Backing up his monster 27-pound, 3-ounce bag from day one, Blake Dyer added 20-2 to for a 47-5 total to pad his lead in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta. In second, Austin Wilson also managed to break the 20-pound barrier again and moved up from fifth place with a 21-14 bag and a total of 42 pounds. With the top 10 fishing on the final day, Dyer will head out with a lead of 5-5 lead, but considering some of the bags and fish that have crossed the stage this week, he’s going to need to keep his foot on the gas.
Cooler weather and steady winds forced Dyer and many others to adjust on day two. In fact, Dyer simply skipped one of his starting spots because the wind had blown the mat he intended to fish completely away.
“At my second spot it was blowing kind of like it was on my first spot and I tried to punch those mats, but I just wasn’t getting through because the wind really compacts those mats,” Dyer says. “I didn’t want to waste any more time and lose the tide down in my south spot, so I ran to a tule island and caught a 2-pounder on a Senko and then booked it down south to my main spot.”
His southern area was considerably more protected, and he alternated between fishing a vibrating jig in the open areas and punching the mats.
“That spot salvaged my day,” Dyer says. “I punched one that was almost 4 pounds, I caught one that was almost 5 pounds on a ChatterBait and then filled out my limit.”
With five in his livewell, Dyer decided to return to a mat where he had caught a big fish on day one. Unfortunately, the wind had completely relocated the floating mass.
After unproductively fishing wood in the area of the missing mat, Dyer decided to give his starting spot another shot, in case the wind had subsided and loosened the mat. As it turned out, he found something even better.
“It was nothing, nothing, nothing, but I didn’t want to give up on the spot and I looked down and I saw a tree in the water about 20 yards off the bank,” Dyer says. “My years of being a co-angler kicked in, so I pitched a drop-shot down there and caught a 3-pounder and culled.
“I pitched right back down there and caught one almost 6 pounds. I pitched down there a third time and got bit, but I lost the fish."
Dyer says that while direct wind exposure hurt his punching areas, it helped stimulate the vibrating jig bite until falling tide pulled the water too low and closed the door on that submerged grass bite.
“I live locally and get my butt kicked out here so much that I was determined to put together a good tournament,” Dyer says. “So I ran to areas where I knew that, in the breeze, I could wing a ChatterBait around and catch some good ones. That’s what happened.”
Top 10 pros
1. Blake Dyer – Walnut Creek, Calif. – 47-5 (10)
2. Austin Wilson – Citrus Heights, Calif. – 42-0 (10)
3. Jason Borofka – Salinas, Calif. – 41-12 (10)
4. Nick Nourot – Benicia, Calif. – 37-7 (10)
5. Bub Tosh – Modesto, Calif. – 37-6 (10)
6. Mike Birch – Oakley, Calif. – 36-11 (10)
7. Jamond Andrews – Oakley, Calif. – 35-6 (10)
8. Michael "Bub" Fong – Sacramento, Calif. – 35-1 (10)
9. Phillip Dutra – Concord, Calif. – 34-3 (10)
10. John Pearl – Upper Lake, Calif. – 33-15 (10)
Hurney takes co-angler lead
Calling the drop-shot his “best friend,” Justin Hurney of Oakley, Calif., added 14-10 to the 12-3 he weighed on day one and improved from sixth place to first place in the co-angler division with a total weight of 26-13.
“I fished slowly and just picked things apart,” Hurney says. “A lot of fish came from right under the boat, so it was a lot of close-range dropping.”
With 16-pound fluorocarbon tied to 30-pound-test braid, Hurney used a 6-inch Roboworm Straight Tail Worm, a 3/8-ounce drop-shot weight and a 7-inch leader.
“My fish were generally right on the bottom, so a shorter leader kept my bait in front of them,” he says. “I think the day’s lower water helped me because it pulled the fish on the outside reed line under the boat where I could make these 3- to 4-foot casts.
“It was hard when it was cloudy because you couldn’t see the weed clumps, but when the sun came out, I was able to see the weed clumps and get back on them.”