Before I tell the story about our fishing, I would like to tell the story about fishing with my wife. Jenny and I entered our first year of fishing team tournaments together last year in the Future Pro and were doing okay until our boat was hit on the Rio Vista bridge by a drunk driver. With a two month wait for a new trailer, we were done for the year and ended up spending a lot of time fishing the ocean.
Fishing with my wife isn’t always easy, especially when we don’t always agree on how to catch, and or if we have a bad day in a tournament it goes home with both of us. But I believe what has made us successful as a team is that we share some common values, a very important one being respect.
We both have a lot of respect for this sport and our competitors. Bass fishermen deal with whatever conditions are thrown at them for the day, be it 100 plus degrees, rain, snow, wind, knats, flys, or even sometimes disgruntled residents on the shores of the banks we fish.
It’s also about respect for the fish. Bass are ferocious predators and are fun to catch. No matter what size, we appreciate their attitude and handle them with the best of care to ensure their survival. And we have a great deal of respect for the bodies of water we fish and try to minimize objects flying out of the boat (especially nets).
Probably most importantly, we have respect for each other and while we don’t always agree about what technique to use, we always are willing to listen and discuss things. We are committed to doing the best we can in a tournament and stay very focused to work well together to succeed in that goal. We each bring traits to our team fishing that compliment each other. Mine is confidence and Jenny’s is faith. Here is our story of fishing the awesome Future Pro Classic – I always have the second week of November off for my annual pheasant season opener but this year would be different. Jen and I qualified for the Future Pro Classic and knew that we should get in a bit of prefishing. Monday, as Jen was scheduled to work, I used to opportunity to take our hunting dog for a bit of exercise. Though I got two birds, I think our dog was a bit disappointed in my performance.
Tuesday- prefish day
We decided to go to Folsom and decided to fish some of the main lake’s points and island tops. Jen started out Carolina rigging and I am drop-shotting. We notice there are a lot of boats fishing off of the bank in deep water but we decided to go in and fish shallower. We spend an hour and a half fishing the 15 to 25 foot depth with out a bite. So we move out, the shallow water definitely wasn’t happening for us with the high sky. We start graphing bait and fish at a magic 47 foot mark. I start with drop-shot and Jen puts on a heavier weight with her Carolina rig. I mention to Jen “this looks great, I think we found where the fish are.” We caught one small fish for all the hours we spent; it is not a hot bite. Disappointed, we decide to go and fish some our past shallow water spots. We pull up on a spot that has been very consistent for us, no matter what time of year, we always put a few in the boat here. Our first pass through, we catch one nice keeper and decide; the fish are here lets leave this spot. We have a little rule that when prefishing never stick more than two fish at a spot. That day, we turned it in to a one fish spot. We decide to check out both arms of the lake and we run up to the north fork to a similar shallow water, 15 to 25 foot bank that has produced for us in the past. We are both Carolina rigging now and catch one small keeper and decide to see if we can get some more to go. No luck, seems the bite is slow. We had run into our friends the Demangles brothers earlier and they indicated that they had caught two, so the bite must be slow. We decide to save the south fork for our next prefish day and are off the water at 2:30 to beat the traffic home. Three fish, not so hot.
Wednesday – prefish day
I am fishing the delta alone since Jen was needed at her job. I began the morning bogged down in the fog and finally made it into the Middle river. Decided to start in the Mildred area. Glad to get rid of the drop-shot and Carolina rig, I get to throw some reaction baits. I started by throwing spinner bait and alternating with crank baits and the zara spook. No bites in the first hour throwing the zara spook, maybe the water is too cold? Spinner bait got two fish to go but they were small and it seems like the water is too clear for a blade. I moved down to the south delta and started throwing the crank bait. The bite was slow but I caught a couple more fish so it seemed like cranking was the way to go. It was a pretty special experience when Dee Thomas pulled up next to me and we exchanged greetings. I told him I was prefishing for a Future Pro toc and he shared the he was also prefishing for a toc with Stockton Bass. We wished each other luck. I wanted to cover a lot of the middle delta and ran all the way back up to Frank’s Track. There were a lot of striper fishermen here, I checked on some areas I like and only got one bite. I eliminated Frank’s Tract from our game plan. Since this day of prefishing did not kick out anything special, I am now thinking that we should stick with our confidence area in the east delta and not even prefish there. I was off the water at 3:00.
Originally we planned to fish the Delta both Wednesday and Thursday but we decided there was an okay crank bite and that’s what we would do in our tournament.
Thursday – prefish
Jenny and I are back at Folsom. This day we are kind of fired up because it seems like there is a little bit of cloud cover indicating there might be a front coming in.
We ran down to the south fork and fished some of our old spots that we liked, island tops in 15 to 30 feet of water. Jen gets bit twice on these tops but neither fish hooks up, but it’s okay, hopefully well save the hook ups for Saturday. We go into one of the major coves where we’ve caught some nice largemouth in the past and Carolina rig in 20 to 30 feet of water. The bait in here seems to be shallower and I get a bite almost immediately and feels like a real good fish but comes unbuttoned half way up. Wow, three bites, zero fish! We continue to work this area as the screen is marking lots of bait and fish but no bites. We are beginning to get frustrated as we have been on Folsom a day and a half and we have no pattern. After hitting a couple other non-productive areas the wind has picked up and it is completely cloudy now. We make a run out to the main lake and try to find some shallow fish. Jen gets a nice one on a Carolina rig right away and I follow with a 3-pound spot. Cool, are we finally on some fish? Going back to our two fish rule we decide not to sore lip any more and decide this will be our starting spot if the bad weather holds. We head home again.
Friday – pre-tournament day
Jenny is at work again, and I am running around preparing tackle and buying our fourth net for this year. Yet another one blew out on Wednesday! Friday afternoon I pick up Jenny from her job in Davis and we are on our way to the Future Pro Classic registration and banquet. At the check-in line Jenny was very impressed and couldn’t help but admire the beautiful Classic Cup trophies for the first place team. I told her stop looking and move on. As always, Vince had everything well organized and put on a great banquet. We got to see some friends, make some new friends, and meet Gary Dobbins and Kent Brown and listen to their seminar. It was a great time, but it’s off to bed early to be rested for tomorrow.
Day One – tournament
I got very little sleep, was I too amped? I was ready to start fishing at 2:00 am. Jen slept great and was ready to go although she had been awake at 3:00 am and fretted a bit because outside the weather looked calm and rainless. As we are launching at Granite Bay the rain started and we thought, cool the bite is going to be on! We are boat number 22 in the first flight; off we go into the pouring rain.
Following our game plan, we start on our main lake shallow water. I start with reaction baits and Jen is using a Carolina rig. I switched back and forth between rip and spinner baits and never got bit. After two hours without a bite, now what? We go to our most consistent bank on the main lake and bummer, two boats are on that bank. We both fish with a Carolina rig on an adjacent bank for about a half hour without a bite and then notice one of the boats is leaving.
So we finally get on our bank and proceed to fish it only about 30 yards and BAM, Jen calls for the net. We put our first nice spot in the boat and continue on down the bank. Next pass it is my turn to call for net and fish number two is in the boat, but it’s a 131/4 inch rat. I catch another small keeper, this time it’s 131/2 inches, we’re making progress!
Cool, three fish in half an hour! Well, two hours later without a bite, now what? We make a dash to the south fork to fish our favorite island top, but an hour later still no fish.
So it’s back to the bank that produced our three fish using a Carolina rig anywhere from 18 to 25 feet. We’re not leaving this time as we have about an hour left to fish. BAM, again, and Jen calls for the net and we boat our fourth fish, another nice one. Oh well, four fish and I tell Jen it’s time to reel in, we gotta go. I look back and her rod is loaded up, she is getting bit, but this fish does not hook up. We get back to the ramp and word had it that the bite was tough today. I thought, okay maybe we are still in the running. Our four fish weighed in at 5.63 and we are in 15th place, five pounds out of the lead. I don’t tell Jen, but I am feeling good about how we might do tomorrow if we get some foul weather. We’re heading home and with pleasure we take our spinning rods out of the boat and prepare for fishing the river with nothing less than 17 lb test.
Day two – tournament
What happened to the front? It moved in early and was gone by sunrise although given the thick fog cover we were not able to observe the sunrise. 22nd again at blast off we crawled to find our favorite spot in the east delta without being able to see much. Instead of the usual 20 minute run, it took us 45 minutes but we managed to find it. I knew that our window of opportunity was the first thing in the morning before the tide came all the way up and we lost a lot of time puttering through the fog. We start fishing our spot cranking and with in the first few minutes, BAM, Jen calls for net and we have in the boat what will be our second largest fish. Cool, it might be happening, and several more fish are caught, but unfortunately most do not measure. By the time the fog lifted we have three keepers in the boat for maybe about seven pounds, we’re feeling all right. But now the tide is all the way in, the sun is shining really bright and there is no wind, making the water really clear. Our bite is gone. We tried other places staying within our confidence area, but no bites for four hours. We knew it would be tough, but this tough? It’s almost 1:00 now and we head back to where we started our morning and guess what, the wind picked up and the cloud cover returned. We continued our cranking pattern and I called for net and we boated a 14-inch rat. Within minutes I get bit again, cool, a 2 pounder and we now have five fish. We figured we had about 10 pounds; we sure could use a big bite. Now, we are at the end of our bank and we have to make a decision. Fish the bank again or move farther down. We have about less than an hour to fish and start cranking a bank further down in new water. Next thing you know I’m screaming NET! as I can feel this is a pretty good fish. This 5.8 pound fish had me feeling pretty confident as we release our 14 incher.
During the few minutes we had left to fish, Jen somehow manages to drop her pole into the water. She did not realize I had been able to snag it as she reaches over and goes just a little too far to save her pole. After her dip in the delta it’s time to get back to Ladds. While waiting at the ramp, the word was that most had a tough day, including yesterday’s leaders and sure enough, when we weighed in we took the lead with 13.91 making our two-day total 19.54 pounds! After sweating bullets for the next hour our lead held, we won!
The bite was really tough for both days but having confidence in our area and grinding it out paid off. It was a great surprise to both of us and quite a shock to Jenny to win a car in her first year of team tournaments. Thank You! to Vince Harris and his staff and great sponsors. Thank you ! also to our fellow competitors and the many new friends we have made. Vince Harris’s Future Pro Tournament Trails is a great place to learn and we encourage new bass fishermen to give it a shot to have an opportunity such as ours.
Thanks again, Bob and Jenny DeLorenzi