With a thousand miles of shoreline to fish and a thousand techniques to catch Bass 2 of our Anglers Michael Coleman and Adrian Murar hit the California Delta on the same day , but each fished a different technique and here’s how that went.
Water temp 74
Air temp 80s
Water clarity 4 ft
Wind 2-6 mph
Location California delta
Stockton California, if you know me you know I love to punching heavy cover. Why? It produces big bass! Today was no different I started my day with a buzz bait and a frog with no results, as the sun got high I started to punch floating vegetation and boom got one around 3 pounds. I started to put the pieces together I realized the fish had repositioned from the previous weeks. They were in the shallow side of the island instead of the deep side as I moved down the Stockton Deepwater channel targeting Tule islands with some kind of floating vegetation, like primrose or hyacinth and this picked up a few more fish, but I could tell the bite was tough . So I began flipping stick baits and other soft plastics with just a few short fish. I started to punch again around the 14 mile area and lost a big one!, as I approached the next mat I punched in and kaboom she crushed the bass Assassin HPC punch bait! the fight was on trying to get her through the mixed vegetation I get down there and dig around and pull up a 9 pound delta giant.
In the past weeks I’ve been targeting matts adjacent to deep water but on this day I could not get bit on those particular mats the fish seem to be much more shallow Even on a low tide they seemed to stay close to the flats . When punching look for the differences in the mat Weather it be two types of vegetation coming together or a point in the matt break down each matt in sections always start in the front and work your way back. One of the main reasons is if you start all the way in the back and catch a fish and have to drag that fish over that Mat through potential other fish you may be spooking fish that you could catch otherwise. At this time of the year the cover is so heavy I use 65 pound braid a 1.75 oz. River2sea trash bomb weight with a River2sea flip jack hook.
I believe the Fast fall with the heavy weight creates reaction strikes as it falls through the mat. My rod selection for me is the Phenix 805 custom. The reason for that is it has a soft tip and helps me to feel the bite which could be difficult in heavy cover and the rod has plenty of backbone to move those fish toward you and get them out of the cover. Something to look for, if you see the any of the floating vegetation is wilting in any way it has been sprayed! just Move On you’re wasting your time! once it begins to turn brown hard and crispy then the fish will move back into it because it is no longer absorbing oxygen and now it is just cover this usually takes 4 to 6 weeks after being sprayed I always like to pick a piece of the hyacinth up and look at the root system you want to see snails small freshwater shrimp and if you happen to see a crawdad that’s even better! the mats with life Will attract baitfish as well as big bass. In all look for the subtle differences in the back and the subtle differences in depth change next time you go punching try some of these techniques .
Phenix 805 custom
65 pound braid
1.75 River2sea trash bomb
Bass Assassin Lures hpc punch bait
River2sea flip jack hook
Article by Michael Coleman fishing
Finesse fishing the delta by Adrian Murar
When most people hear about the California delta everyone assumes you need heavy rods, 65-80 pound braid, and big baits to get those big ones in the boat. While this can be true at times there is always a finesse bite on the delta that can put the same size or even bigger fish in the boat for you. Finesse tactics are often overlooked and can put pressured fish in the boat when other techniques fail. Here is an example of a day where Michael Coleman and I were fishing the delta on the same day in our own boats and both managed to put a 25+ pound sack in the boat using 2 very different techniques.
Michael used a punching technique which ill let him explain in his section of the article and I used a drop shot. My drop shot setup is a Phenix Recon Elite PHX-C764MH paired up with a Lews tournament pro G speed spool series reel 7.5.1 spooled up with 16 pound Sunline FC sniper. Now for the drop shot itself its a little more beefed up then a traditional drop shot. The hook I use is an Owner 2/0 Rig’N Hook and anywhere from a ¼ ounce to a ½ ounce drop shot weight. Bait wise you can use any drop shot worm that you have had success with in the past personally I stick with one color and worm, 7” Margarita Mutilator 3 roboworm.
Now lets move on to where to fish the drop shot, with the delta being a tidal fishery the fish adjust according to water levels. When the tide is high your best shot to catch big fish are steep rip rap banks or any tule banks with some 5-8 feet of water on them. As the tide drops out these fish find the outside grass edges or pull of the bank and find big grass flats and position themselves on the deepest grass clumps they can find. My biggest bites come off grass flats on a low tide. On the day Michael Coleman and I were out on the delta in separate boats I landed 100+ plus fish and culled my way up to my 25 pound limit with a 7.3 kicker. I hope this helps you guys out next time you find yourself in a struggling situation on the delta!