May 17, 2014 by David A. Brown
BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. - In the final round of Rayovac FLW Series Western Division action on the California Delta, Darren Vieira learned how to through a punch. Actually, a punch bait, is more accurate and the co-angler from Martinez, Calif., used this knowledge to lock up his first FLW victory with a 3-day total of 42 pounds 2 ounces.
Worth noting: Vieira edged second-place Brandon Cabrales by one ounce.
Paired with pro winner Mark Daniels, Vieira got a first-hand lesson on a technique he'd not previously used. He quickly absorbed the technique tips his pro offered and sacked up a final round limit of 13-3 to complement his first two scores of 14-3 and 14-12.
"I got one 3-pounder on a Snagproof Bobby's Perfect Frog, but the rest were on punching," he said. "I'd never really punched but Mark Daniels schooled me really quick, gave me pointers, let me fish and kept the boat where I could fish. I wouldn't have been able to do this without having him on the third day."
Vieira punched a beaver style bait with a Pacheck Baits Punch Skirt.
Biggest piece of advice from his pro: "Mark showed me how to use the right size bait with the different grasses. I couldn't get my bait through the grass at first. I kept working it and working it and he showed me which bait to use. I downsized and went right through the grass."
Cabrales climbs to second
Cabrales, of Huntington Beach, Calif., entered the final round in eighth place, but made a big move up to second after catching the day's biggest co-angler sack - 15-1. Ending with 42-1, he came within an ounce of the top spot.
After relying on a dropshot for most of days one and two, Cabrales found himself paired with Delta punching Guru Stephen "Bub" Tosh, so he tried the technique with favorable results.
"This was the first time I've ever punched, but I'll keep a punch bait handy from now on," Cabrales said.
Hawk finishes third
Joining his father - fourth-place pro Roy Hawk, in the final round, Sunny Hawk, of Salt Lake City, Utah, continued his upward climb on day three. He placed 10th on day one, improved to sixth on day two and reached third No. 3 spot with a finishing total of 40-6.
Hawk relied mostly on a frog and a dropshot.
Bynum, Shrader take fourth, fifth
Matthew Bynum, of Concord, Calif., held steady in second place on days one and two before slipping to fourth on the last day with 39-1.
Chris Shrader, of Mountain Home AFB, ID also held the same position for the first two days; for him it was fourth. Shrader would end the tournament in fifth place with 38-11.
Best of the rest
Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Cal Delta event:
6th: Rob Larrabee, of Livermore, Calif., 38-7
7th: Josh Unruh, of Winnemucca, Nev., 36-15
8th: Troy Stokes, of Huntington Beach, Calif., 36-14
9th: Keith Adams, of Redding, Calif., 35-4
10th: Ryan Diatte, of Gilroy, Calif., 32-4