Presented by The City Of Oakley
By David A. Brown
- Notching his first Wild West Bass Trail win, Hunter Schlander caught some of his early fish by punching a watermelon red Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver and covering water with a 3/8-ounce Z-Man Chatterbait JackHammer with a Sweet Beaver trailer. In the final round, he targeted riprap with tules and alternated between a black/blue 6-inch Yamamoto Senko and dropshot with a 6-inch Roboworm in the margarita mutilator color.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Dependable line is essential for winning efforts, so Schlander used 15-pound Seaguar InvisX fluorocarbon with his dropshot and 17-pound Seaguar InvisX with the Senko.
- Second-place Clint Groenewold fished South Delta tule islands surrounded by grass and varied his presentations based on tide stage. In the morning, when the tide was high, he caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce green pumpkin Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer with a matching Yamamoto Swimming Zako. Later, he fished the low tide by punching a Missile Baits D Bomb and a Big Bite Yo Mama in craw and bluegill colors with 1 1/4- to 1 3/4-ounce weights.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Groenewold trusted his punching to an 8-foot Daiwa Steez rod and an 8:1 Shimano Metanium reel with 70-pound Daiwa J Braid.
- Taking the third-place spot, Rodney Brinser caught his fish on a 6-inch Roboworm Fat Straight Tail worm in margarita mutilator with a homemade 1/4-ounce cylinder weight. For a weedless presentation, Brinser Texas rigged his worm on a No. 1 Owner Rig’n Hook.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Brinser found he got the ideal action from his Dobyns 702 rod and 8:1 Shimano SLX reel with 20-pound Power Pro braid and a 12-pound PLine Tactical fluorocarbon leader.
- Fourth-place Jake Arbuckle caught all of his fish on a 1/2-ounce Megabass spinnerbait in the purple haze color with double nickel willow-leaf blades and a 4.5 Keitech Swing Impact in electric shad.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Making a 60-mile run, Arbuckle relied on his Vexus VX21 and 250 Mercury Pro XS to handle the windy conditions and rough water. He also lauded the performance of his 7-2 heavy Phenix rod and 7.2:1 Shimano Chronarch with 17-pound fluorocarbon.
- Finishing fifth, Logan Huntze caught his fish on a dropshot with a 1/4-ounce weight and a 6-inch Roboworm Fat Worm in the margarita mutilator color, a black Snagproof Bobby’s Perfect Frog, and a punch rig comprising a Missile Baits D-Bomb with a G Money punch skirt and a 1 1/4-ounce weight.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Huntze used 65-pound Suffix 832 braid for punching and frogging. For his dropshot, he trusted 12-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon.
- Ryan Friend caught his sixth-place fish by punching a 5.2 Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver in the rhythm & blues color with a Heavy Hitter Custom Baits punch skirt (vineyard love color) and a 1-ounce tungsten weight. He also caught keepers on a dropshot with a 7-inch Roboworm (margarita mutilator) on a 1/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook and a 3/8-ounce sinker.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Friend punched with a Powell 806 rod, Shimano Curado 70 reel and 60-pound Vicious braid. For his dropshot, Friend used a homemade 7-6 rod built on a St. Croix blank, and 15-pound Diawa J braid with a 12-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon leader.
- To gather his seventh-place weight, John Pearl used a Deps Sakamata Shad to catch a morning limit. He then punched a Strike King Rodent with a 1.5-ounce weight to upgrade his bag.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Pearl punched with a Douglas DXC 766 XF rod with an 8.5:1 Shimano Bantam reel and 65-pound Power Pro Max Quatro braid. Noting that his braid was thinner than lines of equal strength, Pearl said he was able to penetrate dense mats without going to a larger weight.
- Day-1 leader Gregg Leonard caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer with a Yamamoto Zako trailer and a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: When Day 3 became tough, Leonard found his finesse bait was essential for filling a limit. He threw the wacky rig on a 7-6 Daiwa Tatula spinning outfit and 10-pound high-vis Daiwa J-Braid with a 10-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.
- Joe Uribe, Jr. locked one bait in his hand for the entire tournament — a power shot with a 6-inch Fat Roboworm in margarita mutilator on a 4/0 Roboworm Rebarb hook with a 5/16-ounce Voss tungsten weight.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Uribe did his work with a 7-2 Performance Tackle Powershot rod with a Daiwa Tatula 100 SV reel carrying 30-pound Sunline high-vis braid and a 12-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon leader.
- Rounding out the top-10, Juan Acosta got his better bites on a 1/2-ounce Bobby D’s Custom Baits vibrating jig in green pumpkin with a green pumpkin Berkley Pit Boss trailer. He also caught keepers on a wacky-rigged 6-inch Yamamoto Senko in watermelon red flake and a dropshot with a 4-inch Roboworm in margarita mutilator.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: For his vibrating jig, Acosta trusted a 744 Phenix Recon rod with 40-pound Seaguar SmackDown braid and a 15-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon leader. He fished the wacky rig on a 7-6 Phenix K2 rod with 15-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon and, for the dropshot, he used a 7-2 Phenix M1 spinning rod with 20-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid with a 12-pound Seaguar Tatsu leader.