Competitors gathered early Sunday morning at Ladd’s marina in moderately foggy conditions, after fishing a tough and rainy first round on Folsom Lake the day prior. As opposed to other championship events where most anglers will have already conceded the top-five places based on the first day’s standings, Absolutely no one was conceding anything based on where they were in the standings.
“We only caught one fish the first day,” said Paul Cunningham and team partner Phillip Garcia. But this is the delta and all it takes is two “flips” to put you right back in it”!
Paul’s comments about the quality of fish that can be caught on the delta are well known to anyone that regularly fishes it’s intricate maze of waterways for largemouth bass. The California Delta is world famous for producing huge fish at anytime – on any cast, and in fact, holds the B.A.S.S record for the largest fish ever caught in a B.A.S.S tournament – a 14.72 pounder landed by Mark Tyler.
Many were worried that the tournament might be delayed, or even worse cancelled due to the foggy conditions, but the fish gods must have been placing bets on who would win because no less than five minutes before blast-off was scheduled, did the fog lift ensuring a safe blast off.
As is typical with postfrontal conditions, a beautiful day ensued bringing anglers mild temperatures and a flat calm river. At 2:30pm the first boats arrived back at Ladd’s Marina and immediately made their way to the Peoples Stockton- Nissan/Jeep/Isuzu dealership parking lot for the final day weigh-in. The BBAC (Black Bass Action Committee) was onsite with their live-release boat to ensure all fish would be released back into the delta safely, along with officials from the Department of Fish and Game to monitor the handling of these environmentally important game fish.
As day one leaders one-by-one fell from grace, those at the bottom of the list slowly rose to prominence in the standings. Surprisingly, the anglers leading the pack after the first day of competition, came up short and posted small weights on the body of water they felt they were the strongest on! Very few limits, and even no-fish was the disappointing order of the day for those counting on the delta as their saving grace.
Husband and wife team Bob and Jenny Delorenzi however, stayed the course, and combined their five-pound day one Folsom limit with a 13.91-pound day two delta limit to take the 2003 Future Pro Tour Classic title. Using Lucky Craft’s crawdad colored lipless crankbaits, Jenny and Bob stuck with their crankin’ pattern all day. “The bite really slowed down after the sun came up and we had a three-hour drought going until the mid day cloud cover came in and the wind picked up” Bob said, visibly excited about their victory. “The cloud cover and wind must have turned the fish on because we got several good ones after that”, he added further. Their combined weight of 19.54 pounds earned them $675 dollars, the Future Pro Tour Classic Cup, and the keys to a new vehicle courtesy of Peoples Folsom Lake/Stockton – Chrysler-Jeep-Nissan-Isuzu-Hyundai dealerships!
Congratulations Bob and Jenny on a hard fought victory, and for becoming our first Future Pro Tour Classic champions – the best amateur team in the west!
Second place went to a team that fished in division I (small boat division) all year – Dan and Mark Pollard. The Pollards, a great father and son team, pack an awesome one-two punch and have been tough all year posting high finishes in several events throughout the year. Spider jigs and Pro Worms were the ticket to catching a 9.39 pound bag of bass, and their combined two-day weight of 18.01 pounds garnered them a brand new Minn Kota trolling motor, $805 dollars in cash and two beautiful plaques.
Third place honors went to Ray Beck and Dave Saunderson, from Eureka, who got it together after a dismal start on day one, and caught a 14.58-pound bag of delta bass – the largest limit of the day! For their “never say die” attitude, they received $520 dollars, a $300 gift certificate from Tru-pitch prop service, Evinrude motor oil, and two beautiful plagues.
What a great end to a fantastic inaugural year! I have to take the time to thank all of you who participated in this tour, for truly making it the premier tour it has become. Your participation, and most of all, your patience with the Future Pro Tour staff, and me, was truly the key ingredient to our success. Many thanks go out to our title sponsor, Owner/president, Gary Hamner and the staff at People’s Folsom Lake/Stockton for their efforts in providing us with the incentives to make this tour attractive to the bass angling community, as well as the many top pro anglers who helped us to fulfill the tenets of our charter and motto – “A Great Place to Learn”.
And a special thanks to the Future Pro Tour staff, Dennis Gregory, Sheldon Bright, Dan O’Sullivan, Rodney Green, Lori Soldano, and Messila Lee for their un-tiring efforts in making the events run as smoothly as they did.
Our 2004 season opens up on March 20th on Lake Berryessa, and is sure to see a record field of anglers show up to harass those finicky early spring Berryessa bass! We would love to see all of you there to help us kick off another great season of camaraderie, fishing, and just plain fun!