UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Wright on target

Wright on target
JR Wright led the co-angler division from day one and sealed the victory with a margin of more than eight pounds.

OAKLEY, Calif. - He was quick to credit his pro partners for their help, but after completing a wire-to-wire Walmart FLW Series victory in the National Guard Western Division event, no one can question J.R. Wright's consistency.

Paired with Rusty Zalewske on day one, Dee Thomas on day two and Dugan Macintosh for day three,Finesse fishing with a Swamp Crawler worm delivered the final day Wright has had to fish different patterns throughout the event. Day three was especially challenging, given the day's slow tides and the fact that he fished a new type of structure. After two days of fishing around weed mats, he found himself working with deep tules in about 25 feet of water.

"It was really different for me today, but I adapted all day," Wright said. "It was a really tough bite, and I had to bear down."

Wright punched weed mats on day one and bagged 13-13. He flipped a Texas-rigged Roboworm on day two and caught 17-12. On day three, he caught three of his fish on a drop-shot with a Roboworm (ox blood with red flake) and two more on a 5-inch watermelon-candy Swamp Crawler worm rigged with a 1/16-ounce weight. Adding in his final-round weight of 8-1 gave him a total of 39-10 and a winning margin of 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

"I knew I needed a limit at least to have a shot at it. I was hoping for 10, but I'm really happy with 8 pounds," said Wright, who won $14,341.

A Delta heat wave, compounded by sluggish tides, presented tough conditions for tournament anglers.

Missed fish keeps Ziemer in second

Despite losing several money fish on day three, Dean Ziemer performed well enough to take second.Dean Ziemer of Tracy, Calif., took second and $7,170 with 31 pounds, 4 ounces, but the results could have been dramatically different if he hadn't encountered so many lackadaisical bass. Fishing with California pro Charlie Weyer, who took the day-three lead in his division, Ziemer fished a Snag Proof Frog and punched weed mats with a Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog.

"They just weren't committing," Ziemer said. "I probably lost five or six fish of 5 pounds on a Snag Proof Bobby's Perfect Frog. I was working it really slowly, and they were slamming it. They just weren't taking it down with them."

Patton gets cranky for third

Day one found Tracy Patton of Oakdale, Calif., in third place. A day later, he slipped to fourth. By the endCranking was the ticket for second place co-angler Tracy Patton. of day three, he had regained his original place with a final score of 29-5 worth $5,378. Fishing rocky banks, Patton spent most of the final day working a red-crawdad Lucky Craft crankbait. Three of his four fish came on the morning's incoming tide, with the fourth biting later in the day.

"My partner (Jim Lyons) was very helpful," Patton noted. "He said: `What do you want to do?' I said, `Cranking,' so he said `All right, let's go crank.' He went down the bank and let me crank."

Recognizing the Delta's lean opportunities - especially from the back of the boat - Patton said he had his game face on until the final buzzer. "Today, I didn't eat anything. I drank a couple of waters and that was it. I knew I was only going to get a couple of opportunities, and I wanted to get a check."

Maeda punches his way to fourth

Persistent punching led Hideki Maeda to a fourth-place finish.Hideki Maeda of Osaka, Japan, was a man of resolution - he found a presentation that worked for him, and he stuck with it. Advancing from his eighth-place finish on day one, he took fifth on day two and ended in fourth with a 27-6 total worth $3,585. His chosen tactic: punching a Sweet Beaver in the "sprayed grass" color. He rigged his baits with 1 1/2-ounce weights and hulking 2-ounce weights that he brought from Japan.

"I tried to make as many (presentations) as possible," Maeda said. "I practiced two days with Ish Monroe and that was his advice - keep the bait moving. That's why I use a Punch Skirt, because it helps the bait move through the grass. I don't waste time removing grass after I punch, so I can get the bait back in the water quickly."

Haraguchi finishes fifth

Gary Haraguchi of Brentwood, Calif., placed 15th on day one, improved to seventh on day two and roseA mixed of punching, dropshotting and topwaters was the game plan for fifth-place co-angler Gary Haraguchi. to fifth on the final day with his three-day total of 27-5 worth $2,868. He caught his fish by punching mats, drop-shotting grass edges and throwing topwater baits. Overall, Harguchi said he was thankful for every bite he got.

"I think the important thing was just keeping your line wet," he said. "The bites are so few that you just have to keep your bait in the water and hopefully get five bites (a day)."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the Walmart FLW Series National Guard Western Division event on the California Delta:

6th: John Rossetti of Stockton, Calif., 26-15
7th: Robert Faaborg of Ramona, Calif., 26-14
8th: Pat Wilson of Penngrove, Calif., 26-6
9th: Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 24-13
10th: Jack Farage of Discovery Bay, Calif., 23-11

An 8-pound, 15-ounce largemouth earned Folgers Big Bass honors and $195 for Charlie Pearce of Tucson, Ariz.

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

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