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Michels moves into Delta lead

Michels moves into Delta lead
Jeff Michels move up from second place to take the lead on the Cal Delta.

OAKLEY, Calif. - Commitment to his plan and confidence in his area has put Jeff Michels in the top position heading into the final round of FLW EverStart Series Western Division action on the California Delta.

After placing second on day one with 27 pounds, 5 ounces, the Lakehead, Calif. pro added 23-4 today and took over the lead with 50-9. Just as he did on day one, Michels flipped 6-inch wacky-rigged green pumpkin/black flake Senkos around tule berms. The difference, he said, was a noticeable drop in productivity.

"It was tough today, not nearly as many bites as day one," Michels said. "I got that one big bite and I Jeff Michels targeted bass in the same spawning area he fished on day one.made one key cull in Frank's Tract in the last 15 minutes - a 2- to 3-pound cull that helped a lot."

Contrasting yesterday's breezy and mostly overcast conditions, day two brought warm, sunny weather that had the usual effects of pushing fish deeper into cover. Michels said the changing conditions made it harder for him to reach some of his fish.

"Yesterday, they were all out on the tips of the tules; today, they moved back," he said. "They had a roof over their heads and I couldn't get through it with a weightless Senko and that made it a lot tougher on me."

Top pro Jeff Michels flipped wacky-rigged Senkos all day.Michels returned to the same 200-yard stretch of shoreline he fished on day one. His area sits within a slough that's 6-feet deep with a grass bed covering the majority of the waterway. Water temperature of 63-64 degrees makes this an attractive spot for prespawners.

"This is one of the warmest spots on the Delta right now so those fish are just pulling in there, staging and getting ready to go to the bank and spawn," he said. "It's the perfect depth. The water has just a little bit of color. Everything is just absolutely perfect right now. There's a lot of big ones in there.

"I switched to the other side today. I still have a lot in there that I haven't fished and hopefully it's going to hold up for me for one more day."

Carpenter climbs into second
The good thing about the sprawling Cal Delta is that once you determine a particular point in the tide, youConsistent in his performance, Brian Carpenter improved from fourth place to second. can move up or down the tidal range to stay on that favorable water level for several hours. Second place pro Brian Carpenter, of Bethel Island did just that and paired his day-one weight of 24-4 with today's 24-15 for a total of 49-3.

"I started off throwing reaction baits because on day one, I got a lot of reaction fish during the cloudy conditions," Carpenter said. "Today, the sun was out by 8:30 and it was just flat calm and I thought 'This isn't going to work,' so I abandoned ship on that program.

"I know when weather like this comes in, they get up super shallow to spawn, so I just went flipping a green pumpkin craw all day. I punched a few spots when I came across something to flip, but I was basically flipping tules."

Carpenter found the flipping bite best about midway through the outgoing cycle.

Parra slips to third
Day-one leader Eric Parra stumbled on day two and slipped to third.After leading the pro division on day one with the event's heaviest sack - 31-8 - Eric Parra missed several opportunities to accumulate another big sack and settled into third place with a day-two limit of 17 pounds and a total weight of 48-8.

"I got the same amount of big bites today, I just didn't get them in the boat," Parra said. "I had one that I saw was an 8-pounder jump out of the water and come off and I had a few more big ones that I never saw come off. I just didn't execute today."

Returning to the same pond he fished yesterday, Parra worked up and down the outer edge and targeted the major outflow and several smaller drains. Throwing black and blue Texas-rigged Senkos, he found his best action on the outgoing tide.

"I had to dead stick the bait," Parra said. "I just had to leave it there until they ate it."

Dutra moves up to fourth
Phillip Dutra, of Antioch, Calif. began the day in 10th place, but after a dream start, he sacked up an Phillip Dutra made a big move from 10th to fourth on day two. even 24 pounds and tallied a total weight of 45-14 that lifted him to fourth place.

Fishing shallow habitat, Dutra caught his fish on a mix of reaction baits and plastics. His catch included a 9-pounder that bit at 7:45.

"I had all my fish in 30 minutes this morning and then I left everything alone," he said. "For eight hours, I just ran around the Delta looking at different things. It was a good feeling."

Huge kicker lands Hawk in fifth

This monster bass was a day-saver for fifth-place pro Roy Hawk.Roy Hawk, of Salt Lake City, Utah has struggled to figure out a productive pattern for the incoming cycle and today's schedule of outgoing water in the afternoon gave him very little time to work with the falling tide. Fortunately, he was able to make good use of the tide stage he favors by landing the day's heaviest bass - an 11-3 that anchored a 17-pound, 3-ounce effort and ushered him to a fifth-place total of 42-5.

"Overall, it was really tough," Hawk said. "Today, all I caught was five tiny ones on the incoming but I managed to catch that one big one on the outgoing tide, so I was really fortunate there. That saved my whole day."

Hawk caught all of his fish on a Spro Fat Little John crankbait in a red crawfish pattern.


Best of the rest

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

6th: Timothy Venkus, of Wilton, Calif., 40-12
7th: Salvador Herrera, of Discovery Bay, Calif., 40-6
8th: Mike Folkestad, of Orange, Calif., 40-5
9th: Ron Johnson, of Chandler, Ariz., 40-1
10th: Charley Almassey, Oakley, Calif., 39-0

Elliott's last cast delivers co-angler lead

Tom Elliott was surely glad he made that one final cast, as his day-ender yielded a 7-pound, 2-ounce A mix of Senkos and dropshots put Tom Elliott in the co-angler lead going into the final round.kicker that buoyed his 17-pound, 5-ounce limit and lifted him from fourth place to first with at two-day total of 36-10.

"I got that big fish right before we came in," he said. "That changed my day. I still can't believe it."

Elliott fished watermelon/copper flake Senkos in the open pockets within tule berms and flipped a dropshot with a margarita mutilator Robo Worm into the tules. The big fish bit a dropshot.

Ryan Bottini, of Benicia, Calif. took second with 34-6, while James Tate, of Calabasas, Calif. was third with 33-15. Nick Nourot, of Benicia, Calif. placed fourth with 33-14 and Daniel Leue, of Colusa, Calif. took fifth with 31-10.

Best of the rest

Co-angler Kenny Mueller took Snickers Big Bass honors with this 8-pound, 13-ounce fish.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Cal Delta event:

6th: Carl Limbrick Jr., of Bonita, Calif., 30-11
7th: Travis Moran, of Reno, Nev., 29-13
8th: Brandon Marcis, of Tempe, Ariz., 29-4
9th: Gayle Janes, of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 28-7
10th: Tai Au, of Gilbert, Ariz., 28-4

Kenny Mueller, of Lodi, Calif. took the Snickers Big Bass award on the co-angler side with his 8-13.

Day three of EverStart Series Western Division action on the Cal Delta continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Pacific) at Russo's Marina, located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-03-29-california-delta 

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