UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cal Delta Day 1
Ken Mah had an early limit in the boat before he caught this fish. He was fishing reaction baits in the morning.

Arizona pro Matt Shura took the early lead on the California Delta with a mix of slow-moving and reaction baits. Others in the top five had similar success with a mixed bag of baits. Here’s how they got it done on day one.

 

2. Ken Mah – Elk Grove, Calif. – 22 pounds, 6 ounces

Elk Grove, Calif., pro Ken Mah is really running two distinct patterns. The first one in the morning is to throw reaction baits along riprap in an area where Mah has been catching quite a few fish. It’s more of a “quantity spot,” but he hopes to walk away with at least two that he won’t have to cull before weigh-in. Today, Mah stayed there for a couple of hours after takeoff, until the high tide switched and started falling. After that, he went to his second program, which is running the tide and throwing topwater and flipping in a different area of the lake.

“I’m trying to avoid the low tide,” Mah says. “This week it’s easy to do that because the low tide is getting later [within the allotted tournament hours]. The Delta is not kicking out the normal limits that it should be, so all week my goal is to catch 22 pounds a day. If that doesn’t win, it’ll be second place. From a tide perspective, doing what I’m doing, I have the best tide.”

Mah’s program once he leaves his starting spot requires what he calls very painstaking fishing. It’s not a numbers deal, but rather a big-fish pattern. Today, while he stayed later at his first spot than intended, the combo system worked, and Mah surpassed his weight goal by catching 22 pounds, 6 ounces. He’s 4 pounds off the lead.

 

3. Austin Bonjour – Atascadero, Calif. – 21 pounds, 8 ounces

When a big-fish hole combines with a high-outgoing tide, Austin Bonjour will be there ready to load the boat. At least, that’s what the Atascadero, Calif., pro did today to catch 21 pounds, 8 ounces.

“It was good in the morning,” Bonjour says. “The best tide for me is that high-outgoing tide. I’m concentrating on a few areas in the morning at that tide, and when it sucks out I go do something else. The tide turns at about 7:30. The fishing is good when it’s dropping.”

Bonjour won’t say much about how he’s catching his fish, but he did say that he’s fishing very slowly.

“I’m junk-fishing, but I have two or three baits that are key,” he adds. “Hopefully I can do it again tomorrow. I’m relying on a couple of areas, but they have a lot of big fish in them, and I didn’t beat up on them real hard today.

 

4. Bub Tosh – Turlock, Calif. – 21 pounds, 2 ounces

The Delta gives, and the Delta takes away just as fast. California stick Bub Tosh says he could have weighed in 25 pounds today if he’d executed on every fish that bit, including a bed-fish that he estimates to have been a 7-pounder. It wrapped him up in some weeds and pulled lose.

Tosh hooked that fish with 10-pound-test line, which is what he’s using to fish a new finesse worm from Yamamoto called the California Roll. The light line just wasn’t enough to turn the fish and get it to the boat.

Tosh is throwing the “Cali Roll” on a drop-shot and a wacky rig, the latter primarily being used around balls of bass fry. His other baits are a ChatterBait, which he throws along riprap or snaps through the top of submerged grass, and a punch rig.

“I had a lot of bites today,” Tosh says. “I probably caught 25 keepers. I never fished my best stuff. Today I was just trying to survive.”

He says he’s primarily just “fishing banks” right now but is staying close to areas with current, where postspawn fish have already started to feed up on bait.

That one big bass on a bed was among a group of spawners that Tosh located in practice but is mostly saving for later in the week. The fish, he says, take a long time to catch, but he doesn’t think his competition has found them. He’s hoping that if they have another day or two to do their thing unmolested, and if the weather stabilizes and the wind dies down, they’ll bite faster and he can then unload on the big ones Saturday if he makes the cut. In the meantime, Tosh will pluck only what he needs to get by.

Tosh has had several high finishes on the Delta in Rayovac FLW Series events without winning. He’s hoping his fish-management strategy will push him over the top. The one factor that could hurt him is that the sight-fishing bite is best at low tide, and the field will have less and less time to fish the low-water period as the tournament goes on.

 

5. Bobby Barrack – Oakley, Calif. – 21 pounds, 1 ounce

Local pro Bobby Barrack is a legend on the California Delta. He’s the foremost frog-fishing expert in the country, according to just about everyone who knows the industry, and he’s in contention to take home another winner’s trophy after opening the tournament with a 21-pound, 1-ounce limit.

Barrack did indeed chuck frogs today (of course!), including a cool buzzing frog prototype that he’s working on with Snag Proof, the company that makes his signature model floating frog. But that’s not all the amphibian master is using.

“I had 11 rods on the deck today, from top to bottom,” Barrack told Tournament Director Ron Lappin on stage. “I don’t think the fish are doing anything the same from one day to the next.”

Barrack associates the unpredictable fishing with unstable weather that has scattered the postspawn fish across the system. He’s fishing a pretty specific area but is junking it up a bit as he works through it.

“These fish don’t know what they want to do,” Barrack says. “I’m 50/50 reaction baits and slow-moving baits. I wish it was a full-blown reaction bite, but sometimes you have to slow down to catch them.”

Tags: flw-series  california-delta  matt-shura  curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2015-05-07-california-delta 

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