Brandon had to cancel his annual trip down this weekend from Seattle, something about a mortgage, bills, responsibilitiesâ€¦ yeah, yeahâ€¦ what ever. So I downgraded the RV reservations from the big Mallard to the smaller 5th wheel and headed over to the Delta for a solo trip.
With good reports for the last two weeks and our previous yearsâ€™ success over this holiday weekend, my anticipation was at a high. I approached my first stop, a deep hole that Jose had pointed out to me that is surrounded by heavy weed growth and backed by a submerged levy with an underwater break to a parallel slough. Even though Jose and I hadnâ€™t found fish here on earlier trips, its potential was recognized. As I approached I could see birds circling overhead. They werenâ€™t presently diving but they were intent in the area, indicating earlier feeding activity. First cast, a 3 pounder. Second cast, a 4 pounder. Third cast, a 9 pounder!
Realizing that a 20 pound striper is only a matter of time (apparently a really, really long time) and that all of my delta fish over 10 pounds typically come on solo trips, Iâ€™d decided to experiment with the tripod and remote controlled camera idea, just incase. It worked ok as long as the camera is setup a head of time and the remote is within a quick reach which allowed for the above 9 pounder and the below 8 pounder pictures.
The reports had been accurate; the fishing was fantastic! The majority of the fish were in the 3 â€“ 4 pound range, with a few small guys, a couple of blackies, 1 sixteen pounder, 2 ten pounders, 1 nine pounder, 3 eight pounders, 1 seven pounder, a couple of 6 pounders, and a lot of 5 pounders!
The Big 16! A new â€œPersonal Bestâ€!
Mid afternoon, middle of the incoming tide, Iâ€™m working a rock wall casually drifting with the tide as I alternate casts, one right into the rocks, inches from the shore, the next parallel to the shore, letting it drop in the deeper water. After a complacent hour of this relaxing routine without so much as a grab I was approaching the end of the wall where the lake spills over a submerged levee-break and creates a huge 45 foot deep hole where the bait guys anchor up and the conventional guys pound away with gear. As I came drifting into the hole one of the bass boats pulled out and I was able to get one last cast over the shallow shelf that extends out away from the wall right where the bass boat had been, one strip, two strip, pauseâ€¦ and WHAM!
The fish immediately dropped into the deep water and I gave him everything I and my stout 9wt could muster, brutally slugging it out â€œdown & dirtyâ€ as the 16 pound fish routinely took me around the bow, back to the stern, under the boat, and out the other side as we drifted down river with the fast moving tide. It must have been quite the spectacle as we passed the anchored-up bait guys as Iâ€™m running around the boat like a lunatic with all but the butt of my rod submerged.
By the time the big fish was finally brought to hand I had drifted a few hundred yards down river and drawn too much of an audience to attempt a â€œtripodâ€ picture, besides, having stripped the fish in without the reel, I donâ€™t think I or the fish for that matter were really up to it