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Big Weights Likely at the Cal Delta

Big Weights Likely at the Cal Delta
The California Delta is full of wildlife, a vast array of vegetation and huge bass!

This week’s California Delta stop of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division is setting up to be a typical Cal Delta derby – that’s a very good thing.

Two-time Western Division Angler of the Year Jeff Michels says he expects this tournament to be won with a three-day total of 75 pounds, and he wouldn’t be surprised if it took even more. That “even more” would likely be the result of someone tying into one or two near-double-digit bass, or bigger. This place is full of them.

Last weekend’s Bassmaster Elite Series event launched on the Sacramento River, which forced pros to make long runs if they wanted to fish the fertile big-bass haven of the Delta itself. That’s where pro Justin Lucas won it by flipping shallow cover and catching spawning bass for an 82-pounds, 14-ounce four-day total. The long trek to and from the big-bass haven no doubt prevented some pros from catching the kind of monster bags that the Delta is legendary for, though there were still plenty of 18- to 22-pound limits, and several more from 22 to 26 pounds.

Michels thinks a few bass could still be caught off beds this weekend, but he suspects that the FLW Series event will be more of a postspawn tournament.

“We’re right at the end of the spawn,” he says. “There are probably going to be some guys that catch some spawn fish, but they’re pretty tough to catch. They don’t cooperate here. The pressure [from recent tournaments] did affect the sight-fishing. The ones that are left are just super spooky. You can see them and where they want to be, but they just won’t stay there long enough to catch them.”

It’s likely that flipping and tossing reaction baits will be the primary patterns, with everyone fishing 5 feet deep or shallower.

“Just finding something a little bit different will be key,” Michels says. “There’s always a really good ChatterBait bite here. There’ll be guys in the top 10 who are throwing ChatterBaits almost all day long. If you can find the grass patch that’s loaded up, that’ll take you a long way. Once you find it there are multiple ways to catch them.”

Michels says the Delta is a very spot-driven fishery, as opposed to a pattern fishery. He found one area that’s full of bigguns in practice, but because of the complexities of a tidal fishery, he’s not sure whether he’ll be able to get them to bite in the tournament.

“This is a tidal fishery, and the guys that tend to do really well are going to milk those tides,” he explains. “You have to be in the right spot at the right time. You can be sitting on 40 pounds, but if you’re at the wrong tide you can’t catch them. It’s crazy like that. You can see them, but they just won’t go.”

Current conditions are close to average, with a little variability. Michels reports seeing areas with water that’s a few shades darker than gin-clear, and others where there’s little more than 6 inches of visibility. He’s seen 78-degree water in some protected, shallow areas, and average water temperatures range from mid-60s in the morning up to the low to mid-70s later in the day.

The tournament gets underway on Thursday. Takeoff all three days is at 6 a.m. PT at Russo’s Marina in Bethel Island, Calif. Weigh-ins are lakeside, beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tags: californina-delta  may  curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2015-05-07-california-delta 

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