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 

 

Don Pedro Fishing Report by Josh Parris

Lake Don Pedro Map

Don Pedro fishing report

Water temp – 51-58
Water clarity – muddy to 1-4 ft
Conditions- sunny post frontal 
Winds – light
Over the weekend I fished the Sonora bass anglers tournament at lake Don Pedro with my buddy. I hadn’t been out there in a while and in light of all the recent rain and rising water I was expecting tuff post front conditions. Water temp and clarity really just depended on location. We launched out of Moccasin, it was 53 degrees and muddy with 3-6 inches of water clarity and a lot of floating debris. I like fishing that area but decided to make a run in search of cleaner water. On our initial run when ran out past middle bay and found clear water. We found early success on jigs and tubes for a hand full of short fish in the 20 foot range. After that we jumped out to submerged lake island tops with little success. At 8am and an empty box we turned our attention finding running water. I immediately realized that almost every decent tributary had a few boats on them. We opted for some of the smaller feeder creeks and quickly found success with a half oz River2sea Papa Mur jig. My partner then turned to throwing reaction baits like cranks, a rigs and quickly got a 3lber on the a rig. The a rig quickly became the dominant factor for us. My Falcon Bucoo rig rod got a work out! On my a rig I was throwing River2sea rig walkers in silverside color. If your not familiar with the River2sea rig walkers check them out! They are pre rigged swim baits that can save you a ton of time on the water.
After the bite slowed down I started throwing single rig walker and managed to get 3lb spotted bass. With our fish exhausting we moved on. We had little to no success on the next 5 or 6 small tributaries we ran. Towards the end of the day I decided to go back up to the dirty water. We found a long creek arm and went to work. After about an hour we had caught a hand full of fish but nothing to help us. As we worked our way out we stoped on another small feeder creek for the last twenty minutes of the day. It did take long and I grabbed our best fish of the day on the a rig, a just under 4lbs large mouth. We ended the day with 14.85 witch was enough for the win. With changing conditions keep an open mind and adapt.

Josh Parris Don Pedro Bass

 

10-2-16 Lake Berryessa Report by Danny McElroy

Lake Berryessa Map

danny-mcelroy-berryessa

mike-emory-berryessa

Went to the lake with my buddy Mike Emory and it started off pretty slow.. We were throwing reaction and top water in the narrows with no takers.. Went out to the main body and caught some cranking.. Water temps were between 68-72 degrees and the wind stared blowing pretty good.. So we took out the A-rig and blades and boated a couple good ones in the  0-10′ range.. Huge cold front moved in and kind of shut the bite down so I started to slow it down a little catching a few jig fish, and dropshot fish.. So back to the narrows we went and I stuck the big one in 50′ of water on a jig and we were off the water at 2:00.. I’d say a pretty tough bite at Berry but quality bites are there..  Make sure to bring a needle with you if you’re catching them deep because I had to pop the big one…. Have fun and be safe out there on the water..               
Danny McElroy

D&M Custom Baits Pirannha Swim Jig

D&M Custom Baits Pirannha Swim Jig

The D&M Custom Piranha Swim Jig is made with the professional angler in mind.  Super high quality components compliment the fantastic fish catching colors. Available in three sizes; 3/8, 1/2 and 3/4oz. 1 per pack, each piece comes with a solid 5/0 Gamakatsu hook, stainless snap, unique color blade system with flash, and a plastic trailer. The following Piranha Swim Jig custom colors are a response from all the requests from fishermen all over the country. Colors: Bama Bug, Blue Gill, Clown.  June Bug Flash, Mad Craw, Night Stalker (black), Rainbow Trout, Sexy Shad, Sunfish, Watermelon Red, White Knight, Yellow Bird, Chartruese White, Tilapia, Brown Purple Flash

www.dmcustombaits.com

D&M Custom Baits Pirannha Swim Jig

D&M Custom Baits Pirannha Swim Jig

The D&M Custom Piranha Swim Jig is made with the professional angler in mind.  Super high quality components compliment the fantastic fish catching colors. Available in three sizes; 3/8, 1/2 and 3/4oz. 1 per pack, each piece comes with a solid 5/0 Gamakatsu hook, stainless snap, unique color blade system with flash, and a plastic trailer. The following Piranha Swim Jig custom colors are a response from all the requests from fishermen all over the country. Colors: Bama Bug, Blue Gill, Clown.  June Bug Flash, Mad Craw, Night Stalker (black), Rainbow Trout, Sexy Shad, Sunfish, Watermelon Red, White Knight, Yellow Bird, Chartruese White, Tilapia, Brown Purple Flash

www.dmcustombaits.com