Fishing Report: Kids At Sea program is flourishing

Special to The TribuneJuly 10, 2013 

The legacy of the late Michele Rowley Leary, whose brainchild was the Kids At Sea program, is flourishing. 

First, ocean fishing experiences are still being provided for local youth. Secondly, a memorial scholarship program has been established for Morro Bay High seniors. 

Michele’s mother, Sharon Rowley, a second-generation saltwater skipper herself, is continuing to provide Kids At Sea adventures. The second of nine trips this year was organized by Ethan Carroll for his Morro Bay Boy Scout Troop 214. It was scheduled to depart from Virg’s Landing earlier today. Three more trips are planned this month. 

Ethan and Michele’s daughter Amanda Leary, 13, will be eighth-grade students at Los Osos Middle School in the fall.

Grants from the Central California Joint Cable/Fisheries Liaison Committee provides funding for Kids At Sea trips.

Michele’s cousin Bart Strauss was instrumental in establishing the scholarship program. Both  graduated from Morro Bay High. “He was more like a brother to her,” noted Sharon Rowley.

Added Strauss: “Michele’s giving nature and her desire to help youth by launching the Kids At Sea program were the inspirations for the scholarships.”

Four $400 scholarships were awarded for the first time last month. They were funded by personal donations and a contribution from the Odd Fellows Bay Rock Lodge No. 300.

Strauss flew to California from his Port Lavaca, Texas, home to personally present two awards June 4  to Morro Bay High seniors. The other two grants went to Port Lavaca High seniors.

Future scholarships will be awarded only to Morro Bay High seniors. 

A key question on scholarship applications is: “If you could teach a child one thing, what would it be?”

Ways to enhance the value and number of future scholarships are being studied.

Contributions are welcome. Checks should be made out to Morro Bay High and mailed to Sharon Rowley, P.O. Box 915, Morro Bay, CA 93443.  On the memo line write “Michele Rowley Leary Memorial Scholarship.”

Michele, a third-generation saltwater skipper, launched the Kids At Sea series in 2007. She was 36 when she died May 30, 2012, from health complications. 

Her father, John Rowley, is a semi-retired skipper as was her late grandmother Rita Gartrell. 

Virg’s Landing

Shallow-water trips are being offered Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $69. Anglers fish in waters no deeper than 100 feet. Call 772-1222 for reservations or go online to

Anglers aboard the Black Pearl will depart at 9 p.m. Sunday, fishing for live squid bait to target white seabass.  The boat returns at 3 a.m. Tuesday.  Cost is $175. A maximum of three white seabass may be caught, plus rockcod and lingcods.

Last weekend’s two-day trip featured a 17 1⁄2-pound lingcod caught by Monterey’s Mario Camillo and a 16-pound ling bagged by Sun Luos of San Jose. The catch by 26 passengers: 27 lingcod, 490 red rockcod and 30 assorted rockfish. 

The next two-day trip is scheduled for Aug. 17-18. Cost is $235.

A new 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday trip features half price for youngsters when accompanied by a full fare adult. 

Other jackpot winners last week were: James Lentz, Paso Robles, and Brian Suralian, Squaw Valley, both 14-0 lings, Brian Mirall, Templeton, 12-0 ling, Frank Arbizu, Bakersfield, 9-0 ling, Cole Vayless, Glendora, and Armando Salinas, Lost Hills, both 8-0 lings, Oscar Ramirez, Arroyo Grande, 7-0 ling, Heather Graham, Hanford, and Eric Ajmm, Merced, both 6-0 lings, and Donna Stoll, Morro Bay, 6-0 red rockcod.

Port San Luis Boatyard

The four-day holiday weekend produced a season-high number of boats launched (229),  the third-largest lingcod haul (135), the third-best salmon count (130) and five halibut. 

Grover Beach’s Ross Rickard earned Whopper of the Week honors July 4 with a 29 1⁄4-pound salmon. While trolling for salmon Sunday, Santa Maria’s Steve Reisbeck landed the year’s first white seabass. Boatyard owner Marty Codorniz estimated the 28-inch fish weighed 12 to 15 pounds. Other seabass have been landed but anglers desire secrecy. Full limits were reported five days and three-quarter rockcod limits July 1-2.

Patriot Sportfishing

A Sunday jackpot winner, Chris Utley from Ridgecrest, caught an 18-pound, 5-ounce lingcod to grab the lead in the second phase of Patriot’s ninth-annual Lingcod Contest. May-June event winners will be announced soon.

Other jackpot winners were: Tyler Osenbaugh, Bakersfield, 13-0 ling, Roger York, San Luis Obispo, and Shantel Butly, Ridgecrest, both 12-0 lings, Brice Young, Visalia, 9-0 ling, Amanda Schultz, Paso Robles, Jeff Kleeman, Bakersfield, and Stephen Mulcare, Apple Valley, all 8-0 lings, Jeff Gietman, San Luis Obispo, 7-0 ling, Thomas Baker Paso Robles, 6-0 ling, Sean McCombs, Maricopa, 6-0 red rockcod,  Mason Verissimo, Lemoore, 5-0 ling, Ruben Mireles, Los Osos, 5-0 cabezon, and Sam Clopp. Santa Clara, 3-0 red rockcod.

On Wednesday half-day trips, one child gets to fish free with a paid adult. Both boats are sold out Saturday.  

For reservations, call 595-7200 or go online to

Whale Rock

Only two trout were caught last week, the smallest take since the fishing campaign began 11 weeks ago. Morro Bay angler Phil Van Zee, who also dabbles in Best Bass tournaments with partner Dustin Selck, reeled in a 13-inch fish Sunday on PowerBait.

Also Sunday, an anonymous angler caught a 15-inch trout on a worm.

Thus far, 103 trout have been caught in the 53 days the reservoir has been open for fishing. The turnout to date is 554 anglers.

Lopez Lake

Marina Manager Aaron Boyd reports: “Gulp minnows and mini nightcrawlers are catching panfish by the bridge and the F dock. On July 5 Trinity Lopez used a chartreuse spinnerbait to catch a 25⁄16-pound largemouth bass in Cottonwood Cove. No news on the trout scene.”

Nacimiento Lake

Shane Shupp, 12, fishing Saturday night with his dad, Dean, caught a 4-pound spotted bass on a buzzbait. 

Heritage Ranch resident reporter Dave Rymal said: “There was nothing doing Tuesday morning on the main lake. I returned to the Heritage docks and with ultra-light equipment and crappie jigs tipped with parts of nightcrawlers, I caught and released three nice crappie and three fat bluegill.”

Santa Margarita Lake

 “Both the White Oak and main launch ramps are still operable,” marina manager Don Lopez said.  “A few catfish are showing up and bass, bluegill and redear are being caught.”

Cachuma Lake

A free kids fishing workshop for those ages 7-15 is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. to noon July 20 at the Cachuma Lake Nature Center To register, call 693-0691 or e-mail The workshop is limited to 50 kids.

Last week, fishing for large and smallmouth bass improved. Fish are 20 to 30 feet out chasing shad along most contour breaks. Deep cranks, spinnerbaits, drop shot and jigs are producing. Crappie are following bait balls from Santa Cruz Bay to Arrowhead Island. Trolled Rapalas or drifting grubs tipped with mealworms or crappie nibbles are working best. 

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service