Destination: Cal Delta PART2
David A Brown, FLW press release
CONTINUED FROM PART 1
In another blended scenario, grass lines buttressing tule berms often create a gap or corridor between the two and that's prime spawning habitat. In 2011, Sean Minderman won a Delta EverStart event by targeting spawners he had located in specific little corridors between the tules and adjacent hydrilla. (Look for pre-spawners to stage on the outside grass edges.)
Just about any time but winter, running a swimbait along a grass edge is a good bet for a big explosion. In many scenarios, Mah said spawners will crush a 7- to 9-inch swimmer ambling past their shallow grass flat.
"Those big ones have a hard time ignoring the big slow-moving easy meal," he said.
Weed mats: Sometimes it’s a well-defined accumulation of pennywort, but more commonly, it's those hodgepodge conglomerations of floating weeds mingled with anchored hydrilla, topped with planks of dead tules and sprinkled with random flotsam that hold the big, nasty toads.
EverStart pro Ken Mah often targets blended habitat on the Delta.Punching beaver-style baits with 1- to 2-ounce weights stimulates reaction bites from fish lounging in the shadows. Some dress their baits with skirts like the Paycheck Baits Punch Skirt, developed in the Delta by local EverStart pro Bub Tosh. Strike King's Slither Rig offers an all-in-one option with a skirt affixed to a tungsten weight. Whatever your choice, pegging your weight with a rubber stopper ensures your weight and bait stick together as they pass through the dense salad.
Mah also offers this tip: High-visibility braided line helps him closely monitor his line for the slight twitch of a subtle bite, but he doesn't want this bright appearance spooking the fish. His solution – darken the last 6 feet of the braid with a black permanent marker. This also removes any guesswork, as the dark section provides a depth indicator as well.
Riprap: Rock levees protecting adjacent terra firma present classic bass habitat, particularly during pre-spawn when rocks skirted by emerging hydrilla make handy staging zones. Cover long stretches quickly with lipless or squarebill crankbaits and flip active areas with jigs or creature baits. Multiple opportunities await when wind-blown weed mats rest against the boundary of riprap and tules.
Marinas: Docks, boat houses and all the usual manmade structure abounds throughout the Delta, so don't miss the chance to flip a jig or Texas-rigged craw around the hard stuff or skip a shaky head worm into the shadows. Thompson looks for weed mats blown into dock structure. There he’ll punch a compact bait like the Berkley Havoc Pit Boss.
EverStart pro Zach Thompson hauls out his catch from a dense mat of pennyworts.Clearly, the Cal Delta presents a potentially mind-blowing premise of vast opportunity complicated by tide-based time restraints. However, experienced "Delta rats" know that this heralded big bass factory can be whittled down to a handful of particular scenarios that provide the outline for a tremendous day of fishing. Learn the basics of daily tide cycles, pay close attention to conditions and catch details, and before you know it, you'll be on your way to mastering this premier western fishery.