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Northern CA Freshwater

Antioch: Striped bass continue move into San Joaquin-Delta side

By DAVE HURLEY/WON Staff WriterPublished: Dec 12, 2019

ANTIOCH The San Joaquin-Delta remains clear in many areas despite the storms that have been moving through since Thanksgiving, and striped bass are starting to move into the system in numbers. The recent deluge may change all that, however.

Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was out on the San Joaquin this week, and he said, “The Optimum Bad Bubba Shad swimbait has been really good for stripers to 9 pounds. There haven’t been any huge ones, but we are finding numbers targeting points with moving water. If the wind doesn’t disturb the water too much, and the weather stabilizes, the striper action should take off.

stickbaitstriperSTICKBAIT STRIPER — Kyle Goldberg of Lodi caught his 38-inch north Delta striped bass prior to release it, which throwing one of his Donkey Stick topwater lures.

“For largemouth bass, it is similar with numbers of bass to 3.5 pounds,” he said. “We haven’t been finding any giants, but the largemouth are solid. The ripbait bite has been outstanding, and I have been using the ima Flit 120 in shad patterns on 12-pound fluorocarbon. The key has been to work the outside weed lines with some current, but not in heavy current. I am working the lure back very slowly with the rod tip in the water to get the bait down. A short twitch of the wrist on the retrieve is important to make the bait jump 4 to 6 inches. The bass are eating and keying on shad, and they are filling up in anticipation of the water cooling. The Berkley Power Worm Series of the General or the Flat Dog in earth tones are also effective on a Zappu head such as green pumpkin or green pumpkin/red flake. When the water cools, the prey turn darker, and these colors are more effective.”

Dave Houston of Livermore was out with striper-trolling legend, Mark Wilson, on Thursday, and he said, “We put in almost 80 miles trolling on both sides of the Delta, and we worked from the mouth of Three Mile Slough to Eddo’s Marina on the San Joaquin. Every spot we tried only produced up to one fish, and if the water temperature drops another 3 to 4 degrees, it will be even tougher for trolling. The conditions did look good, with the water temperature around 53 degrees with minimal grass and good water clarity, but we ended up with only 7 scrawny stripers to 22 inches with chartreuse lures working best.”

Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors has been working the San Joaquin side for striped bass, and he said, “I picked up a few linesides to 6 pounds in Orwood early this week on the Bad Bubba Shad swimbait, and the graph lit up with stripers under the bridge near Orwood. I did have a topwater blow up near Bullfrog Landing on a Delta Mizer, which is a large wooden plug. The water is getting dirty, and the shallows around Frank’s Tract should be muddy, but Mildred should be clear. With this warm rain, the stripers should settle in, bringing the linesides straight up into the system. For largemouth bass, jigs in black/blue and ripping have been effective. I plan on running south early next week after the storm passes.”

Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Striper fishing has been good, and I will be targeting stripers in the Delta all winter into spring, as it my favorite time to fish. You have the stillness and the solitude, and there are few anglers out. It’s kind of like your own private refuge, and you can experience excellent action.”

Fresh shad continues to be available in area bait shops, but the shad will drop out of the reach of shadders if the water cools a few more degrees.

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