2010 Elite Series - Duel in the Delta California Delta - Stockton, CA, Mar 11 - 14, 2010

Cat attack, Kennedy's strange catch and Niggmeyer's charge

Steve Kennedy
Steve Kennedy

Feline frenzy

"I didn't know sea lions eat cats."

Those were the words glibly uttered by Dustin Wilks on Saturday after his encounter with a cat while on the water during Day Three of the TroKar Duel in the Delta.

The "accident" happened while Wilks was fishing a backwater area full of docks. He was sneaking up under a dock when he noticed a cat sitting on shore. The cat didn't see him because of the stealthy nature of his approach under the dock.

What happened when Wilks startled the relaxed animal?

"The cat did a backflip and slid down the rocks," Wilks said. "I think it thought I was a sea lion."

Just what kind of bass is it?

Steve Kennedy once again turned some heads at the weigh-in by coming to the scales with a most unusual fish for the California Delta. After bringing in a few spotted bass to the scales, Saturday's catch was even more perplexing.

"I caught him and I swore it was a smallmouth at first," Kennedy said. "But when I pulled it out of the livewell this afternoon, I saw it had a spot on the gill plate and a tooth patch on the tongue. I'm pretty sure it's a meanmouth."

In a tournament dominated by Florida strain bass, Kennedy has managed to bring in three different types of black bass. His long run up the river is the reason for the diversity. He's also managed to catch some pretty big striped bass as well.

"I've been fishing for the wrong fish all week, but I got a check," Kennedy said.

Kennedy finished the tournament in 32nd place and heads to Clear Lake next, the site of his 2007 record-setting victory.

Niggemeyer's monster day

James Niggemeyer made the biggest move into the cut Saturday after he climbed from 39th into 10th. His 21-pound, 6-ounce day was more weight than his first two days combined and he heads into the final day riding a wave of momentum.

"This is a game of decision making and I underestimated what I found in practice," Niggemeyer said. "Today, when I got bit, it was a quality fish. I had no idea it was going to be this good."

The morning got off to a tough start for Niggemeyer. He lost his first fish and then had to release his second and third because they were hooked outside of the mouth. The same problem plagued him on the second day as well, but it turned around in the afternoon.

"I left that spot and came back later in the day and the big ones were chomping," Niggemeyer said.

Making the cut helps strengthen his confidence in a new mindset that has helped change the way he approaches his fishing strategy.

"I used to come into these tournaments where I had a bad Day One thinking I had to hit it out of the park and that is usually a recipe of disaster," Niggemeyer said. "I've just started to settle down and try catching one fish at a time to improve my standings and that really helped me settle down."


"You tied Greg Vinson for big bass of the tournament. You can arm wrestle for it."
Keith Alan to Greg Hackney, after his great day on the California Delta.

"I know that I'm good, but I didn't know how good I was until I went in there today and didn't get a bite. I caught them all yesterday, so there were none left."
— Day Two leader Stephen Browning, joking with the crowd after only bringing in one fish.

"You'll be throwing swimbaits that big next week."
Mark Tucker, to Steve Kennedy after he weighed in five little bass.

"Today I had a sea lion act like it wanted to get in the boat with me. Over in Oklahoma, we kill and eat stuff that act like that."
Vince Fulks

"That sounds more like something Hackney would do down in Louisiana."
Keith Alan, responding to Fulks.

"No, down in Louisiana, they wait 'til they find it dead on the side of the road and then eat it."
Vince Fulks

"How many of you want to see this trophy stay in California? That's what I'm talking about!"
Skeet Reese

"I've caught 57 fish over 10 pounds, the two biggest, a 13-pounder and a 14-1 were caught right here on the Delta."
Guy Eaker

"I threw everything today but a floating fly."
Jeff Kriet

"Not only can you get healthy out here, you can get sick real quick."
Keith Alan's response to Stephen Browning's 14-ounce weight.