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Delta dominance

Delta dominance
The top five teams battled through hot conditions to earn their spot in the final round.

STOCKTON, Calif. - Yesterday was fun, today was work. Nevertheless, San Jose State's Glen Wyatt and Eric Andersen maintained their lead in the National Guard FLW College Fishing Western Regional Championship on the California Delta.

Andersen of San Jose, Calif., weighed his three-fish limit, but Wyatt of Vallejo, Calif., bagged just two keepers. Nevertheless, their combined weight of 11-4 paired with a 14-13 score from day one enabled them to stay in the top spot at 26-1.

Competitors faced cloudless skies, calm winds and 90-degree temperatures Sunday. The oven-like conditionsEric Andersen and his San Jose State teammate Glen Wyatt struggled in the heat, but retained their lead. stood in stark contrast to a partly cloudy and slightly cooler day one.

"It was rough today," Wyatt lamented. "Yesterday, I had a great day on the water. I pulled in a lot of fish, but today was the total opposite. I had to work hard for every fish."

Anderson described his team's strategy: "We had to slow things down because it was so hot out there. There were no clouds, and the bite was really tough in the morning, but we adjusted and tried to find some deeper water in the afternoon. We ended up looking for shade later on and that helped."

Slowing down and fishing in areas with deep water access was essential for the day two leaders.Andersen said he and Wyatt positioned their boat in about 20 to 30 feet of water and fished shallow to deep. They caught fish on topwaters early and used worms with deep, slow presentations most of the day. Location was essential.

"It's not that we were fishing deep water per se, but there had to be access to deep water," Wyatt explained. "You could fish shallow, but if there's no deep water around, don't even mess with it."

The leaders described a pair of axioms that kept them consistent.

Shake and bake: "You throw that worm out there, shake it a couple of times, and if nothing bites it, get on out of there. You don't want to sit there and bake in the sun all day," Wyatt said.

Keep it wet: "You have to keep that bait in the water. You can't waste time - you have to keep that bait in the water at all times," said Andersen.

Brassington and Wong salvage day, improve to second

Fish don't follow scripts, so anglers often have to scrap a scene and move on to something else.Sacramento State Second-place anglers Alec Brassington and Christopher Wong of Sacramento State went through their own little improvisation session when what they thought was a solid day-two plan crumbled before their eyes.

As Wong recalled, his team rolled the dice first thing and came up snake eyes: "Yesterday, we had a morning bite and an afternoon bite too. Today, we were hoping the morning bite was going to be there, so we took a little gamble, but it did not pay off. We wasted the first two or three hours.

"Yesterday, I had two big blow-ups on a Zara Spook. I caught one, but it was just a keeper. Our (Sac State teammates - Stephen Lesieur and Matthew Paul) had really good fish on Spooks in the morning, so there was definitely a morning Spook bite yesterday. That's what our gamble was today - we went to get those Spook fish, but there was nothing."

Wong and Brassington put together their limits later in the day by throwing crankbaits in 3 to 8 feet of water and flipping Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hogs in heavy cover. They both caught limits and added 12 pounds, 10 ounces to their day-one score of 12-6 for a 25-pound total. The anglers moved up two spots from their first-round finish.

Arizona State's Jarrell and Walker slip to third

Dropshotting over grassy flats led Mark Walker and his Arizona State partner Joseph Jarrell to third place.Entering day two in second place, Mark Walker and Joseph Jarrell missed their limit by one fish and moved back a spot to third. Their five fish weighed 9 pounds even, but adding that to a strong day-one catch of 13-11 gave them 22-11.

The anglers fished drop-shots over grassy flats in 5 to 15 feet of water. Presenting a variety of looks kept the game going.

"We really did use every color (in our box)," Jarrell said. "If we told you one color, it would be a lie, because we caught fish on every single color we threw.

Although they found a pattern that worked, Jarrell said the action was inconsistent: "It was definitely up and down today. The bite was off and on. We would catch them in spurts, and if we missed the window, it was over for another hour."

Big fish jumps Fresno State into fourth

The comeback of the tournament will unquestionably go to Fresno State's Sark Davidian and KongTargetting an isolated hyacinth mat yielded a much-needed kicker for Sark Davidian of Fresno State. Moua, who entered day two in 12th place with 8 pounds, 8 ounces. When the dust settled, they had gained eight notches to fourth place with the day's biggest catch - a dual limit of 13-15. Their two-day total was 22-7.

Davidian anchored his team's performance with a 5-pounder that fell for a baby-bass-colored Roboworm on a drop-shot. After a slow start, the anglers made a midday move and ended up in a promising area with lots of hyacinth. Sark noticed a clump of the floating vegetation had broken off and drifted against a bridge. He made a short flip, maybe 5 feet from the boat, and nailed the day-maker.

Richards and Frazier sneak into fifth

As the last team to weigh on day two, Ross Richards and Reed Frazier found themselves vying for a top-five spot against fellow University of Oregon anglers Carter and Ryan Troughton, who presently held the fifth-place spot. When Richards and Frazier's fish were weighed at 9 pounds, 3 ounces, their 21-1 total was enough to bump the Troughtons.

Best of the rest

As the last team to weigh, University of OregonRounding out the top 10 leading teams at the Western College Regional Championship:

6th: Carter Troughton and Ryan Troughton of University of Oregon, 20-8
7th: Stephen Lesieur and Matthew Paul of Sacramento State, 17-14
8th: Jared Biddle and Nate Shankles of Sonoma State University, 17-13
9th: Brent Perkins and Jeremy Pennell of Arizona State University, 17-2
10th: Steve Reed and Ken Gunderson of UC Davis, 15-8

Day three of FLW National Guard College Fishing Series action continues at Monday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. (Pacific time) at Buckley Cove Park at 4311 Buckley Cove Way in Stockton.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2009-09-19-western-regional-championship 

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