When the third season of the most popular Central Coast bass tournament series kicks off Saturday at Nacimiento Lake, a new dimension will be added — youth.
In the first two years of the series — the brainchild of Jim Slusher, owner of Jim’s Pro Bass Tackle — prominent participants have included fathers and sons, a father and daughter, and cousins who are rivals in this venue but teammates in other tournaments.
Making his debut as a big tournament competitor will be 10-year-old Brayden Kahler.
He may be young but Brayden is experienced, having fished with his dad, Dusty, since he was 18 month old, and been able to handle a bait caster since he was 3.
At age 5 and dressed in required FLW attire, he was on stage in May 2009 while his father accepted a sixth-place check at Lake Oroville. At that occasion, he even responded to autograph requests.
Who knows what will happen Saturday. A little over a month ago, it was 8-year-old Max McGraw who hooked a fish too heavy for him to retrieve. What his father cranked to the surface was a 29-pound, 7-ounce fish that took top honors in the ninth-annual Patriot Sportfishing Lingcod contest that paid $1,000.
Soledad’s Fred and Freddy Ledesma, and Carlos and Jacob Vasquez have been
father-and-son combos who have qualified for 101 postseason events. So have the North County duos of Sam and Ralph Sawdey, Del and Darrin Bishop and Aaron and Eddie Davidson, plus the father-daughter team of Ken and Kenna Sauret.
In American Bass events, Darrin Bishop of Paso Robles partners with his cousin, Dean Miller of Tulare. Miller and teammate Darrell Masterson is the only team that has won multiple times in the same year, twice in 2012-13.
Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner from Arroyo Grande and partner Nick Salvucci of Atascadero were Anglers of the Year in the inaugural campaign. Last year, Dan Barrios of San Luis Obispo and teammate Casey Langley of Nipomo finished atop the standings.
The finest Central Coast anglers are joined by quality competitors from Salinas, Bakersfield and Soledad.
Once again the series is expected to draw an average of 30 teams per event. Annual membership dues are $45 per person. Teams ante up $200 to compete in each tournament.
Saturday’s affair begins at first safe light, around 7 am. Teams weigh-in at 3 p.m., an occasion that draws numerous onlookers.
Del Bishop wins Ambushers opener
At age 72, Templeton’s Del Bishop enjoys “just being out there on the water.”
Truth be known, he probably enjoys it a little more when he’s a winner like he was Jan. 25 in the SLO County Bass Ambushers’ opener at Nacimiento.
He had to play the waiting game to fish some of his favorite spots as other entrants beat him there. Once he was at his desired locations, he drop-shotted worms and worked Senkos and jigs for only eight to 10 fish. His 8.39-pound five fish limit provided a 30-hundreths of a pound edge over Marc Hazuka.
A unique aspect of the tourney was the tie for third place. Jerry May and Ron Raymond of Paso Robles each had 7.65-pound limits. Neither had a big fish to dissolve the tie.
Big fish honors went to Jeremy Lewis of Atascadero with a 3.04-pound fish.
Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Del Bishop, Templeton, 5, 8.39 pounds, $225; 2. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 5, 8.09 pounds, $135; 3. (tie) Jerry May and Ron Raymond, both Paso Robles, 5, 7.65 pounds, both $45; 5. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 7.62 pounds; 6. Jeremy Lewis, Atascadero, 4, 7.50 pounds; 8. Michele Duncan, Bakersfield, 5, 7.07 pounds; 9. Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 5, 6.08 pounds; 10. Dean Shupp, Paso Robles, 5, 6.26 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 3.04 pounds, Jeremy Lewis, $85.
Orders for albacore enchiladas will be taken up to Saturday by the Central Coast Women for Fisheries, a Morro Bay-based nonprofit. Orders may be picked up between 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday at the Morro Bay Community Center.
To assure your order, calls should be made in advance to Jackie at 772-8281 or Sharon at 674-4854.
Cost for a tray of four enchiladas is $10. Options are corn tortillas with green sauce or
flour tortillas with red sauce.
The fundraiser has become a staple for Super Bowl weekend.
Santa Margarita Lake
On Sunday, Atascadero’s Austin Bonjour reeled in largemouth bass weighing 8.13, 4.14 and 3 pounds. With a hot dog for bait, Creston’s Ted Ratcliff caught a
5-pound, 2-ounce catfish by the marina, reported Tom Kohl.
The marina’s Mike Palmer reports lots of trout are being caught from boats as well as the docks and shoreline using PowerBait, jigs and worms.
If ocean conditions permit, combo sanddab and crab trips are scheduled for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Adult fares are $60, children 12 and under are $50.
Whale watching trips are scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday. Cost is $35 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under.
For reservations go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.
With Tabby Stamback piloting the Rita G on a Jan. 26 sanddab and halibut trip, 15 passengers caught 105 sanddabs, one tomcod, one sand sole, but no halibut. Eleven whales and a huge pod of dolphins were seen on Sunday’s whale watching trip.
Similar trips are planned for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A sanddab and crab trip is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for $59.
For reservations, call 772-1222.
Morro Bay Landing
Marina manager Glenn Fukumoto says whale watching trips are being offered Saturdays and Sundays aboard the 50-foot boat Slayer. Cost for the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. trips are $40 for adults, $35 for military and seniors 60 and older, and $25 for children 12 and under.
The landing is located at 1213 Embarcadero Ave.
Call 771-5500 for reservations.
Gulp sand worms and motor oil grubs are working for surf perch. Glenn Fukumoto reports fish up to 2 pounds are being caught in the surf north of Morro Rock. He suggests casting into rip tides.
Limit style trout fishing is happening with fish up to 8 pounds, reports marina manager Ken Hemer. Flat ling Rapalas, flicker shad and Kastmasters did well at the north end of the lake and from Cachuma Point to Santa Cruz Point. The bass bite has improved.