BASS calls it the Duel in the Delta…I might as well call it the Drool in the Delta because that’s about all I do when I go to the California Delta for a tournament.
During the 2010 Elite Series season opener I brought in a whopping two-day total of 11-06 for a wonderful 76th place start to the year. Not too good!
The Delta is a superb fishery but this time around it was a little stingy to the BASS field as a whole. A late spring and cooler-than-average-water temperatures had the catches off pace. Usually after day one at the Delta, it takes at least a 20-pound bag to be in the running for the top 12; this year it was 15 pounds and there was only one 20-pound plus bag weighed in on day one.
The Delta is a tidal fishery, and though I’ve fished my share of tidal water, especially back East on the James and Potomac systems, I’ve never seen a place where bass are so sensitive to tides. Out West it’s like the bass have small 20- to 30-minute windows that they feed in depending on the tide. When that small tidal window is open and they’re feeding, you can look like a hero with 10 to 15 bites on a 100-yard stretch. But here’s the problem: they only feed like that on that particular tide for a half an hour at the most and then they’re done.
During practice I found two places like this. At a certain tide (for me it was the last hour of incoming, when it was the fullest) I got about 10 bites in two different 50-yard stretches. Unfortunately these two places were about 40 miles apart. But what made them so valuable to me was that, according to the tide charts, I was going to be able to duplicate the high tide feeding window on these two places during tournament hours.
I got to fish both places at the right tides and the few I caught came quickly during that narrow window of time, but it’s like that window just wasn’t open long enough. I got two or three bites in a row and then it was over. I mostly cranked rip-rap with a Bandit 200 in Spring Craw and a Pure Poison cranking jig.
And with all that running around between spots, I did something I’ve never done before in a tournament: I ran out of gas, not once but twice!
Both days I ran out of gas – 52 gallons each day. On day one, I actually made it to weigh-in, then ran out running back to where I put in. On day two I ran out of gas about a mile from the check-in. Much thanks to Kelly Jordon for bringing me in on day two or I wouldn’t have been able to weigh-in my two “monsters.”
In all, it was a very frustrating tournament and now I’m zero for five in the check-getting department in California. The bass in this state owe me…maybe I’ll get some revenge at Clear Lake coming up next!