Launched at Big Break Marina Saturday morning before the sun came up at 6 am. I was with two other anglers. Both were experienced bass fisherman but neither have targeted striped bass out on the California Delta. Just as the sun was coming up the tide turned and started rising. We exited the marina and immediately started seeing smaller sized stripers busting smelt on the surface. Throwing topwater lures by the boils, we each caught a few 3-7 pounders. Poppers, Vixens, and Lunker Punkers all were working. The tide was moving along pretty well, and so were the fish. We would get a double hook up and next thing you know, the school of fish was 200 yards away. The area we fished had a huge flat with a deeper little ditch running through the middle of it. During the early morning the fish were quite scattered because of the low light conditions. The water was super clear (5-6 ft), the light morning breeze dyed and the sun got higher in the sky, most of the fish pulled out to the deeper ditch. Before leaving that spot at 9am, we were already at 10 stripers and 3 largemouth. Our next stop was Sherman Island. The tide was middle incoming and the water was a little more stained (2-3 ft.). Because of the hot calm conditions, I stayed off the flats, and concentrated on the openings near the main channel. Areas with hard bottom and current were key. We caught another 8 schoolie size stripers on hair jigs and fish trap swimbaits. By noon the tide peaked and it was close to 100 degrees out. The outgoing tide was moving extremely slow, so we decided to switch gears and bring out the flipping rods for largemouth bass. Flipping Brush Hogs, Beavers, and Senkos, we each caught one two pounder flippin tules by Eddoís Marina. Nothing going at Fishermans Cut, so our next stop was Taylor Slough. We were surprised to see how much bait, baby bass/bluegill, and healthy hydrilla was in here. We only caught one fish, but it was a nice 4 pound largemouth that hit a Lunker Punker. Right at dusk, we fish the flooded weed beds out in the middle of Big Break, but only catch a few dinky ones. Next day was a half day trip with two other fisherman. We fish pretty much the same stuff as Saturday (Big Break, and Sherman), but struggled a little. I donít know if our timing was just a little off, or the fish just had a lockjaw. We missed a few decent ones on topwater, and caught a few on hair jigs. All were in the 3-7 pound range. On Monday, a client and I launched out of Russoís Marina at Franks Tract. We got out on the water at first light and still had about 2 hours until the tide bottomed out. We started of good with a 4 pound striper on the first cast. We were fishing a weed flat that was right next to an opening on the north side of Franks. The bite got tough pretty quick. The next 7 or so hours we bounced around between Franks, False River, and Big Break. A couple 10 pound plus stripers chased ripbaits back to the boat, but no takers. Around 2pm we decided to give up on the stripers and target largemouth. I pulled out two flipping sticks set up for punching heavy mats. Both with 1.5 ounce tungsten weights. I waited for first push of the outgoing tide and worked with the tide, moving south east toward Connection Sl., Mildred Is. and Wiskey Sl. I catch a 4.5 and then Eric catches a 7.5 pound toad. Mats on tule berms with current, deep water, and healthy hydrilla were holding the bass. The pennywort weeds were also holding bass better than the hyasins. We caught a few more 2-3 pounders and then decided to get back to Franks to try the evening topwater bite for stripers. No luck for a while, but right before it got dark a 20 pounder hit a Lunker Punker right at the boat. It cartwheeled around a few feet from us, but came unbuttoned pretty quick. Oh well, the fun is just beginning for these big fish. Itís safe to say we still have a few more months to catch a giant.
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