This 40-something duo was up to their old tricks Saturday at Lopez Lake in an American Bass Pacific Region contest.
Paso Robles’ Darrin Bishop, 42, and Tulare’s Dean Miller, 48, bested a field of 23 teams by only 89-hundreths of a pound in their latest endeavor.
They are teachers in their day jobs and an awesome pair in bass tournament competition.
Since 2006, the cousins have competed in 53 ABA tournaments, notched a dozen championships, finished in the top five 37 times and in the top 10 a whopping 49 times. In the process, they’ve earned $30,824.
Since 2007, according to ABA statistics, the duo has caught 228 tournament bass with a weight of 618 pounds.
Miller is the son of a sister of Bishop’s mother. He’s a seventh-grade science teacher in Tulare, while Bishop has taken a circuitous route to his present daytime job. The 1997 graduate of Humboldt State majored in fisheries and worked briefly with the California Department of Fish and Game before moving back to Paso Robles. After an 8-year stint with Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, he opened Bishop Tutoring. He works with students who are deficient in some area of reading.
“Currently, I’m working eight-hour shifts with students ranging from 6 years of age to a senior in high school,” Bishop said. “Being in business with two women associate instructors has allowed me to take time off to fish tournaments and have my students covered by highly-qualified teachers.”
Bishop said the team’s pre-tournament practice caused them to target fish in five to 20 feet of water over rocky bottoms adjacent to steep banks with deep water nearby.
“We had a limit in the first 30 minutes of competition but our biggest fish weighed only 2 1⁄2 pounds,” Bishop said. “Between noon and 3 o’clock, we were able to cull our early limit. We replaced it with a trio of 3 1⁄2-pounders, plus one that weighed 2.86, and Dean’s 5.07 third-biggest fish.”
The team caught an estimated 25 fish, mostly keepers. They did it casting plastics with three of the fish they brought to the scales coming from one short stretch.
“Dean has superb fish-finding ability, we’re both good using spinning gear, patterning fish and determining what tactics will work on that particular day,” Bishop said. “We seldom have a bad day.”
Halfway through the six-event season, Bishop and Miller trail the youthful Atascadero team of Austin Bonjour and Graham Grove 325 to 324 in the points race. Bishop and Miller have two fourth-place finishes and a win. Bonjour and Grove have fifth-, first- and second-place showings.
ABA Top 10 at Lopez
All five-fish limits, Total Weight, Winnings
1. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Dean Miller, Tulare, 18.57 pounds, $3,070; 2. Austin Bonjour, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 17.68 pounds, $1,340; 3. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 15.66 pounds, $540; 4. John White, San Luis Obispo, Fred Ledesma, Soledad, 15.29 pounds, $400; 5. Patrick Motley, Arroyo Grande, Mark Del Papa, Bakersfield, 14.04 pounds, $100; 6. Brad Everett, Bob Barter, Bakersfield, 13.89 pounds; 7. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 13.61 pounds; 8. Chuck Sawyer, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 12.30 pounds; 9. Carlos & Jacob, Vasquez, Soledad, 11.97 pounds; 10. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Bob Simmons, Morro Bay, 11.36 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 6.76 pounds, Bonjour & Grove, $300; 2nd Big Fish, 5.97 pounds, Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, $180; 3rd Big Fish, 5.07 pounds, Bishop & Miller, $120.Best Bass series begins Saturday
With new tournament director Kevin Cheek, the Coastal Region of the Best Bass team series gets under way Saturday at Nacimiento Lake. This will be the second season for the series. A team may be deemed ineligible if they individually or collectively have won more than $6,000 during a calendar year. Any angler may be deemed ineligible who has finished as a pro in the top 10 in the points race (ABA, WON, Everstart, Angler’s Choice) during the previous calendar year or qualified for a pro championship in the past 10 years.
There are two Best Bass divisions — small boat with engines and horsepower ratings between 25 and 115 hp; or large boat with engines greater than 115 hp. All boats must be a minimum of 12 feet long with a proper aerated live well system.
Bass tournaments usually begin at safe light.
Participants should be prepared for boat inspections for quagga and zebra mussels.
There is an annual $40 Best Bass membership fee and a $10 mandatory insurance fee. The tournament entry fee is $90 with a $20 big-fish option and additional options.
The Central Coast Women for Fisheries once again is holding their February fundraiser in conjunction with the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Orders are being taken for trays of albacore enchiladas — four to the tray for $10. The albacore was troll-caught on the West Coast. Options are green sauce corn Tortillas or red sauce flour tortillas. Supplies are limited so ordering early is encouraged.
To order, call Jackie at 772-8281 or Sharon 674-4854. Orders may be picked up Feb. 2 at the Morro Bay Community Center between 1 and 5 pm.
CCFW is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering and promoting a sense of the living culture of our fishing communities by providing education, training, research and support for fishermen and their families.
Whale watching trips are being offered Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.. A minimum of 10 passengers is required. Cost is $39 for adults, $29 for those age 15 and younger.
For reservations and more information, call 772-1222.
On Saturday, 14 passengers caught 43 sanddabs and shared 64 dungeness and two rock crab.
Combination crab and sanddab trips are offered from 6 a.m. to noon Fridays and Saturdays. A minimum of 10 passengers is required. Cost is $60. Nature cruises are planned Sundays and Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $35. A minimum of 10 passengers is needed to make it a go.
Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information.
Marina manager Aaron Boyd reports “crappie are biting on jigs cast from the F dock.”
A 4,000-pound Calaveras Trout Farm plant Jan. 10 infused the rainbow catch the latter part of last week.
Marina manager Ken Hemer reports: “Fish up to seven pounds were caught and many 4- to 6-pounders were weighed at the marina. The ’bows showed no discrimination when it came to lure or bait choice. They gobbled any presentation.”
A few trollers who worked Santa Cruz Bay were rewarded with some incidental catches of crappie. The bass bite remained tough and limits seemed unattainable.
The few largemouth caught were on jigs, drop shot and an occasional swimbait. Catfish and other species were absent in the fish count.