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About Swimbait City's Owner

My name is Don Osborne. I am 49 years old and have been fishing ever since my parents bought their home in Castro Valley 2 doors down from Lake Chabot. You might say the lake was in my back yard. I caught my first fish at six and that was a catfish. From then on I was hooked. Fishing every day I could with
my friends I learned the lake very well. From its creek bottoms to the fallen trees and sunken tires. I began bass fishing when I visited my grandfather in Texas. My trip was scheduled for 2 weeks and ended up 2 months. We fished every day for 2 months straight and all my grand dad could tell my father was "Yup he loves to fish"
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I played numbers game with my friends catching countless numbers of bluegills and Crappy. We could catch hundreds a day always letting them go. Then it changed in 1976 they drained the lake down to fix the dam and the parks department introduced Florida strain largemouth bass into the lake. This was exciting for the parks biologists but when they fixed the dam and refilled the lake the overall level was 6 feet lower than it used to be. This was the beginning of the end of the pan fish. The Florida bass were growing and there was no cover for the small fish. Less than 10 years later the bluegill and crappy were gone, eaten by these huge bass planted in the lake years before.

The trout eaters were born. The put and take trout planting programs began in the 70s and have fattened up the populations of largemouth bass to enormous sizes. Trout derby's started up again with multiple lakes in the contest. One morning in April 1999 I ventured down to my favorite spot with my trusty kastmaster and started throwing it and I stuck an 8 lb trout.
She was a beauty. That fish followed my lure 2 times before the third time I tossed it behind her she bit and I landed her. The fish put me in second place overall. The week went by and I ended up winning 2nd and the prize was a guided trip with big bass pro Paul Duclose.
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We went fishing one day and started throwing these rubber trout about 8 inches long called Castaics. Paul caught the first fish and when he brought it in the boat and I saw it, I knew this was a start to something special. He taught me the ins and outs of how to catch these monsters. The most important things that he taught me were to be sincere and friendly to everyone and never lie about a catch. He also told me to never fool yourself or you will only be made a fool. Paul gave me my first Castaic hardbait, signed and numbered on the bait, and hand signed on the box. Since then I have had a love of fishing for trophy's, understanding that I can go 10 trips with out a bite, only to be rewarded on the 11th trip with a 12 lbr. That's how it is with trophy hunting. You get them a whole lot less than the amount of time spent on the water. In 2002 there was a decline in the population of bass in the lake until I noticed the bottom of the lake was like your bathtub in your home. I talked about this problem with our local bass bait shop owner Jon Walton. We came up with a program to dump Christmas trees in the lake. In a year we had the program with the parks and BBAC Black Bass Action Committee in place. We dumped 350 trees in 2003, 400 trees in 2004 and 400 trees in 05. We are looking to dump trees in Del Valle in January of 2006. In the 3 years of dumping trees I have noticed a dramatic change in the lake and I started fishing more and more different baits all BIG.

I started buying Castaics on e-bay and have put together a beautiful collection of the originals. All the baits pictured on the pages of my other website Donsbaits.com are owned by myself. I don't throw them all but I do have many that I have had success with that I stick to. My favorite bait to throw is the Castaic injected hardbait. Something about that particular bait just turns the fish on. I got a call From Paul and he said he had a special bait made by Castaic Hand carver Ken Huddleston.
He called it the Huddleston. WOW what a swimbait. I picked up some of the baits from Ken and it was on. I had never seen a swimbait bit like that one. This last spring I caught my personal best a 16.94 largemouth that took my breath away. This ending my story until I break my lakes record and quest for breaking the 22.4 record possibly the most sought after record ever

Don's second largest bass - 16.9 lbs

I now have an 14 year old son who is learning to fish. I regularly take him to a local pond to teach him the skills he will need to one day be my tournament partner. He is now able to cast where he wants and has the desire and the fever of catching fish. His record day is over 50 bluegill and 22 bass. Donald "JR." doesn't have a problem getting up to fish with his father especially when he catches Bass like the one shown on the left that he recently caught on a "Huddle-Bug"..