Seniors rule at Ambushers tourney

Special to The TribuneSeptember 18, 2013 

Senior citizens prevailed in Saturday’s San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers tournament at dwindling Lake San Antonio.

Sixteen anglers competed. Only three limits were recorded. Seniors ages 71, 69 and 70 finished atop the standings. In fact, their 15 fish equaled the weight total of the next eight entrants. Five others were blanked.

Fishing on a venue that is only 7 percent full and dropping proved to be a daunting assignment for most of the field in the contest from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. But, not so much for Jerry May, 71, Ken Meeks, 69, and Jim Keeney, 70.

Tournament champion May captured his second title on this lake in the past two months. He won the July night tournament and placed ninth here in March.

Tournament Director Al Rush said May caught his fish, all largemouths, by cranking in one to two feet of water.

May, who moved to Paso Robles earlier this year, could not be reached for comment. He is well acquainted with Central Coast lakes, having competed on various lakes when he resided in Bakersfield and belonged to  three different bass clubs.

His 17.11-pound bag was nearly seven pounds superior and included the event’s big fish of 4.30 pounds.

Runner-up Meeks of Atascadero said he was given a tip from veteran tournament fisherman Jay Short and his advice was “right on.”  Meeks said: “I drop-shotted on this one point for the entire tournament.” 

He finished with a 10.50-pound limit.

Keeney of Paso Robles, who placed third, said he culled three times, finishing with a 7.15-pound limit.

“I’d practiced for three weeks along one bank and had some great success,” he said. “In fact, I had visions of winning. But, that location didn’t pan out.” 

Keeney”s 7.15-pound limit was accrued via jigs and by drop-shotting. All his fish were smallmouths.

Ambushers Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 5, 17.11 pounds, $190; 2. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 10.50 pounds, $114; 3. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 5, 7.15 pounds, $76; 4. Grant Koontz, Monterey, 4, 5.90 pounds; 5. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 3, 4.75 pounds; 6. Jarrod Garcia, Monterey, 2, 4.70 pounds; 7. Paul Bailey, Creston, 1, 3.60 pounds; 8. Jeremy Donk, San Luis Obispo, 2, 3.52 pounds; 9. Terry Wolf, Santa Margarita, 1, 1.32 pounds; 10. Joan Lund, Atascadero, 1, 1.29 pounds.

1st Big Fish, May, 4.30 pounds, $75. 

101 Bass Tournament of Champions

Twenty-seven teams will be competing this weekend, wrapping up the second season of the wildly successful 101 Bass Tournament series. Nearly $12,000 in cash and prizes will be at stake.

Because of the draw down of Lake  San Antonio, 101 Bass director Jim Slusher was inspired to change venues for the first day of his TOC this weekend.

Saturday’s fishing will be at Nacimiento Lake. Sunday’s competition will be contested at Santa Margarita Lake as originally scheduled.

Last year’s winners, Jay Short and Damon Meeks, are among the qualifiers. 

The albacore scene

The wind is blowing offshore and figures to keep private boaters from prospecting for tuna this weekend and into early next week.

“September and October usually are good months to fish for albacore,” said Harrell Kimball, who monitors  the Central Coast offshore angling scene from his perch atop the Nipomo Mesa. “This year we’ve had only one good day.”

Readings at the Santa Maria buoy at mid-afternoon Wednesday revealed 19- to 23-knot winds were kicking up 8-foot swells at six-second intervals. The buoy is located 11 to 12 miles due west of Pt. Sal.

Morro Bay Landing

On last week’s albacore run, which began Sept. 10 with a return to port early Sept. 12, 38 tuna were brought on board the Black Pearl by 14 anglers. No jackpot fish was recorded.

The next albacore trip is scheduled to depart at 8 p.m. Sunday with a return by 6 a.m. Tuesday. Cost is $275.

For trip schedules and reservations, call 771-5500. 

Port San Luis Boatyard

Billy Pedworth of Grover Beach secured Whopper of the Week honors last week with the catch of a 13 1⁄2-pound lingcod Friday. The 136 lingcod harvested ranked as the fifth most of the season. Ten halibut, eight salmon and three albacore were in the take by anglers aboard 78 launched boats.

Butch Powers and Jessie Isaacson of Nipomo caught the trio of tuna ranging in size from 13 to 15 pounds. They were fishing near The Donut on Sept. 11. Full rockcod limits were caught five days and three quarter limits the other two.

Virg’s Landing

Because the Princess is involved in research work with the Nature Conservancy, it will not be available for albacore trips until Oct. 1. Reservations are being taken for tuna fishing. Call 772-1222 for reservations. Fares will be $235.

A Sept. 10 charter aboard the Black Pearl was booked earlier out of Virg’s. Forty-three anglers caught 12 lingcod and 120 rockfish. No jackpot winner was listed.

The Sept. 28-29 two-day trip is completely booked. Reservations are being accepted for the Oct. 19-20 trip. Cost for that trip is $235.

Light tackle, shallow water trips are scheduled for Thursdays. Ten-hour long range trips are scheduled for Fridays and Sundays for fares of $89. Book online at 

Jackpot winners last week included: Carl Slaveng, Bakersfield, 14-0 ling, Jim Webb, Cambria, 13-0 ling, John  Van Dam, Tipton, 12-0 ling, David Martinko, Tulare, 8-0 bocaccio, and Eddie Neichbanger, San Bernardino, 7-0 ling.

Last week 214 anglers caught 71 lingcod, 339 red rockcod, 1,128 assorted rockfish, one cabezon and one sheephead.

Patriot Sportfishing

Costa Mesa angler Greg Harold led the way last week with an 18-pound, 5-ounce lingcod. 

Other jackpot winners included: Kevin Rhea, Visalia, 18-4 ling, Jesse Spencer, Grover Beach, 16-8 ling, Milton Howard, U.K., 12-6 ling, Randy Olson, Pismo Beach, 12-0 ling, Jeremy Riordan, Arroyo Grande, 10-10 ling, Mike Raasch, Elk Grove, 10-0 ling, Ranier Lipp, Grover Beach, 8-0 ling, Kim Farris, Santa Maria, and Nikki Thomas, Visalia, both 7-0 lings, and Gonzalo Garcia, Grover Beach, 3-0 red rockcod.

Reservations are especially important during the week now that school is in session. Whether a trip is a go or not depends on the number of reservations. Call 595-7200 or go online to for trip schedules and reservations.

Last week’s catch by 262 passengers was: 134 lingcod, 259 red rockcod, 1,345 assorted rockfish, 27 cabezon, and two kelp greenling.

Whale Rock

New Water Supply Supervisor Noah Evans reports two trout were caught last week, the 21st of the season. Thus far, there have been 715 participants. The number of trout caught is 160. Jeff Minkler landed his 25th trout, a 17-inch fish on worms Sept. 11. The other fish was bagged by first-timer, Chris Jones, a 14-inch trout enticed by worms Sept. 15.

Nacimiento Lake

A full moon is bringing out night anglers, according to Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal.

Fishing Monday and Tuesday evenings, Doug Rice employed Zara Spooks to catch 20 to 25 spotted bass on the surface. 

Resident Randy Montgomery used meal worms to harvest a 6-pound carp and a dozen bluegills. He was fishing from shore.

Santa Margarita Lake

Marina manager Don Lopez said Creston’s Tom Thumb reeled in a 5-pound bass Tuesday using a crankbait. An Atascadero angler named Shawn (no last name given) caught a 2-pound, 5-ounce bass and five bluegill.

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