UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Birch Maintains on the Delta

Mike Birch

It was a much tougher day on the Cal Delta in the Costa FLW Series Western Division finale presented by Power-Pole as high winds and cool temperatures put a damper on the big bites. Leaning on his nearly 11-pound lead from day one, Mike Birch wrangled a smaller limit of 15-8 to push his overall total to 49 pounds. Birch hangs on to a 4-pound lead over fellow Oakley, Calif. stick Charley Almassey who rallied on day two with a whopping 26-6 bag.

Top 5 patterns

Frontal conditions were felt throughout the field and Birch could not escape its wrath either. He caught more fish today but the size just wasn’t there. His limit weighed over 30 pounds by 10:30 a.m. yesterday, while at the same time today his five best went just 10 pounds.

After a slow start, Birch’s bite started picking up later in the day when the tide began to change.

“I started catching them when the tide began to drop,” Birch explains. “That was the key."

Birch is junk fishing – changing baits and spots often. He’s fishing near the banks or levees, whether they’re lined with tules, weeds or rock. What all the spots have in common are isolated weed clumps and current. Being a local and having time on the water played a crucial role in finding the right areas.

“I’m looking for cleaner grass,” he says. “You’ve got to stay on top of the areas where the grass is green and healthy.”

Birch had trouble earlier in the day spotting the clumps due to the increased cloud cover and wind. Though, once the tide dropped it became easier to spot the isolated weeds. Birch traveled near the banks, chucking and winding an array of moving and reaction baits.

“No matter the water level due to the tide, I’m constantly keeping my boat in 4 to 7 feet of water,” he says. “Some guys are getting too close to the bank and escaping from the wind but [the bass] are current fish and that tide draws them out.”

Unable to find the bigger bites of day one, Birch’s lead dwindled as another local surged into the top 10 today. Almassey moved from 17th to 2nd after bringing in the second largest bag of the day. With good reason, Birch remains confident heading into the final day of competition.

“I still have one big fish area that I’ve managed to stay off just incase I was lucky enough to fish on Saturday,” Birch says. “It was my best spot in practice and I just left it.

"I was going to go there if I ever felt like I really had to. We’ll see how that works out. It could be a dud or it could be real nice. I know they’re there and I’m hoping they’ll be biting.”


Top 10 pros

1. Mike Birch – Oakley, Calif. – 49-00 (10)

2. Charley Almassey – Oakley, Calif. – 45-00 (10)

3. Robert Lee – Angels Camp, Calif. – 41-01 (10)

4. Roy Hawk – Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – 38-14 (10)

5. Harvey Pulliam – Brentwood, Calif. – 38-12 (10)

6. Bobby Barrack – Oakley, Calif. – 38-02 (10)

7. Dane Mitchell – Lake Charles, La. – 37-13 (10)

8. Benjamin Byrd – Moab, Utah – 37-04 (10)

9. Michael Caruso – Peoria, Ariz. – 35-13 (10)

10. Bryant Smith – Castro Valley, Calif. – 35- 13 (10)

Complete results


Co-angler Aaron Agner

Agner keeps co-angler lead

Aaron Agner of Redding, Calif., continues to lead the co-angler field with a two-day total of 33 pounds, 15 ounces. Despite bringing in nearly 8 pounds less that yesterday, his lead over second remains about the same.

Today, Agner was paired with pro Hunter Schlander. The two anglers mainly threw finesse baits, but mixed some reaction type lures as well.

“I did do anything different today,” Agner explains. “I caught the same amount of keepers, but yesterday I was just in areas with bigger fish.”

Today’s 13-pound bag gives him a 4-15 lead heading to the final day where he’s paired with pro leader Mike Birch. 

Tags: mike-birch  california-delta  chris-burgan  headline-story  2016-05-19-california-delta 


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