Blake Dyer of Walnut Creek, Calif. caught a 15-08 stringer on Saturday to close out a wire-to-wire victory at the California Delta Western FLW Series. His three-day total of 62-13 left him 1-09 clear of runner-up Jason Borofka and garnered him the top prize of $31,114.
Dyer weighed in a monster 27-03 sack on day 1, catching all of his fish punching grass with a green-pumpkin-colored Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver and a 1 1/2-unce weight. He said that most of his damage was done pretty early in the morning.
“I had what I had by about 9:45 in the morning,” Dyer said. “On the first stretch I went to, I caught two big ones. I think the biggest one was close to 7 and then another one over 5.
“I went to another little stretch not far away and on my first cast I caught a 5-pounder there. I went to the next stretch and caught two small fish, then I went to the backside of that spot and caught two more over 5.”
Cooler weather and steady winds forced Dyer and many others to adjust on day 2. Dyer 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 and I tried to punch those mats, but I just wasn’t getting through because the wind really compacts those mats,” Dyer said. “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 said. “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.”
Carrying the momentum of two big catches into the final round, Dyer started day 3 by returning to the Central Delta Slough where he had done most of his previous work. He actually had a different starting spot on days 1 and 2, but his best area sees a lot of waterski and wakeboard activity on the weekends, so he decided to beat the rush.
With the exception of a few locals, who graciously gave him a wide berth, Dyer had the spot to himself. Despite the week’s cold front, which cranked up winds of 15-20 mph and dropped air temperatures a good 20 degrees from day 1, his fish started biting in short order — but only after a key adjustment.
“I noticed the grass was flowing the opposite direction and I was going too fast, so I gunned it to the other end of the slough, turned around and started fishing the other direction so my bait was in the current, where the fish are looking up,” Dyer said. “Fish tend to point into the current so they see what’s coming at them. If you’re going the other way, they don’t have a chance to see it.
“My first cast, I catch a 3-pounder and then 10 minutes later, I catch a 6-pounder that made all the difference and won the tournament.”
Here are the final totals for the top 10"
1. Blake Dyer: 62-13
2. Jason Borofka: 61-04
3. Austin Wilson: 57-00
4. Nick Nourot: 55-04
5. Mike Birch:53-13
6. John Pearl: 50-05
7. Michael Fong: 49-05
8. Stephen Tosh Jr.: 48-02
9. Phillip Dutra: 47-03
10. Jamon Andrews: 46-01