn't get bit on the surface, he can work a Lunker Punker with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back.
Fishing Slow on the Bottom Produces a Nice Bass
He states that it's near the same patters for each time of year. If you have a good memory or you've just been doing it for 15+ years like he has, you learn those patterns and remember where the fish are at, what depth of water they're in, and what bait they will eat. When deciding where and how to fish, he uses angles and funnels to put the swimbait in the sweet spot.
The old saying that "confidence is everything" when fishing holds very true for Miege. He has a lot of confidence without being arrogant. Normally he brings a handful of baits in a backpack or fanny pack, choosing the right bait based on the conditions at one of his many spots. If one isn't producing, he tries another until he figures it out. He says he has confidence in many of his baits, but he's willing to try new baits out too. When he sees a new bait in the package, he already knows how and where to fish it based on his extensive knowledge of lure shapes and designs.
He is definitely a unique guy with a passion for life, the outdoors and the pursuit of big fish. Miege thinks differently about fishing than most of us do and I believe he actually understands the fish in a deeper way. Swimbait fishing is unique and one of the most difficult and rewarding techniques one can learn. It's a craft that has to be honed into an art of sorts. There are very few that have this devotion and even fewer who never wane or get bored of it.
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