Josh Shapland is a California angler who loves fishing the California Delta. His college choice was Oklahoma State which has opened up a new type of fishing for him on their Collegiate bass fishing team. Josh talks with us about bass fishing in both California and Oklahoma.
How long have you been bass fishing?
I started fishing when I was real young, probably 3 or 4 years old. I didn’t get into bass fishing until I was in the second grade. Most of the techniques I picked up by myself or going out with one of my dad’s employees.
What were the highlights for you from being a member of your High School fishing team?
My favorite high school fishing memory was bringing a 30.49lb bag to the scales with one of my best friends and celebrating with a great dinner after. Half way through the day we didn’t think we were gonna pull off a good finish. The tide changed and we sacked up on them in a real big way on a matter of only 30 minutes. Just goes to show anything can happen in bass fishing.
I understand that you are from California but attending Oklahoma State. What made you pick OSU as your school?
I’m currently a Sophomore agricultural business major at Oklahoma State. I wanted a school with a strong Ag department and established fishing team that I could join. I also wanted to challenge myself on tougher lakes and learn how to fish tough situations.
What has been your experience like so far being a member of a collegiate bass fishing team?
I’ve had a really positive experience being a collegiate bass fisherman. The school and our sponsors pick up a lot of the fees associated with the tournaments. This makes makes the experience more possible for us broke college kids. I really enjoy being on the team because I get to experience lakes all over the midwest and break out of my comfort zone almost every tournament.
What are the Oklahoma waters that your team fishes the most?
Our team fishes a smaller lake here in town called McMurtry Lake. It’s a shallow, fairly muddy lake but it’s got a decent population of big fish in it. They’re usually fairly easy to pattern. Lots of the Oklahoma lakes we fish are muddy and fish real shallow. Most of the time the fish are super keyed into shad which can make it tough at times when you’re trying to get a bait in front of them.
Back at home, I know you love fishing the California Delta. Why do you like this bass fishery so much?
The Delta is a really special place for me. I’ve experienced so much learning there that I couldn’t have picked up in 10 years anywhere else. The daily tides force the angler to come up with typically 2-3 patterns a day and force you to diversify your game plan every single day. It also helps that there’s some absolute giants in there. You never know when your PB is gonna bite.
You posted a giant of a bass from the Delta in May. What is the fish story behind that bass?
That was an incredible day. Not having a boat, I had been borrowing a friends Basscat Pantera for a few days. I took it out one morning with a friend of mine that was in from Texas to see if we couldn’t get on a good frog bite.
The tide was perfect. It was just starting to go out and it was REALLY high. I pulled up on the first stretch of bank that usually has a good number of fish on it and we saw action immediately. I backed off the bank with the trolling motor and found a great looking patch of hydrilla poking up on the surface and worked my frog over to it.
As I was explaining to my buddy that I like to let my frog sit for a long time on hydrilla like that, I heard the toilet bowl flush on my frog and saw this fish swell. I set the hook and she didn’t budge one bit. Needless to say, I called for the net right then. She got a few good jumps in despite me shoving my rod way down into the water. I swung her close to the boat and got her head up and my buddy did a great job netting her. I knew right then she was gonna be close to 10. Caught her on a snagproof frog.
What are your other favorite California bass waters?
Some other favorites for me are New Melones lake and Clear lake. These lakes are just so special. I could probably do an hour long spiel about both bodies just like I could the delta…haha.
What adjustment have you made to adapt between California and Oklahoma bass fishing?
I had to change basically everything I knew about bass fishing when I got to Oklahoma. The toughest part for me was fishing lakes with very little vegetation and Northern Strain largemouth. They stay up shallower and are more prone to be on wood and hard cover. I really perfected my shallow flipping game in Oklahoma.
What are your goals as a Collegiate angler for 2018?
My goals for this year are to really embrace different strategies and conditions that I face. One problem I really have on new lakes is I try to really force a bait that should be working down the fishes throats. It’s cost me a lot of time in pre-fishing. Really trying to break myself of that this season.
Are you pro staff currently for any companies?
I’m on staff for Bassart Creations currently. They make a really good product whether it’s their spinnerbaits or their vibrating jigs or football head jigs. I sacked up on them last spring on this wild looking craw spinnerbait that they make. I’m always willing to pick up new pro staff positions and promote them on my YouTube or Instagram.
Thank you Josh! Good luck in both California and Oklahoma in 2018.