Northern CA Freshwater

Antioch: Largemouth bass action in the San Joaquin-Delta heating up

Bait starts to move in

By DAVE HURLEY WON Staff WriterPublished: Sep 11, 2019

Bass Fest this coming weekend

ANTIOCH – The shad schools are moving in to the San Joaquin-Delta, and this is contributing to more and more striped bass starting to make the scene. Stripers and largemouth bass are starting to focus on feeding on shad, in addition to bluegill and crawdads, and the action will only get better and better as the water continues to cool.

BIG LARGEMOUTH CAN always be found in the Delta, and Kris Huff of Stockton caught and released this 10.36-pound largemouth while tossing a frog in the San Joaquin side of the Delta.

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The shad are moving into the Delta, and the largemouth bass are now keying on shad as a food source. There is a topwater bite with shad-patterned lures such as the ima Finesse Popper or the Flit ripbait as the shad like to whirl around on the surface while feeding on plankton and zooplankton. The key is to keep the lure in the strike zone as long as possible and fishing in current is essential. Tossing the Flit out and jerking it twice is a guarantee to get pummeled by small striped bass in the San Joaquin right now. Fly fishermen could be having a ball with the 11- to 12-inch fish with the possibility of a few to three pounds. The birds are the indicator of where the small stripers are feeding on 1-inch shad, but the larger shad in the 2- to 3-inch range are starting to ball up. Flipping for bass is another good technique, and I would switch to a lighter color plastic such as the General in light green or brighter colors. Flipping a Berkley Crazy Leg Chigger Craw has also been one of my favorite baits, as there are still fish feeding on bluegill or crawdads, but shad are now getting a lot of play.”

Pringle is hosting the annual Bass Fest at Russo’s Marina on Sept. 14 and 15, and this event is part tournament, part trade show with an emphasis on bringing in anglers who have never fished a tournament previously. The entry fee is only $60 with a mandatory $10 insurance fee up until September 9 with a $10 late fee after that. The tournament is on Sunday with 100 percent payback with a two-day trade show out of Russo’s Marina.

Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “I have been finding more bait balling up around Frank’s Tract, and the first real push of striped bass is starting. I have been averaging around 15 stripers to 22 inches on Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits. Punching the weeds was the key for our fishermen in Saturday’s Open tournament, and a 13.80-pound limit took the event.” Mathisen is now guiding out of Russo’s Marina for largemouth and striped bass.

The FLW Costa Delta Series event will take place out of Russo’s Marina on Frank’s Tract from Sept. 26 to 28.

H and R Bait in Stockton has been regularly receiving up to 70 pounds of quality fresh shad during the week, and the shad are of a varying grade from medium to large. Bloodworms have been popular for striper fishing from the banks while bluegill are found off of Eight Mile Road or Whiskey Slough with redworms, mealworms, or jumbo redworms.

The algae blooms continue in the east and south Delta, and the Department of Boating and Waterways advised limiting contact with the water, especially for pets.

Anglers are requested to report any sightings of algae blooms through the HAB hotline at (844) 729-6466.

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