UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

It’s there for the taking

It’s there for the taking
Pro leader Bryan Roland caught his fish on Snag Proof Frogs and Double Wide Sweet Beavers.

OAKLEY, Calif. - They knew it would be tough, and the fun is just beginning for Walmart FLW Series anglers taking on a cantankerous California Delta during the National Guard Western Division event in Oakley, Calif.

Blazing heat, practically no wind and a sluggish tide presented challenging conditions. Nevertheless, bass don't leave the Delta during early fall, they just hunker down and pass the days in the coolest spots they can find. Current plays a key role, with fish typically pushing deeper into cover on incoming tides and pulling to the edges on the falling water.

The top end of the standings shows a tight finish with just 5 ounces between first and second, with third trailing by only another 4 ounces. Twenty-four pros caught 15 pounds or better, and there was a respectable showing of fish over 6 pounds.

Several pros reported lethargic bites with noncommittal fish coming unbuttoned early in the contest. Some lamented missed opportunities with big fish that could have propelled them higher in the standings. Case in point: Sitting in 16th place with a four-fish bag weighing 16-4, Mike Reynolds of Modesto, Calif., said No. 5 put the slip on him. With a 4-pound average, a limit puts him at 20-plus.

Elsewhere, Rialto, Calif., pro Ricky Shabazz fared well with a sixth-place limit weighing 18-10. Not bad,This 8-pound, 8-ounce beauty earned pro Jon Strelic the day but he said it could have been much, much better: "I had about 20 bites today, unfortunately they were eating it a little differently than they did in practice. I lost two that were in the 8-pound range. I feel that I should have had 28 to 30 pounds."

Leading the Pro Division is Bryan Roland of Brentwood, Calif., who sacked up a hefty limit weighing 25 pounds. Roland caught his morning fish by flipping a Reaction Innovations Double Wide Sweet Beaver in the sprayed-grass color, Texas rigged with a 1-ounce tungsten weight. In the afternoon, he fished a brown Snag Proof frog.

Noting that he had to fish slowly today, Roland said: "I live here on the Delta, so I just put myself around the fish at the best time I thought to be there. I caught fish on both tides. I caught two big ones on the high right when it was about to turn, and on the very bottom of the low I caught the rest of them."

"Right now, these fish just want something over their head. I'm just concentrating on grass near deeper water. You have to have bait in the area - that's the key.

Gray gets `em for second

Making a change in the areas he fished rewarded Gene Gray with second place.Fishermen don't like surprises - unless those surprises deliver greater-than-expected results. For Gene Gray of Atascadero, Calif., catching a second-place limit weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces was a real eye-opener.

"In practice I was hoping to get in the 14-pound range," Gray said. "I went to one of my spots where I got bit, but didn't set the hook, and got one of my big ones. I changed my game plan and went with a different method. I didn't get as many bites, but it (produced) bigger fish.

"The difference is the type of water. Both spots are current-related - I'm keying on moving water. I'm just doing something a little different."

Fishing the north-central Delta, Gray punched weeds and fished other soft-plastic presentations in as deep as 16 feet. The outgoing tide was most productive for him.

"I messed around with water that I prefished, and it didn't work all morning," Gray said. "I didn't get on the bigger fish until about 11:30."

Weyer winds in third-place bag

Always a threat on the Delta, West Hills, Calif., pro Charlie Weyer brought in a limit weighing 24-7 andThird place pro Charlie Weyer targeted a specific type of vegetation and caught 24-7. locked in third place. Weyer caught his fish when he found a productive pattern that was too specific to disclose details. Generally, he's fishing soft plastics very slow around vegetation, but this is a real estate kind of thing - location, location, location.

"There's a certain type of vegetation," Weyer said. "What I'm doing, a lot of guys are doing, but they're not doing it in the cover that I'm fishing. I found out about this during last year's tournament."

Weyer said he caught fish on both ends of the tide: "I know a lot of guys want the high tide switching to low, but I can catch them all throughout the tide. It's just the area - it's loaded with fish, there's tons of bait, there's bluegill."

Best of the rest

Nicholas Kanemoto of Elk Grove, Calif., took fourth with 21-5, and Lorenzo Rossetti of Stockton, Calif., finished fifth at 19-12.

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the FLW Series Cal Delta event:

6th: Ricky Shabazz of Rialto, Calif., 18-10
7th: Leon Knight of Discovery Bay, Calif., 18-9
8th: Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., 17-13
9th: Brian Carpenter of Livermore, Calif., 17-11
10th: Jon Strelic of El Cajon, Calif., 17-7

Strelic earned Folgers Big Bass honors and $293 for an 8-pound, 8-ounce fish he caught while punching vegetation.

Wright's right on target with co-angler lead

Learning a new technique led JR Wright to the top of the co-angler division.J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., grabbed the early lead in the Co-angler Division with a limit catch weighing 13 pounds, 13 ounces. He credited two individuals - one who taught him a new tactic and one who put him on spots where he could employ his new skill.

"I just had a great pro today in Rusty Salewske, and I pretty much learned how to punch from my travel partner (pro) Cody Meyer in practice. I picked it up pretty good, and I punched them all today."

Wright caught his fish on Texas-rigged Beavers in sprayed-grass, ox-blood and green-pumpkin colors. He varied from 1- to 1 1/2-ounce weights. He experienced his best bites early in the morning and then toward the end of the fishing day.

Best of the rest

John Niedosik of Avondale, Ariz., took second with 13-4, and Tracy Patton of Oakdale, Calif., followed in third with 11-10. Robert Faaborg of Ramona, Calif., placed fourth with 11-5 and Mike Iloski of Escondido, Calif., was fifth with 11-4.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the FLW Series Cal Delta event:This 7-pound, 7-ounce bass caught by Richard Taylor was the largest of the co-angler division.

6th: Brian Carnahan of Flagstaff, Ariz., 11-1
7th: Dean Ziemer of Tracy, Calif., 10-15
8th: Hideki Maeda of Sakai City, Osaka, Japan, 10-11
9th: Larry C. Wilson of Poway, Calif., 10-8
10th: Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 10-5

Folgers Big Bass honors and $195 went to Shingle Springs, Calif., co-angler Richard Taylor who caught a 7-7.

Day two of Walmart FLW Series National Guard Western Division action on the California Delta continues at Thursday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. (PT) at Russo's Marina located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2009-09-23-california-delta 

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