Another fun-filled half day on the not so dirty delta. No toads to speak of...didn't even get to look at any, but the day was not without it's thrills.
We started early with a grey launch. Whilst waiting for Matt G. and his striper-newb cousin Craig to show, I killed some time in the lot chatting with Bill (sniffer "Keelhauler"). Super cool dood who was striper pluggin as well.
The day started off with several treats. First, Matt has been carving some great wood baits. I ordered mine mid-week last week and had it in hand this weekend - a very cool 5" TW wake bait in 'gill pattern. Since it had just received it's last coat of epoxy the day or so before, Matt advised me not to fish it yesterday. I have to admit that I cheated a bit and tested it in my pool this morning - awesome wake and works prime at the prime retrieve speed....can't wait to throw it to some willing striper, but I digress...Thanks Matt!
The second treat came on our second stop. We tried to kick the skunk first thing with a drift right off the launch ramp...didn't happen. However, as we were full-throttle to the next spot, I notice some bird activity. Looking below them, I see breaking fish - no doubt stripers. I immediately kill the big motor and drop the trolling motor...there were striper boiling 360 degrees around the boat! Granted, these were resident fish that had connected with a school of threadfin shad, so there was a lot of shaker action on the TW baits. I did see some better fish, with 1 or 2 that was WAY better fish, so we stuck with it for about 45 minutes. The fish would rise and boil about every few minutes. Out of a dozen of so bites I had, the best fish i caught was in the 4# class.
We called keelhauler in on this bit of a flurry we had going. Shoot, he made it to within a half-mile and had his own bird school going. Again, epic shakers but the action was good. Everything but consistent quality was in play. We knew some better fish were mixed within, but the ratio proved to be daunting. We left those shakers biting in search of some better grade.
As it turned out, this school of shad must have been ginormous, or at least stretched out for miles in broken schools. Two miles downriver, we found more bird schools...not ambushing on a shoal, but rather right out there in the SJ in about 30' ft. of water. We stopped on them, but it was more of the same shaker grade. That, combined with not being able to make a decent retrieve on TW because of all the marauding seagulls...they wanted the wood, too.
We slogged for a few hours hitting up the shoals. Right tide, good water visibility and just basically everything looked real fishy, but alas, we struggled to even get the shakers to bite, of which several of the shoals we fished had the shaker grade around. Me thinks most of our resident fish are schooled up and hunting the shad schools...They could be anywhere and nowhere, which was the case for us.
With petering tide, we chased it upriver a bit. I wanted to hit a spot that I call "the butt." If you look at it from a map or chartplotter, you'll see the bank forms the shape of a butt...There's a pump just down below from it, and since it was on the way, we stopped to take a look.
We slid in and I can see that we "just missed it." But I also know that this particular pump tends to "belch" as opposed to "run" so we metered around a bit.
I fired off a cast in about 23' of water. Seeing good targets on sonar, I set my rod down and dropped the trolling motor. In the time it took to drop the motor and pick my rod up, I'd gotten bit. Best fish of the day for me, too
They always love the swimbait. I applied rule #1 when fishing the Delta
"For best chances of success, always fish with Mount Diablo in sight." ;-)
Tried around there for about a half hour without another bite. Bill slid in had the same luck we did. From there we parted ways and I made my way up to the butt.
The tide had died. So the butt was more than likely going to make a butt out of me. But, I did manage one nice bite from that drift - a #3 LMB. No pic, we just released it and kept fishing. But I know this spot - no current, no bites. So we picked up and checked the bird school spot on the way in to try a sub-surface attempt at some quality.
It didn't materialize for us, but my newb on the boat Craig, did manage to squeeze and 18" keeper in there - his first
Now that Craig got his "fish," I felt more comfy pulling the plug. Not an epic day, but lot's of action. Bird schools are always fun, and with the shad making their appearance, it won't be long now until we start Fall striper fishin in earnest. Get ready guys....there are some good grade around, and soon, we will be reading good delta reports.
Water temp 64-65
Water visibility - as good as it gets.
Winds - light and variable - very fishable.
Tide - They bit through the ebb.