One hundred and three boats were welcomed to the two-day, River2Sea bass fishing party on the California Delta, where anglers battled on the tidal waters for a guaranteed payout of $10,000.
At the end of the weekend, the top spot, top prize and championship trophy belonged to the team of Ken Mah and Jason Austin. The Delta duo hauled in the biggest limit on Day One with 21.16 and kept their first place seat in the standings on Day Two after adding in 17.47.
Mah attributed their success to two key items - Jason's hard work in the pre fish period and their on-the-water adjustments made during the conditions change on Day Two.
"I practiced two weeks ago, when it was the same tide," stated Austin. "I ran some points and got on some moving water. I was flippin' and throwin' a crankbait and got 'em alright. This week, I went out and got into an area where I was throwin' an S-Waver and had the fish show themselves. They wouldn't eat it; but they followed, so I knew they were there. I made a couple flips, caught a couple fish and left the area."
Austin reported the conditions remained basically the same during his practice period and the day before the event, so the two huddled up on Friday and made their game plan accordingly.
"We started out on Saturday and Jason put on a show with a Coldblooded, Bumpin' Biggie crankbait," said Mah. "It was just one after another, after another. We got our two biggest fish on an S-Waver. We did change up the color from the one that Jason was fishing in practice. In pre fish he was throwing Party Crasher, which is a brighter color and due to the conditions we had, I thought a lower key color would work better. In the clearer water, I think the color is more important and when that Party Crasher twitches and moves by, it has a lot of flash. I think it gets 'em spooked easier. We stuck to two colors - Hitch - which I don't think is made anymore - and Abalone Shad. We did flip some with a 1 oz. Trash Bomb, but they weren't game changers."
They enticed their biggest - a six and a half - to the boat at around 8:40 a.m. and their other big one came shortly after that - both on the outgo. "The tide was critical," said Mah. "We caught all of the better fish before the switch. We could still get bit later in the day; but after the slack tide and the swing to the incoming, we couldn't get anything of size."
Mah reported the common depth of their weigh fish was found in 4- to 8-feet, but stated that 6- to 8 was even better. He revealed that their pattern focused on hard grass points located throughout the East and West Delta - from Ladd's to the Tract. "The cleaner the grass, the better it was," said Mah. "We were looking for really healthy hydrilla - real green and less slime. We had about five spots and fished the same areas both days, but rotated them differently. We would add a spot or eliminate as we went along."
With the big increase in winds on the second day, adjustments had to be made for most anglers. Mah and Austin, picked up their flippin' sticks and went to work with an 1 1/2 oz. Trash Bomb and a creature bait. Their flippin' setups included 4/0 hooks, 80-lb braided line and were rigged both skirted and unskirted. They went for the slimmer profile with no skirt and less bulk more often on Day Two.
"We weren't punchin'," said Mah. "It didn't require it. We were pitchin' and flippin' grass with the heavy weight. When the fish are more shallow - like in 2- to 4-feet - they will chase more; but because they were in that deeper range - to 8-feet, they were not as active and I think that heavier weight gave more of an action. I think they are sittin' down there on the bottom and then come up to eat the bait as it falls towards them."
While Austin stuck to a Bloody Mary Beaver, Mah went for a Green Pumpkin and purple colored Space Monkey. "I am not sure that color was that important," added Austin. "Because in pre fish, I got bit on every color I threw and I don't throw the same color when I'm pre fishing as I do on tournament day."
The team expressed their appreciation for the well-run tournament, thanking River2Sea for their hard-working staff and for bringing the fun to the fishing event. It is a tournament you cannot miss," said Mah. "They make it a blast for everyone and they make great products to fish. You can flip, you can crank and you can still find a big S-Waver to throw. I am in Heaven. And, where else can you pay $180 entry and get a guaranteed $10,000 payout?"
1st 38.63 Mah/Austin
2nd 36.16 Rossetti/Rossetti
3rd 32.15 Young/Graham
4th 31.33 Saso/Vignolo
5th 31.32 Leber/Spencer
The event drew anglers of all levels, ages and experiences. Thousands of dollars in prizes were raffled off at the close of awards. The Top-25 qualifying teams of this event will join the Top-25 qualifying teams in the 2013 Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge and the 2013 Snag Proof Open for an invite to the Coors Light Delta Open Teams Championship to be held on June 21 - 22, 2014 on the California Delta.
River2Sea standings and more information on the Delta Open Teams Series can be found at AnglersPress.com.
The full line of River2Sea's 2014 products can be found in their digital catalog.