Delta done; Shasta next for FPT anglers

BETHEL ISLAND, Calif, - Its a good bet that the sudden rush of wind heard by many at the conclusion of Saturdays Future Pro Tour/California Delta event wasn't the typical delta afternoon breeze twisting it's way through the San Joaquin valley. More than likely, it was a host of FPT anglers breathing a collective sigh of relief that the Future Pro Tour's delta events – which favored those proficient in art of “Bubba” or “Power” fishing were finished for the 2006 season.

And with over a thousand miles of twisting sloughs, rip-rap levies, and perpetual tidal flows, it's quite understandable to see how someone not classified as a “delta rat” would begin questioning their own angling abilities on such a complex aquatic ecosystem.

But despite the complexity of the delta, 175 of the best amateur teams in the west, converged on Russo's Marina – with tackle in hand, on a mission, eager to prove their mantle and hone their skills as amatuer-level touring anglers.

Adam Belmont and Stephen Magill fit this profile perfectly as both anglers, both of whom learned how to fish on the central valley's many deep water impoundments such as Lake McClure and Pine Flat reservoir, embraced the challenges the delta had in-store for them and posted a strong finish (16th ) in Saturday's Northern region event.

“We never fish the delta”, commented Adam and Stephen, clearly pleased with their strong finish. One of the reasons we joined to Tour was to learn about new water, expand our knowledge base, and continue to be competitive on any body of water we fish. This tour has set us in the right direction to accomplish that goal”, they added further.

Others such as Ray Beck and Dave Saunderson of Eureka Ca, simply wanted to “weather the storm” of Delta events, and do well enough to keep their current place in the yearly points standing. “We like the Delta and have always been competitive on it”, said Ray Beck, owner of Ray's Machine Shop in Eureka. But, we are really glad that the delta series of events is over and we can now move on to the venues that cater to our strengths such as the deep waters of Lake Shasta”. He noted with outward enthusiasm.

Ray and Dave are currently in 10th place in the points standings and like their fellow competitors, will be giving it all they have to earn one of the 40 coveted berths in the 2006 Future Pro Tour Classic presented by People's Folsom Lake Chrysler/Jeep/Hyundai.

This year's FPT Classic competition will be on Clearlake and will be hosted by Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Kelseyville. The 2006 FPT Classic champions will receive a fully rigged Ranger Boat with Evinrude Outboard, Humminbird/Minnkota electronics and Centennial Batteries for their victory as well as enough braggin' rights to last a lifetime.

Saturday's bite was a good one, as many teams weighed in good limits of bass with it only taking a modest 13 pound bag of fish to receive a paycheck when all was said and done. Pro-support staff member Andy “Cooch” Cuccia, who jumped in at the weigh-in and co-MC'd the event, had admonished anglers during Friday's pre-registration seminar to ensure that they had a backup plan if the top water action were to go “south” on them. His recommendation was complicated - flip a jig, toss a jig, or pitch a jig. And someone must have listened as the top competitors all scored big bags of bass using Cooch's advice.

Mark Smith, fishing with his nephew Peter, took home the delta title site fishing (yes site fishing), his way to a 24 pound + limit and a check for $2,300 dollars. His nephew also received the “Future” Future Pro award for the highest finishing angler under 16 years old – an honor that gave him a beautiful plaque and a check for $25 dollars.

“We saw these shallow pockets loaded with shad, and you could clearly see that the bass in there were just eating at will! Mark explained to an excited crowd of spectators. “We just flipped Sweet Beavers into every pocket we saw and pulled out some good fish!”

Second place was taken by Roy and Rich Desmangles, who fishing their first event of the season, showed no signs of rust, posting an impressive bag of bass weighing 23.73 pounds. “Man it feels good to just go fishin' again!” said Roy, who's wife recently blessed them with a bouncing baby boy. “Rich and I have had a busy year”. Between my duties as a new father and his new work schedule, we have not had a chance to fish hardly at all. So we decided to “just go fishing” and have fun and look what happens!” he said delightfully. For 2nd place Roy and Rich took home $1,750 dollars and some Ranger cup money for being the highest finishing registered Ranger owner. Congratulations - on all fronts (“Big Daddy” Roy)!

Division I (small boat division) title was taken by Chad LeBlanc and Josh McHone whose 12.17 pound limit helped garner them $570 for 1st place. Second place team of Mike and Tom Bartolomucci also had 12.17 pounds but lost the title due to the big fish tie- breaker rule. But don't feel bad for these two, as they were last year's Angler's of the Year, and FPT Classic runner's up – and they are sitting only one point out of 1st place in this year's AOY race!

Frog Flavor

Adding to the flavor of the event was the “Ultimate Frog Challenge” in which 5 frog bait manacturers selected their top pro-staff members to participate in a frog vs. frog, winner take all challenge. While all manufacturers pro staff teams gave it their best, the “Top Frog” crown went to the Reaction Innovations pro- staffers who used the “Swamp Donkey” frog bait. Robert Lee, Mike Tuck, Kyle Rassmussen, Russ Snyders, Marcel Colin, and Ralph Harkins literally rocked the scales with a 9-fish team limit weighing 39.78 pound narrowly edging out the Snagproof pro-staffers who had a whopping 36.64 pounds!

Talk about exciting! We would like to thank all of the participating manufacturers: Snagproof, Reaction Innovations, Optimum/Dep, Scum Frog, and River 2 Sea for their participation in this special event and look forward to each one returning to compete in next year's competition to exact some friendly revenge!

We would like to also thank Gene Buchholz owner of the Hook Line & Sinker, for his allowing us to host our traditional pre-registration seminar at his newly remodeled store in Oakley. Go check out his inventory if he doesn't have it you probably don't need it anyway.

Next up

Shasta Lake, September 16th! Time to go back to pristine canyons walls, deep water, and tremendous late summer spotted bass action! Stay tuned to the FPT website for details on up-coming seminars to be held at Shasta Lake, by such top pros such as Billy Townsend, Greg Gutierrez, Dave Rush, Russ Myers, Nate Lemons and many more of the FPT's professional support staff members.

It's dropshottin' time guys .

See you all there!


The Future Pro Tour is proudly sponsored by:

People's Folsom Lake Chrysler/Jeep/Hyundai, Ranger Boats, Evinrude Outboards, WestMarine Products, Minnkota/Humminbird, Lucky Craft, Lamiglas, Sawyer Cook Insurance, Berkley, Gamakatsu USA, Okuma Reels, Berkley, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, P-Line, Tru-Tungsten, Doc Waters, SnagProof, Limit Lures, MariTech Industustries, The Law Offices of Anthony Harris, Hydrate2o, Pro Worrms, Fisherman's Warehouse, Outdoor Pro Shop, Hook Line & Sinker, Walton's Pond, Extreme Outdoorsman