By Mark Fong
The ninth annual Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge returned to the California Delta over the weekend of May 4th and 5th for two exciting days of big bass and cash prizes. Windy conditions greeted the field of over 200 anglers as they competed for 60 big bass cash prizes, entrance into the Super 12 Grand Prize Drawing for biggest bass weighed in during each official tournament weigh in period, and a cash award for the biggest overall bass of the derby. In this tournament, only big fish mattered.
Day One Starts Strong
The first day of competition started off with a Senko Sweep at the Hour 1 weigh in. Andy Koybiashi, led the way with a 5lb bass that earned him the first seat in the Super 12. All prize fish weighed in during Hour 1 were caught on the Senko.
During the next weigh in period, Danny Hume brought an 8.01lber that he tricked with a Swim Senko. A number of big fish were brought to the scales during the day but Hume was never seriously challenged and at the end of Day 1, his fish remained atop the leader board for overall big fish.
Day 2 saw the competitors greeted with cooler temperatures and blustery winds. It did not take long for a new angler to climb atop the leaderboard. At the end of the first weigh in, Billy Hume held the top spot with an 8.15lb bass courtesy of the Senko. For most of the day, Hume’s fish was never challenged.
Final Day Drama
The biggest bass of the event was brought to the scales during the final weigh in on Day 2. Chad Lloyd caught an 8.63lb Delta bass that fell victim to a Flappin’ Hog and earned him $1,800 for the overall big fish of the tournament and the Andy “Cooch” Cuccia Memorial Big Bass Award.
With the last position in the Super 12 secured, all that was left was to determine who would walk away with the Grand Prize Drawing. When all was said and done, Sal Flores stood alone as the winner of the $5,500 Grand Prize. Flores earned his place in the Super 12 by winning the Day 2 Period 3 weigh in with a 6.95lb bass that was caught on a Senko.
Numbers Don’t Lie
The biggest take away from this year’s event was the domination of one bait: the Senko. Over the nine year history of the Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge, the Senko has accounted for many big Delta bass, and this year was no exception.
From an analytics perspective, the numbers don’t lie. In the competition for the 60 hourly big bass money awards, the Senko accounted for an astounding 42 cash places or 70% of the total. Coming in a distant second, the Flappin’ Hog tallied nine cash awards or 15% of the total. The remaining 15% (or nine placings) were comprised of a mix of different baits including the Zako, the Sanshou and the Kut Tail Worm.
The Twelve Hourly Big Bass Winners with the weight of their catch and bait used:
Day 1 - Saturday
Hour 1 Andrew Koybiashi 5.00 Senko
Hour 2 Donnie Hume 8.01 Swim Senko
Hour 3 Noel Meza 7.73 Senko
Hour 4 Wesley Jenkins 7.46 Senko
Hour 5 Angelo Queirolo 6.84 Senko
Hour 6 Scott Helleson 6.14 Flappin’ Hog
Day 2 - Sunday
Hour 1 Billy Hume 8.15 Senko
Hour 2 Eric Parra 5.73 Senko
Hour 3 Sal Flores 6.95 Senko
Hour 4 Mike Birch 6.22 Grub
Hour 5 Dave Zavvar 7.84 Flappin’ Hog
Hour 6 Chad Lloyd 8.63 Flappin’ Hog