By David A. Brown
Various interactions with anglers on the water told a mixed tale of strategies and outcomes. By late morning, we had seen some who had enjoyed early success, some that were still looking for significant opportunities and others who were just trying to put the pieces together.
Here’s a rundown of what’s going on throughout the California Delta:
Hard Times: The day began with an outdoing tide that bottomed out a little before 9 a.m. The incoming water seemed to be stimulating the fish, but one of the biggest considerations will be the sunny day’s heating affect.
Riprap rocks laid bare by low tide absorb solar heat and radiate that coziness into the water when the tide rises. For fish with spawning on their minds, this makes them want to move shallow. This could become a significant factor today.
Mark Lassagne started on a riprap bank a short run from takeoff and picked off several early fish, including a 5-pounder, by throwing an unweighted Senko around the rocks. Dousing his bait with Liquid Mayhem fish attractant, Lassagne did best on riprap sections with tule patches.
Elsewhere, others including Colby Pearson, Kevin Johnson, Randy Macabee, and Matthew Nadeau worked the rocks with a mix of reaction baits.
Take It in Stages: Luke Johns looked very comfortable throwing his bladed jig along the edges of tule islands, but he said he was just filling time until the tide fills the Delta. His morning plan centered on keeping that reaction bait busy in hopes of finding a few big bites early and then moving to his big fish areas for a sight fishing program.
Get the Drop on ‘Em: For the first couple of hours, John Pearl, who placed second on Day 1 was mostly throwing a dropshot around riprap and tules. He used a 6-inch Roboworm in the March Madness color because the Delta fish see a lot of the popular Margarita Mutilator color.
Pearl also made occasional casts with the 1/2-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait that delivered his opening round limit of 22.95 pounds. The reaction bait, he said, would not take the lead until the rising tide gained momentum. Other anglers will experience a similar stimulus.
Scott Mackenzie committed to the dropshot on Day 1 and he said he’s sticking with it all day. When we saw him mid-morning, he had only a small limit in the boat. Noting that the water temperature in his area was 2 degrees warmer than Day 1, Mackenzie said he’s hoping the continuing warmth will deliver more afternoon opportunities like the three late-day culls he made on Friday.
Looking At ‘Em: While many will likely incorporated sight-fishing elements into their game plan, we actually found Beau Joudrey (third on Day 1) tucked in the back of a renowned Delta bed fishing area. He had a decent limit of about 13 pounds, all of which came within a 20-minute flurry.
Joudrey was mixing traditional sight-fishing techniques with blind casting to likely areas. He said he’d like to cull most of what he has with big afternoon spawners.
Look for some interesting leaderboard shifting today, as ripening spring conditions make those magical flurries of day-changing potential increasingly likely.