Fishing Report: Catfish hooked by one angler, caught by another at Santa Margarita Lake

Special to The TribuneMay 23, 2012 

The outdoors, especially fishing, seems to be a never-ending source of some unusual, even strange tales.

This one happened at Santa Margarita Lake this week.

Moorpark’s Mike Garrett has been coming to the lake since 1971.

“This week I had something happen that was unbelievable,” he said. “It even topped an event that occurred here some years ago when a bass jumped into my boat while I was trying to retrieve a lure that was hung up on the shore.

“Tuesday afternoon I was fishing for bass with a $13 titanium Terminator spinnerbait when by accident I hooked a catfish in its side. The fish broke my 50-pound test spider wire line. The fish didn’t leave. It kept swimming by with what looked like a neon sign in its side. I tried to net the fish but was unsuccessful.”

Marina manager Don Lopez began laughing when Garrett shared his tale of woe in the marina Wednesday morning.

Earlier in the day a young angler dropped by the marina to report catching a 17-pound, 1-ounce catfish with a spinnerbait in its side. Then, Greg Milhorn of Atascadero returned to the lake to continue fishing.

Lopez described Milhorn’s boat, and Garrett guided his boat to Murphy’s Bay, where Milhorn was fishing.

“I expected I’d probably have to give him a few bucks to retrieve my lure,” Garrett said in a phone interview.

But, Milhorn gladly returned the lure without compensation.

“It was the lure I lost but it was all beat up,” Garrett said. “That catfish must have been rubbing against rocks quite a bit in its attempt to get free of the unwanted hardware.”

Tri Valley Bass tourney

While Sam Sawdey had experienced winning bass tournaments previously, his first-year partner, Matt Pigeon, had not.

Pigeon and Sawdey celebrated a Tri Valley Bass title Saturday at Lake San Antonio.

Fishing swimbaits and topwater all day, the duo estimated catching about 25 fish.

Pigeon contributed the one smallmouth the team included in their 15.64-pound six-fish team limit.

Sawdey and Pigeon had an actual weight of 14.44 pounds prior to picking up a 1.20-pound bonus for live fish. The third-place team, Brad Shepherd and Ken Sauret, had an actual weight of 14.62 pounds. However three dead fish cost them a 0.76-pound penalty.

On this hot tournament day, five teams were penalized for eight dead fish.

“Smallmouth do not do well in live wells when it’s hot. You need to set your live well timer so fresh water circulates every four minutes,” Sawdey said.

Sixty-three smallmouths and 41 largemouths were caught.

Tri Valley Top 10, Weight After .20 Bonus for each live fish

1. Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, Matt Pigeon, Santa Margarita, 15.64 pounds; 2. Casey Shepherd, Kyle James, Bradley, 15.37 pounds; 3. Brad Shepherd, Atascadero, Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, 15.22 pounds; 4. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 15.10 pounds; 5. Felix Camacho, Nipomo, Ken Camacho, Santa Maria, 14.87 pounds; 6. Tip Martin, San Luis Obispo, Bill Lukeman, Santa Maria, 14.67 pounds; 7. Greg & Mike Higgins, Santa Maria, 14.45 pounds; 8. Steve Owens, Mark Gomes, Santa Maria, 13.92 pounds; 9. Dave Wills, Chase Casteneda, Atascadero, 13.73 pounds; 10. Shawn Wilson, Shawn Hoover, 13.45 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 4.70 pounds, B. Shepherd & Sauret; 2nd Big Fish, 4.17 pounds, Wills & Casteneda.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Salmon fishing began strong Monday and Tuesday last week, then took a sharp downward turn. Passengers aboard 48 launched boats May 14 harvested 142 salmon, 21 lingcod and full rockcod limits. The next day anglers aboard 28 boats caught 73 salmon, 13 lings and again had full cod limits. The second most launches of the year (172) were logged last week. The catch included 245 salmon, 111 lingcod and five halibut. Limits were recorded five days and three quarter limits twice.

John Hammerlund of Los Osos earned Whopper of the Week laurels with the catch of a 14.1-pound halibut Sunday.

Patriot Sportfishing

A combination of high winds and large swells prompted the cancellation of all fishing trips Tuesday, Wednesday and today.

Call 595-7200 for trip schedules and reservations for upcoming trips.

Roger York of San Luis Obispo had last week’s biggest jackpot fish, a 12-pound lingcod. Other jackpot winners included: Jerry Depew, Lompoc, 9-0 ling; Daniel Newfield, Santa Maria, Brian McCullar, Visalia, both 8-0 lings; Rick Wilson, Santa Clarita, Earl Sounheim, San Dimas, both 7-0 lings; Carlos Rodrigues, Santa Maria, Glen Watson, Maricopa, Bob Lynt, Palo Alto, all 6-0 lings; and Kevin Grimes, Paso Robles, 4-0 ling.

Last week 250 passengers caught 81 lingcod, 1,441 red rockcod, 316 assorted rockfish, one bolina and 61 Dungeness crab.

Virg’s Landing

Virg’s is operating with two boats, the Princess and Fiesta. The 90-foot Admiral, the primary vessel used for overnight trips since the 1980s, is not available. It is in need of expensive welding on its aluminum hull. Owner Sharon Moores is considering selling the boat if less expensive welding quote cannot be obtained. A six-figure price was quoted while the Admiral was in Ventura.

Joe Dearman of Peoria, Ariz., had last week’s big fish, a 16-pound lingcod. Other jackpot winners were: Larry Morton, Morro Bay, 12-0 lingcod; Jessie Spencer, Arroyo Grande, and Brian Hodge, Redding, both 9-0 lings; and Ronald Campbell, Bakersfield, 5-0 red rockcod. Last week, 179 passengers caught 88 lingcod, 825 red rockcod and 522 assorted rockfish.

Santa Margarita Lake

First, a mistake on my part. Last week, I incorrectly listed the weight of a catfish caught by Tammy Holder as 13 pounds, 12 ounces. Actually, the fish weighed 23 pounds, 12 ounces. It was the biggest fish the Santa Margarita resident had ever caught, her husband reported.

Harvey Mallory of Santa Margarita continues his spree of bass fishing success with an 8-pounder bagged on a nightcrawler May 17. Atascadero’s Gene Gray was tuning up for Saturday’s WON Bass tournament by catching an 11 1⁄2-pounder on a topwater offering Saturday. He kept location secret. He and partner Jay Short are aiming to improve upon their 12th place WON standing after four events. Justin McCullun caught his first two bass — 5 pounds, 12 ounce and 5 pounds, 5 ounces.

Lopez Lake

A 6-pound largemouth bass was caught in Marina Cove recently by Santa Maria’s Roger Alvarez.

Cachuma Lake

Most trout are near the dam. Drifting nightcrawlers and Needlefish/Dodger combinations are working in 20 to 25 feet of water. Topwater offerings are working for bass early and late. Fish are scattered to 15 feet in the water column. Mini jigs and small minnow imitations are working for crappie.

Whale Rock

Three of the four fish caught last week were by James Taylor. He caught 16- and 18-inch fish on May 16 and a 15-inch trout on May 18. All were taken on PowerBait. Jeremy Harkins harvested a 17-inch trout May 18, also on PowerBait. Twenty-six anglers tried their luck. Through four weeks, 111 anglers have bagged 14 trout. Whale Rock will be open for fishing on Monday’s Memorial Day.

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