BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 83

angler spotlight

Claim Victory at California Delta

Island, Calif. – When the Califor- nia Delta appears on a tournament schedule, anglers’ thoughts usually turn to heavy bags of largemouth bass taken on heavy line and ag- gressive tactics. The second event on the 2009 Anglers Choice Pro Am schedule on the California Delta was just such an event. Scheduled for May 2 -3 on the premier California fishery brought talk of giant bass as warming weather mixed with predicted springtime patterns. However, as any seasoned angler knows, the only constant in tournament angling is change, and when the northern California area was greeted with a cold front that brought daily rainfall records to the area over the weekend; adjustments were the rule. While the pre-tournament talk was of sightfishing and power techniques, the effect of the storm was that anglers would have to adjust. The anglers who made the right moves proved that big bags of Delta largemouth were possible as the day one crowd at Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island was treated to a parade of big bass. Pro- viding a glimpse to the final standings were Plumas Lake, Calif. Pro Chad Martin and Shingle Springs, Calif. amateur George Norris of Shingle Springs, Calif. brought a hefty 34.72-pound limit to the scales to take the day one lead. The pair’s enormous limit was enough to fill five Gator Grip pro series bags, and required both anglers to bear their share of the weight coming over the levee to the weigh in site. The image proved to be almost a preview to the awards ceremony, as Mar- tin would bring 21.65-pounds to the scales on day two and claim his second victory in Anglers Choice competition. Meanwhile, Norris was paired with local Delta expert Larry Vignolo, brought 18.81-pounds to the scales to earn the win on the amateur side. Martin said that his game plan revolved around the north Del- ta, and that it was an area that had let him down in the past. “I found a stretch of bank that was holding big bass in practice, and decided to go back to them, even though the spot had let me down in the past,” said the veteran pro. “This time it didn’t let me down, and I had a blast catching them.” Martin said that he used three lures, a white Snag Proof Pro Series frog, an Optimum O.B. Minnow wake bait and a Yamamoto Senko, all on Powell Rods and Shimano reels spooled with P-Line braided line or copolymer. “I was fortunate that the area didn’t get much pressure over the event, as the fish where I was seemed to react negatively to pressure,” Martin said. “It feels really good to win this event, especially when I look at the group of anglers who fished it, it’s very humbling.” Martin’s two day total of 56.37 pounds earned him a $10,000 payday. Tony Franceschi, of Danville, Calif., a three time pro-am winner, mounted a huge comeback on day two, as he posted a 32.36-pound second day limit to move from 26th position to his lofty 2nd place fishing. Franceschi said that he had a day that anyone would dream of. “I was culling four pounders on Sun- day, and that doesn’t happen very often, it certainly happened

pro Chad martin & am george norris

at the right time,” said the veteran California pro. “I used topwater baits, and flipped creature baits on Dobyns Rods with P-Line to boat his 50.28-pound total, which earned him $6,000. Rounding out the top three was former Bassmaster and FLW Tour pro R.J. Bennett of Roseville, Calif. Bennett was able to put together a solid performance after only deciding to fish the event on the Friday before. “I practiced on Friday and had 20 pounds, and decided to fish,” he said. “I used a wacky rigged Senko in bed- ding areas on a 7’2” Fenwick Elite Tech Strokin’ Special rod and Abu Garcia Revo Premier with 15-pound-test Trilene 100% Fluoro- carbon.” Bennett’s 49.98-pound total was enough to earn him 3rd place and a $5000 paycheck. Norris said that he tried to complement his pro partners by looking for big bites with wake baits on day one and flipped on day two. “I was able to contribute a couple of fish to our bags each day,” Norris said. “This was my first time fishing a pro-am, and it feels really good to have won. I fished with two great pros and had a great time.” Norris earned $4000 for his victory. All told, the Anglers Choice Delta Pro-Am drew 95 pros and amateur partners to the event, the 190 anglers were compet- ing for their share of a $60,520 purse. The Delta Pro Am was the second event of the 2009 Anglers Choice Pro Am schedule. For more information about Anglers Choice visit their website at BW

2nd place Pro To

ny Franceschi w it

h sponsor Gary



Photo by Dan O


July/August 2009