April in California can be the best fishing in your life where you can catch two 10 pound bass and a limit of 7 pounders in a single day or it can be a day where you can’t get a bite. In case you wondered, weather is the determining factor. Consistent warm days will be the best and when a front comes in the bite will be good for a short time as the front is approaching but them deteriorate as the front moves through. The fishing is generally best in the late afternoon with small windows throughout the day.
This tournament was one of those times where the fishing was not that great and many anglers struggled to get a bite.
Day one was one of those times where my partner said I’m having a hard time, what do you think we should do? Mind you this is this the first time I’ve fished the co-angler side in the Delta and my second event ever as a co-angler. As I didn’t expect to fish any of my water or patterns I really wasn’t prepared but non-the-less fishing as a guide and a pro I was ready to tackle whatever happens.
We take off and head to an area where I’ve caught big bass in the past, we proceed to make a pass through and I get a big bite, then half way to the boat it comes off. That’s ok it’s early, we fish around there for a while with nothing.
I say nothing, but with every cast I’m thinking what are the bass doing where are they, how can I catch them and what area would be better than this.
My boater asks what do you think? I tell him I’ve got an area where we can catch some bass, driving about 10 miles we arrive and the tide is perfect – really high just the way I like it. We start fishing cranks, I’m using a River2sea Biggie in the Tackle Warehouse Delta red color and bang I get one, a 2 pounder and now were feeling a little better with something in the box. We hop scotched down the bank fishing all the key areas and we end up with four bass for about eight pounds.
Now the tide is going the other way and fishing has changed, I suggest we head back to where we started because there is quality bass there, plus my boater has also caught good ones there as well. We get there and I suggest we hit the key points, after a couple we land our fifth fish for a whopping 10-pound limit. Now the time is getting short and my boater asks where can we get some good ones – I know a spot. And we head back to our starting spot, mind you we didn’t catch one there in the morning but luck is on pour side and my boater gets a 4 pounder. At this point I lost my Biggie and can’t seem to get a bite on my other cranks. We head down the bank and wham a 3 pounder and then minutes before weigh in my boater lands a six and a half ending up with a little over 16 lbs and in 17th place.
The lesson here, fish good water, make good casts and never give up.
Day two, my boater had an ok day on day one with 14 and some change in about 25th place. I figure I will need about 18lbs to get a check.
We blast off and head to a place that I fished the day before with my boater (his water) so I felt a little weird. Not that I would ever poach someone’s water and we never got bit there but it still felt strange. We fished around the area for a while my boater telling me he had a limit there in an hour the day before but on this day we (he) landed one small bass on a drop shot. After that he let me know he had a place where they were biting good and well away from anything I fished before.
After a 15 minute boat ride we stop at a staging area that I knew well and felt really good about. As I’m tossing every “manly” bait I have but my boater is catching one after another drop shotting. Ok, I’m stubborn but not stupid we head down the bank some and by now my boater has four or five bass in the well but they are small, like 13 inchers.
I rummage through my box and find a bigger worm and try it for a bit but I just don’t have any confidence. A few more yards down the bank he lands a 3 pounder, cool that’s a better one, not close to 18 pounds but a start. Just then I look down on the floor and see an old worm the same as my boater is using but bigger, I grab it and say this is it, I could tell by the teeth marks that it caught a few fish already. It was ripped a little but still fit fine on the EWG Gamakatsu 2/0.
With my new-found worm I toss it out drag to the edge of the weeds and shake it, it suddenly gets heavy, feels weird so I set and… OMG my rod is bent, I holler it’s (Ike style) it’s a GIANT. I fight the bass for what seems like an hour really 3 minutes he scoops it up and there we have 7.5 pound bass in the boat culling a 13 incher. Now with 5 for about 14 pounds things are looking up.
The fish is in the well and I figure I better retie, so I toss out a 6-inch Senko and drag it while I retie. About half way though tying up my Senko must have crossed a bed (spawning bed) because the rod starts jerking. My drop shot line is loose across both rods but no time to get things tidy I grab the Senko rod set and start reeling, as I’m reeling my drop shot line gets caught in the reel handle. Laughing trying to stand up ripping the line out of the handle while keeping tension on the fish and not letting my $400 drop shot rod go overboard. I yell it’s a GIANT, it’s not but after fishing with Iaconelli I couldn’t resist. My boater comes over and slides it in the net, a good 3.5 pounder and now were at 16 or so lbs. We land another 3 pounder and cull up to 18 but the spot is now drying up.
My boater asks for the first time do I have any where I’d like to go since I used to guide on the Delta and know it well. I said yes I have a spot it’s close and the tide is perfect. (The whole tide thing will be another story) We head over and start punching, finally away from that drop shotting, down the bank and I slam a good 3.5 pounder and now we have 19 or so and I’m feeling like I can cash a check.
The day before one guy weighed in almost 30 pounds so I knew I didn’t have a chance to win, but getting a check at this point was a pretty good bet.
At weigh in my 7.5 ended up being big bass and we weighed a little over 20lbs landing me in ninth place. Things just worked out and I ended with respectable finish.
Visit Mark on the web on facebook at facebook