UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Detroit River

Cal Delta Top 10 Patterns

Cal Delta Top 10 Patterns
Mike Birch

Frontal conditions challenged the field in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. Many of the top finishers junk-fished for their limits in the wind and cold, primarily using reaction baits.

Some of the Cal Delta bass were still on beds, but many had already spawned. Charley Almassey targeted postspawn fish that were chasing bedding bluegills for the victory.

Here’s how the rest of the best caught their fish.

Winner’s pattern

Top 10 baits gallery

 

Mike Birch

2. Birch junk-fishes for second

Mike Birch came out swinging on day one. The local from Oakley, Calif., brought in a tournament-best limit of 33 pounds, 8 ounces to lead by nearly 11 pounds after the first day.

Birch’s pattern was pure junk-fishing. With his boat deck littered with rods, Birch caught fish on a variety of lures, including a vibrating jig, River2Sea Whopper Plopper, Yamamoto Senko, drop-shot, punch rig and crankbait.

“With this weather changing, they don’t want to set into anything,” he explained on the final day. “They’re going up and down and moving around.”

Birch ran his boat in 4 to 7 feet of water along tule lines and levee walls. He cast to isolated weed clumps in areas with current.

The local had several of these areas, mainly around Mildred Island, and managed them throughout the event. He saved his best area from practice in Delta Cove for the final day of competition but only caught one fish out of it. Birch finished in second with 58 pounds, 8 ounces.

“I think a lot of the other anglers found my primary areas,” he says. “They [the bass] got throttled, and I fell a little short.”

 

Roy Hawk

3. Hawk clinches AOY with third top 10

Roy Hawk made his third top 10 of the season at the Cal Delta and ran away with the Strike King Angler of the Year title by a margin of 30 points over second place. The Lake Havasu City, Ariz., native took home a $2,000 AOY prize package, including deposits for the 2017 season.

Hawk started his days near takeoff then worked around Mildred Island. His strategy’s two-prong approach included working a bladed jig early then upgrading with bigger spawning fish.

“I don’t know how many were spawning, but you had to be around bedding fishing, in my opinion,” he explains. “Each day my bigger fish were sight fish.”

Hawk covered a lot of water with the bladed jig, working it on rock dike edges and inside grass lines. He sight-fished with a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog.

Hawk finished third with 56 pounds, 13 ounces.

 

Robert Lee

4. Lee lands in fourth

Robert Lee had a modest first day with 14 pounds, 10 ounces, but late in the day he figured out what the fish wanted and turned his tournament around on Friday with the largest bag of the day at 26 pounds, 7 ounces.

Lee junk-fished in areas with grass and current. He threw moving baits such as the Bobby D’s Grinder bladed jig and a Lucky Craft BDS 3 square-bill crankbait to catch the majority of his fish. He also tossed a Reaction Innovations Pocket Rocket worm to holes in the grass.

Lee thought he’d make a final-day push, but the conditions didn’t line up as he’d hoped. He finished fourth with 55 pounds.

“The big fish weren’t there today,” he said after the final weigh-in on Saturday. “The water was clear, and the stripers moved in.

“I must have caught at least 40 keepers today, but they were little tiny fish. When they’re on the bank it means the big ones aren’t there. Little fish don’t come in when the big ones are feeding. I thought the big ones would move in, but it just wasn’t windy enough and the water didn’t get stained.”

 

Michael Caruso

5. Caruso milks tule island for fifth

Michael Caruso made his second straight top 10 despite the Cal Delta event being his first on the vast estuary. He finished fifth with 53 pounds, 5 ounces.

“In three days of practice I didn’t find anything great,” he recalls. “I just went fishing.”

Caruso worked a number of isolated tule islands in White Slough. He mainly used a Senko but mixed in a drop-shot and topwater lures as well.

He was poised to make a final-day comeback until a float tournament of around 30 people came right through his primary area. Caruso watched a 9- and 6-pounder get caught right in front of him then bailed at around 9 a.m. to run new water. Caruso still ended up catching the second-largest bag of the final day at 17-08.

 

Bobby Barrack

6. Barrack targets recovery areas

Cal Delta legend Bobby Barrack threw a multitude of baits, including, you guessed it, a frog to finish sixth with 52 pounds, 8 ounces.

“I was catching absolutely spawned-out, spent fish,” he explains. “I caught a fish in practice that was 26 inches long and didn’t weigh 9 pounds.”

Barrack located postpawn fish in areas that had a little current next to deep water. He threw a Dandy Baits spinnerbait and a vibrating jig but caught one or two of his better fish each day on a Snag Proof Wobbletron frog.

“I lived and died with the frog bite [on Saturday],” he says. “I gambled.

“I was running a lot of different spots. I had two hours and 15 minutes left and ran 35 minutes one way so I could throw a frog in this one little area. I only caught one 2 1/2-pound fish to get rid of a 2 1/4.”

 

Harvey Pulliam

7. Pulliam works the edge for seventh

Harvey Pulliam, a former professional baseball player for the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies, brought in a three-day total of 50 pounds, 1 ounce to finish seventh.

“These guys who do this for a living, man, I really respect them,” say Pulliam. “This is some hard work, and it’s tougher than playing baseball.”

Pulliam worked weed edges with a spinnerbait and flipped a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver during the low tide. Pulliam also made long runs to Snodgrass Slough at the end of each day in search of a kicker fish, and it paid off on day two when he flipped up an 8-pounder.

“I needed that low tide because it brought them to the weed edge,” he explains. “The big fish were sitting out there.”

 

Bryant Smith

8. Smith works tule berm for eighth

Bryant Smith of Castro Valley, Calif., brought in a three-day total of 49 pounds, 1 ounce for his eighth-place finish. A tule berm at the mouth of Disappointment Slough was his main spot throughout the event.

“In practice I caught a couple of good ones there real quick,” he recalls. “I knew what they were doing and just picked it apart.

Making several passes around the berm, Smith threw a Senko in shade pockets and a vibrating jig in open lanes. 

Smith’s weights fell each day in the event, as the spot’s fish didn’t replenish.

“I milked it for all it’s worth,” he explains. “The big ones were hard to come by, and I had caught most of them already.”

 

Benjamin Byrd

9. Byrd targets bass chasing bluegills

Utah pro Benjamin Byrd’s three-day total of 48 pounds, 6 ounces earned him a ninth-place finish.

“I found some fish in practice in schools,” he recalls. “I had four or five areas with a bunch of big fish swimming around.”

Byrd worked areas in White, 14-Mile and Disappointment sloughs. The spots were close enough that he could bounce back and fourth between them during the day. He was catching postspawn bass that were chasing schooling bluegills and picked the areas apart using a Senko, drop-shot and Pepper Custom Baits jig.

 

Dane Mitchell

10. Mitchell cranks for top 10

Dane Mitchell from Lake Charles, La., brought in 48 pounds, 5 ounces over three days of competition.

“I was cranking rocks with grass mixed in, but the key was to have a flat nearby,” he explains. “They were spawning in there, but there were some fry and postpawn bass too.”

On the first two days, Mitchell used crawfish-colored Strike King KVD HC square-bill crankbaits in the 1.5 and 2.5 sizes. He switched to a bluegill color on the final day. Mitchell swapped the stock treble hooks out with larger and heavier hooks and threw the baits with 16- to 20-pound-test line.

A high-speed reel was critical to his success.

“You have to move them before they move you,” he says. “I had 24 to 26 pounds on the hook days one and two, but the way I’m fishing, you just miss some.

“Its not your typical crankbait bite. It’s like a topwater bite. You’ve got to let them get it good, but then you have to get the upper hand and have their head coming toward you.”

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

California Delta Set to Host Toyota Series Return

California Delta Set to Host Toyota Series Return

OAKLEY, Calif. – The 2020 Toyota Series Western Division is set to return to competition next week in Oakley, California, with the Toyota Series event at the California Delta, Aug. 19-21. Hosted by the City of Oakley, the three-day tournament will feature a return to action for the region’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Instead of limits coming in bunches, the top pros were often scrambling to get five keeper bites a day at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries event. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

As promised, Wheeler Lake turned out to be the stingiest of the two stops on the Toyota Series Southeastern Division so far this season. The dog days of summer put the kibosh on the main-lake bite, leaving Wheeler’s many shallow creeks and tributaries to supply the pounds and ounces at weigh-in. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake was a shallow-water power-fishing showdown in tough summertime conditions. Almost all the fish the top 10 pros caught came from 5 feet of water or less, and a fair amount of those were caught in 3 feet or less. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

The top pros in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River ended up using fairly similar tactics to attack the river, but with slight variations throughout. Tom Monsoor won with a variety of unique jigs, but many of the other top finishers used more standard fare. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Lee Rogers mixed smallmouths from the nearby islands with a good largemouth day near Sandusky to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Outside of Rogers, the top 10 was filled with folks making substantial runs eastward or to Michigan. It also proved helpful to actually get something going around Sandusky, both during days one and two and on the wind-hampered final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie featured pretty tough fishing overall. On the first two days, many of the top pros ran to the Detroit River or St. Clair for their fish, and others plied the waters nearer Sandusky. On the final day, the entire field was confined to the waters in and around Sandusky Bay due to wind, and everyone switched to targeting largemouths. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

Top 10 Baits from Chickamauga

When so many anglers are throwing similar baits and running similar patterns, doing something a little different can be quite the advantage. Sure enough, the pros who made the top 10 at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga all had techniques or tactics of their own to set themselves apart. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Josh Stracner won the 2020 Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Eufaula by fishing offshore. He targeted deep ledges in the mid-lake area for two days before switching to brush piles in 12 to 15 feet on the final day when a front moved through and replaced still, sunny conditions with wind and overcast skies. The rest of the top 10, with one exception, also fished offshore in what turned out to be a pretty typical June ledge-fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

Top 10 Baits from Lake Eufaula

June on Eufaula is ledge season. Well, mostly. Nine of the top 10 in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event at Eufaula fished offshore, but targets included ledges, brush piles, standing timber and some “in-between” offshore structure where bass stopped in transition from the bank to out deep. One pro even fished exclusively shallow. Here are the baits they used to make the cut. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Pickwick Lake greeted Toyota Series anglers with high, stained water and stronger than normal current last week. While the last week of May usually means fishing to depths of 25 feet on Pickwick, some anglers felt Pickwick’s bass were a little behind in their summer migration to the deep ledges. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

From shallow bars to deep ledges, the offshore bite on Pickwick was the deal for the majority of the field in second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division. Because the offshore bite reigned supreme, it’s no surprise that the lures thrown by the top 10 pros were standard issue for the Tennessee River this time of year. READ MORE »

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Matt Becker recently shared a great video that details the three patterns he used to earn a fourth-place finish at the season’s third stop on Lake Martin. Becker, who’s currently second in the Angler of the Year race, caught both largemouth and spotted bass and capitalized on a variety of tactics for a top finish. His patterns included targeting staging and spawning spotted bass on shoals, skipping docks and sight-fishing for spawning largemouths.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Spotted bass dominated the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Martin, but they didn’t win it. Sure, the sheer abundance of spotted bass in Martin left most pros’ thumbs bloody and raw from catching so many fish. Yet, it was the key largemouth that really separated the field, and what helped Jason Abram earn his first victory. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Because of high water and cooler conditions, bass on Lake Hartwell haven’t quite gotten fully into the mood to spawn. During the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, there were plenty of shallow fish to be had, but catching them wasn’t as simple as finding one pattern or one primary bait. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

Early March on Lake Hartwell can be feast or famine. The bite often depends on weather patterns, as both largemouth and spotted bass are staging before the spawn. MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson pulled off a wire-to-wire win, but the victory wasn’t easy. The final field of 10 contained a lot of local knowledge and experienced anglers who were ready to knock Robinson off should he falter. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their paychecks. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Chickamauga

In February, with water temperatures in the high 40s, no one expected a fast and furious bite during the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga. What everyone hoped for was quality fish. There were two 10-pound-plus bass brought to the weigh-in stand, but it appeared consistency was the name of the game, at least for the winner, Jim Neece Jr. of Bristol, Tenn.  READ MORE »