CA Delta report by Christopher Evola

Comprehensive California delta fishing report and techniques for pre-spawn, post frontal Florida strain largemouth bass. 

Date: March 27, 2017 

Location: California Delta

Water temperature: 55-59 degrees 

Water visibility: 0-1′ 

Tide: outgoing 

Air temperature: 49-62 degrees 

Wind: 7-15 mph gusting to 25 mph out of the Northwest 

Moon phase: 🌑 New moon 

Conditions: POST FRONTAL 

The month of March was starting out to be exceptional for bass fishing on the California delta. Large stringers in the thirty-pound range were rewarding local tournament anglers. Several local tournaments required a minimum of twenty-five pounds to even have an opportunity at a paycheck. Water temperatures were warming nicely into upper fifties and in some areas into the upper sixties. The first wave of pre-spawn buck bass along with a few big females transitioned from their secondary breaks outside their wintering holes on up into the shallows to begin looking for a bedroom. 

Florida strain largemouth bass being the predator fish they are become extremely easy to catch when in this state. They don’t share their spawning areas with any other fish and the buck bass will do anything and everything to protect their spawning areas. The big female bass will hang back and wait for the bucks to do their thing, and if I forage such as a crawfish, tule perch, or bluegill presents itself, the big female will take the opportunity and feed. Once the buck bass has made a bed he will wait in that area to be chosen by a female bass. The female bass will choose a bed with a buck bass present and courtship will begin between the two. 

Everything was setting up nicely and anglers were reportedly seeing large females on beds in all the flooded ponds. I too partook in some of the pre-spawn activities, catching nice size hens on the Optimum baits Furbit popping frog, and the River2sea Whopper Plopper. Just when everything seemed as if it was going as planned here comes the spring rain storms. A double header set of storms hit the California delta dropping three quarters of an inch of rain in some areas. The overnight low dropped down to the low forties and an artic wind began to blow from the north. Water temperatures plummeted down into the low fifties, and water clarity due to the recent storms was nearly nonexistent. Anglers began to struggle and several tournaments were won with weights ranging from seventeen to twenty-one pounds which is way below average for this time of year. 

With the bite being as tuff as it was due to the post frontal conditions, I knew it was going to be a long tedious grind to catch a good bag.  Most anglers I know see this as a hindrance, but I see this an opportunity to go out and learn. 

I launched my boat in the central delta and blasted south. My plan was to target dead end slough where there was thick healthy submerged grass such as egeria densa otherwise known as Brazilian pond weed present. More specific to these areas I was also looking for banks that were east facing and adjacent to spawning flats. The reason why I chose to target these areas is simple. With the bass setting up the way they were prior to the recent storms, I knew the bass would be positive feeding fish. The bass that were still transitioning from their wintering patterns would become neutral feeding or in a negative feeding state, which would make the bass extremely difficult to catch. The reason I chose east facing banks, which many of you already know, is because the water warms up faster on those banks due to more sun exposure. I’ve found this is extremely important when you’ve had a recent dramatic drop in water temperature. I’ve found that even a half degree increase in water temperature during post frontal conditions can be the key to getting more bites. 

The first bank I pulled up to had scattered grass, rip rap rock, and with the high tide it had a five-foot-wide trough. My bait of choice was a River2sea biggie series crankbait in delta craw color. I made the longest casts I could trying to cover the maximum amount of water targeting the center of the trough. I caught several buck bass within the first thirty minutes of fishing but the largest was maybe two pounds. I knew I was on a good bank because in the past I’ve seen and caught several fish in the six to eight-pound range in that area. I had zero visibility in that area so I was unable to see if there were any spawners present. I hopscotched up the slough to banks which were nearly identical in habitat. I caught a couple smaller bass on my crankbait. The tide continued to fall and my trough dwindled down to nearly nonexistence. I knew in the back of my mind the big ones weren’t on those spawning flats, but I needed to prove it to myself so I could focus on my primary technique which would be flipping. 

I put my Dobyns Champion Series 736 cranking rod back in my rod locker, and took out my Dobyns Champion Series 805 Flip/Punch, and my Dobyns Champion Extreme XP 745 Heavy Jig Rod. Both rods were paired with Abu Garcia Revo Rockets for maximum efficiency and power. 

My punch set up consisted of, 70 pound Fitzgerald braid, paycheck baits punch stop, 1 ounce River2sea tungsten trash bomb, 4/0 Gamakatzu extra heavy cover flipping hook which was tied using a snell knot. My bait of choice was a Nemesis baits bullet craw in a black/blue color. 

My jig set up consisted of, 25-pound test Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon. My jig of choice was a TNT Baits Wada Jig, which is a custom hand tied jig designed and manufactured by master guide and delta legend Andy Cuccia. Due to nonexistent water clarity, I chose the larger profile Wada Bomb Jig which was all black in color.

With two rods on the deck negating from any further distractions, I went back to the section of bank where I first started fishing first thing in the morning. The tide was about half way out exposing a more defined grass line. There were also large holes in the grass which were present along with some scattered hyacinth which was in its decomposing state. 

I started off by pitching my jig on the edge of the grass line and in the holes in the grass. Both areas were productive and I boated two fish over four pounds in the first fifty yard stretch of bank. The bass struck the bait on the fall which gave me the intuition to speed up my presentation allowing me to cover even more water. 

I came to a section of bank where no holes were present in the grass and the grass appeared to be more congregated. I set down my jig rod and picked up my big stick. I began flipping my bait into the grass mats in various distances from the edge. I knew the bass were buried in the grass but it wasn’t clear exactly where. Approximately thirty minutes went by without a bite. 

With the tide, almost completely out I started up the big motor and ran down the slough to an area adjacent to a big spawning flat. The area I pulled up on was a classic forty-five-degree angle delta bank which was substantially deeper, however the same well defined grass line was present. I began flipping my one ounce River2sea trash bomb weight into the heart of the matted grass. My rod immediately doubled over. I set the hook and landed a beautiful six-pound bass. I continue down the bank which was set up the same. I preceded to catch several more bass in the four and five-pound class. Bites were steady but lots of water needed to be covered. 

All in all, it was a productive day but I never got the big kicker I was after. Catching bass in heavy cover using big heavy duty equipment is one of my favorite ways to catch them. Hopefully this fishing reports helps you catch more fish next time you’re out on the water. 

RB Bass Angler,

Christopher Anthony Evola 

 

River2sea Ruckus Product review by Michael Coleman

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K_n3doZbQk]
As the season changes  from late winter to early spring and the cold water starts to warm the River2Sea Ruckus lipless crank bait is a bait you need in your arsenal!!!! With super loud tungsten bearings, the Ruckus measures up at 3 inches and weighs in at 3/4 of an ounce. This makes this bait a casting dream. Heavy winds are not a issue for the Ruckus with the tungsten weighting system and armed with River2sea hooks makes this bait ready to go right out of the package. The Ruckus retails at 12.99 it’s a must have bait. There are many ways to retrieve the Ruckus just simply cast it out an burn it back or try the yoyo technique. A very effective way is to throw it around sparse cover and rip it off the grass or just simply let it sink to the bottom and drag it around. The Ruckus is available in a large verity of colors for more information about the Ruckus go to www.river2seausa.com

Article written by

Michael Coleman fishing

 

Winter JiG Fishing 101 by Preston Henson

Winter Jig fishing 101

 As we move into February and the lakes still are cold and have not hit that magic 53-degree mark and fish either suspend or lock themselves to the bottom. In this article I will talk about those fished glued to the bottom and how to attack them with a jig.

 First will start off by looking at the different jigs I use to attack this scenario. First is a good old fashion rubber jig with a twin tail grub or some kind of plastic trailer. My go to is the River2Sea Papa Mur. I wont get in to specific colors because every lake has its colors, I will say this browns always seem to be a good start with some king of other color mixed in. Remember to match your hatch. When fishing these jigs I prefer a football style head since I will be most likely be crawling and dragging this jig keeping constant bottom contact. For weight I start with a ½oz or 5/8oz in the Papa Mur for 25 feet or less and move to a 3/4oz or 7/8oz in the Papa Mur when fishing deeper. The biggest key is to keep bottom contact and drag your jig along the bottom.

 The second Jig is an over looked but my favorite style for cold water fishing, THE HULA GRUB or also called a spider jig or grub. Colors I prefer are your cinnamon and green pumpkin colors. I attach them to a 1/2oz football head for 25 feet or less and 3/4oz for deeper. Same retrieve as the standard jig just a crawl and drag.  I use an open hook setup witch means no weed guard.

 

 Lets look at the equipment I use for these baits. The rod I use is a Phenix Ultra MBX 707MH paired with a Lews Team Lews Custom in a 7.5:1 gear ratio. I use the higher gear ratio to pick up more line since we generally are fishing deeper. Line size varies, I prefer 10lb Fluorocarbon when I can get away with it but will go up to 12lb if I have to if there are more rocks or if the water is dirty.

 Areas of the lake that I target are main lake humps, river channel and creek swings and point near the main river channel. Allot of times these fish will be so tight to the bottom they will not show up on your graph. Look for clues such as bait near by or bottom type change like sand to rock or small to big rock etc. etc.

 The retrieve is very simple. Like I mentioned earlier it’s a slow crawl and drag. I sometimes use my trolling motor to just inch the bait along.  One key I have success is dragging my bait up hill, allot of amateur anglers make the mistake of always fishing shallow to deep. I get allot of my bigger bites with this technique dragging up hill, what I mean by this is casting out deeper and bringing the bait shallower.

 The bite can be very light and can just feel like the slightest change of pressure and other times they will knock slack in your line. If you find yourself missing allot of fish try reel setting on the fish what I mean by this is just reel into the fish and when the rod loads just lean into them.

 I will use both styles of jigs and listen to what the fish prefer that day. I hope this helps you on your next outing during these cold winter days and remember to be slow and patient this time of year and listen to the fish.

“YEAH”

 

Dressing up for the Cold with Pro Angler Mark Lassagne

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K75X3BoAEI]

Dress for Success

You don’t have to miserable fishing in cold weather

Heading out to uncover your boat for a day on the lake you notice the cover is frozen solid and there’s ice across the windows of your truck.

You ponder for a minute – do I really want to go fishing today? Knowing that you’ll be numb at least for the first few hours. The minute goes by, hell ya I’m going fishing who’s gonna listen when I whine about it being too cold anyway.

Truth is you don’t have to be so cold it’s uncomfortable – yes it’s cold and I’m not saying you won’t be a little cold but with the right gear it’s bearable.

Every day is different but with layers you can adjust for the conditions.

We’ll go over a generally cold day and then make adjustments for extreme cold and or rain.

Base Layer: I use Cabela’s Polartec, be sure to get tall. After going through a ton of different manufactures I found these to be the best for fishing as the bottoms are a little bit taller where they don’t fall down exposing skin. With the top, I get the Tall size, that can be tucked further down, again so you don’t expose any skin. Below the thermals I wear snug boxer briefs cuz it’s no fun if they bunch up. On top, I wear a snug tee shirt under the thermals for the simple reason I wear the thermals for several days and I want them to stay as clean as possible. You also want the tee shirt long so it will stay tucked in too.

2nd Layer Bottoms: On top of the thermal bottoms I wear insulated nylon sports pants. I have two different pairs, one that is light weight for mild days and another that has heavier insulation for colder or rainy days. You can usually find a good selection at Marshalls for a good price. Be sure to get a color that matches your jersey so you’ll look good at weigh in. Jeans or pants will work in a pinch but sports pants are more comfortable (flexible) and keep you warmer.

2nd Layer Top: Your upper body needs more insulation, so over my thermal I wear a long sleeve tee shirt and then a hooded sweatshirt over that. I have a few different hoodies so I’ll use thicker ones, like an Okuma sweatshirt when it’s colder.  If it’s down in the 20’s Columbia makes a thin Omni-Heat jacket that works instead of a sweatshirt but only when it’s really cold because it will keep you so warm you’ll overheat once it warms up a little.

Outer Bottoms: For the outer layer, I wear Gil FG2 Tournament Trousers. You’ll want to have insulated bibs. Rain pants just don’t work when it’s cold and especially if it’s raining, they will ride down and you’ll get a cold and wet ass – just no fun. There are lots of great rain gear out there but I’ve been using these for a couple years and I’m staying dry even in heavy rain. Let me tell you when it’s 42 degrees pouring rain and you feel the cold water soaking through your thermals working up your back you’ll wish you had these.

Outer Top: On top, I have a couple options. If it’s dry I wear a light weight Stormr Nano jacket but if it’s raining I use the Gil F2 Tournament Jacket. When it’s dry, you need wind protection because your base layers will keep you warm but they are not wind resistant. When it’s raining, it very important to stay dry. You want a good hood that will cover your head with without too much downward pressure (which will give you a headache) and still be able to see out of, you want the front to be able to close up tight so no water comes in when you’re running – The Gil F2 does a good job.

No matter if the rest of your body is warm: cold hands, feet or head can make for a miserable day.

Socks: First I wear a good pair of compression socks the ones from CEP Compression USA work well and that’s it for socks. With the new compression socks you don’t need to double up or do anything special.

Boots: Columbia Newton Ridge waterproof boot, these are the best boots ever – lightweight comfortable, warm, waterproof with good traction, pretty much perfect for fishing.

Extra Feet Warmth: Even with good compression socks and waterproof boots your feet might get cold so on those super cold days I use ThermCell ProFLEX HD heated insoles. These are pretty cool and adjust with an app on your phone. The only thing I don’t like is they are a little thick and can cramp your feet if you don’t have extra room in your boots.

Hands: Probably the most difficult to keep warm. I use Buff Sport Series full fingered gloves when it’s really cold and then fingerless when it’s not as bad – both can be worn while fishing. Sometimes when it’s raining I’ll wear thin rubber mechanics gloves underneath. When driving, I wear the Polar Tec gloves, purchased from Phil’s Propellers. These Polar Tec gloves (I think are made in Sweden) are thick rubber with a nice lining where it’s easy to put on even if your hands are wet.

Head: Heat rises so keeping your head warm goes a long way. I start with a Savage Gear Balaclava (like a buff) this one covers the top of your head, your face and down your neck perfect for cold weather. Then if it’s not too cold I’ll wear a beanie but on those super cold days I use a Columbia Nobel Falls Trapper lined hat.

When it’s raining (while fishing) I usually wear a hat with a sturdy bill over the Savage Balaclava and then the hoodie hood over that and then the rain gear hood on top. Make sure it’s not too tight or it will give you a headache.

Driving: When driving in the rain I wear a motorcycle helmet and tuck the collar of my rain gear up in side.  The Save Phace helmet works great for the passenger but I’ve found they fog up making it difficult to see and the reason I opt for a helmet. With a helmet, I can flip the visor up if it gets foggy. One downside to a helmet is when it’s rough your head will bounce around but it sure is nice in the pouring rain. I believe there is a lightweight helmet option out there but I haven’t researched since mine works fine.

On clear days, I rarely wear a helmet and opt for goggles that overlap my face gear without mush skin exposed. Using the Balaclava, the Columbia Trapper with Goggles will keep your face and head warm on a long run.

In addition to the clothing I bring along some Hot Hands heat packs and put one in each pocket for a little warm up. These are great for the cold but they don’t work when wet.  Thermacell has an electric hand warmer but I have not tried them yet.

I’m hoping my years of trial and error combatting the cold will help you be a little more comfortable on the water this winter.

Gear List and Links

Cabela’s Polar Tec http://bit.ly/CabelsPolalTec

 

Stormr Nano Jacket http://bit.ly/StormrNanoJacket

 

Gil F2 Tournament Jacket and Bibs http://bit.ly/GilF2RainGear

 

CEP Compression USA Socks http://bit.ly/CEPCompressionSocks

 

Columbia Waterproof Boots http://bit.ly/ColumbiaBoots

 

ThermaCell Heated Insoles http://bit.ly/ThermalCellInsoles

 

Buff Gloves http://bit.ly/BuffGloves

 

Polar Tech Gloves at Phil’s Propellers in Redding, CA call 530-275-4939

 

Savage Gear Balaclava http://bit.ly/SavageBalaclava

 

Columbia Trapper Hat http://bit.ly/ColumbiaTrapper

 

 

 

Christmas Gift Suggestions with Ron Howe

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gjMmdYwICE]

Monster-fishing-logo-new

Ron Howe talks about great Gift ideas for Bass Fishermen ,IMA baits are available at www.Monsterfishingtackle.com

Ron-Howe-Oroville-May2012-04

merrychristmasRB BAss

Fishing and Fitness by Sean Wayman

sean-spott

Fishing and Fitness

    So we all love setting the hook on big fat bass. Matter of fact I love setting the hook on all bass. That said fishing all day, getting up early, getting to bed late, standing and casting all day, running the boat in rough water, it all takes a toll on this old guys body. My lower back would be sore from hard hits in rough water, balancing on the deck in windy conditions, and lifting all those big bass into the boat. Ok maybe that part is a bit far fetched. My shoulder would  also get sore the last couple hours of the day. Multi day tournaments or days fishing just amplified this. When I was younger none of this was an issue, but as father time creeps in changes take place. My lower back was a real problem at times, and it did effect my fishing in every way, casting, hook sets, and definitely runs in the boat at speed in rough water. Well times change and even for the Elite pros on tour. There are many that work out in preparation for the grueling season. Some work out seriously and other to get in shape and increase endurance. Aaron Martens, John Cruz, Ish Monroe, Carl Jocumsen and Im sure many others all work out to some extent or another. Aaron Martens last year credited his workout for his stellar season.  
   Working out is tough at first but in short time it becomes very enjoyable and makes one feel good. It can be done in just a few hours a week or you can do a bit more if you desire. Ive been lifting weights for the past 2 years. I began that shortly before my 48th birthday. I started out with just 3 days a week one hour each and worked my way into more. For me working out changed my eating habits. I no longer was willing to eat fast food. I was eating cleaner and feeling better because of it. There are many routes on can take to get in better shape. You can do a home workout program if that works for you. I started out with P90X at home. They are 1 hour workout and include stretching. These worked for me for a bit, but Im not great at, or real motivated for home workouts. That said it is a great program. The gym is another option and my primary choice. If you dont know how or what to do in the gym, a trainer is a good option until you learn a bit. You may have a friend you can workout with, helps with accountability. Something I recently added to my routing is Crossfit. Zack Birge the young FLW star recently started doing Crossfit. Crossfit is a great way to get in shape. Again most of these classes are 1 hour. I lift 5 days a week and Crossfit 2 nights a week. If just doing Crossfit 3 days a week would be great. Crossfit incorporates some cardio amd some lifting moves. Also stretching, and combination movements. Crossfit is for people of all levels and is a lot of fun. Ive also found the folks in the class to be very supportive. Core work is also a big thing in Crossfit and the biggest benefit to fisherman and adults in general.
sean-berry
  So what are the benefits you ask? Well my lower back has not hurt in 2 years. My shoulders dont get sore as often. Many days on the water I still feel good and fresh at the end of the day. If Im not tired my head is more clear.  Not to mention we all should be concerned about out over all health. Means we can fish more and longer into out lives. Lose a few lbs and the boat is faster. In my case I have gained 40 lbs, but I was rather skinny. The bottom line is there are plenty of benefits to exercise when it comes to our fishing. Give it a try and stick with it for a few months. I think you will be glad you did and you will enjoy your time on the water just a bit more.
Sean Wayman

Cal Coast Fishing Tackle Management with Michael Coleman

Cal Coast Fishing Tackle Management with Michael Coleman
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6E3emWsnns]

Cal Coast PDF

 

 

Hotfoot Maintenance by Mike Tremont

Boat Maintenance and Your Hot Foot.
Just wanted to share an experience I had out on the water that I didn’t expect. I’m big on preventive maintenance, but this experience may help you stay out on the water longer.
The throttle started sticking as I was motoring. It progressed to minor annoyance to a serious problem quickly. I had replaced my throttle cable a year prior, but I had just had some work done at a shop which left a few things detached. These were my thoughts as I was trying to troubleshoot the problem. At this point the pedal was stuck in the idle position. After looking under the cowl and inspecting what I could on and around the pedal, I was stumped. Called it an early day and idled a few miles back to the ramp.
Below are some pics of what I found wrong. The pin that floats between the pedal and pivot that attaches to the cable had seized up.
 Hot Foot 1
The bolt at the lower arrow was the entire problem. I applied a small amount of marine grease there and everywhere else there is an arrow on the next 2 pics.
Hot Foot 2
Hot Foot 3
Amazing what a little grease can do. So if you’re having to to push a little harder on that Hot Foot than usual, take a few minutes now. It may keep you out on the water a little longer next time out.
Hope this helps and I’ll see you out there!
Mike Tremont

Timing on Tidal Water with Mark Lassagne

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63-9IOYzvis]
It’s all about timing on tidal water

 When you guide and fish tournaments on tidal water you need to figure the fish out on a consistent basis or you’ll be out of business.

 Pro angler and Delta guide Mark Lassagne had them dialed in this last weekend boating a 5 fish limit for 25.77 and his partner for the day landed 19.35 with their best going about 30lbs. Mark and his partner took 1st and 2nd while 3rd place only has 11lbs.

 You have to wonder was it just luck, a killer spot and could it happen again? It wasn’t luck and the day consisted of many different spots and yes it’s happened before and it will happen again and again.  Look back on YouTube on the Informative Fisherman’s channel where Mark and Nick went out and landed over 30lbs this time of year. Last year Mark won a couple events and just missed winning a couple more all using the same technique and all in different areas.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1K-DRKqM_g]
 If you’ve followed the publisher of Bass Angler Magazine you know Mark Lassagne’s go-to technique is punching where he has done quite well over the few years.

mark-lassagne-western-divisional

 

 OK, Mark likes to punch and he gets big ones doing it but where does he fish?

 We asked this this question and the answer was “it doesn’t matter”!

 What? How could that be? Mark said, “It matters what but not specifically where”.

 Mark went on to say, “you need three things this time of year: the right tide, current and green stuff”.

 The fish want to be in the thick green vegetation, hyacthin is best but they have been spraying it so that’s not always an option so fish penny wart or most anything green that makes a canopy with some water under it, even dead hyacthin is ok.

 The current, summer and early fall bass like to be in the current, not ripping but just some moving water is good.

 The right tide – this is the toughest one and will take experimenting. This can change from day to day depending on other factors like weather, wind, if they are pulling water, bigger tides, water clarity, area and type of cover.

 Mark guided twice last week where his clients caught over 30 fish each trip, those days the best bite was the last hour of the low tide into the first hour of the high tide then the bite died for a while. On Saturday when he caught the big bag the best tide was the top of the incoming.

 Mark’s key to a successful day is running the tides; he generally starts in one area sampling different (generally productive) spots to see what’s going on. Then based on what he’s found Mark adjusts his plan. If he can’t get bit he will either stay in the area waiting or head west going into the tide.

 The tide starts in the ocean (west) and travels inland eastward (also south and north) where you can fish the same tide for several hours.

 Once Mark starts to catch fish he will travel to the best cover in that area looking for those good bites. The bite will get good for a period of time 30 minutes to two hours where you will notice a spike in activity. Mark said, “You’ve probably noticed it before pulling up to a spot and wacking um”. Watch this spike catch as many as you can then head inland where you can catch that same tide again and again.

 Mark is always asked about spots, on last Saturday Mark shared that he caught big fish on several spot he had never fished before – just looking for places that look right.

 Next time you’re your out try hanging out until they bite and when they do look for those key spots and follow the tide as far as you can.

 Mark’s punchin setup

 Okuma Matt Daddy 711XH, Okuma Helios 7:3 to 1 reel, 65lb braid, 6th Sense bobber stop, 4/0 Gamakatsu heavy wire hook, 1OZ River2Sea Trash Bomb Tungsten Weight and Yamamoto Flappin Hog

 Good Luck

 Mark’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/marklassagnefishing/

Mark’s website http://marklassagne.com/

 

 

 

 

Tackle Management with Ron Howe ICast 2016

I Cast Cal Coast Fishing
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeG89iXk8q4]

Ron Howe talks about tackle management and a new product the Cali Clip from Cal Coast Fishing that will be on display at ICAST 2016. Make sure to go bye Booth #2011 and check out all the Cal Coast Fishing products!