Fish Report: Port San Luis yields 51-pound halibut

Also, four local teams in ABA Classic Top 15

Special to The TribuneOctober 25, 2013 

Steve Hendricks displays a 51-pound halibut he recently caught near Port San Luis.


A 43-year-old Cuesta College biology teacher caught one of the biggest halibut ever landed by a sport fisherman off the Central Coast. It happened Monday while boat owner Steve Hendricks and his Los Osos neighbor, Tom Moylan, were fishing near the coke plant in the vicinity of the Santa Maria River mouth.

The hookup occurred more than six hours into their fishing day as time was running out. The duo was due back in Los Osos to pick up their daughters from school.

They were fishing from Hendricks’ 17-foot Gregor aluminum boat that had been launched from the Harford Pier hoist.

“We didn’t think we had a halibut because it made a run of about 50 yards. We suspected a white seabass or a thresher shark,” Hendricks said.

The connection was made in 70 to 100 feet of water. Hendricks estimated the retrieve took 10 minutes. It took both men manning the gaff to get the 50-inch halibut on board.

The fish maxed out the 50-pound scale at the Sports Launch. At home, Hendricks weighed the fish on his bathroom scales. It read 51 pounds. 

Their bounce balling technique included using a 2-pound ball, 65-pound test Spectra line with 60-pound test leader.

Bigger halibut have been caught locally, but it has been a while. In the 2009 Port San Luis Halibut Derby Andy Koch of Nipomo cranked up a 54-2 flattie to win the Derby on Sunday.

According to the current IGFA world record book a 52-pound, 8-ounce California halibut was caught out of Morro Bay by a Ken Scott on Nov. 9, 2009. It is the world record for a catch on a 12-pound test line.

Four local teams in ABA Classic Top 15

In the aftermath of last week’s two-day ABA North Team Classic at Clear Lake, Louis Fernandes and partner Patrick Touey can only image what might have been. After day one, Fernandes, 34, of Santa Maria and his partner from Nipomo were in third place just 4.21 pounds off the lead. They had a 28.81-pound limit that included the second biggest fish caught Friday, 9.19 pounds.

A 22.08 Saturday limit was good for a 10th-place finish.

Jared Lintner and Nick Salvucci were sixth, the best finish by Central Coast entries.
Atascadero’s youthful tandem of Graham Grove and Austin Bonjour finished 12th with a 50.14 weight for 10 fish. They served notice they can compete with the “big boys.”

Rounding out the local teams finishing high up the leaderboard were Atascadero’s Brad Shepherd and Clark Endres. They placed 15th with two limits weighing 48.77 pounds.

Albacore outlook

Weather doesn’t appear to be a problem this weekend for albacore fishermen, but it’s uncertain what water conditions exist. Neither chlorophyll pictures nor Sea Surface Temperatures have been available for the past five days. It’s a mystery whether there is clean water at the distant offshore location where tuna may be swimming.

Virg’s Landing

The Black Pearl is scheduled for 8-2 trips Saturday and Sunday for a $59 fare.

Fresno’s John Barraza caught a 9-0 ling for jackpot honors Saturday. Thirty-eight anglers caught 12 lingcod, 332 assorted rockfish and 25 vermillion.

Port San Luis Boatyard

The most lingcod caught in any 2013 week was recorded last week when 254 were counted. The year’s previous high was 175 the week of Aug. 26-Sept. 1. The 76 lingcod recorded Oct. 19 was the second biggest day of the year exceeded only May 4 when 82 were logged. The 37 halibut checked in last week were the most this year. The 12 flatties taken Oct. 19 were one shy of the year’s best day (Aug. 4).

Only one white seabass had been counted on three separate weeks this year. Last week, 22 seabass were harvested with Sunday’s nine being the best day. Rockcod limits were notched each day. Whopper of the Week honors went to Santa Maria’s Don Gheno with a 27-8 halibut caught Oct. 19.

Patriot Sportfishing

Sea Angler, the new arrival on the Central Coast, has a capacity of 71 anglers but owner Wade Gavin is limiting loads to 50 patrons. With Skipper Sal Rocha at the helm, the boat made six trips last week. Anglers aboard the Patriot and Sea Angler caught 30 to 39 lingcod on four trips and 20 plus on four other trips.

All jackpots were won by anglers who caught lings.

The heaviest fish was a 20-6 fish by Chris King, Costa Mesa. Others catching big fish were: Paul Ito, Gardena, 18-0, Roger York, San Luis Obispo, 16-0, Mitch Knauss, Shell Beach, two 15-6s, David Tatague, Lompoc, 15-0, Javier Borrego, Fresno, 11-8, Marty Miller, Paso Robles, 11-0, Robert Crabtree, Coalinga, 10-5.

Dina Skiff of Cayucos and Thomas Gregg of Grover Beach both had 9-4s, and Tony Phimister of San Luis Obispo had 8-0.

Whale Rock

The two top anglers, who are adept at catching fish at the reservoir, were at it on back to back days last week. Jeff Minkler landed a 16-inch trout Saturday on worms. Jeremy Harkins bagged two fish on Sunday, 16 and 17-inchers, both on PowerBait (cq).

Each man has caught 31 fish for the season. With 21 anglers turning out last week it boosted the participation total to 888 anglers.

Santa Margarita Lake

Santa Maria’s Jacob and Charley Ward used nightcrawlers for bait at Vaca Flats on Sunday to catch seven bass, one catfish and a readear.

Lake Nacimiento

Reporting from Heritage Ranch, Dave Rymal says Martin Rowley caught two white bass, six spotted bass and one smallmouth using Real Image jigs on Monday. Bunky Charles reports fishing currently is difficult. On Tuesday he fished the Las Tablas area with Jack and Brad Foster and another guest. They caught 20 spots on jigs.

Lopez Lake

Fishing in the Wittenberg Arm Tuesday, Avila Beach’s Roger Vogel caught a 5-14-pound largemouth bass. He used a topwater bait, Lunker Plunker.

Cachuma Lake

Catfish continue to be the most catchable fish. Inflated nightcrawlers and cut mackerel are best options. The first trout plant of 4,000 pounds of triploid rainbow trout from the Calaveras Trout Farm is scheduled for Nov. 6.

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