At the outset of Saturday’s 101 Bass tournament, the outlook was far from promising for a duo from Tulare.
They were the last boat out in a field of 29 teams. When they reached their initial location where they expected to extract a good bass harvest, familiar competitors were already there.
“My cousin and teammate in ABA and WON tournaments (Darrin Bishop) and my uncle (Del Bishop) were already on site,” Dean Miller said.
“The foggy conditions early in the day made Lake San Antonio fish small. Our fortunes improved some when we managed to put four fish in the live well at our second stop. Then, we were shut out until 1 o’clock. The two fish we caught, then only gave us a 10-pound bag and our first cull.”
Because Miller has two upcoming competitions at San Antonio, one with his Tulare partner (Darrel Masterson) and another with his cousin, he was reluctant to reveal precisely where and how he and Masterson managed to catch two bass limits.
Miller did say he caught the team’s two-heaviest fish, (4.33 pounds) in shallow water and (3.89 pounds) on 30 feet of water.
“But, I probably could have stayed home and my partner could have won the tournament alone,” Miller said. “Both Darren and Darrel have saved me in tournament competition.”
Masterson was fishing San Antonio for only the third time.
“The lake was like a brand new body of water compared to when I’d been there some years ago,” he said. “The lake level is down considerably.”
A fish weighing more than three pounds that Masterson caught in the final 30 minutes of competition likely was the difference in the tournament.
Miller and Masterson, the final team to bring their catch to the scales, had a winning weight of 16.19 pounds for a $2,500 payday. Their bag was 2.91 pounds heavier than runners-up Scott Mullins and Kelly Keeling. The Salinas team did cop big-fish honors with a 4.48-pounder and went home with $1,925.
WON Bass Central Coast
Efforts to contact the top three teams in Saturday’s competition at Santa Margarita Lake were unsuccessful.
Dan Frazier has a long history of accomplishments in WON Bass events. In August 1997, he was the winner of the WON Classic at Nacimiento Lake. Then, in November 1997, he won at Lake Mead.
In Central Coast WON tournaments he fishes with his brother, David, who resides in Westminster.
After four WON events this season, the Fraziers have 378 series points to 372 for Nipomo’s Reggie Peinado and Joey Baldacchino. Only three teams have entered all four tourneys held to date.
Bill Cook, who resumed duties as WON Bass Central Coast tournament director after a two-year hiatus, said the eight-team turnout was the lowest in his 15 years of running competitions.
The 2012-13 schedule was set prior to Cook taking over. Saturday’s tourney went head-to-head against the 101 Bass competition at Lake San Antonio. In only its second year of existence, 101 Bass is easily the most popular series staged on Central Coast lakes. Twenty-nine teams fished the 101 Bass challenge.
Cook said he is working on avoiding another conflict March 30 when a 101 event is set for Lopez Lake while a WON tourney is slated for Lake San Antonio. Cook is hopeful of moving the fifth event on his schedule to an earlier date in March.
Work on the Patriot boat will limit the number of trip opportunities in the next few weeks. Poor weather and too few reservations meant no trips last week.
A sanddab and crab trip is planned from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $60 for adults, $50 for children 12 and under. A combo nature cruise and whale watching trip is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Sunday. Cost is $35 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Call 595-7200 for reservations.
Sanddab and crab trips will begin in March. Reservations for private charters are being taken. Call 772-1222 for reservations. Fishing and hunting licenses are being sold in Virg’s store.
“Anglers trolling for trout had the best success working the Northeast shoreline with Rapalas or similar lures,” marina manager Ken Hemer said. “They caught the bulk of the rainbows including some up to six pounds.
“Shore fishermen at E Point and the Mohawk Pier had similar results using PowerBait and inflated nightcrawlers. Bass fishing has been inconsistent.
Some days limits were had employing jigs, Texas rigs and deep cranks while other days those techniques were ineffective.”