This week’s edition features a tale of two Arroyo Grande residents whose passion had them fishing on waters thousands of miles apart.
Sharing the spotlight are Greg Birkholz, whose personal generosity earned him a saltwater adventure on Mexico’s East Cape. Meanwhile, Bassmaster Elite fisherman Jared Lintner performed like his old self, finishing in the money on New York’s St. Lawrence River.
Birkholz’s exploits were featured in the Aug. 2 edition of Western Outdoor News. Gary Graham, an esteemed journalist and author, wrote a brilliant account of Greg’s activities in Mexico. Go online to: http://roadtrekker.blogspot.com for an enjoyable read.
In 2001, Birkholz, an avid fisherman, crashed his motorcycle into an oncoming truck, causing him to lose his right leg below the knee. The substitute teacher, now 50, has worn a prothesis ever since. Graham was bent on fulfilling an “impossible dream” for a friend, retired Los Barriles sportfishing Captain Jesus Araiza, 77, who lost his right leg and foot below the knee because of diabetes.
Through the kindness and efforts of many good Samaritans, Araiza was fitted for a special prosthesis and began adjusting to it. Birkholz was involved in a major way, arranging to have not one, but two “Renegade” feet manufactured by Freedom Innovations and donated to Araiza.
Upon hearing of Araiza’s reputation as one of the finest captains at East Cape, Birkholz expressed interest in fishing together with him in Baja.
Graham began making arrangements. Housing for Greg and his wife, Lindy, plus a day’s fishing aboard one of Buena Vista Beach Resort cruisers was set.
Araiza had a prosthesis problem and could not go fishing. Birkholz said “that was a major disappointment.”
Birkholz had a 1-hour, 7-minute battle with a 120-pound striped marlin, which was released. During the July 15-19 stay, Birkholz caught a 45-pound Dorado and a dozen yellowfin tuna. He and his wife explored the East Cape on ATVs and they visited Araiza.
“I discovered Jesus’s prothesis was too large and a new smaller one would have to be designed,” Birkholz said.
Back to Lintner and the Bassmaster competition.
“The river was full of fish and I was catching over 50 a day by drop-shotting and casting frogs,” the 39-year-old noted in a phone conversation.
Smallmouth bass played a major role in this competition, and Lintner hooked a number of them deep in clear water.
Lintner had his three heaviest limits in seven Elite tourneys. The weights were 17 pounds, 15 ounces on day one when he was in 38th place; 18 pounds, 8 ounces on day two when his 30-7 bag weight placed him 27th; and finally 17 pounds, 5 ounces for a 53-12 total good for a $10,000 payday, his second of the season.
In New York, Lintner’s wife, Keri, was on hand to cheer him on. She will be returning home to prepare their children for the start of school.
Lintner heads for Detroit and the final Elite test of the year on the St. Clair River, which starts Aug. 22.
“Kevin VanDam and Jonathon VanDam are very familiar with this venue. It’s like me fishing Lopez Lake,” Lintner said.
Other jackpot winners included: Marc Comes, Santa Maria, 15-11 ling, Shawn Kuehe, Paso Robles, 14-0 ling, Randy Lipp, Oceano, 12-0 ling, Gerald Hildebrand, Lake Isabella, 11-8 ling, Bobby Hendrix, Bakersfield, 11-0 ling, Glen Watson, Ventucopa, 10-0 ling, John Mihal, Arroyo Grande, 9-5 ling, T.J. Esposito, Bakersfield, 8-3 ling, J. Daguio, Santa Maria, 8-0 ling, Doug Wilson, Los Osos, 7-0 ling, and Howie Thurston, Boise, Idaho, 3-0 red rockcod.
A 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. long-range trip aboard the Rita G is on Sunday’s agenda. Cost is $82 for adults, $60 for children 12 and under.
For complete trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200 or go online to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
Scheduled for this weekend is the popular two-day trip departing at 9 a.m. Saturday. Anglers will fish the Big Sur coastline, returning Sunday between 4 and 6 p.m. Cost is $235.
Call 772-1222 or go to www.virgs.com for reservations and complete trip schedules.
A trio of 12-0 lingcod topped the jackpot list last week. The anglers were Jesse Spencer, San Luis Obispo, Gary Lynch, Bakersfield, and Brad Connor, Ventura. Other jackpot winners were: Mike Lentz, Camp Roberts, and Larry Tech, Shafter, both 11-0 lings, Brad Oliver, Arroyo Grande and Charlie Miller, Hanford, both 10-0 lings, Danny Wong, Alhambra, 8-0 ling, Victor Sanchez, Tulare, 8-0 red rockcod, Brian Wong, Alhambra, 7-0 ling, Jacob Roberts, Clovis, and Joe Caniarella and Jacob Roberts, both Clovis, and both 7-0 red rockcod, and Fred Smith, Exeter, 5-0 red rockcod.
Port San Luis Boatyard
For the fourth week in a row, a halibut took Whopper of the Week honors. Grover Beach’s Ethan Arrington took the prize, a free boat launch, with the catch of a 29-pound, 6-ounce flattie Sunday.
Full limits of rockcod were caught on a daily basis for the third consecutive week. The catch was highlighted by 118 lingcod, 27 halibut and three salmon.
Pablo Gonzales caught fish for the first time, four in fact and all 15-inchers on worms Saturday.
Phil Van Zee caught three fish Aug. 8. He did not list how he reeled in 16-, 17-, and 20-inch trout.
Marina Manager Aaron Boyd reports: “Trout are down 50 feet and are being caught along with bass at the dam. Cottonwood Cove is yielding bass while 13-inch catfish are being taken by the bridge while F dock anglers are retrieving bluegill and redear.”
Santa Margarita Lake
On Tuesday, Christina Hutchinson caught bass slightly topping five, six and seven pounds on topwater baits. Her fishing partner, who goes by the name Tom Thumb, managed six-inch and eight-inch dinky bass. Marina manager Don Lopez says redeaar are finally showing up joining catches of bass, bluegill and crappie.
Catfish up to eight pounds were weighed at the marina last week. Shore anglers did well using a wide variety of baits at Harvey’s and Martini Bays and the Mohawk Area. Boat anglers scored at Santa Cruz, Johnson and Cachuma Bays. Drifting mini jigs at Santa Cruz produced the best crappie action. Nightcrawlers yielded the best bass action.