Fishing Report: Female fish, female angler highlight the past week of tournaments

Special to The TribuneApril 2, 2014 

A female fish and a feminine angler played prominent roles in the outcome of two bass tournaments last weekend.

The patience and persistence of 20-year-old Austin Bonjour was key to winning a 101 Bass tournament at Santa Margarita Lake with his dad, Larry. 

At Nacimiento Lake, big fish honors were secured by a woman who has been fishing with her husband in team tournaments for 20 years.  But, when it comes to Ambushers activity it’s wife vs. husband.

“I’ve caught bigger fish,” Joan Lund said, “but this was the first time I’ve ever earned tournament big fish honors.”

101 Bass tournament

An hour prior to weigh-in, Austin Bonjour was to goad a female bass into attacking his offering. 

“It took me 25 to 30 minutes and the use of three different rods armed with 8-pound test line to get a response,” he said. “Time after time, I cast a bait onto her bed, which she ignored.

“I had to back off out of her sight to get bit. She swam into some underwater grapevine stickups in 18 feet of water. I kept telling my dad the fish was gonna break my line.”

Austin’s father, Larry, picked up the story. 

“The fish came out of the water twice and swam from one end of our boat to the other while I was trying to net it,” Larry Bonjour said.

Added Austin, who has already been part of three tournament wins this season: “That fish was a lot bigger than I expected. I was thinking eight pounds and it went 10.67.” 

 “These days I’m catching more tournament fish,” Larry Bonjour said, “but last Saturday Austin caught the five we brought to the scales.”  

All were bed fish.

Six of the 17 limits at Santa Margarita were 20 pounds or more.  The Bonjours’ bag tipped the scales at 29.08 pounds. Runners-up Damon Meeks and Jay Short had 22.35 pounds. 

101 Bass Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight

1. Austin & Larry Bonjour, Atascadero, 5, 29.08 pounds; 2. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 5, 22.35 pounds; 3. Bud Aquino, Grover Beach, Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, 5, 22.14 pounds; 4. Ken Whalen & Chris Purgason, Lompoc, 5, 21.35 pounds; 5. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 5, 20.47 pounds; 6. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Tony Pratt, Paso Robles, 5, 20.13 pounds;  7. Matt Hazuka, Chase Castaneda, Atascadero, 5, 19.88 pounds; 8. Jim Slusher, Atascadero, Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 5, 17.67 pounds; 9.Randy Mc

Abee Sr. & Jr., Bakersfield, 5, 17.48 pounds; 10. Dean Miller & Darrel Masterson, Tulare, 5, 17.32 pounds.

1st. Big Fish, 10.67 pounds, Bonjour & Bonjour.

The Ambushers story

Second-year Bass Ambushers entrant Jerry May employed tubes, jigs and Senkos for the win at Nacimiento Lake. May’s daughter Michelle Duncan from Bakersfield also caught a limit from his boat.

May, a retiree, who moved to Paso Robles a year ago, crafted the win by fishing shallow water all day. A 3.61-pound tube catch anchored his 9.81-pound bag.

Jeremy Donk drop-shotted all day from tournament director Al Rush’s boat to finish second with a 9.63-pound limit.

Joan Lund says she enjoys the low-key atmosphere of Ambushers’ tournaments. 

“My husband (Burt) and I have a friendly rivalry going,” she said. “We both had small limits before I caught the big fish (4.03 pounds) on a watermelon red flake jig. I thought I was hung up on the bottom at first, then I felt resistance and made the catch. Burt was more excited about it than me.”

Ambushers Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 5, 9.81 pounds, $175; 2. Jeremy Donk, San Luis Obispo, 5, 9.63 pounds, $45; 3. Joan Lund, Atascadero, 5, 9.30 pounds; 4. Paul Bailey, Santa Margarita, 5, 8.71 pounds, $90; 5. Eberardo Tingero, Heritage Ranch, 5, 8.65 pounds, $40; 6. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 7.82 pounds; 7. Allan Branson, Paso Robles, 5, 7.69 pounds; 8. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 5, 7.10 pounds; 9. Jeremy Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 7.02 pounds; 10. Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 5, 6.91 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 4.02 pounds, Joan Lund.  

Salmon opener

Three months of limited ocean inactivity will end Saturday when salmon fishing season begins.

The Port San Luis Boatyard anticipates putting vessels on moorings prior to the opener. The nightly fee through the harbor office is $15.

Said Harold Lovett: “The basin has been dredged and we have a good channel working. There should be no issue launching boats. We will be open at 5 a.m. Saturday. The weather is not expected to be ideal but it will be fishable.”

Virg’s Landing

The Fiesta will be taking limited load 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. salmon trips for $89. Anglers should report by 5 a.m. Call 772-1222 for information and reservations.

Patriot Sportfishing

Salmon trips will be trolling only and limited to 16 anglers. The 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. trips are $84 per person. Call 595-7200 for reservations or go to  

The first day-and-a-half rockcod fishing trip to San Miguel Island leaves at 10 p.m. April 11. Passengers will fish all day Saturday and be back in port by 6 a.m. Sunday. Fares are $180 for adults, $160 for children 12 and younger.  A forecast of too much wind forced cancellation of the April 4 trip.

A combination salmon and crab trip is scheduled for Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $84.

Trout Derby a week away

The sixth Calavaras Trout Farm plant of the season is scheduled for April 10, just two days before the 19th-annual Cachuma Lake Trout Derby.

The current entry fees are $40 for adults and $10 for those ages 4 to 15. Fishing licenses are required for all anglers 16 and older.

Cash prizes total $5,200, plus a multitude of merchandise awards. The grand prize of $2,000 will be awarded to the entrant who catches the highest numbered tagged trout.

The Derby begins at 6 a.m. April 12 and ends at noon April 13.

For more, information call 693-8381 or go to

Lintner watch

Jared Lintner and 107 other accomplished bass fishermen on the Bassmaster Elite tour are visiting Branson, Mo. 

The third stop on the eight-event schedule begins today on Table Rock Lake.

Lintner, competing on the Elite tour for the ninth year, is off to a good start with a 13th-place finish at Georgia’s Lake Seminole and an 18th-place finish on stop No. 2 on Florida’s St. Johns River.

Anglers who rank in the top 50 after two days of fishing make the first cut and are assured $10,000. The field is trimmed to 12 after competition on day three. A win on day four pays $100,000.

Cachuma Lake

A 4,000-pound Calavaras Trout Farm plant showed up three days early to the delight of shore fishermen in the marina area. Marina manager Ken Hemer said trout up to eight pounds were weighed at the marina. Trout from a previous plant have acclimated and are being caught all over the lake by trollers. 

The most productive ways to catch rainbows has been by flat lining Rapalas, Kastmasters and flicker shads. Crappie are being caught at the east end of the lake by drifting mini jigs tipped with nightcrawlers or crappie nibble. Bass fishing has been improving slowly but has yet to take off. Catfish are showing up in the backs of shallow cuts and coves.


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