UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Pro Shops High School Fishing - 2018 - Lake Okeechobee


Almassey Earns First Victory at Home

Charley Almassey

Charley Almassey is the winner of the Costa FLW Series Western Division on the California Delta presented by Power-Pole. The Oakley, Calif., native brought in 60 pounds, 1 ounce over three days to narrowly beat out fellow local Mike Birch. Almassey took home $32,000 for the victory.

From the start of the tournament high winds and cool temperatures plagued the Delta. Many anglers couldn’t adapt to the tougher bite, however, the conditions played right into Almassey’s wheelhouse.

“I’m not a finesse guy who throws [Yamamoto] Senkos or someone who loves to punch heavy cover,” Almassey says. “I do best on the Delta when I’m throwing reaction baits because of bad weather.”

Almassey threw a vibrating jig on day one but was not catching them like he hoped. Meanwhile his co-angler using the same style bait, yet in a different color, was catching them in the back of the boat.

“I had to make an adjustment during the first day,” he explains. “The wind and lack of weeds really dirtied up the water and I had to throw a darker color.”

Thanks to the insight from Aaron Agner – who later went on the win the co-angler title – Almassey brought in 18 pounds, 10 ounces on day one. That had him sitting in a respectable 17th place.

Heavy winds blowing close to 20 miles per hour set the stage on day two and Almassey’s pattern picked up in a major way. He targeted wind-blown spawning flats with bluegills bedding on them. The postspawn bass were getting revenge on the same baitfish that had tried to eat their eggs just a month prior. He used bluegill imitators like the Bobby D’s Custom Baits Grinder in bluegill color with a watermelon candy Assault Lures Ringer paddle-tail swimbait as trailer.

One of the biggest factors to triggering the bite for Almassey was being near the spawning flats at low tide. High tide would have the flats in 5 feet of water, but Almassey was catching them 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet.

Heading south to Discovery Bay in the morning, Almassey would run the tide throughout the day. The conditions didn’t line up just right until later in the day so Almassey took full advantage of it when it did. He had to leave them biting to get back on time, but not before sacking up a 6- and 8-pounder in the last hour on the second day to boost his limit to 26-6 – skyrocketing him to second place heading into Saturday.

Low tide on day three would be an hour later and Almassey thought his chances were dashed. Still determined to make the best of it he ran west early to try and jump on a lower tide. The gamble paid off with a few decent fish.

Charley Almassey

From there Almassey was ready to return to same flats that gave him the second largest bad weighed on day two. While heading to the spot at 11:30 a.m., he blew his lower unit and managed a tow back to Russo’s Marina. Calling upon his team tournament partner, Paul Fontaine, he had a new boat inspected by tournament officials and was back on the water by 12:30.

After heading to his primary spot with 11 pounds in the livewell, he fished the area for only 45 minutes and caught a 5-pounder.

“Heading back to check-in I didn’t think I had a chance,” says Almassey. “I thought if I had that extra hour I could have won and was hoping to stay in second.”

The top-10 anglers on day three struggled as no limit over 20 pounds was brought in. After Almassey weighed his 15-01 limit and overtook the lead, only tournament leader Mike Birch was left to weigh in.

“I wasn’t nervous at all until he pulled that fourth fish out of the bag,” Almassey recalls. “I thought if he doesn’t have a kicker, I might win this thing.”

Birch weighed just 9-08 and Almassey won the event by less than 2 pounds. Not only was this his first Costa FLW Series victory, but he did it on his home waters.

“To win here is unbelievable,” he says, “I always knew I could do it and everything lined up just right.”


Top 10 pros

1. Charley Almassey – Oakley, Calif. – 60-1 (15)

2. Mike Birch – Oakley, Calif. – 58-5 (15)

3. Roy Hawk – Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – 56-23 (15)

4. Robert Lee – Angels Camp, Calif. – 55-0 (15)

5. Michael Caruso – Peoria, Ariz. – 53-5 (15)

6. Bobby Barrack – Oakley, Calif. – 52-8 (15)

7. Harvey Pulliam – Brentwood, Calif. – 50-1 (15)

8. Bryant Smith – Castro Valley, Calif. – 49-1 (15)

9. Benjamin Byrd – Moab, Utah – 48-6 (15)

10. Dane Mitchell – Lake Charles, La. – 48-5 (15)

Complete results 

Tags: charley-almassey  california-delta  chris-burgan  headline-story  2016-05-19-california-delta 


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