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Delta veterans struggle in TroKar Duel practices
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The Bassmaster TroKar Duel in the Delta has begun.

Pre-tournament favorites of the event always seem to be the anglers with the most experience on the Delta — native Californians. The last time the Bassmaster Elite Trail visited the Delta, Californian Aaron Martens, took home the top prize.

Practice reports have been very bleak from most anglers, including those who have fished the Delta for years. Last weekend during a local tournament, a 21-pound catch won the event.

The pre-tournament buzz is that the anglers who can average 18 pounds a day are the ones who will have the best chance of winning.

I’ve learned through my own experience that someone always seems to bring in a bag of fish, especially this time of year on the Delta.

Weather and water temperatures have nothing to do with it, those guys will finds them. If anything, I believe that the current conditions may just level the playing field a bit as many honey holes may not be holding any fish yet.

Either way, for us spectators it should be interesting to see who emerges, and it’s nice to see the Elite Series visit California once again.

Tournament weight-ins are being held at 3:30 p.m. at the Weber Point Events Center (221 N. Center St., Stockton).

Delta Report
Recent results from tournaments on the Delta over the past weekend suggest that the bite has improved regardless of the current weather.

Anglers are having success fishing a variety of different baits. Black and Blue jigs are hard to beat this time of year, especially given the current conditions.

Don Iovino’s spade-tail worms in the S20 color are also working well right now. Water clarity this time of year is always an issue especially after all the wind we’ve been hit with. Try finding clearer water in the back of dead-end sloughs.  

New Melones Lake
Those braving the elements are still catching trout while trolling the top 20 feet of water. Trolled Needlefish and fluorescent power bait fished off the bottom have been the hot baits lately.

Small plastic worms have been working well for Spotted Bass lately. Regardless of the frigid weather the bite has picked up for Spotted Bass.

Lots of limits are being caught with most bass ranging from 1-2 pounds.  Anglers catching them are focusing on fishing around rocks, especially deep rock walls.

Lake Don Pedro
Fishing has picked up lately with trout being caught while fishing the top 20 five feet of water.

The King Salmon bite has also picked up lately for those fishing rolled shad 30-45 feet deep. Bass fishing remains steady for those fishing jigs and Robo Worms slowly crawled along the bottom.

During a recent tournament held on the lake a 12-pound bass was caught and released by John Meyers of Merced.

John caught the fish on a Berzerk Jig. The most consistent bite for limit sized bass has been for anglers fishing between 40 and 50 feet of water.

Lake Pardee  
Water temperatures have yet to break the 50 degree mark making it tough for many bass fishermen.

For those fishing for trout the bite remains fairly good. Anglers trolling are doing well fishing the top-10 feet of water while trolling spoons and needlefish.

Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while fishing with Power Bait. Most of those fishing off the bank are fishing around the marina or launch ramp.

Lake Camanche
Trout fishing continues to be good for anglers fishing from the bank or out of a boat. Many anglers are doing well while using power bait.
Those trolling are using a variety of trout lures which all seem to be working. Last week’s big trout was an 8-pound trout caught by 5-year-old Haily Herrick while using Power Bait.

Bass fishing remains steady with many limits being caught by those fishing between 15 and 25 feet deep. Anglers fishing for bass are using both jigs and small plastics for their limits.

Tip of the Week
Electric trolling motors have come a long way in the past 10 years.
When purchasing a trolling motor I recommend that you purchase one that will provide you with more than enough thrust.

In the Delta, tide movement combined with wind can make it impossible to stay in one place unless you have ample thrust. I currently have a 101-pound thrust trolling motor for my 20-foot boat.

For a mid-size bass boat I recommend a 74-pound thrust engine, and for anything smaller 40-50 pounds of thrust should be fine.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail