1. Making a bold decision to leave the numbers he had found in the Mokelumne River and search Lake Camanche for winning quality, Phil Dutra caught his fish on a dropshot with a shad colored Roboworm, a wacky-rigged green pumpkin 5-inch Senko, a white River2Sea Rover, a white Berkley Cane Walker and a shad colored Rico popper.
Difference Maker: Dutra knew that versatility would be essential to victory. “A lot of guys power fished only or finesse fished only, but I knew I had to blend both styles.
Difference Maker: Lintner competed in a borrowed boat, but he appreciated the fact that it was rigged with Garmin Panoptix. Leveraging the advanced notice this forward facing sonar provided, Lintner was able to detect the isolated grass clumps he needed.
3. Playing a smart strategy of qualifying on a dependable game, Joe Uribe Jr. fished a Neko-rigged Reaction Innovations 4.5-inch Pocket Rocket and Zoom Finesse Worm the first two days and then switched to a white Berkley Choppo on Championship Sunday.
Difference Maker: Knowing the week’s extreme heat would mean a tough bite, Uribe trusted his deep spotted bass efforts to a 7-6 Daiwa Seth Feider Neko Rig rod with a Daiwa 2500 Exist reel, 20-pound yellow Sunline Siglon PEx8 braid with a top shot of 7-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon.
4. Finishing fourth, Greg Gutierrez caught his first two days’ fish on a dropshot with a 1/4-ounce Woo Tungsten weight and a Reaction Innovations 4.9 Flirt Worm (green pumpkin craw swirl and green pumpkin magic). He also used that same worm on a 1/4-ounce Frenzy Baits Nail. On the third day, Gutierrez caught his fish on a Duo Realis Popper 64 in translucent shad.
Difference Maker: Facing a subtle bite, Gutierrez relied on the sensitivity of his 7-12 iRod 7-12 spinning rod, along with the durability of 6-pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon. He also found his Torch Eyewear essential for scanning the shallows and dropping waypoints on spots where he saw fish.
7. Day-1 leader Luke Johns did all of his Days 1 and 2 work with a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko (natural shad, green pumpkin red flake and green pumpkin black) wacky rigged on a No. 1 Owner Mosquito hook and a green pumpkin purple Yamamoto Ika Texas rigged on a 3/0 Owner extra wide gap hook.
Difference Maker: Fishing slow and hitting the right island tops at the right time. Some had fish, some didn’t, so scanning the cover with his Torch Eyewear, helped Johns locate promising spots where fish would pull up to feed.
8. Taking eighth place, Zack Thompson focused on big boulders in the river arm’s 5 mph zone and targeted morning schoolers with a full size walking bait and a Heddon Super Spook Jr., both fished on a 7-foot Ike Series Abu Garcia rod with an 8:1 Ike Series reel. When the schoolers sounded, Thompson threw a 1/4- and 3/16 Frenzy Nail with a trick worm and a Duo Realis Spinbait 90.
Difference Maker: Thompson said that managing the extreme heat was essential to remaining focused and making good decisions. He kept himself in fighting form with HUK ICON X long sleeve shirts, HUK sun gloves and HUK gaiter, while relying on TORCH Eyewear for effective vision.
10. Zara Spooks (bone, chartreuse) and a dropshot with a 6-inch shad colored Roboworm delivered the bites for Vijay Malhotra. Fishing his topwaters close to shallow cover was essential for drawing the reaction bites.
Difference Maker: Malhotra relied on the strength of his Dobyns 734c rod to swing every topwater fish, except for one nearly 8 pounds on Day 1.