By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

The way Blake Dyer looks at it, he earned his recent California Delta Western FLW Series victory.

The 33-year-old Dyer, a sales heavy-equipment sales representative for Herc Rentals, amassed a 62-03 total over three days to beat out runner-up Jason Borofka by about a pound and a half. It was a wire-to-wire triumph as he boxed a tournament-best 27-03 on day 1, followed up with a 20-pound haul on day 2 and managed 15 pounds on a tough final day beset by a cold front and strong winds.

The big key was preparation for two months leading up to the derby, the Walnut Creek, Calif. resident was on the water four times a week. He was out there after work during the long daylight hours of late summer, then all day on the weekend.

"I tried to break it down from end to end," he said. "I was finding places with healthy grass, lots of food and big cruisers. The last day of practice was really calm and I started in an area that had a million bluegill, some baby bass and two absolute giants that were cruising. I knew that was where I was going to start to the tournament.

"The time I put in and having areas with big ones around that I could catch a couple different ways was a big key for me. I knew when to adjust and when to hit certain areas depening on the tide."

Charity Win Helped

Dyer, who wrapped up his second season as a boater on the Series after competing for 5 years as a co-angler, actually caught a bigger bag than his 27-03 two weeks earlier in a fund-raising tournament hosted by one of his firm's customers. That was an MLF-style event catch, weigh and immediate release but he said his biggest five fish that day combined to exceed the 30-pound park. That quintet included an 8-pounder, a 7 and a 6 that he caught by punching mats.

"That was really when my pre-fish (for the Series event) started," he said. "It turned me on to what to punch and when to punch."

His massive day-1 stringer consisted entirely of mat fish, all of which he had in his livewell by 9:45 a.m. He popped a 7-pounder and a 5 on his initial stretch and three more 5s at his second and third stops.

"The third place (which surrendered two weigh-in fish) was a cheese mat near Mildred Island and I was absolutely shocked that there wasn't a boat on it."

His first spot was unproductive on day 2, which got progressively windier as it went on, so he ran south to a slough where he'd been catching quality fish on a ChatterBait and boated a 5-pounder on the bladed jig, then punched out a 4. Returning later in the day, he discovered a tree just under the surface that yielded a 5 3/4 and a 3 1/2 on a dropshot rig.

"I just scrambled and junk-fished a 20-pound sack," he said. "Adjusting was the biggest thing I made the right decisions."

He started day 3 with an advantage of more than 5 pounds and caught his entire 15-08 bag by 8 a.m. It came from the same place he'd started when he caught the giant stringer in the charity event.

A keen observation about the current direction prompted him to switch to the opposite end and work backward. He quickly caught a 3 1/2-pounder on the ChatterBait, followed shortly thereafter by a 6.

With only about 10 minutes left in the day, he caught a 2 1/2-pounder in Franks Tract that culled a 1 1/2.

"At that point I knew I'd done everything I could to win, but I had to wait and see what happened (at the weigh-in). The guys in the bump line were telling me I had enough, but I didn't want to hear it. I had to see it on the scales."

Winning Gear Notes

> Punching gear: 7'11" heavy-action G. Loomis GLX 954, Shimano Curado 200K casting reel (7.4:1 ratio), 65-pound PowerPro braided line, 1 1/2-ounce Woo Tungsten weight, Dirty Jigs punch skirt (big Texan), 4/0 Owner Jungle Punch Hook, Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver (tramp stamp).

> Bladed jig gear: 7'6" medium-heavy G. Loomis IMX Pro MBR rod, Shimano Chronarch MGL casting reel (6.3:1 ratio), 20-pound Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon line, 1/2-ounce Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer (BHite Delight), Yamamoto Zako trailer (green-pumpkin).

> Dropshot gear: 7'1" medium-action G. Loomis NRX 852 rod, Shimano Stella 2500 spinning reel, 15-pound PowerPro braid (main line), 12-pound Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon (10' leader), 3/0 Owner Cover Shot hook, 6" Roboworm Fat (MM III), 1/4-ounce Woo Tungsten teardrop-style weight.

Much of the tackle referenced above is available at the BassFan Store. To browse the selection, click here..



Final Standings

1. Blake Dyer -- Walnut Creek, Ca -- 27-3 (5) -- 20-2 (5) -- 15-8 (5) -- 62-13 (15) -- $31,114

2. Jason Borofka -- Salinas, Ca -- 25-8 (5) -- 16-4 (5) -- 19-8 (5) -- 61-4 (15) -- $13,579

3. Austin Wilson -- Citrus Heights, Ca -- 20-2 (5) -- 21-14 (5) -- 15-0 (5) -- 57-0 (15) -- $9,274

4. Nick Nourot -- Benicia, Ca -- 21-3 (5) -- 16-4 (5) -- 17-13 (5) -- 55-4 (15) -- $7,728

5. Mike Birch -- Oakley, Ca -- 21-9 (5) -- 15-2 (5) -- 17-2 (5) -- 53-13 (15) -- $6,956

6. John Pearl -- Upper Lake, Ca -- 17-10 (5) -- 16-5 (5) -- 16-6 (5) -- 50-5 (15) -- $6,183

7. Michael Fong -- Sacramento, Ca -- 19-5 (5) -- 15-12 (5) -- 14-4 (5) -- 49-5 (15) -- $5,410

8. Stephen Tosh Jr. -- Modesto, Ca -- 13-14 (5) -- 23-8 (5) -- 10-12 (5) -- 48-2 (15) -- $5,833

9. Phillip Dutra -- Concord, Ca -- 16-6 (5) -- 17-13 (5) -- 13-0 (5) -- 47-3 (15) -- $3,864

10. Jamond Andrews -- Oakley, Ca -- 15-10 (5) -- 19-12 (5) -- 10-11 (5) -- 46-1 (15) -- $3,091

The following anglers did not make the cut and did not fish on day 3.

11. Logan Huntze -- Discovery Bay, Ca -- 18-11 (5) -- 14-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-2 (10) -- $2,898

12. Mark Daniels Jr -- Tuskegee, Al -- 18-8 (5) -- 14-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-0 (10) -- $2,901

13. Jonas Pettit -- Orting, Wa -- 14-13 (5) -- 18-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 33-0 (10) -- $2,319

14. David Valdivia -- Norwalk, Ca -- 16-13 (5) -- 16-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-15 (10) -- $2,319

15. Lane Olson -- Tigard, Or -- 20-1 (5) -- 12-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-12 (10) -- $2,319

16. Obedie Williams -- Discovery Bay, Ca -- 15-9 (5) -- 17-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-12 (10) -- $2,319

17. Jeremy McKay -- Cottage Grove, Or -- 16-4 (5) -- 16-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 32-8 (10) -- $2,319

18. Bryant Smith -- Roseville, Ca -- 17-10 (5) -- 14-1 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 31-11 (10) -- $2,319

19. Robert Nakatomi -- Sacramento, Ca -- 17-10 (5) -- 13-11 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 31-5 (9) -- $2,319

20. Ken Mah -- Elk Grove, Ca -- 13-7 (5) -- 17-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-15 (10) -- $2,319

21. Brandon Koon -- Phoenix, Az -- 16-13 (5) -- 13-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 30-6 (10) -- $2,125

22. Wade Curtiss -- Lincoln, Ca -- 13-9 (5) -- 16-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-14 (10) -- $2,125

23. Louis Fernandes -- Santa Maria, Ca -- 10-3 (5) -- 19-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-13 (10) -- $2,125

24. Michael Caruso -- Peoria, Az -- 12-14 (5) -- 16-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-12 (10) -- $2,125

25. Clayton Eslick -- Gilroy, Ca -- 17-2 (5) -- 12-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-11 (10) -- $2,125

26. Kyle Grover -- Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca -- 15-5 (5) -- 14-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-7 (10) -- $1,932

27. Tim Rath -- Lake Havasu City, Az -- 14-6 (5) -- 14-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 29-5 (10)

28. Nicholas Cloutier -- Oakley, Ca -- 16-6 (5) -- 12-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-12 (10)

29. Rusty Salewske -- Alpine, Ca -- 18-13 (5) -- 9-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-5 (10)

30. Joshua Ireland -- Oakland, Ca -- 14-11 (5) -- 13-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 28-3 (10)

31. Ishama Monroe -- Oakdale, Ca -- 16-0 (5) -- 11-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-13 (10)

32. Michael Moreno -- Salida, Ca -- 17-6 (5) -- 10-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-11 (10)

33. Kyle Gelles -- Pingree, Id -- 11-2 (5) -- 16-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-10 (10)

34. Timothy Venkus -- Wilton, Ca -- 13-11 (5) -- 13-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-9 (10)

35. Todd Woods -- Los Angeles, Ca -- 16-5 (5) -- 11-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 27-8 (10)

36. Robert Cloutier -- Oakley, Ca -- 11-1 (5) -- 15-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-10 (10)

36. William Ponting -- Lake Elsinore, Ca -- 11-1 (5) -- 15-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-10 (10)

38. Eric Urstad -- Snohomish, Wa -- 17-0 (5) -- 9-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 26-5 (10)

39. Nathan Bromley -- Albany, Or -- 12-5 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-15 (10)

40. Justin Kerr -- Simi Valley, Ca -- 14-11 (5) -- 11-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-13 (10)

41. Todd Kline -- San Clemente, Ca -- 9-12 (5) -- 15-12 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-8 (10)

42. Chad Hulbert -- Gilroy, Ca -- 14-1 (5) -- 11-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-1 (10)

43. Gregory Troughton -- Discovery Bay, Ca -- 16-1 (5) -- 8-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 25-0 (10)

44. Brett Leber -- Dixon, Ca -- 11-6 (5) -- 13-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-15 (10) -- $200

45. Mark Lassagne -- Dixon, Ca -- 10-1 (4) -- 14-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-14 (9)

46. Wes Wezenberg -- Lacey, Wa -- 10-12 (5) -- 13-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-11 (10)

47. Raymond Tak -- Newbury Park, Ca -- 12-3 (5) -- 12-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-11 (10)

48. Rick Grover -- Trabuco Canyon, Ca -- 14-5 (5) -- 10-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-10 (10)

49. Joe Uribe Jr. -- Surprise, Az -- 10-13 (5) -- 13-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-8 (10)

50. Chris Costello -- Gilroy, Ca -- 15-8 (5) -- 8-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-7 (10)

51. Joe Cole -- Coalville, Ut -- 16-0 (5) -- 8-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-4 (10)

52. Ricky Shabazz -- La Mesa, Ca -- 7-8 (3) -- 16-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-3 (8)

53. Carl Limbrick Jr -- Bonita, Ca -- 12-0 (5) -- 12-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-3 (10)

54. Andrew Loberg -- Rocklin, Ca -- 10-8 (5) -- 13-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-2 (10)

55. Mike Stahlman -- Buckley, Wa -- 12-8 (5) -- 11-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 24-0 (10)

56. Gregg Leonard -- Wilton, Ca -- 10-11 (5) -- 12-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-2 (10)

57. Beau Joudrey -- Oakley, Ca -- 12-1 (5) -- 11-1 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-2 (10)

58. Jimmy Reese -- Witter Springs, Ca -- 9-12 (5) -- 13-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-12 (10)

59. Travis Archer -- Covington, Wa -- 9-10 (5) -- 12-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-7 (10)

60. Sean Minderman -- Greenacres, Wa -- 9-1 (5) -- 13-1 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-2 (10)

61. Scott Mosey -- El Ajon, Ca -- 8-10 (5) -- 13-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-1 (10)

62. Robert Lee -- Angels Camp, Ca -- 9-7 (5) -- 12-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 22-0 (10)

63. Tai Au -- Glendale, Az -- 9-4 (5) -- 12-5 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 21-9 (10)

64. Kazuki Kodama -- Torrance, Ca -- 10-12 (5) -- 10-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 21-9 (10)

65. Andy Scholz -- Reno, Nv -- 12-15 (5) -- 8-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 21-5 (10)

66. Ray Huff -- Bakersfield, Ca -- 6-8 (5) -- 14-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-15 (10)

67. Roy Hawk -- Lake Havasu City, Az -- 9-8 (5) -- 11-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-14 (10)

68. Jon Strelic -- El Cajon, Ca -- 12-3 (5) -- 8-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-11 (10)

69. Jake Boomer -- Spokane Valley, Wa -- 14-11 (5) -- 5-14 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-9 (10)

70. Ed Arledge -- Valley Center, Ca -- 9-8 (5) -- 10-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-3 (10) -- $100

71. Mark Borges -- Lodi, Ca -- 6-9 (4) -- 13-9 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 20-2 (9)

72. Chris Neau -- New Orleans, La -- 13-10 (5) -- 6-4 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 19-14 (10)

73. Jim Moulton -- Merced, Ca -- 8-8 (5) -- 10-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 19-3 (10)

74. Nicholas Elliott -- Chula Vista, Ca -- 7-15 (5) -- 11-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 19-1 (10)

75. Jordan Collom -- Temecula, Ca -- 8-6 (5) -- 10-8 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 18-14 (10)

76. Ryan German -- Fairfield, Ca -- 8-10 (5) -- 9-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 18-0 (10)

77. Shannon Abbott -- Oceanside, Ca -- 9-14 (5) -- 7-15 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-13 (10)

78. Dave Phillips -- Nampa, Id -- 9-14 (5) -- 7-13 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-11 (10)

79. Sunny Hawk -- Salt Lake City, Ut -- 9-13 (5) -- 7-12 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-9 (8)

80. Guy Savidan -- Norco, Ca -- 9-13 (5) -- 7-7 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-4 (10)

81. Ronald Hammett -- La Mesa, Ca -- 9-1 (4) -- 7-4 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 16-5 (8)

82. Robert Ratzlaff -- Columbia, Ca -- 7-5 (5) -- 8-10 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-15 (10)

83. Pedro McDougall -- Stockton, Ca -- 7-8 (5) -- 7-15 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-7 (9)

84. William Hume -- Vacaville, Ca -- 8-11 (5) -- 6-10 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-5 (8)

85. Marvin Finley -- Peoria, Az -- 5-9 (3) -- 9-11 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-4 (8)

86. Russ Barger -- Boise, Id -- 4-5 (3) -- 9-10 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-15 (7)

87. TJ Merrell -- Spokane, Wa -- 8-10 (5) -- 4-11 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-5 (8)

88. Jim McLaughlin -- Bakersfield, Ca -- 5-12 (3) -- 7-2 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-14 (8)

89. Josh Needleman -- Napa, Ca -- 9-3 (5) -- 2-10 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-13 (6)

90. Melvin Williams -- Chula Vista, Ca -- 3-4 (2) -- 7-6 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-10 (7)

91. Justin Raleigh -- Pasadena, Ca -- 2-0 (2) -- 8-2 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-2 (6)

92. Ron Ratlief -- Lake Havasu City, Az -- 6-12 (5) -- 2-9 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-5 (7)

93. Greg Huey -- Mcminnville, Or -- 6-7 (5) -- 2-14 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-5 (7)

94. Kevin Caruso -- Glendale, Az -- 8-3 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-3 (5)

95. Brian Trusso -- Covina, Ca -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-15 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-15 (3)

96. James Scott -- Lancaster, Ca -- 2-8 (2) -- 3-1 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-9 (4)

97. Chris K. Johnson -- Vacaville, Ca -- 4-3 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-3 (2)

98. Kirk Hill -- Las Vegas, Nv -- 2-2 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-2 (2)