Gregory Troughton of Discovery Bay, Calif. caught a 12-13 stringer to win the California Delta Western FLW Series on Saturday with a 3-day total of 60-02. He earned a grand prize package that included a new boat and motor.
“I’ve worked really, really hard to get to this point," he said. "This [win] has been 30 years of work [in the making]. I focused on this event, put in tons of time and effort and made it happen. It’s been an incredible week.”
Troughton said he started out Thursday expecting to put together a decent limit with a Don Iovino’s bass pattern-colored Splash-It Popper, but as conditions changed, so did his approach.
“My son Carter and I pre-fished together, and I did well with the Splash-It in the morning. I thought I could get limits fairly quickly for about 12 or 13 pounds, but things changed, as they always do in these tournaments.
"On Thursday, I didn’t have any bites for an hour and a half. My co-angler caught a few on a dropshot and I felt things were changing, so I decided to get to the punching water and go to work.”
Troughton said he primarily worked through grass mats near three flooded islands in the central region of the Delta, adding that he fished slowly in 6 to 8 feet of water.
“I had confidence in the secondary deal. Within 5 minutes Thursday I had my first bite – a 4-pounder. I made a little move to another small grass mat and stuck a 3-pound, 8-ouncer. I rotated amongst several small mats, focusing on key parts of them. I noticed a new mat had formed with ‘cheese’ on it, which is hydrilla grass that grows from the bottom to the surface. When it gets hot, it blooms yellow, and we call it cheese. It tells you that there’s a good canopy with lots of thick grass and that’s where the big ones live. I punched in there and caught a 7-pounder – my fifth fish.”
Troughton said that both Thursday and Friday’s limits came on a 4 1/2-nch green-pumpkin-colored Yamamoto Baits Flappin’ Hog on a 4/0-sized Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook with a 1 1/2-unce River2Sea tungsten weight.
“I focused on one island Friday and did the exact same rotation through the mats. I started out with two 5-pounders, and after about an hour I caught a 3. Then, after an hour and a half, boom – I caught the big one – a 9-pound, 4-ouncer. I followed that up with a 7, and then another 3. Then I stopped fishing and helped my co-angler catch his fish; that was enough for the day.”
On Saturday, Troughton mixed in some new baits, catching two keepers punching mats, two on the Splash-It, one on a half-ounce, green-pumpkin Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer bladed jig with a Yamamoto Zako trailer. He also used a wacky-rigged, green-pumpkin Yamamoto Senko. He said the early bite died as the sun got up, so he finished out his day at one of his primary islands, noting that the conditions had changed.
“The wind blew out the cheese and there were clouds so you couldn’t see the grass underneath. We scrambled a bit – it was tough today."
Here are the final totals for the top 10:
1. Gregory Troughton: 60-02
2. Bobby Barrack: 53-07
3. Ish Monroe: 52-15
4. Ken Mah: 52-12
5. Jerred Jennings: 51-04
6. Jason Cordiale: 51-02
7. Nick Nourot: 50-09
8. Nicholas Cloutier: 48-06
9. Kyle Grover: 45-10
10. Jeremy McKay: 39-15