California-native Justin Lucas put his local knowledge to good use at Bassmaster Elite Series on the California Delta, winning the event where the story was working tides and managing the long runs from Sacramento into the Delta and back.
Lucas ended Day 1 of the four-day event in eighth place with a 21-pound, 13-ounce limit, and pushed his way up the leaderboard to finish on top with 82-14.
Most of the competitors were running at least 90 minutes from the launch point on the Sacramento River down to the Delta, lopping a significant amount off of their total fishing time. That played into just how much work they were willing to put in on tight-lipped bedding bass before moving on. The tides also complicated things for much of the field, as the fishing happened only during the falling, low and rising stages. That means they missed the high levels when fish are a little more eager to bite.
Lucas posted a 25-13 limit on Day 2 that moved him up to third place. He covered new water in addition to visiting some spots he hadn’t fished in 10 years, including this tournament’s practice day. Lucas made an especially long run Sunday to a spot he knew would reliably give up enough 3-pounders to give him a good shot at keeping the lead. He was right, and he caught a 16-pound limit that gave him a 2 pound edge over second-place finisher Aaron Martens.
Westerners like Lucas had an edge throughout the tournament, with four native Californians atop the standings at the end of Day 2. That included Chris Zaldain, who surged to the top stop after Day 1 on the strength of a 30-7 limit buoyed by a huge 12-0 largemouth that made for the largest bass weighed on the Elite Series this year. He followed that up with a strong 20-7 on Day 2, but his Saturday and Sunday bags of 9-14 and 10-5 dropped him to fifth overall.
Hanselman sweeps FLW Series Texas Division
Ray Hanselman won the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Texoma, giving him the first-ever sweep of the Texas Division after he also took the top spot in events on Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Lake Amistad.
Recent rains had pushed Texoma 2 feet over full pool prior to the tournament, flooding brush and staining the water. Though much of the stain had cleared up by Day 1, the water levels stayed high providing somewhat similar conditions to what anglers faced on flooded Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Hanselman took advantage, targeting postspawn fish in flooded brush with a frog and some plastics.
Hanselman’s three-day total of 58-13 gave him a 12-pound lead over second-place finisher Bradley Hallman.
Joe Don Setina led after Day 1 on Texoma with a 20-9 limit that he picked up on soft plastics and a swimbait in flooded brush. But Hanselman’s 23-2 bag on Day 2 put him in the lead, and his 18-9 limit on Day 3 kept him there.