By David A. Brown
STOCKTON, Calif. — Studious attention to his first-round results helped Jason Austin of
Ione, Calif. dial in his Day-2 focus and tally a total of 38.08 pounds to lead the Wild
West Bass Trail Pro/Am Championship presented by Bass Cat Boats & Mercury Marine.
Austin placed second on Day 1 with 20.28. Today, his limit of 17.8 moved him into the
“I was targeting mats with grass underneath and several types of vegetation on top,”
Austin said. “Yesterday, I figured out that the more types of vegetation and blown-in
stuff on top of mats the better.
“I’m not sure if it’s the forage, but I think some of that creates better ambush spots and I
think the crawdads get in some of that cover. I know they were feeding on crawfish
because some of my fish were spitting them up in my well.”
Austin caught all of his fish by punching a Big Bite Baits Yo Mama in green pumpkin
and Junebug on a 4/0 Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover hook with 1- 1 1/4- and 1 1/2-
ounce weights. He combatted the dense cover with 80-pound Tuff-Line braid.
“My bite was the same as Day 1, I just didn’t get a big bite, like the 8.18 I caught
yesterday,” Austin said. “I caught two really early, one at 10 and then once the tide
started rolling in, I caught two more.
“My first area was better on the high outgoing tide and another was better at the start of
the incoming. I went west to get a little higher water; then when I felt the water was right
I went back toward Stockton. I basically ran the tide.”
Austin said that an active first day helped him eliminate less productive water and
prepare himself for greater Day-2 efficiency. He basically went to the same areas, but
he reduced his target zones.
“I drew it down to those specific mats,” Austin said.
Essential to his success was a late-day move that helped him to position himself well for
the final round.
“I changed up one of my areas because my main area was not producing the quality of
fish I was hoping for,” Austin said. “I moved about 20 miles and caught my biggest fish
with an hour left in the derby.
“I moved to a location where I had caught big fish in practice. That’s what I was looking
for because I wanted a big fish. I knew I had enough to make the cut, but I wanted to
jump into the lead and create some separation."
Looking ahead to Day 3, Austin said he knows exactly what he needs to do; but he’s not
certain where he’ll do it. He’ll give his Day-2 spots a fair chance to produce, but Austin
suspects he may have to expand his targets.
“I feel like I’m running out of fish; I didn’t catch as many fish today, even though the
quality was better,” he said. “Tomorrow may be a scramble day where I have to look for
“But I feel very confident with my pattern. That’s what I’ll do start-to-finish tomorrow.”
Day-1 leader APEX Cup pro Phillip Dutra is in second place with 37.60. After posting
the tournament’s heaviest bag — 20.77 — on Day 1, he weighed 16.83 today.
“Everything was identical; I just didn’t get a big bite today,” Dutra said. “I tried to get a
few other things out of my system that I won’t do tomorrow. I’m hoping I can buckle
down tomorrow and tighten it up.
“I ran 102 miles round trip today, compared to 135 yesterday. I just ran up and down the
San Joaquin River and targeted the same mix of tules, grass, wood and rock and
targeted specific tide windows for each spot.”
Dutra fished a mix of reaction baits including a Snagproof Bobby’s Perfect Frog, a
Bobby D’s buzzbait and Toxic Baits wakebait. He also caught fish by flipping a
beaver style bait.
Obedie Williams of Discovery Bay, Calif., is in third place with 35.18. After a solid start
with 15.44 on Day 1, he turned in the second day’s heaviest bag — 19.74.
“I just got better bites today,” Williams said. “Yesterday, I got more bites; today, I got
fewer bites, but better fish.”
Williams started in the Central Delta and worked down south, where he found his
weight. He caught all of his fish punching hyacinth with multiple baits and a 1 1/2-ounce
“I had to cover a lot of water, but the key for me was slowing down and picking it apart
more,” Williams said.
Christian Ostrander of Turlock, Calif. is in the lead for Big Bass honors with his 8.52.
Kirk Marshall of Discovery Bay, Calif. maintained his lead in the co-angler division with a
total weight of 22.59. After a big day of punching produced 15.49, he faced more of a
finesse scenario and added a Day-2 limit of 7.10.
Marshall caught most of his keepers on a dropshot with a 6-inch Roboworm in
Margarita Mutilator and a wacky-rigged 6-inch hand-poured stick worm in watermelon
red. He added his final keeper late in the day.
“My pro said he needed a big fish and the only way we can get that is punching,”
Marshall said. “We ran about 20 miles north to a spot and as we were coming around
the last hyacinth patch, I punched in there and caught a 2-pounder.
“I was using a broken rod, one of the eyes was missing. It was making a funny noise; it
wasn’t pretty, but it was my fifth fish.”
Marshall holds the Big Bass lead among co-anglers with his 7.11.
Sunday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Pacific at Ladd’s Marina. The weigh-in will
be held at Buckley Cove Marina Resort at 3:0 p.m.