UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

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Western Division Finale Set for Cal Delta

Western Division Finale Set for Cal Delta

The Costa FLW Series Western Division regular season comes to a close on the California Delta this week. The event, which is presented by Power-Pole, will take off from Russo’s Marina starting on May 19. The season finale will feature big bass, berths to the Costa FLW Series Championship at Table Rock Lake and a Strike King Angler of the Year title crowning.

 

Tactics

The California Delta is a vast tidal fishery that holds numbers of giant largemouth bass. Few know the body of water better than local stick Ken Mah, who took second in last year’s event there.

Ken Mah had an early limit in the boat before he caught this fish. He was fishing reaction baits in the morning.

“There is a full mooning coming in during the event,” Mah explains. “That’s going to trigger a major move to the bank since there are still quite a few fish in the system that need to spawn.”

A lot like the Clear Lake event earlier in the year, we could see fish being caught in all three phases of the spawn. Man-made riprap, tule lines and matted vegetation are scattered throughout the fishery and will be heavily targeted for bass moving up to spawn.

“This isn’t a spot lake. It’s more of a pattern lake,” Mah says. “That’s the beautiful thing about the Delta; it can truly be won almost anywhere.

“There are winning fish in 65 to 75 percent of the water. The Delta, opposed to Clear Lake, fishes big for its size,” he continues. “Of course, there will be a lot of guys in community holes such as Frank’s Tract or the northern and southern deltas, but someone could get into an area and have it to himself for the entire tournament.”

 

Baits

Mah says that fish can be caught on a variety of lures ranging from a finesse drop-shot rig to big topwater baits. Using a River2Sea Bully Wa II Frog in thicker cover or topwater baits such as a Jackall Mikey or Heddon Zara Spook will be popular. Many anglers will flip creature baits such as a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog into the matted vegetation. Vibrating jigs such as the V&M Pacemaker Lightning Blade are common selections to use on and around structure.

 

Outlook

Mid-May is a good time to be fishing just about anywhere, but especially on the Delta.

“We’re hitting the Delta at the right time,” Mah says. “It’s going to be a fun event with a lot of fish caught.”

Mah predicts the winning angler will need to bring in a consistent weight of 22 to 23 pounds per day, while the top-10 cut will take slightly less at 20 pounds per day.

No matter the winning weight, the top 40 pros and co-anglers in the season standings will qualify for the Costa FLW Series Championship this fall on Table Rock Lake. Strike King Angler of the Year and Co-angler of the Year titles will be awarded as well. The AOY wins a $2,000 prize package, including deposits for the 2017 season. COY earns an $800 prize package, including deposits for the 2017 season.

Here’s a look at leaders in the AOY race.

 

AOY Leaders

Roy Hawk

1. Roy Hawk – 490 Points

Renowned Western pro Roy Hawk leads the pack heading into the final event. Hawk has come close in the past but is still gunning for his first AOY title.

He took 10th place in the season opener on Lake Shasta, then thanks to a huge rally on the final day at Clear Lake, followed it up with a second-place finish.

Last season at the Delta, Hawk had a decent finish of 41st place. However, in 2014 he took fourth, so he certainly has a track record of success there.

Hawk is more than capable of taking home the title, but he has two guys behind him who know how to get it done.

 

Jeff Michels caught a big kicker late in the day to keep him in the hunt.

2. Jeff Michels – 485 Points

Michels won the AOY title in back-to-back years in 2012 and 2013. He’s in a good position to get a third victory after sixth- and 11th-place finishes this year.

Michels is a stick when finesse fishing for spotted bass, but he’s not afraid to throw big baits for giant largemouths either. His performances on the Delta are all across the board in past years. He needs to best Hawk by six places and hold off other challengers to take home a third title.

 

Joe Uribe Jr. never stops catching them. He's heading into second place in third place.

3. Joe Uribe Jr. – 483 Points

Reigning AOY Joe Uribe Jr. is a mere seven points back. In five years of Western Division competition, he is averaging an AOY finish of better than sixth place. That’s dang good.

Uribe, with his dubbed “secret weapon” co-angler sister, Rachel, could very well join Michels in winning back-to-back titles. He finished sixth at the Delta last year.

The AOY standings are tight at the top. All of the top five anglers, including Hunter Schlander (fourth, 479 points) and Gregg Gutierrez (fifth, 478 points), are within reach. This race will likely come down to the final day on the Delta.

 

Tournament Details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6 a.m. PT

Takeoff Location: Russo’s Marina, 3995 Willow Road, Bethel Island, CA 94511

Weigh-in Time: 2 p.m. on days one and two; 2:30 p.m. on day three

Weigh-in Location: Russo’s Marina

 

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Tags: california-delta  flw-series  chris-burgan  pre-tournament  2016-05-19-california-delta 

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