It’s still the Delta

Category: press release

 Oct 9th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Oct 9th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Cal Delta’s in transition, but big fish are coming to the scales

OAKLEY, Calif. – For a system in transition, the California Delta is pretty well grounded.

Accepted wisdom at the start of this Walmart FLW National Guard Western Division tournament was that the bite is off and that nobody should expect to see the record-setting weights that prevailed here when the western division kicked off its season here back in March.

All that has come to pass. But though the Delta is giving up her bass more reluctantly this time, she’s still giving up fish any tournament angler likes to see. Take a look at the leader board after Wednesday’s first round. It took 17 pounds to make the top 10 and the big bass of the day tipped the scales at 10 pounds, 1 ounce.

All tournaments should be so tough.

The Delta is still the Delta, afterall, and frustration can turn to success on the next cast, which is exactly how it played out for many of the 212 pro and co-anglers.

“I’ve been fishing here 10 years and this is the toughest I ever seen,” said Jim Davis, currently in 24th place. “You had to keep fishing and fishing and fishing. On my last cast of the day I caught one close to 5 (pounds).”

Anglers have found that spots and methods that produced in practice are no longer working. Many reported getting five or six bites all day. Versatility will be key as the tournament progresses.

Scott Nielsen of Salt Lake City appears to have solved the puzzle, at least for one day. He brought a 10 pound, 1 ounce behemoth to the scales that was part of a 22 pound, 5 ounce bag that put him in first place.

“I was surprised to see that fish,” Nelson admitted.

Current eddies in deep water are the focus of his presentation. He said he picked out 15 similar spots during practice and that he’s hoping they hang on. Unlike most competitors, Nelson said the fish bit better today than in recent days.

“There are some big boys coming in on the tide,” he said. “We had incoming water all day long and that seemed to be when the bite was best.”

Second-place Mike Reynolds, of Modesto, Calif., is just three ounces behind Nielsen and using a different approach. He’s flipping crawdad lures – the Sweet Beaver worked best Wednesday – and working his areas very slowly. Several lost fish have him thinking he he could do even better Thursday.

“The potential is there,” Reynolds said, “but there’s still two more days to go. I’ve been doing this a long time and I know there’s a long way to go.”

Nicholas Kanemota was a man of few words on the stage during weigh-in. The Elk Grove, Calif. pro Nicholas Kanemoto, of Elk Grove, Calif., had the third best bag of the day, which included these two dandy bass.said he got his biggest fish, a 7 pound, 14 ouncer, on his fifth cast and that it took the rest of the day to fill his limit of five. He’s currently in third place with 20 pounds, 13 ounces.

The remaining anglers in the top 10 used a smorgasbord of tactics to tempt the Delta’s bass, including topwater baits, swimbaits and drop-shot rigs. Anything goes at this tournament.

Shaun Bailey of Lake Havasu Cith, Ariz., is in fourth place after day one with 20 pounds, 10 ounces.Best of the rest
Rounding out the top 10 pros after Wednesday’s first round:
4th: Shaun Bailey, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 20 pounds, 10 ounces;
5th: Ken Schmitt, Livermore, Calif., 20 pounds, 7 ounces;
6th: Robert Lee, Angels Camp, Calif., 19 pounds, 7 ounces;
7th: Chris Raza, Roseville, Calif., 18 pounds, 12 ounces;
8th: Todd Woods, Marietta, Calif., 17 pounds, 12 ounces;
9th: Richard Smith, Kelseyville, Calif., 17 pounds, 8 ounces;
10th: Gary Howell, Stockton, Calif., 17 pounds, 7 ounces.

Battle shaping up among top two co-anglers
After Wednesday’s weigh-in the first customer at Hook, Line and Sinker, a popular bait shop at Russo’s Marina, was Dan Cranston, of Visalia, Calif., who is tied atop the co-angler leader board with Justin Lucas with 15 pounds, 10 ounces.

“I used reaction baits,” Cranston said, “and a fish hit my best one, took it into a log and broke it off. My confidence was shot for four hours.”

Cranston said that bait featured a bluegill pattern. “I’m buying three more today,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lucas, said he’ll stick with dropshot rigs with Berkley worms on fluorocarbon line. Unlike many co-anglers, Lucas always does his own thing in the back of the boat.

“I stay out of their way,” Lucas said of his pro partners. “I cast to different spots and use different baits.”

Must be working, for the Folsom, Calif. angler is currently leading the points race on the western division.

Best of the rest
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after Wednesday’s first round:
3rd: Michael Bryant, Discovery Bay, Calif., 12 pounds, 14 ounces;
4th: Randy Bruno, Huntington Beach, Calif., 11 pounds, 12 ounces;
5th: Mike Dispensiero, San Marcos, Calif., 11 pounds, 9 ounces;
6th: Alton Forthe, Bencia, Calif., 11 pounds, 5 ounces;
7th: Carl Limbrick, Jr., San Diego, Calif., 11 pounds, 4 ounces;
8th: Tucker Clarke, San Diego, Calif., 10 pounds, 14 ounces;
9th: Paul Reutlinger, West Jordan, Utah, 10 pounds 7 ounces;
10th; Aaron Reitz, Soda Springs, Calif., 10 pounds, 3 ounces.

Day two of the National Guard Western Division tournament action begins at 7:15 a.m. (Pacific time) at Russo’s Marina at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif. Weigh-in will start at 2 p.m.

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