Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Chickamauga

Play the hand you’re dealt

Play the hand you’re dealt
Anglers launched into slightly cooler conditions, but they will contend with lackluster tidal conditions.

OAKLEY, Calif. - Day two of the Walmart FLW Series National Guard Western Division event on the California Delta holds a good news-bad news scenario regarding conditions. However, those who know this game will fare well by taking the best of what the day offers.

Starting with the temperature, anglers won't keep their morning jackets on very long, but the projected high of 90 degrees is about 6 lower than day one saw. This won't have a huge impact on the fish - they'll still be hiding under shady cover most of the day. The only difference is that they might roam a little longer this morning than yesterday. For anglers, heat fatigue will be less of an issue.

The real downer will be lackluster tides. Daily ebb and flow is the single most important factor in DeltaThick vegetation offers the kind of shade that bass will seek. fishing, so working with the current is an angler's biggest concern. Experienced anglers can catch fish at every point in the tide, but the start of an incoming or outgoing cycle generally offers the most promising window of opportunity, as peak water flow stimulates the fish by carrying cooler, oxygenated water through an area. Tides also position fish predictably, based on depth and water direction.

Today, anglers will start with an incoming tide of moderate pace that will top out around 10:30 a.m. (depending on location). The high tide has about a 2-foot rise, but the outgoing cycle will be a real creeper, trudging along and dropping just over a foot.

Matt Newman of Agoura Hills, Calif., placed 35th on day one with 12 pounds, 7 ounces. Given the day's tide schedule and his early flight, he's concerned that he won't get much time to fish his ideal conditions.

"I think the best time has been the low incoming, but we won't have much of that because the low was about two hours (before the day-two launch)," Newman said. "The afternoon will be the best bite in my opinion, but those of us in the 2 o'clock weigh-in are going to miss it. I feel like I'm fighting the tides today."

Texas-rigged plastics are ideal for punching or flipping. The main difference in the size of weight needed for either tactic.Like most, Newman is working plastics in vegetation. In thick mats, he's punching with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver Texas-rigged with a 1 1/2-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight. For lighter grass, he goes with a Mini Beaver dressed with a Punch Skirt and fitted with a 1-ounce tungsten weight. During the midday lull, he'll throw crankbaits and buzzbaits.

Atop the pro field, Bryan Roland of Brentwood, Calif., holds a slim lead with 25 pounds. His nearest competitor - Gene Gray of Atascadero, Calif. - has 24-11. Third in the standings is West Hills, Calif., pro Charlie Weyer with 24-7.

Roland got his day-one fish by flipping early and working a Snag Proof frog later in the day. Drawing upon his local knowledge, he's positioning at strategic locations and catching fish throughout the tide. Remaining mobile, he said, is the key.

"I have fish going all over the Delta so I'm not going to die on one spot," Roland said. "I'm going to be moving all day."

Weyer also values the tide's influence, but his game plan is based more around specific cover. He hasThe California National Guard presents the colors during the national anthem. indentified a certain type of grass that holds good fish. The areas he's targeting are located near deep channels so the bass will keep replenishing as the tournament progresses.

"I have about 30 or 40 areas that I'm fishing, and I fished probably four of five of them (on day one)," Weyer said. "I have one area that I went into (during practice), and I had seven bites in seven casts. I left it alone, and that's where I caught the majority of my fish yesterday. I haven't even been to the rest of my areas."

J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., leads the Co-angler Division with 13-13. He tried punching for the first time yesterday and obviously caught on quickly. Wright is paired with Delta flipping legend Dee Thomas, so he'll have plenty of close-range opportunities.

Logistics

Co-angler leader JR Wright, right side, fishes with Delta flipping legend Dee Thomas today.Anglers will take off from Russo's Marina, located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif., at 7 each morning. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m.

Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday's weigh-in at Walmart from noon to 4 p.m. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include a trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.

The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three based on the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Thursday's conditionsNational Guard pro Justin Lucas makes some last-minute preparations before launch.

Sunrise: 6:57 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 58 degrees
Expected high temperature: 90 degrees
Water temperature: 73-75 degrees
Wind: WNW at 5-8 mph
Max. humidity: 66 percent
Day's outlook: sunny

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

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