Weather 6/8 W 22-30mph 6/9 W/NW 0-9mph
Water Temp 66.4-73.5
I fished California Bass Nation as a Non Boater this past weekend 6/8-6/9 on the California Delta. It was a tough weekend on the river. The fish haven’t been doing what they should be this time of year. It has been like this for the past few weeks. I was able to practice on 6/7 with Boater Jim McLaughlin in hopes to locate some fish before the tournament and was able to put something together. Jim and I started out the morning by running out west from B&W to only find a few small punch fish. We left the area to make a run to the central delta but had made a stop in Franks Tract. There we had the same results. Just a couple small fish. Around 10am the wind had picked up a little, it was between 10-15mph so we had ran to a protected area with clean water. Again started off by catching small fish. To me it hasn’t been hot enough to push them under mats. So then I tried throwing a spook on the out side of vine mats where fry balls were gathered. Still no results. Jim had shaken a few fish off with a senko casting out ahead of the boat. We started to get onto a flat with scattered grass and wood so I picked up a red chatterbait. I casted out off the bank to clear line and came through some grass and finally got bit by a better fish. Boated that fish and it was 4 1/2. Thought to myself it must have been a fluke. Continued casting off shore and continued to catch fish. Had a few 2.5’s and a 3. Once we got to the far side of the flat it was unprotected and the wind was blowing across it. We found them grouped up on it. Once you caught one there was a few more real close by. I was now trying to cast as far as I could across the flat with the chatterbait and it resulted in 3 fish in 3 casts with one being about 5. So we left the area to try and find some other stuff in some of the islands and just didn’t put anything else together.
Day 1 of the tournament I was paired with Jason Hemminger of Oxnard CA. It was scheduled to blow twice as bad as the day before in practice. We were dealt 22-30mph winds. Jason had told me that he was catching around 12-13lbs a day in practice on a drop shot and that he was just lacking a big bite. He had said if there was anything I wanted to run and fish that we could and he was open to it. He had just one spot in Franks he wanted to check on. Once we got to the spot in Franks it was blown out. Water had already become stained and there was 3 foot rollers on it. So we took off to go run what I had found in practice. Once we get in there the bank was protected but there still is a bunch of wind. It started off super slow. My first fish was a striper on the chatterbait. We slowly started making our way towards the flat and I started picking off a couple small keepers on the chatterbait and had my 3 fish limit. As we got close to the flat I was explaining to Jason how the fish were grouped up on it in practice. I had culled once and Jason had yet to land a keeper. We were then on the flat and before I know it he lands 4 keepers in 10 casts or so and has a pair of 2.5’s. We fish our way off of it and try areas nearby and there was only small fish to be caught. So then we would drift back and forth across the flat and both would catch fish. I had landed one that was about 3. There was a vine mat that was on the flat that we had trolled up to and shoved the trolling motor into to hold us into place. We both start fan casting and catching fish and culling. Once the tide dropped out the flat became fairly shallow and we stopped catching fish. We made our way around looking for deeper water near the flat to try and relocate the school. We started to approach a row of trees and stumps in the water and Jason had thought he seen a red crankbait on one. We went over to get a closer look and it was a crawdad. With a closer look there was about 15 red crawdads on just one particular underwater tree. It had now made sense to why they were eating that red chatterbait on the offshore flat. It also had wood on it. We had then got to a bank that was protected enough to see into the water and there was a bunch of bluegill beds at the edge of a vine mat. As we past by Jason thought he had seen a fish in the water and pointed. I didn’t see a fish so he continued on. Once he did there was a nice fish swimming along side the boat back to the area he pointed at. I pitched a dropshot back to it and mentioned to Jason that there was a fish swimming back to the area, he said ok I will back up for you. As soon as he did I was able to see the fish and told him. It’s nosing my dropshot about to eat it. I shook it and felt a tick, waited to feel pressure and then swung. Landed it and it was my big fish for the day at 3.67. We both started casting drop shots at the edge of the mats as the tide dropped out and I culled once more replacing a 1lb 10oz fish with a 1lb 10 3/4oz fish. That would be my last cull of the day. We got near B&W with about 30 minutes left to fish and Jason made a stop on a fish he had seen the day before that was spawning. It was about a 4lber that was paired with a 2.5. Once he got to where he could see her she went down and disappeared. Tried blind casting the drop shot to her but she wouldn’t eat so we continued on. There was a little bit of shade and some grass pockets he had flipped his dropshot into and got bit. His rod doubled over and he landed his big fish of 4.8. Shortly after that we had to go to weigh in. Jason had weighed 15.05 on the boater side which had him in 6th and I had weighed 8.33 and was leading after Day 1.
Day 2 I was paired with Bill Scharton of Oakdale CA. The weather had done a complete 180. It was slick calm to start the day. Bill was starting the day with 10.11 from Day 1. He told me that he was also on a 10-12lb a day bag and was catching them on senko’s, Texas rigs, and squarebills. He told me if I had an area I wanted to go to and fish that we could. He said he would get me anywhere I needed to go and will do everything in his power to help me win. Jason had asked if he could run the flat again and I told him to go for it. Knowing that Bill and I had ran to a different area. We ran south down the San Joaquin and stopped on an island with isolated tule and grass clumps. He asked what are you starting with? You gonna flip? I said no I’m going for it all, I’m throwing a frog. 10 minutes into fishing I get my 1st bite and land it. It was right a 4lber. Momentum is up for the both of us. Another 5 minutes or so goes by and I get my 2nd bite. Land that fish as well and it’s my big fish of the day at 5.76. I have now beat my day 1 weight with 2 fish and it’s 6:32am .I’m one away from a limit. Bill then grabs a spook and starts walking it. He catches his first keeper at 2lbs. A few minutes go by and Bill gets his 2nd bite on the spook and it’s like someone flushed a toilet. He lands his fish and it’s his big fish of 6.13. We are both off to great starts. Bill starts filling off his limit with a senko and I’m still frogging. We pull up to a tule island with gaps between tules and I’m chugging the frog through there and I get a giant to come up. Well as soon as she starts breaking the surface I’m starting my swing. I got a little too excited. I miss this fish and there’s 3 parts to the blow up and I look at Bill and say oops. There went one between 6-8 I’m sure. Had to just shake it off. Around 9:30 or so we went to some mats to punch and I finally caught my limit fish. A 12.5” fish. We made another pass at around 10:45 on our starting spot but didn’t get another bite. Around 11:20 we took off to fish in the disappointment area. I had caught another frog fish on my 1st cast in the new area and culled the rat I had. I kept with the frog and kept culling my way up and Bill flipped a senko and did the same the remainder of the day. Bill finished the day with 14.89 and had a 2 day total of 25.00 and moved from 12th to finish 7th. I had 12.53 for a total of 20.86 and got the Win for the 2nd year in a row! My 3.67 was good enough for Day 1 big fish for the Non Boaters. My 5.76 was also good enough for the day 2 big fish for the Non Boaters. Overall it was a pretty good weekend.
BIG THANK YOU to all 3 boaters that I was with that were apart of the tournament. Jim McLaughlin, Jason Hemminger, & Bill Scharton.