“The California Delta is my favorite place in the whole country to fish,” said Team Immodium pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., who notched a top-10 finish here at a Stren Series event in 2003. “It’s so big and diverse. You have the capability to catch a 30-pound stringer anywhere on the Delta. You can go find your own little spot and not have to worry about other guys finding it.”
While a few bass may be ready to spawn when the tournament begins, Hite anticipates most of the fish will be in a pre-spawn pattern.
“It’s going to be a full-on pre-spawn bite, and those fish are going to be aggressive and willing to bite,” Hite said. Hite said the Yamamoto Senko will be a popular bait choice among anglers fishing the California Delta, especially for those targeting grass and tules. Anglers may find flipping a jig productive, and topwater frogs have a reputation for delivering in March, as well.
Hite expects water temperatures to be anywhere from 53 to 58 degrees, and he looks for water clarity to be a medium stain — a color that allows a variety of techniques to be effective on the Delta. “I can tell you right now, whoever wins that tournament is going to have four of his best fishing days of his career,” Hite said. “I would say to cash a top-50 check, you will have to have 17 to 18 pounds a day, and to make the cut, you’ll have to have 22-25 pounds a day.”
Anglers will take off from Russo’s Marina located at 3995 Willow Road in Bethel Island, Calif., at 7:30 each morning.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, Calif., beginning at 4 p.m. Children will also be treated to a Family Fun Zone prior to Saturday’s weigh-in from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart. Activities in the Family Fun Zone include the Fujifilm trout pond, a Ranger boat simulator and assorted fishing-themed games. All activities are free and open to the public.
The entire field competes for the first three days of FLW Series events. Co-angler winners are determined on day three based on the heaviest accumulated three-day weight. The top 10 professionals continue competition on day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
In FLW Series competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The total purse for the California Delta tournament is $1 million, including $10,000 through 50th place and $2,000 through 75th place in the Pro Division. Ultimately, all anglers in the tournament will also be competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the BP East-National Guard West Fishoff and a shot at advancing to the $2 million, 2008 Forrest Wood Cup, where the winning pro will earn as much as $1 million – the sport’s biggest award.
Coverage of the California Delta FLW Series tournament will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program airing April 15. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to approximately 350 million households in Europe, Africa and Asia, making it the most widely distributed weekly fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 238 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.