UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Wolf River Chain of Lakes

Last call

Last call
A bright sunrise enlivens the pre-launch moments on the final day of the Stren Series event on the Cal Delta.

OAKLEY, Calif. - A little less heat, a little more wind and far fewer boats - that's cause for optimism among the top 10 pros and co-anglers fishing the final round of the Stren Series Western Division event on the California Delta.

The tournament opened with mostly cloudy conditions, but quickly transitioned to clear skies and stiflingThe American flag hung still during boat check, but winds will likely increase by midday. heat. By day three, tough conditions and heavy fishing pressure had made for a tough bite. The California delta continued to yield good fish, but many anglers used the word "struggled."

The final morning, however, dawned cooler with the forecast of winds picking up around midday and daytime highs that will fall about eight degrees short of the 102 mark that anglers faced the two previous days.

Mike Andrews of Oakley, Calif. sits atop the pro division with 75 pounds, 4 ounces, but Jeremy Zipton of Discovery Bay, Calif. trails by just a pound and a half at 73-12. Andrews, who electrified the opening Pro leader Mike Andrews rigs a hefty swimbait in hopes of scoring a big bite early. weigh-ins with a 36-pound, 3-ounce stringer (Stren Series record), saw his productivity slide as heat and crowds took their toll of his spots. The reaction bite that he leveraged with a custom chatterbait dried up, but he's hoping to redeploy these tactics during the final round.

"I'm going to go back to what I did (on day one) and live or die by that," he said. "Today, we have nothing to lose. We're guaranteed (at least) tenth place so we might as we might as well swing for the fences and try to get some of those bigger bites."

Andrews said the day's conditions show promise for delivering just that. Specifically, he's looking forward to fishing more of the high tide before the water starts to recede. "The tide's an hour later each day, so as we're taking off the water's higher each day. We had high water in the afternoon on day one and that's when they bit good. The last two days, it's been low during most of the day and that's when I've been struggling.

"Today, we have a lot less pressure with (the rest of the tournament boats) not here, there's more Steadily sneaking up on the pro lead, Jeremy Zipton will stick with the wacky-rigged Senko that has produced most of his fish.wind today, plus with the higher water it should be more fishable."

Zipton has been sure and steady, so he's not planning on altering success. "I'm going to go out and just try to stay consistent. I have a little milk run I'm making and I'm going to stick with what has worked so far."

As with the first three days, he'll target tules in 2-4 feet of water and isolated weeds in 4-5 feet. Zipton will be flipping a wacky-rigged green pumpkin Senko. "All but two of my fish have come on Senkos, so I'll stick to it. We're going to try some topwater this morning and if we get lucky, we get lucky. If not, we'll go flipping."

Starting their day in third place, pro Kyle Porter and co-angler Aaron Reitz launch for a final run at the California Delta.Acampo, Calif. pro Kyle Porter enters the final round in third place with 69-1. He's also looking forward to a longer period of high water. During the outgoing tide, he'll work jigs around deeper tule points where current washes past the edges.

"It's cooler out there and I think those post-spawn fish are getting out there and they're just starting to feed again," Porter said. "That's a food source coming to them. They don't have to go anywhere and fight the current."

Fifth place in the pro division, 18-year-old Hunter Schlander of Modesto, Calif. is the event's youngest competitor. "I've looked up to a lot of these guys for year and now I have a chance to fish against themA purple and brown jig will see plenty of action at the hands of fifth-place pro Hunter Schlander. and I'm taking it to them. It feels good."

At the day-three weigh-ins, Schlander said he was on a good bite with plenty of fish to give him a good run in the final round. He'll target areas with rocks and sparse tules and fish a brown and purple jig.

"I'm throwing something a little different," he said. "A lot of guys have been in my area throwing black and blue and I'll fish right behind them and catch 5- and 6-pounders."

Tournament logistics

Third-place co-angler Aaron Reitz puts his faith in a dropshot rigged with a purple worm.The Stren Series event, which runs May 14-17, represents the fourth of four regular-season Western Division tournaments. The total purse for the Cal Delta event is $275,225. The winning pro could earn as much as $65,000 in cash and prizes if various contingencies are met, and the winning co-angler could earn as much as $35,000.

Action continues at today's final weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time) at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m.

Saturday's conditions:

Sunrise: 5:54 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 80 degrees
Expected high temperature: 94 degrees
Water temperature: 72 degrees
Wind: from the WSW 6-8 mph, shifting to west 10-12 in afternoon
Humidity: 25 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2008-05-14-california-delta 

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