Fishing Report: Age wins out in Ambushers series

Special to The TribuneOctober 30, 2013 

Age and experience are sometimes irrelevant in fishing. 

A case in point is the 2013 San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers tournament series.

The Angler of the Year, Santa Margarita’s Terry Wolf, 69, won the award by 10 points over 16-year-old San Luis Obispo High School junior Jeremy Donk, who won two tournaments.

Wolf’s never placed better than fourth (twice) in any of the 10 competitions. Donk frequently fished from the back seat of Wolf’s boat.

I caught up with Wolf on Tuesday while he was fun fishing with longtime partner Pat Schmidt of Templeton at New Melones Lake. 

“This a great time of the year to fish this lake in the Mother Lode,” Wolf said. “We’re catching big spotted bass one after another.

“(Jeremy) Donk may be young, but he can drop-shot with the best of them. When he was   my partner, he beat me twice at Lopez and Santa Margarita.  The only time I finished ahead of him was at San Antonio in March.”

Bryan Vogt, 47, of Paso Robles won the final event on the Ambushers’ schedule, a two-day event at Nacimiento Lake two weeks ago. 

“I went to a couple locations that have produced for me in the past,” Vogt said. “On Saturday I caught a 2 1⁄2-pound spot that anchored my limit. Zara Spooks worked for three spots early Sunday en route to a limit.”  

His two-day weight was 17.85 pounds.

Runner-up Jim Keeney earned first-place money ($222) with a 15.92 weight as Vogt did not enter the options.

Ambushers Anglers of Year Standings

1.Terry Wolf, Santa Margarita, 803; 2. Jeremy Donk, San Luis Obispo 793; 3. Burt Lund,  Atascadero, 792; 4. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 781; 5. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 779; 6. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 775; 7. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 772; 8. Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 677; 9. Allan Branson, Paso Robles, 661; 10. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 627.

(Point totals are determined by eight best events out of 10 tournaments.)

Biggest Fish of the Year

1. Jeremy Donk, 6.37 pounds, Santa Margarita Lake, April 21. 2. Al Rush, 5.79 pounds, Santa Margarita Lake, April 21. 3. Burt Lund, 5.70 pounds, Lopez Lake, June 29.

Ambushers top 10, No. Fish, Weight, Winnings 1. Bryan Vogt, 10, 17.85 pounds;  2. Jim Keeney, 10, 15.92 pounds, $222; 3. Burt Lund, 9, 14.50 pounds, $133; 4. Terry Wolf, 10, 13.93 pounds, $89; 5. Ken Meeks,  Atascadero, 10, 13.45 pounds; 6. Del Bishop, Templeton, 10, 12.99 pounds; 7. Grant Koontz, Monterey, 7, 9.01 pounds; 8. Graham Melander, Atascadero, 6, 8.23 pounds; 9. Allan Branson, 5, 8.17 pounds; 10. Paul Bailey, Creston, 5, 6.71 pounds.

Day 1 Big Fish, 3.43 pounds, Burt Lund.; Day 2 Big Fish, 4.23 pounds, Bryan Vogt.

Patriot Sportfishing

There’s a new overall leader in the ninth-annual Patriot Lingcod competition. Arroyo Grande’s Casey Lintner muscled up a 28-pound, 5-ounce ling fishing aboard the Sea Angler on Sunday at Pt. Purisma.

He supplanted Atascadero’s John Mulay, who has led all anglers in the contest since catching a 21-pound, 1-ounce lingcod on July 30. Incidentally, Mulay did win two jackpots last week but both were for 10-pound, 5-ounce cabezon.

Other jackpot winners last week included: Tim Duncan, Clovis, and Don Purcell, Fresno, both 19-5 lings; Karin Loftus, Bradley, 16-0 ling; Laura Perez, Arvin, 13-4 ling; and Jenny Rodda, Atascadero, 10-0 ling. Duncan and Purcell are one ounce behind the third place occupant, Rick Lamberton of Lompoc.

For reservations and trip schedules, call 595-7200 or go to
Virg’s Landing

Last week’s report was deleted in error. It’s combined here along with Oct. 20-25 results.

Sixty lingcod were caught by 23 passengers aboard the Princess on a two-day trip Oct. 19-20. Kim Ahn of Los Angeles had the big fish, a 19-pound lingcod. The catch included 440 red rockcod and 130 assorted rockfish. 

Friday jackpot winners get a free ticket for two on a future trip. It’s a new feature.  Shallow-water, light-tackle fishing trips are scheduled every Thursday. For reservations and more information, call 772-1222 or go to 

All jackpots the past two weeks were ings. Winners with weights were: Jordan Pavacich, Morro Bay, 24 pounds, Adam Boyd, Arroyo Grande, 19-0, Larry Tuck, Shafter, 14-0, Joel Fuentes, Bakersfield, and Greg Aguirre, Santa Maria, both 13-0, Tim Malone, Atascadero, Bill Duckworth, Bakersfield, and William Hurarah, Hanford, all 12-0, Phil Colaprete, Los Osos, 11-0, and Jim Aldredge. Orcutt. 10-0.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Jim Banikus of Orcutt caught the year’s third-largest halibut caught by fishermen embarking out of the Sports Launch. He earned Whopper of the week honors with a 31-pound, 1-ounce flattie Oct. 27. 

The lingcod catch totaled 126 fish, the seventh-best take of the season. Ninety-three boats were dispatched. The catch included seven halibut and five white seabass. Full rockcod limits were tallied five days and three quarter limits twice.

Port San Luis barbecue

The fifth-annual barbecue and potluck will celebrate the 2013 saltwater fishing season. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Port San Luis Sports Launch. The free event begins mid-morning with the main meal served between 2 and 3 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share. It’s a prairie cod and Santa Maria-style tri-tip barbecue. Drawings for door prizes and raffle wrap up the good time event. 

Morro Bay Landing

Two trips were run last weekend with 21 anglers. Jackpot winners were not identified. Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. trips are scheduled this week. Cost is $69. 

For reservations and more information, call 771-5500.

Whale Rock

Only one trout was caught last week. Jeremy Harkins reeled in the 16-inch fish Oct. 27 on PowerBait. It was his 32nd trout of the year, one ahead of Jeff Minkler. Eleven anglers turned out, bringing the participation total to 899. Only 12 days of fishing remain. The last day is Nov. 15. 

Lopez Lake

San Luis Obispo’s Brian Gardner caught a 16-pound, 8-ounce catfish Oct. 26. He was fishing at Strawberry Flats with squid for bait. Marina manager Aaron Boyd said he is anticipating some trout plants later in the year when water temperatures are colder.

Nacimiento Lake

Gil and Helen Johnson caught four spots Monday before cold winds and a brief rain chased them off the lake. Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said: “There are not many boats on the lake.”

Cachuma Lake

The first of six 4,000-pound plants of triploid rainbow trout from the Calaveras Trout Farm is scheduled to arrive Nov. 6. Marina manager Ken Hemer reports catfish are being caught by shore fishermen in Harvey’s Cove and the creek channel that forms Drakes Cove. Cut mackerel, nightcrawlers and chicken livers produced last week. Boat anglers have been connecting in Santa Cruz and Cachuma Bays. Bass have been hard to catch. They are keyed on suspended shad. 

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