Heavy stringers are par for the course on Cal Delta, and Wednesday’s competition was no exception. Anglers caught 949 bass Wednesday, including 146 five-bass limits, and hauled in 29 stringers weighing in excess of 15 pounds. But the 1,000-mile Delta doesn’t give up its bass without a fight. In addition to the challenge presented by the Delta’s sheer size, anglers also had to learn its extreme water fluctuations – as much as 4 feet per day. Klinger caught his limit Wednesday under partly cloudy skies using a top-water lure in shallow water.
“It has been extremely hot,” said Klinger, who is excited about the new Western Division. “The hotter it is, the better the fish bite.”
In second place was Rick Rudd of Danville with a five-bass catch weighing 21 pounds, 13 ounces. Tied for third place were Art Berry of Ramona and Rick Winger of Davis each with a five-bass catch weighing 20 pounds, 10 ounces. Fifth place was Darrell Burkhardt of Gresham, Ore., with a five-bass catch weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces.
Joe Patz of Peoria, Ariz., leads the 121 Co-angler Division competitors with a five-bass catch weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces. He was pitching a soft plastic lure to catch his tournament-leading bass.
“It is really great to be in the lead,” said Patz, who finished eighth at Lake Pleasant. “I plan on fishing the same pattern [Thursday].”
Rounding out the top five pros are Tim Barrett of Rancho Cucamonga (five bass, 17 pounds); Steve Amata of Payson, Utah (five bass, 16 pounds, 2 ounces); Earl Dalton of Jackson (five bass, 15 pounds, 10 ounces); and Robert Urchike of Chandler, Ariz. (five bass, 15 pounds, 18 ounces).
Anthony Franceschi of Oakley, earned big-bass honors and $1,000 Wednesday thanks to a 9-pound, 1 ounce bass. Amata and Urchike tied for the co-angler big-bass award Wednesday with a 7-pound, 11-ounce bass. Each received $200 for his big-bass.
Competition resumes Thursday at 6:30 a.m. from Big Break Marina in Oakley, host of daily takeoffs. Thursday’s weigh-in will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 4893 Lone Tree Way in Antioch beginning at 4 p.m.
Following Thursday’s conclusion of the opening round, the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Friday’s semifinal round. Weights are cleared for Friday’s competition, and the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers advance to Saturday’s final round based on Friday’s total weight. Weights are again cleared for Saturday’s competition, and anglers compete for the heaviest one-day weight.
The winning pro will take home a guaranteed cash award of $7,000 plus a new Ranger 519VS Comanche equipped with Garmin electronics and powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard. If the winner is the original owner of a Ranger boat, he will receive an additional $10,000 cash bonus from Ranger for a total of $58,900 in cash and prizes. Ranger will also award an additional $3,000 to the winner if he is a Ranger Cup participant, and Garmin will award $1,000 to the winner if his boat is equipped with a fixed-mount Garmin Fishfinder or combination GPS/Sounder.
The winning co-angler is guaranteed $3,600 cash. If the winning co-angler is a registered Ranger owner, he will also receive a new Ranger 519VS Comanche for a total of $26,400 in cash and prizes.
Four divisions – Eastern, Central, Northern and Western – comprise the 2003 EverStart Series. Each division stages four regular-season tournaments leading up to the no-entry-fee $335,975 EverStart Series Championship, which will be held on Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn., Oct. 29-Nov. 1.
In EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, control boat movement and fish from the front of each boat against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back of each boat and compete against other co-anglers.
FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, administers the EverStart Series. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails include the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League. FLW Outdoors will award as much as $20 million through 175 tournaments in 2003.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com.
FLW Outdoors is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood.