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2015 Sacramento Bassmaster Elite at Sacramento River


The 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series will feature a pair of tournaments in the Western United States as the world’s greatest bass fishermen test their skills on the Sacramento River out of Sacramento, Calif., April 30-May 3, and Lake Havasu out of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., May 7-10. Both rank in the Top 20 of Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes, and it will be the first time since 2010 that the Elites have traveled so far west.

The two Western destinations represent the third and fourth stops of the 2015 Elite season, and both fisheries have been the sites of successful Bassmaster events in the past. B.A.S.S. held the first of eight events on the Sacramento River and California Delta in 1997. In 2007 and 2010, the Elite Series visited the Delta out of Stockton, Calif. Defending Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) Aaron Martens won the first, and eight-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier John Crews took the second. The Delta currently ranks 13th on Bassmaster’s list of the 100 Best Bass Lakes.

Tour Review

KVD wraps up the California Delta
Day 3 AM - California Delta 2015
KVD day 2 quote

“You want to talk about torture, go down one of them canals … throw a Senko and watch it go to the bottom. I can’t fish like that.” – Kevin VanDam

KVD catches a good one on day 2 - #GoPro catch of the day

  #GoPro  #PowerAttitude  #BassElite

Day 2 weigh in - California Delta 2015
KVD day 1 quote

“The trick here is consistency through the entire event.” – Kevin VanDam

Day 2 launch - California Delta 2015
Adjusting to California ways

The trip to this week’s Sacramento River Elite event serves as a reminder of what fellow Elite Anglers who live out here must endure and just how different life is on the West Coast.

First, there is the drive. My trip was broken up with a short stay in Branson, Mo., but it was still a 30-hour haul from Branson to here.

Add then there is the time change that messes up your body clock. It’s a struggle to get acclimated. I’m accustomed to getting out of bed early, but I’ve been waking up at 3:30 Pacific time every morning.

Getting into California with a boat is another new experience. The moment I hit the California state line, I had to go through a zebra mussel inspection of my boat and another inspection by state officials to make sure I wasn’t bringing in any other exotic species. On Sunday prior to the practice, the state had sniffing dogs at the launch area inspecting our boats for quagga and zebra mussels. Some of our guys failed that inspection.

I’m not bashing the system, as I know how important it is to keep exotic species out of the lakes. It’s just something most of us never have to deal with.

Another oddity we don’t see back home is the battle over watering rights due to the severe drought in the West. Based upon the signs we see around the lake, you can tell there is a major, ongoing feud between the farmers and the city.

I thought we had a lot of farmland in the Midwest, but I’m amazed at the amount of agriculture out here. It’s unbelievable how many miles of fruit trees, vegetables and a sundry other crops are grown out here.

The fishery itself takes some getting used to, too. It’s extremely vast and creates a lot of challenges. We’re launching out of a ramp in Sacramento, but the good fishing on the Delta is a long boat ride away. That’s going to shorten our fishing days considerably which means we have to find and catch them quick.

Furthermore, this is tidal water with a 3-foot or more tidal swing that plays a key role in when these fish bite. You can fish through an area on the right type of tide and catch ‘em quick, but if you miss that window, you’d swear there isn’t a bass within a mile of you.

To add to the dilemma, the tidal times aren’t favorable to the tournament hours we’ll be fishing so that makes it even more critical to make the most of every second we’re on the water.

Does that mean I don’t like fishing here? Heck no! It’s a fun place to fish, with more habitat than any other place we fish. Every bank is lined with tulles, hydrilla and rocks.

It’s a maze of channels and canals that have been levied for watering farmland. But within some of those canals live some mighty big bass. I’ve seen some of the pictures fellow competitors have been posting on their Facebook pages, so you can bet that some giants will be caught in the tournament.

That’s why I totally prepped my equipment differently before I left home. My “light” line is 20-pound fluorocarbon, but I’ll be fishing a lot with 50- to 60-pound braid. I suspect flipping and frogs will be big players here.

To win, an angler will have to locate some of those giant bass then manage his time and capitalize on the opportunities he’s given. This tournament requires total concentration and good decisions. Look for a lot of drama when viewing the live feed on

It should be fun, and remember, it’s all about the attitude!

California Delta 2015 - day 1 launch
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2015 Sacramento Bassmaster Elite at Sacramento River
Sacramento River, Sacramento, California
Apr 30 - May 4, 2015


Justin Lucas - 82.14
1. 21-13, 2. 25-14
Aaron Martens - 80.7
1. 24-11, 2. 26-9
Dean Rojas - 78.2
1. 16-12, 2. 21-10
Ish Monroe - 72.9
1. 22-2, 2. 23-2
Chris Zaldain - 71.11
1. 30-7, 2. 20-7
Bobby Lane - 69.10
1. 21-2, 2. 17-13
Cliff Pirch - 69.8
1. 24-0, 2. 19-14
Tim Horton - 69.3
1. 19-7, 2. 18-0
Jason Christie - 69.3
Keith Combs - 69.1
1. 24-13, 2. 19-7
Ken Lyobe - 67.15
1. 21-12, 2. 21-5
Chris Lane - 63.8
1. 20-10, 2. 18-1
Kevin VanDam - 54.1
1. 22-5, 2. 15-4

History & Notes;

Big Bass

Day 1: Ken Lyobe 10-1