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Striper Derby, Crappie Fishing, Holiday Hours

The Best Season is Here!

What's New in the Shop?

Happy Holidays! We hope your week is going well.

The excitement for our Striper Derby is heating up! We've already received a dozen registrations, and we expect that number to climb to 50. This is the first time we've hosted the derby in years, and the anticipation is palpable. To make sure everyone has a chance to join the fun, we've extended the registration deadline to December 13th. But don't wait until the last minute! Review the official rules below and secure your spot today.

The shop will be closing early on Sunday, December 17th due to our team holiday party. Please review our Holiday Hours below:

Sunday, December 17th: 7am-12pm (CLOSING EARLY due to Team Holiday Party)

Friday, December 22nd: 9am-8pm

Satuday, December 23rd: 7am-8pm

Sunday, December 24th: 7am-2pm

Monday, December 25th: CLOSED

Sunday, December 31st 7am-2pm

Monday, January 1st CLOSED

Sweeney's Sports Striper Derby

Registrations are coming in! Do it now, before it's too late.

Sweeney's Sports Striper Derby will be hosted on December 15th, 16th, 17th, 2023.

$50 Registration per adult, $25 For children under 16. The top 3 fish by weight win the following (The minimum fish size to qualify for weigh-in is 22 inches).

-1st Place - 50% of the pot.

-2nd Place - 25% of the pot.

-3rd Place - 10% of the pot.

Official weight-ins will only be conducted at the shop (Sweeney's Sports, Napa, CA), at 4pm-5pm, on December, 15th, 16th, and 17th.

The minimum fish size to qualify for the tournament is 22 inches from nose to fork. All weigh-ins must be done no later than 5 pm on each day of the tournament during the shop's official weigh-in window (4-5pm). Please have your fishing license, picture ID, and registration confirmation at the time of weigh-in. The biggest fish will be announced daily, at 5:30pm.

Derby winners will be announced on Sunday, December 17th at 5:30pm. The registration fee isn't refundable or transferable. Must Register by December 13th.

Don't wait.

You can also register at the shop.

Introducing Crappie Closet Lures

Join us as we explore the world of crappie fishing insights shared by Marlin Carpenter, the founder of Crappie Closet Lures, a passionate and experienced angler in the realm of crappie fishing.

Please pardon the subpar audio quality of this episode. We are outfitting the studio with pro-grade audio equipment and lighting to improve your experience.

A full selection of Crappie Closet Lures is now available and Sweeney's Sports.

Marlin and his team are hosting a Crappie Fishing Tournament on December 16th. Consider joining. The info is below.

Live Bait Update

While supplies last. Stock up early if you are fishing this weekend. If you need to brush up on best practices to keep your bait alive for 36 hours or more, watch this video.

- Live Grass Shrimp

- Live Bullheads/Mudsuckers

- Medium, Large, and XL Minnows

- Working on bringing Live Ghost Shrimp and Pile Worms this week.

Fishing Reports

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa trout trolling has been slow since mid-November. The lake is in the process of turning over as the warmer water on the bottom is displacing colder water on top. We are seeing some reports of trout being caught from the bank using live minnows, lures, and PowerBait.

Crappie fishing is also pretty good, but you need to find the schools first. They will be hanging around ledges and sandbars. Crappie move in and out of deep water in schools, looking for comfortable temperatures and bait. Please look out for our Crappie Fishing deep-dive interview with Marlin Carpenter. Marlin is the owner of Crappie Close Lures, which we now stock at the shop.

Bass fishing is fair. Please refer to our winter bass deep-dive interview with Luke for more information on the subject.

Napa River


Click here for the detailed video on Napa River Striper lures, bait, and tactics.

As the water gets colder we are having more luck experimenting with slowing down the trolling speeds

The Wild Thing deep-diving lure that we make here at Sweeny's is still the king of the hill. Followed closely by gold-colored Spro Akuru Shad and other mulity-colered Rat-L-Traps. You'll find a full variety on offer here at the shop. Experiment with trolling speeds of 2.5-4.5 GPS mph.

Keep changing lures until you get bit. Turn around and troll the same spot again. The fish are typically dialed in on something different every day. The weather, tides, water color, bait fish behavior, wind, pressure, lunar cycle, and a dozen other factors shift constantly. That's why we never get tired of fishing the river. It's an ever-evolving puzzle with an abundance of options and action.

Bank fishermen are doing well with live grass shrimp, pile worms, and frozen anchovies. Use the Magic Thread to keep your bait on the hook.


We are getting close to the Sturgeon season here on Napa River. As the water gets colder, they will push in from the bay to feed.

Use live Grass or Ghost Shrimp, Pile Worms, Salmon roe, or Eel threaded onto a barbless hook, wrapped with magic thread (twine), and terminated with a bait button.

It's important to keep your bait on the bottom with a 4-8 ounce pyramid sinker and, ideally, a weighted leader. We now make Custom Sturgeon Leaders here at the shop. Come and check them out. $5.99 apiece.

As always,

We truly appreciate every time you walk through our doors. Thank you for choosing to spend your hard-earned dollars with us. It's a privilege to be of service.

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