Professional fisherman Gregory Troughton of Discovery Bay brought five bass weighing 12 pounds, 13 ounces, to the scale last Saturday to win the Costa Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Series Western Division finale on the Delta presented by Power-Pole.
Troughton’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 60 pounds, 2 ounces, was enough to earn him the grand prize of $77,691, including a brand new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
“I’ve worked really, really hard to get to this point,” said Troughton, who earned his first career win in FLW Series competition. “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 started out last 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,” said Troughton. “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 drop-shot 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,” said Troughton. “Within five 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 4.5-inch green-pumpkin-colored Yamamoto Baits Flappin’ Hog on a 4/0-sized Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook with a 1.5-ounce 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,” said Troughton. “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 ½-ounce, green-pumpkin Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBait 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,” said Troughton.
Courtesy of Fishing League Worldwide