The Berkley Big Bass Challenge was last weekend on the Delta, and a number of Delta anglers turned out to catch a big fish, and cash a big check. The popularity of black bass tournaments has soared over the past 20 years. Field and Stream rated the Delta as one of the top 2 destinations to catch a trophy Largemouth in North America. The Delta record Largemouth bass is 18.62 lbs, captured February 10, 2002 in Old River (South Delta).
Largemouth bass have a long history in California. First introduced into southern California in 1891, they are now found throughout the state. A larger, more aggressive Florida strain was stocked in the Delta in 1959 and again in the 1980’s. The California Department of Fish and Game now issues hundreds of permits for bass tournaments each years. Fish and game reports that in 2008 over 37 thousand Largemouth bass were caught in the Delta during 306 contest days.