Frequently, bass tournaments are won by individuals or teams that take a path less traveled.
Such was the case at Nacimiento Lake on Saturday in the American Bass Pacific Region tournament.
While a majority of the 27-team field focused on bed fish, Louis Fernandes and partner Patrick Touey sought out the dirtiest water they could find.
“Neither of us practiced for the tournament, nor had we been to the lake in two months,” Fernandes confessed.
“My experience paid off. I’ve been fishing team tournaments since I was 6 and have been a pro since I was 20.”
The 34-year-old chose to “junk fish.” He clarified the term as meaning fishing topwater, flippin’ using spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
“During the morning we fished any way we felt like it,” Fernandes said.
“Although we caught about 80 fish during the day, we didn’t have a good fish in the box until 11 a.m.
“My partner wanted to fish the beds, but I convinced him that we would win the tournament between noon and 3:30 weigh-in.”
Each of the five fish they brought to the scales was caught on a different bait.
“What I like about fishing dirty water is the fish can’t see me,” Fernades said. “And as the day wore on and the water warmed, the fish moved up and that is what I expected.”
The winners had a 10.99-pound limit which provided a ninth-tenths of a pounds edge over Bakersfield’s Jerry Waldrip and Richard Neal.
Big fish honors were claimed by Atascadero’s Gene Gray and Templeton’s Jay Short with a 3.26-pound bass.
Earlier this week, Fernandes left for the California Delta where he will enter a tournament backed by Lucas Oil. He anticipates facing a bevy of skilled veteran bass fishermen.
ABA Pacific Coast Top 10 (All 5-fish limits), weight, Winnings
1. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 10.99 pounds, $3,390; 2. Jerry Waldrip, Richard Neal, Bakersfield, 10.09 pounds, $1,412; 3. Mark Hinson, Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, 9.66 pounds, $1,169; 4. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short Templeton, 9.34 pounds, $615; 5. Stan Beebe, San Luis Obispo, Andrew Levy, Grover Beach, 9.20 pounds, $200; 6. Roger Diaz, Doug Slaton, Hollister, 9.02 pounds, $230; 7, Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 9.01 pounds, $364; 8. Patrick Motley, Mark Del Papa, Arroyo Grande, 8.29 pounds; 9. Mitch Wasley, Paso Robles, Jeremy Gearhart, Atascadero, 8.18 pounds; 10. Robert Adams, Robert Merino, Ssa Luis Obispo, 7.96 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 3.26 pounds, Gray& Short; 2nd Big Fish, 3.11pounds, Wasley & Gearhart; 3rd Big Fish, 2.79 pounds, Hinson &Reggio, $166.
The recreational salmon season for waters south of Horse Mountain will open April 5.
The announcement by California Fish and Wild Life Marine Service late last week established regulations for the month of April only. The daily bag limit remains at two fish with a minimum length of 24 inches. Regulations for the balance of the season (May 1-Oct. 5) will be decided upon at a mid-April meeting of the Pacific Management Council.
The possession limit has been changed. On land, a person may have a maximum of two daily bag limits (four salmon). On the ocean, the one-day bag limit is two fish.
With the second-heaviest limit of the day Saturday (22 pounds, 8 ounces), Jared Lintner bolted from 47th to 18th place during the second stop on the 2014 Bassmaster Elite tournament series.
Only Davy Hite’s 24-pound, 13-ounce bag bettered Lintner catch. Hite moved up from 10th to second on day three and finished fifth on Florida’s St. Johns River.
Arroyo Grande’s Lintner didn’t qualify for the top 12 tournament finale, but he did pocket a check for $10,000 for the second tournament in succession. He placed 13th the previous week in the Elite Series opener at Georgia’s Lake Seminole.
There is a one week break in the Elite Series. The tour resumes April 3-6 at Table Rock Lake, Branson, Mo.
Beginning April 5, the opening day of salmon season, Virg’s plans to offer salmon fishing trips daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. These are limited load trips aboard the Fiesta. For reservations, call 772-1222 or go to www.virgs.com.
Reservations also are being taken for charters and rockcod fishing May 1 and after.
This week, whale watching trips are being offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $39 for adults and $29 for children 12 and younger.
There is nothing on the agenda until April 3 when the final sanddab and crab trip is scheduled. Fares for the 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. trip are $60 for adults, $50 for children 12 and younger.
Anglers who wish to get a jump on the rockcod season can board the Black Pearl for day and a half trips below Pt. Conception, where rockcod season has already begun. The first offering will depart at 10 p.m. April 4 and return around 6 a.m.
April 6. Midweek trips will leave Tuesdays at 10 p.m. and return around 6 a.m. Thursdays. These trips will be offered throughout the month of April. There is a 25-passenger limit. Cost is $180 for adults, $160 for children 12 and younger.
For reservations, call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
Salmon fishing trips commence April 5. Daily trips from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be limited to trolling and have a load limit of 16. Cost is $84.
Morro Bay Landing manager Glenn Fukumoto said: “A pier fisherman told me that after catching several 2-pound perch he was broken off by a much bigger perch.” It probably was a Rubbermout perch, Fukomoto suggested.
Beach anglers, as well as those working from the North and South T Piers, are catching fish using half nightcrawlers gulp sand worms and lug worms also known as “pile worms.”
Kids fishing derby
On Sunday, 46 kids age 15 and younger participated in a Port San Luis Fishing Derby on Harford Pier. The event was organized by Patriot Sportfishing personnel. There was plenty of fun to go around. The prize winners were Giovanni Addamo, 13, Caden Nagy, 13, Jordan Hopp, 13, Maddie Flores, 11, Dylan Donaldson, 10, Colton Watkins, 9, Cole Harvey, 9, Jaden Ermocida, 8, Olivia Pinkston, 7, Keagan Watkins, 7, McKena Ermocida, 6
Bolstered by a 4,000-pound plant from the Calavaras Trout Farm on March 20, the bite improved for both shore fishermen and trollers. Marina manager Ken Hemer reported at least two 7-pound trout were caught from shore.
Limit-style fishing was enjoyed from shore using PowerBit, Kastmasters, various spinners and nightcrawlers. As the planters became acclimated, the troll bite improved. Flat lined Rapalas and Needlefish worked best. Fair crappie fishing was reported by trolling small minnow imitations or drifting mini jigs tipped with crappie nibble. The bass bite is improved.