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Tournament fishing can be both expensive, profitable
Randy Blankenship of Manteca snared this 16-pound striped bass around Mossdale Marina on the Delta. - photo by Photo Contributed

It’s been a while since I fished in any tournaments.

I actually miss the competition, but definitely not the expenses. Tournament entry fees vary from $100 to thousands of dollars.

Winning on the other hand can be quite profitable. There’s only one winner, though, making it extremely rare for someone to win all the time.

Every once in a while, someone stumbles upon a magic area, technique, or bait nobody else seems to be using. That usually doesn’t last long. I don’t know how it happens, but word spreads quickly, and before long your lucky spot, bait, or technique is no longer a secret.

After every tournament the top finishers are asked in front of a crowd how they caught their fish. Very few tell the truth, and those who do, always make sure to leave out some major details.

Tournament entries have definitely declined since our economy has taken a hit. I’m not sure how many tournament organizations have folded, but I do know the competition is at an all-time high as a lot of anglers are most likely fishing with money they cannot afford to lose.

Delta Report

Striper fishing continues to get better. Anglers are catching stripers while trolling broke back rebels and drifting live bait. Striped bass seldom stay in the same place for much time; sometimes waiting them out is the only choice.

A good area right now is the rock dam found in Middle River in the early morning hour try tossing top-water lures and during the day try drifting live bait. Another good spot is right around the Highway 4 bridge in middle river adjacent to Union Point.

Largemouth bass fishing has slowed down as the numbers of bass have slowed down recently. Slow moving baits have been working but anglers are struggling to catch quality or quantity. The water temperature is on the brink of dropping into the forties making jigs the smart choice.

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing is reported as being better than ever, as a lot of big trout are being caught. All baits are working well for trout. Anglers fishing off the bank are making sure that what ever they fish with at least floats off the bottom. Anglers trolling are catching fish while trolling at all levels.

Most anglers are choosing to fish the top 20 feet with shad imitating lures. Bass fishing continues to be good as well as the bass are feeding off schools of baitfish. Large swim bait fish are still being caught as anglers are fooling an occasional big fish with trout imitators. 

Lake Don Pedro

The shad are starting to make their way into the backs of coves making fishing for trout the best for anglers fishing along the banks of major coves. Anglers trolling are doing best while trolling around Moccassin with shad imitating baits.

Bass fishing has slowed down for a lot of anglers. This time of year it’s important to fish around the shad. Once finding the shad the bass usually won’t be too far away.

Lake Amador

Trout fishing is great for anglers fishing both on and off the bank. If you plan on fishing off the bank make sure to get there early as a lot of the more accessible spots are being taken up early.

The bait of choice right now is power bait or trolling any shad imitating lure from the surface down to 10 feet. Bass fishing has slowed as most fish have moved deep for the winter. Jigs and drop-shotted Robo Worms on main lake points are key areas. As the trout are up shallow now is a great time to toss a swimbait.

Lake Camanche

Trout plants continue weekly and catches have increased weekly. The North Shore area has been really good lately for anglers fishing off the bank with Power Bait and anglers trolling shad imitating lures are doing well while fishing along the dam.

Bass fishing has slowed some, but anglers are still catching bass on jigs and small plastics. It’s important right now to find baitfish as bass are actively feeding on them.

Fisherman’s Warehouse Sale

This Friday will be a no-sales-tax day in the store. If you’re planning on doing some Christmas shopping, Friday is the day to do it at Fisherman’s Warehouse.

Tip of the Week

If you plan on staying for the evening bite, be careful not to stay too late as the sun sets quickly this time of year leaving very little day light for navigating.