Every angler has that season, or that day, or that tournament. It’s when they just have to put their heads down and grind out culls, gradually figure out a bite and fish with a heron’s patience.

It’s fitting that the 2023 KBF Trail Series regular season ended with a tough bite on the California Delta. It typifies the resilience at the core of Kayak Bass Fishing – it’s that late cull or the last minute adjustment that saves a tournament and leads to an angler’s come from behind victory.

The Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series weekend on the California Delta was the final one prior to the KBF Trail Series Championship in Huntsville, AL this coming October, and the Delta was tough. But KBF anglers were tougher, and they figured it out.

They always do.

Trail I: Saturday June 24

Rachel Uribe has had a great season on the KBF Trail Series. She had a strong event at Havasu in March, and on the Delta she picked up where she left off. Uribe took over first place within the first two hours of Saturday’s KBF Trail event, and over the course of the first three hours she ran away from the pack. One third of competition time had passed, and she enjoyed the lead with a limit if five fish at 71”. No other angler had more than three keepers on the board. As the day wore on, she continued to cull, and at the halfway mark she had upgraded to 75.25”, holding a lead of more than 20” over the nearest angler. One factor in her lead was a 17” anchor fish that she had landed. Other angler sin the meantime were battling smaller bass….

And then something changed. After the halfway mark, more limits began to appear on the leaderboard. First, it was Caymen Rasmussen who took over the top spot, with 79” (Uribe upgraded to 78.25”, too). And then it was Josh Griffin who took the lead with 80.75”. Maybe it was the wind, or the warmth, but the bigger fish were more active.

In the end, Greg Blanchard managed to post a limit of 81”, edging out Griffin by a mere .25” and Uribe by .50”. Blanchard worked a baitfish spawn, and explained how the rising tide, combined with a custom local lure, helped him win:

“The Delta being a tidal fishery has very defined bite windows. The tide was rising in the morning and I think the fish were comfortable, because my bite turned on as the tide rose and my fish moved in to where baitfish were spawning.

I was using a Bobby D spinnerbait. It’s called a Dutras finnese blade in a color called Toxic Shad. It weighs one half an ounce with gold and silver willow blades. My trailer was a Berkley Champ swimmer in the HD Crappie color. The color matched the spinnerbait skirt and it also matched the baitfish the bass were chasing. I caught 20 or 30 fish. They were really active and they either ate it or followed it to the boat.”


Rachel M. Uribe with Marco at the California Delta. Photo courtesy of Rachel M. Uribe.

By finishing third, Uribe earned valuable points. The sum of her weekend work moved her into first place on the Rogue Gear Co. Angler of the Year Standings. As we have noted before, West Coast competitors deserve to be ranked among the best, and this year has been Uribe’s breakout season.And it could have been a victory, but for a few lost fish. As she noted in a Facebook post:

“I was so excited to catch my limit and a few upgrades both days, since I heard fishing was still tough. I definitely had the winning bites but just couldn’t execute, which was heartbreaking seeing 17 and 19 inchers just jump off.

But even with that being said, I was still able to manage 3rd place for KBF on Day 1 and 5th place along with biggest fish for KBF on Day 2. In addition, [I am] leading in AOY points for the KBF Trail (super excited).”

Trail II: Sunday June 25

Sean Beach finished in nineteenth place in Saturday’s KBF Trail I. If you looked at the leaderboard on Sunday, you would have again seen Saturday’s top finishers in the mix – Uribe, Rasmussen, Swisher, Bryant, Lavoie. Some are common names on the KBF leaderboards out west.

Sean Beach was out on the Delta, too, culling small bass and making adjustments to catch better fish. He knows the Delta as well as anyone – he walks his dog there in fact. As he told KBF:

“I live close to the Delta, and I knew it’s been fishing tough. Lots of small bags, 15 pound limits winning tournaments. I walk my dog and watch the water clarity. We had a lot of run-off this week and it was super chocolatey going into the event.

I fished out of Windmill in Stockton on Saturday. I caught twenty plus fish throwing a Senko, and missed some on a popper. But they were all under 12”.I just kept weeding through small fish as I flipped a worm on a wacky rig.

Sunday was different. I switched a popper in the morning but then switched to a worm. I wasn’t feeling it, so I tied on a white chatterbait. That’s when I started catching better fish. I swapped top a green pumpkin, caught a few keepers, and culled a small fish at like 1:20 p.m.”

Beach took home the win with a limit of 77.5”. Thanks to his familiarity with the Delta, he was able to adapt and grind out quality fish over the course of the weekend, and earn a spot in the KBF Trail Championship at Huntsville in October.

“It feels good to get the win. If I can hop along with some of the other California guys to get to Huntsville, I will.”

Dakota Lithium Big Bass

It wasn;t all small bites on the Delta. Dave DePonty’s 19.25” Largemouth Bass won first place on Day 1 of the Dakota Lithium Big Bass event, while Rachel Uribe’s 19” Largemouth Bass won first place on Day II of the Dakota Lithium Big Bass event. DePonty’s fish was the longest caught on the weekend.

Up Next

The KBF Trail Series Championship will be held on October 19-20 in Huntsville, AL. Stay tuned to KBF Media for more info!

Additional Info

The Realtree Fishing KBF Trail on Lake Chickamauga was hosted by Visit Sacramento.

Complete Standings: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/kbf-trail-series-or-california-delta-or-2023

Greg Blanchard is sponsored by Native Watercarft, Abu Garcia, Sierra Nevada Brewing, NRS, P-Line, Tackle Works, Newport Vessels and Berkley Fishing

Rachel M. Uribe is sponsored by Bridgford A&M graphics, Torch Eyewear, Performance Tackle, Dalton Toyota, Reaction Innovation, Voss Weights, Sunline, Daiwa, Roboworms, BioennoPower, and Simms.

About the KBF Trail: Realtree Fishing KBF Trail events are a 5-fish, CPR, members only tournament. KBF weekends comprise two single day Trail tournaments and the Dakota Lithium Double Up Program which spans both days.

For the 2023 KBF Trail events schedule: https://www.kayakbassfishing.com/schedule/

Questions regarding event details (i.e. eligible water, schedule, etc..) email Jason@kayakbassfising.com


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First Published June 26, 2023. The author of this article was not assisted in any way by a machine in the composition of it. The article was revised on June 27 to include the quotes from Greg Blanchard.

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