And a child shall lead them.
That biblical phrase from the Bible (Isaiah 11:6) played out in a bass tournament of all things Saturday at Lopez Lake in a WON Bass Central Coast event.
The catch of the big fish upstaged winning the competition.
Ten-year-old Mason McAbee earned centerstage recognition, including accolades from such worthy challengers as seven-year Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner and a cluster of other highly-acclaimed anglers, including Dan Frazier.
Lintner of Arroyo Grande has the record for the largest bass in a WON Bass event — 14.85 pounds at Clear Lake in April 2000. Frazier, also an Arroyo Grande resident, is among the 16 anglers who have won between two and 14 straight WON events. He earned WON championships at Nacimiento Lake in August 1997 and November 1997 at Lake Mead.
Meanwhile, McAbee is a fourth-grader at Bakersfield’s Centennial Elementary school.
This is Mason’s second season fishing with his dad, Randy McAbee Jr. in WON tournament competition. The youngster replaced his grandfather, Randy McAbee Sr., as his father’s partner. That’s noteworthy since the two Randy McAbees had won five bass boats in competitions at Clear Lake. Incidentally, Clear Lake is Mason’s favorite lake.
No wonder. Randy McAbee Jr. said this was the fourth time in 15 competitions that Mason has copped “big fish” honors. “In October 2011 at Clear Lake, he had the big one in a field of 180 boats in the ABA TOC,” Randy McAbee Jr. said.
Mason McAbee has caught bigger fish than the 5.78-pounder that earned big fish honors at Lopez. “I caught a 9 or 10-pounder at Lake Isabella two years ago,” he pridefully noted.
Mason’s big-fish catch five minutes before weigh-in elevated the McAbees to a second-place finish and accounted for $450 of the team’s winnings of $1,200.
Added Carrie McAbee, Mason’s mother: “When my husband called after weigh-in, both he and Mason were stoked.” She was disappointment that there were no pictures of the prized fish. “Randy’s camera wasn’t working.”
Both Randy McAbees were outstanding baseball pitchers, and Randy Jr. was in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
“Mason is focused only on fishing. He does his homework, then heads for the garage where he makes his own baits. Fishing stuff is all he wants for Christmas,” his mom noted.
Lintner and his usual partner, Nick Salvucci, picked up where they finished the 2011-12 tournament campaign. They were Anglers of the Year in the 101 Bass and ABA Pacific venues. At Lopez, they carved out a win by nearly four pounds in a borrowed boat.
“I bought Jared’s 2012 Skeeter,” Salvucci said, “and the motor blew at Clear Lake last month. I won’t get it back until next week. Jared also is between boats. A friend from Santa Margarita, Joel Switzer, loaned us his boat and we’ll be using it again Saturday in the ABA event at Nacimiento.
“Most of our catches were on jigs in water 20 to 60 feet deep.”
The winners culled through 20 fish weighing a 20.81 pound limit that paid $1,835.
WON Bass Tourney
Top 10, all 5-fish limits, Weight, Winnings
1. Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Nick Salvucci, Templeton, 20.81 pounds, $1,835; 2. Randy McAbee, Jr., Mason McAbee, Bakersfield, 17.00 pounds, $1,200; 3. Dan Frazier, Arroyo Grande, David Frazier, Westminster, 14.18 pounds, $535; 4. Kyle Gregg, San Luis Obispo, Nick Gregg, Atascadero, 13.37 pounds, $300; 5. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 12.95 pounds, $70; 6. Marc Hazuka, Chase Castaneda, Atascadero,12.90 pounds; 7. Bryan & Steven Grier, Salinas, 12.71 pounds; 8. David Dunn, Clayton Pool, 12.56 pounds; 9. Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, Steven Goodman, San Luis Obispo, 11.56 pounds; 10. Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, Tim Vaughan, Los Osos, 11.50 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.78 pounds, McAbee & McAbee, $450; 2nd Big Fish, 5.14 pounds, Lintner & Salvucci, $250.Looking ahead to Christmas season
Postponement of Saturday’s Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade because of bad weather punched holes in last week’s column. That’s an unavoidable happenstance when you have a Wednesday deadline and you’re featuring a Saturday event.
The event has been rescheduled for Saturday. Tickets to ride in the parade aboard the Princess or Black Pearl are $25. Children 12 and under ride free. Reservations are suggested.
Call 772-1222 or visit Virg’s tackle store to purchase tickets, which must be picked up at the store. Participants will board vessels at the Great American Fish Co. Check in by 5:30 p.m. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m.
Now some Christmas gift ideas for the outdoor set
• Jim’s Pro Bass Tackle Paso Robles. Store hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 4, p.m., Sat.
Any rod and reel combos, pick each for 20 percent discount, $49 and up; new custom colors of winter jigs $1.99-$4.99; swimbaits $5.99 and up; Bassaholics hats and T-shirts $19.99 and up; gift certificates in any amount.
• Patriot Sportfishing, Harford Pier, Port San Luis: Store hours: 8 a.m. to 4, p.m., daily; Adult hoodies (small-XXXL) pullover and zip, $34-$35; Adult tees (small-XXXL), mens and ladies, short sleeve, $15-$17; long sleeve, $19-$20; kids tees (small-XL), $10; kids hoodies (small-XL), $22; fishing pole barbecue lighters, $11; fishing pole car antennae, $30.
• Wrangler rugged wear: Shop online or a store of your choice for lined jeans perfect for those cold January bass tournaments. Thermal Jean Night Brown Canvas with 3M Thinsulate lining, oversized fit for comfort, quilted lining of 100-gram Thinsulate insulation for added warmth, kill switch loop, machine washable. Fleece jeans with 100 percent cotton 14.5-ounce denim, fleece lined, extra deep front pockets, fits over boots, machine washable.
• Virg’s Landing, Morro Bay, Store hours 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; 2013 California saltwater fishing licenses, $45.93; kids’ pink or blue fishing rods, $19.99; sweatshirts $37.99; T-shirts, $17.99; hats, $14.99; assorted tackle.
• Port San Luis Boatyard, shop online for boat and marine supplies and gift certificates and launch cards at www.portsanluisboatyard.com.
On last week’s one trip Taft’s Louie McCombs earned jackpot honors Nov. 27 with a 21.14-pound lingcod. The 21 passengers caught 36 lings, 38 red rockcod, and 69 assorted rockfish.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Bad weather limited boat launching to just one day last week, Nov. 26. Nine boats were launched. Full limits were reported including 12 lingcod. Nipomo’s Phil Silver had the Whopper of the Week, a 10-pound lingcod.
Only one trip was made last week. Five anglers aboard the Fiesta on Nov. 26 caught 35 red rockcod and 15 assorted rockfish. There was no jackpot winner. For trip schedules and reservations, call 772-1222.