Fall Striper Scouting Expedition
Made it out to the west Delta today for some striper exploration....Looking for signs of the Fall Striper migration. James (KaidenO) & Jeff (KingCole) joined me for the day. Sadly, this day was planned out a month in advance. 3 guys w/ conflicting schedules as well as life in general, makes for a 1 month pre-plan necessary.
Tom gave me a call on Monday & gave me some fresh info that was worth checking out so a Brannon Island launch was planned. Full moon in full effect & I figured we'd try something a little different. I asked the guys if they were up to a pre-dawn launch to give some moonlight topwater a shot & they were both down. Jeff met at my place @ 4 & we scooped up James @ Flag City @ 0430 sharp.
Rolled into Brannon right @ 0500 & as we are prepping the boat for launch we notice fish busting the surface all around the ramp. So we grabbed our topwater gear, creeped out on the docks and fan casted about 25 casts a piece for no love. Based on the splashes they were more than likely Dinks. Splashed the boat & off to our first spot. Moon was high and bright, made navigating in the dark a breeze. Rolled into the first spot & went to work. Beat it up pretty dang good between the 3 of us for no love so we moved on. Hit the second spot along the San Joaquin & I kicked the skunk off with a beastly 17". This little spot would end up being out most productive of the day. A few casts later Jeff's topwater (a handmade lure from Matt, EastBayAngler) gets crushed...& solid battle ensues followed by a net dip on my behalf & Jeff scores Big Fish honors for the day....a solid 10.4 lb fish.
Topwater, it never gets old.......We get back to work as the sun is coming up. No breeze, FAC water with a solid outgoing tide. Next up is James....tossing a DWB, and the results are a nice 5# fish. Now its my turn....I'm chucking a bone 6" Lunker Punker. It gets blown up 3 time before the persistent little fella gets himself hooked.....Lots of fun & to be honest, the fight this fish up had me thinking it was a much better grade fish that what I ended up boating.....I think it was the twin brother of the fish James caught a moment before. We burned up the spot pretty good & it was time to move on. We headed further west to a couple spots I had planned out but not before tossing some junk at my wall....yeah that's right "My Wall".....this thing has been money for my day in and day out....incoming or outgoing tide....doesn't matter....and those that have fished with me know the spot well because I hit every chance I get while most people blow right by it. On our way to it James spots birds busting the water ....sweet....get in close only to discover a sea lion is playing & tearing up nice King Salmon & the birds are cleaning up the scraps....
Slide in along the wall and back to work...a few casts later & Jeff's handmade topwater plug gets crushed again....The dude was on fire....Sun is high & bright & he's still enjoying some topwater love...Bring it to the boat & a solid 9# fish.
That ended up being the only fish we picked up off that wall...but it was a more than worthy fish.
Off to our next stop....Nice water pushing through a trough, had us stoked with anticipation of quality grade fish.....it was a flop....this spot has never let me down until today....CRAP...time to move on. Shot up Montezuma to check some pumps Steve told me about.....all but one were shut off. We hit the one running pump....for NADA...We headed back down to the SJ & made a quick stop along West Island....We ended up picking off a couple shakers & a I score a squaw fish...Dang thing Stunk, I mean it really stunk. I didn't realize a live fish could stink so bad. We made our way back east & I intended to hit Frank's Tract but made a wrong turn & ended up in Dutch Slough....so we burned an hours worth of time going through the what seemed like and endless 5mph zone. We eventually made it out & up to Frank's. Tide had died at this point. We slid into one of the openings & worked it for awhile. We hooked up a ton of shakers along with a couple jars worth of ditch pickles. None of which were picture worthy. Called it a day soon afterward....We all had other obligations....Off the water 1pm.
Water temp....69 to 71 degrees
Clarity...SJ up to 10+ feet, Sac 1'
90% of the fish were caught on the outgoing tide
large topwater plugs & the always reliabe LV500
Flat as can be water conditions, no breeze, bright sun & full moon
James, Jeff....thanks again for going along. I had higher expectations but we managed a decent day & some good times. Fall bite is right around the corner, cooler nights & cooler days.....Until next time fellas...