Finally, it happened!
Veteran bass fisherman John White was beginning to wonder whether he and his current partner would ever win a tournament.
“I’ve been at this game for a lot of years (about 34) and I’ve had 18 to 20 different partners and we’ve always been able to craft some victories. But, winning has eluded Bobby (Doss) and me,” White said.
Midway through Saturday’s 101 Bass tournament at Lopez Lake, things looked anything but promising for the San Luis Obispo angler and his cohort from Santa Maria.
Recent history had caused White to abandon his usual approach to fishing tournaments at Lopez.
“Normally, I throw jigs, and that method has been rewarding for me over the years,” he said. “But, for some reason I had not been able to catch a Lopez bass on a jig for more than three months.”
Better than half way through Saturday’s 101 Bass competition, White and Doss had only three fish in the live well. All three had been put there by Doss via the drop-shot route.
Uncharacteristically, White had begun the tournament drop-shotting. His experiment had been unproductive.
“I thought I was going to blank, which was especially disappointing because the previous week I’d caught 10 or 11 fish in an ABA tournament at Lopez,” White said.
Matters improved dramatically once White returned to his specialty, jig fishing.
“Within a span of 30 minutes I caught three keepers,” White said. “All three bit on brown jigs.”
He’s been pouring his own jigs in his garage since 1981 or ’82. That’s about the time he became serious about competitive tournament bass fishing.
Among the jig fish White put in the live well was one weighing 7.15 pounds.
“It may have been the second-heaviest fish in the tournament,” he said. “However, in 101 Bass competition, only the heaviest fish adds to your winnings.”
That honor went to Scott Mullins with a 7.64-pound fish.
Doss shared his partner’s angst over not winning together.
“We’ve finished fourth and fifth and placed in the top 10 or 15, but no victories,” Doss said. “In tournaments, we rag on each other all day. That might not set well with a lot of guys but we really enjoy competing together.”
White, 72, and Doss, 70, are the latest seniors to post bass tournament victories. They topped a 23-team 101 Bass field with a 20.31-pound limit.
They were preceded in victory lane by Jim Keeney, 70, and partner Tom Ryan, 56, in a January Best Bass Open and Del Bishop, 72, in last month’s Ambushers’ opener. Those events were at Nacimiento Lake.
101 Bass Top 10 Team, (All 5-Fish Limits), Weight
1. John White, San Luis Obispo, Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, 20.31 pounds; 2. Scott Mullins, Kelly Keeling. Salinas, 19.14 pounds; 3. Nick Salvucci, Atascadero, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 18.08 pounds; 4. Dean Miller, Darrel Masterson, Tulare, 17.19 pounds; 5. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 16.97 pounds; 6. Bud Aquino, Grover Beach, Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, 16.86 pounds; 7. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Casey Langley, Nipomo, 16.83 pounds; 8. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Tony Pratt, Paso Robles, 16.72 pounds; 9. Marc Hazuka, Chase Castaneda, Atascadero, 13.93 pounds; 10. Joey Baldacchino, Solvang, Reggie Peinado, Nipomo, 13.36 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 7.64 pounds, Mullins & Keeling.
Because of drought conditions in California, portions of streams west of Highway 1 bridges in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties have been closed to fishing until April 30.
The Office of the Administrative Law approved the emergency closures adopted by the California Fish and Wildlife Commission on Feb. 5.
San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties are part of the South Coast District that also includes San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.
Weather permitting, there will be a sanddab trip aboard the Rita G from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for $59. Call 772-1222 for reservations.
Whale watching trips are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, weather permitting. Cost is $39 for adults ands $29 for, children 12 younger.
Reporting from the marina, Dan Riding advised that a 16-inch trout was caught Tuesday. The angler did not provide any details.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Don Lopez reports: “Last weekend, we even had a redear caught on a crappie jig by one of our regular customers, Dennis Yates from Chino. Bass, catfish and crappie are also being caught. Our launch ramp is still capable of accommodating one boat at a time. We’re hopeful that the rain forecast for this weekend will improve things.”
Several anglers reported catching 25-fish crappie limits last week as fishing for this species broke wide open. Fish were up to 2 1⁄2 pounds.
A hot ticket was trolling C.D. Rapalas in The Narrows, as well as using mini jigs tipped with crappie nibbles or a mealworm in Santa Cruz Bay. Trout fishing remained slow, although some anglers at E Point managed to catch some nice stringers of panfish using PowerBait and inflated nightcrawlers.
“The bass bite is improving slowly for both large and smallmouth as they begin to move up to secondary points,” marina manager Ken Hemer said. “Crankbaits, jigs, Senkos and Texas rigs reportedly worked for fish to 5 pounds.”