Targeting Delta Stripers

Catching Stripers in the Delta System with Vince Borges


Winter 2020

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trolling becomes really popular, because you cover a lot of water to locate striper schools.”


The schoolies run in the 3- to 10-pound range. They are the first to move in and out.

“They are the average size of striper and a younger grade of fish,” he said. “They are a lot more aggressive. They are the fish that we usually start out catching, just because of their aggressiveness. They’re easier to pinpoint as they’re in larger schools, so you can catch 50 or them a day.

“When the big fish move in and start feeding, you’re looking at fish from the 10- to 40-pound range.” In the striper-sphere, Borges called anything above 20-pounds a trophy fish.

“There may be a couple hundred of those 20-pound stripers caught in a given year,” he shared. “If you’re fortunate enough to break the30-pound mark, it’ll be one of maybe a few dozen caught in a year.”


Trolling can put an angler on schools of stripers faster than soaking cut bait or jumping from spot-to-spot target casting. Although, targeting big fish areas was his advice for a larger quality.

“It is popular to combine the two techniques,” Borges said. “You can start out trolling to cover more water, find schools and then slow it down to target them, by throwing out baits like swimbaits or topwater. This lets you catch multiple fish in the school quicker instead of trolling through a school, turning around and trolling back and repeating that to catch ‘em.”


Borges explained that stripers hold like largemouth. “They, too, position themselves near current,” he said. “Focusing on main channels and waterways with islands, berms, arms or anything that creates eddies or current swirl should be the more productive areas.

“Trolling back-and-forth along the break line in the high current areas is another good option and you can cover multiple depths doing that.”

different action. The single has a much wider wobble and the jointed has more of a fast-paced, back-and-forth wobble.

“You may get on a pattern where they are hitting one or the other. If I’m trolling, I will troll two or three different types, different varieties and/or different colors to find out what they want.”

When expecting to catch bigger than average size stripes, Borges does a hook change out.

“Some Crystal Minnows that are in the saltwater version come with some pretty heavy hooks; but I still like to change them out to the Owner ST hooks,” he said.

When trolling, Borges typically adds a teaser tail to his Minnow. “I just put a nose-hooked, six-inch Trick Worm on the back treble in either white, chartreuse or hot pink,” he revealed. “That gives the lure a bigger profile and a lot more action. It makes it look like a bigger more active food source to draw the striper in.”


For clean water, Borges select Minnows of the natural colors like blue black sardine or the Red Head, or fluorescent pink. In dirtier water, he opts for louder colors, like chartreuse.

“I will match the color of my Trick Worm to the Minnow color, whether it be white or chartreuse or pink; but one that matches the lure.”

Borges recommends braid for trolling.

“I never go above 30 pounds and I tie a Palomar knot directly to the lure,” he said. “I don’t use a topknot or a leader, because it’s a faster moving lure and they’re reacting to it”


Sherman, Franks and Mildred were areas that Borges suggested for target casting striper.

“Those islands where there are openings for current rushing through is where you will find the more active ones,”


Borges shared his go-to, a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow. “The Crystal Minnow is probably without exaggeration the number one trolling minnow on the West Coast and especially on the Delta,” he shared. “There are two versions – the jointed or the straight, which is called the regular version. They both have a