Bassmaster Elite Series Begins Western Swing

Big Bass, Big Catches Expected at California Delta

STOCKTON, Calif. — Fresh from the big-bass slugfest in the season-opener on Texas’ Lake Amistad, the Bassmaster Elite Series head west for a two-tournament western swing that begins with a visit to another famed trophy bass factory — the California Delta — March 22-25.

The Duel in the Delta is expected to be another big-bass bonanza on the nation’s top tournament circuit. The hits just keep on coming by design on the Elite Series where its 11 tournaments put the country’s best anglers on some of its best bass waters at prime times of the year.

Just how good is the fishing on the Delta expected to be?

“Anywhere from great to exceptional,” said Arizona pro Mark Tyler, who in 1999 set the BASS all-time big-bass record with a 14-pound, 9-ounce largemouth from the Delta. “It’s just going to depend on the weather.

“I think the majority of the fish will be in a prespawn mode. That time of year it’s just so temperamental whether the fishing goes completely crazy or not. Every year the Delta has been better and better so the weights will be big, there’s no doubt about it.”

“It should be pretty good,” California pro Greg Gutierrez added. “The fish should be starting to move up. They have started to group up and guys have been catching them. We’re looking at some fairly big weights. Weights in the 30s, I imagine. I think it’s going to take 30 pounds a day to win.”

The vast Joaquin River Delta, better known as the California Delta, is comprised of 700 square miles of wilderness-like canals, sloughs and channels that harbor one of the country’s best bass fisheries. The Delta is formed by five large rivers that that come together for a 50-mile stretch between Sacramento and San Francisco. BASS last held a tournament on the Delta in late May of 2005. The three-day Bassmaster Western Open was won by Russ Meyer with 56 pounds, 12 ounces.

Tyler believes the winner will have 95 to 100 pounds over the four days of competition. Under the Elite Series format, after three days the field of 108 pros is reduced to 12 for the final round. At stake is a $100,000 top prize and valuable points toward the 2008 Bassmaster Classic.

While Tyler looks for swimbaits and flipping jigs to dominate the Elite Series stop, Gutierrez looks for a wider variety of lures to come into play.

“We’ll catch bass on everything,” he said. “It just depends on if we get some warm weather. They’ll start eating topwaters and it will be everything from swimbaits to lipless crankbaits to Senkos to sight-fishing,”

The Delta tournament will be followed by the Golden State Shootout on Clear Lake March 29-April 1.

Daily launches and weigh-ins will be held at Buckley Cove Marina in Stockton, Calif. Launches will start at 6:50 a.m. PT with weigh-ins at 3 p.m. PT.

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Advance Auto Parts, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide and Costa Del Mar.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 at

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation Nation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 530,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit