Robert Ashcroft thought he was going to have a bass striper just the right size on Saturday, but come Sunday morning he discovered another angler caught a fish one-sixteenth of an inch larger than his.
Size can make all the difference in the world of the Rio Vista Bass Derby.
Ashcroft's bass was 35.07 inches long, while Danny Nguyen's fish measured 35.12 inches long.
The goal was to meet the target length, set by Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce officials at 35.25 inches for the striped bass. The goal is to catch a bass as close to the target length as possible, without surpassing it.
However, Ashcroft, a Suisun City resident, encountered a delightful surprise when the Bass Derby awards were announced Sunday afternoon. He may have lost out on the target-length contest, but he took home $2,461 after scoring in the "high roller" contest. For a $10 fee fishermen compete in a side pot, and whoever is closest to the target length and bought a high-roller ticket wins.
The Lodi area was well-represented when it came to prize winners. Martin Morfey, of Lodi, won $500 for catching a salmon weighing 25.66 pounds, and Alison Phon, a young girl from Victor, bagged the biggest catfish, earning her a BMX bicycle and $50 savings bond.
Paul Koval, pastor of Springs Christian Fellowship in Morada, won the sturgeon contest for the second time in three years. He was accompanied by Don Schwinn, who attends Koval's church, when Koval caught his winning sturgeon at 11:45 p.m. on Friday in Suisun Bay.
Koval credits the good tide for his sturgeon catch. Schwinn placed third in the same category.
Contestants were allowed to fish for salmon, sturgeon and striped bass on waterways throughout the Delta. They weren't limited to the Rio Vista area.
In addition to fishing, the Bass Derby included a carnival, several musical groups, a classic car show, a kids' fishing booth, karaoke, a parade and a soap-box derby.
KCRA newscaster Walt Gray was the parade grand marshal on Sunday, and Lee Williams, an active Rio Vista resident, was honorary grand marshal.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.