Presented by The City Of Oakley
By David A. Brown
OAKLEY, Calif. — Finding the right balance of quantity and quality, Logan Huntze tallied a 2-day total of 36.43 pounds to take over the Day 2 lead of the Wild West Bass Trail Duel on the Delta presented by City of Oakley.
Hailing from Discovery Bay, Calif., Huntze placed 10th on Day 1 with 15.32. Increasing his productivity with a limit of 21.11, Huntze heads into Championship Sunday with a little more than a pound lead over Clint Groenewold.
“I got a couple more bites than I did yesterday,” Huntze said. “I’m not getting a ton of bites; yesterday I weighed in a 14-incher, but today, I was able to get two big ones and three solid ones to go with them.”
Huntze said he caught four of his five limit fish on different baits, but today, he had his game more dialed in. The biggest challenge, he said was the day’s tide schedule of hight in the morning and a long outgoing cycle.
“It gets super tough when that water drops out,” Huntze said. “We had a negative tide, so it gets super low. It’s a grind just to get a bite, so I’m just banking on getting my fish in the first half of the day.”
The plan mostly worked, but Huntze said he was able to make a key cull later in the day by plucking a 5-plus-pounder from a grass bed. Trading that one for a 2 1/2 gave him a nice bump.
“I’m kinda running around everywhere in the Southern to Central Delta,” Huntze said. “I caught two or three of my fish off one spot, but I probably hit 10 or 12 spots. Yesterday, I hit even more.
“I ran a lot more yesterday and I kinda eliminated some stuff by doing that. I just tried to run less today and not fish stuff I knew wasn’t good.”
During the morning’s high tide, Huntze fished grass, tules and rock, where he alternated between a finesse bait and a Snagproof Bobby’s Perfect Frog. Later in the day, when the low water created tough conditions, he punched grass mats.
“I had my limit by 10, then from 11 to 1:30 it was dead,” Huntze said. “I caught the 5 around 2. I was just flipping the grass on low tide looking for a big bite. I was targeting certain stretches where I know they go for the spawn or postspawn.
“In the morning, I’m fishing fairly fast and making super precise flips with the finesse bait. I think that’s important to put it exactly where I think they might be. It’s the same with the frog — I was making precise casts into little pockets.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s final round, Huntze said he’ll follow a general template of his Day-2 success.
“I’m gonna do relatively the same thing; If I can get a solid limit, I’m going to go look for a big bite,” he said. I don’t have a ton of confidence in that low tide, so even if I can get two to three bites, hopefully, it will pay off.
Making his home in Discovery Bay, Calif., Groenewold is in second place with 35.36. Groenewold caught a limit of 16.59 on Day 1 and backed that up with 18.77 in the second round.
Hunter Schlander of Modesto, Calif. is in third place with 35.09. After catching 12.9 on Day 1, Schlander added a second-round limit of 22.19 — the event’s biggest bag.
Schlander said he’s chasing the tide by starting in the Central Delta and working south. He’ll catch the start of that moving water tide in the Central region and as he progresses south, he’s staying on top of his preferred level.
“In the morning, I’m targeting rocks and tules and then later in the day, I’m fishing big grass flats,” Schlander said. “The tide is so high in the morning, the rocks give them a wall so they can’t go any farther into the vegetation. I can pick them off with a Texas-rigged Yamamoto Senko in green pumpkin black flake and a dropshot with a roboworm in margarita mutilator.”
Schlander said he avoided the grass flats until the falling tide pulled enough water off of his areas to allow for better targeting. He punched the thicker areas with a watermelon red Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver and covered water with a 3/8-ounce Z-Man Chatterbait JackHammer with a Sweet Beaver trailer.
APEX pro Jason Austin of Ione, Calif. is in the lead for Big Bass honors with his 8.35.
Mario David Marroquin of San Leandro, Calif. leads the co-angler division with 24.76. After posting a Day-1 limit of 10.56, Marroquin added a 14.20-pound bag with a 6.68.
“That fish bit at 9 am; it was my very first bite of the day,” Marroquin said. “I was so stoked. I said, ‘My wife is going to be happy.’”
Fishing the Central to South Delta, Marroquin targeted sporadic patches of submersed hydrilla. With the morning’s high water, he couldn’t clearly make out the vegetation, so he pitched to isolated dark spots.
“I caught all my fish on a dropshot with a Roboworm in the orange crusher color,” Marroquin said. “I noticed the fish were spitting up a crawfish on Day 1. I know orange is a (common) crawfish color, so that’s why I chose the bait color.
“I was fishing the dropshot painstakingly slow. I was dead sticking it.”
Marroquin holds the Big Bass lead among co-anglers with his 6.68.
Sunday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Pacific Time at Big Break Marina. The weigh-in will be held at the marina at 3 p.m.