All of a sudden there’s a lot happening on the fishing scene.
Salmon season is open and fish are being caught off the Central Coast.
Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner is in lofty circles so far in Bassmaster Elite competition.
This weekend, Cachuma Lake will hold its 19th-annual Trout Derby that benefits Cachuma’s Neal Taylor Nature Center.
And then there were two bass tournaments. Louis Fernandes and partner Patrick Touey were up to their winning ways, as was Austin Bonjour, although he was fishing alone Saturday.
Thirteenth, 18th and 12th are the finishes Lintner has fashioned in the first three 2014 Bassmaster Elite tournaments. They equate to 260 points and second place in the Angler of the Year standings.
Lintner is one of only 12 of the 108 Elite anglers who have cashed checks in all three events.
Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., is the AOY leader with 293 points earned by finishing third twice and second last week at Missouri’s Table Rock Lake.
At Table Rock, Lintner’s 12-pound, 6-ounce limit had him in 39th place on the first day. He catapulted to eighth place on day two with the third-heaviest weight today of the day, 17 pounds, 15 ounces. He made the second cut in 12th place with a day three limit of 11 pounds, 2 ounces. He remained 12th with a fourth-day total of 12 pounds, 11 ounces. His 54-pound, 2-ounce total weight was worth $10,500 and a winnings totaling $30,500 for the season.
After a four-week hiatus, the tour resumes May 1-4 at Toledo Bend, La.
Glowing derby prospects
The tone for this weekend’s 19th-annual Cachuma Lake Tout Derby was encapsulated by Marina Manager Ken Hemer weekly report.
“Trout fishing is as good as it gets right now,” the report said. “Limits are the rule, not the exception.
“Crawlers and PowerBait are producing limits for shore fishermen while trollers are catching limits also by flat lining Kastmasters, C.D. Rapalas and Needlefish.”
It’s not too late to enter the derby, which begins at 6 a.m. Saturday and runs through noon Sunday. Entry fees are $40 for adults and $10 for those ages 4-15.
The $2,000 grand prize will go to the entrant who catches the highest numbered tagged trout. Cash awards total $5,200, while merchandise prizes are worth thousands of dollars.
For more information, call the Derby Hotline 693-8381 or go to www.Trout
Fernandes and Touey win again
Louis Fernandes and partner Patrick Touey were kingpins of the Tri Valley Club tournament at Lopez Lake.
“We knew about a recent trout plant,” Fernandes said. “Bass love to dine on planters. About 11:30, I caught the tourney’s big fish (9.01 pounds) with a trout imitation swim bait. It was key to our winning with a 29.09 limit.
“I had 20 rods armed with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, swim baits and jigs. I used them all.
“We focused on pre-spawn and spawning fish. Between us, we caught 20 to 25 fish, which allowed us to cull our early limit.”
In March, the team won an ABA event at Nacimiento Lake. Their next two challenges will be at Lopez starting Saturday.
Five smallmouths plus 107 largemouths were caught by the 22 teams entered.
Tri Valley Top 10, No. Fish, Weight
1. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 6, 29.09 pounds; 2. Nick Salvucci, Atascadero, Jeremy Burns, Santa Margarita, 6, 24.92 pounds; 3. Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, Brian Nawrocki, Atascadero, 6, 24.66 pounds; 4. Jeff Hodges, Arroyo Grande, Bud Aquino, Grover Beach, 6, 23.37 pounds; 5. Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, Mark Weiting , San Luis Obispo, 6, 19.61 pounds; 6. Mark Hinson, San Luis Obispo, Kyle Macie, 4, 17.94 pounds; 7. Chris & Kathy Purgason, Lompoc, 6, 16.66 pounds; 8. Robert Gardiner, Dale Litwiler, 6, 15.74 pounds; 9. Ryan Burba, Aaron Davidson, Atascadero, 6, 15.34 pounds; 10. Greg & Mike Higgins, Santa Maria, 6, 14.85 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 9.01 pounds, Fernandes & Touey; 2nd Big Fish, 6.84 pounds, Hodges & Aquino.
Austin Bonjour is on a roll
Santa Margarita Lake is no puzzle for Austin Bonjour. He’s won four tournaments there, three of them in a row. His next two tests are at Lopez starting Saturday.
His dad and usual partner in Best Bass events, Larry, had a schedule conflict so the 20-year-old from Atascadero did fine fishing solo.
“I began cranking, and had a limit which I later culled by targeting bed fish,” Austin Bonjour said. “I caught a dozen fish including the second biggest (5.78 pounds). The five I weighed were all off beds.”
His 21.48-pound bag provided a nearly 2-pound winning margin.
Best Bass Top 10 (All 5-Fish Limits), Weight, Winnings
1. Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 21.48 pounds, $1,485; 2. Matt Clausen & Tony Tiddwell, 19.56 pounds, $1,025; 3. Jay Short, Templeton, Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 19.16 pounds, $515; 4. Danny Conatser, King City, Dan Dostal, Grover Beach, 17.79 pounds, $360; 5. Grant Byers & Benji Hiler, 17.50 pounds, $275; 6. Mike & Mitch Wasley, Paso Robles, 17.03 pounds, $160; 7. Jay Rich, Terry Rawles, Bakersfield, 16.54 pounds; 8. Pat Schmidt, Templeton, Terry Wolf, Santa Margarita, 15.75 pounds, $65; 9. Charlie & Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 15.39 pounds; 10. Tom Mize, Michael Beasley, 14.47 pounds.
1st. Big Fish, 7.05 pounds, Clausen & Tiddwell; 2nd Big Fish, 5.78 pounds, Bonjour; 3rd Big Fish, 5.42 pounds, Byers & Hiler; 4th Big Fish, 5.30 pounds, Schmidt & Wolf; 5th Big Fish, 5.07 pounds, Short & Meeks.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Fifty-five salmon were harvested opening weekend. Anglers aboard 15 boats dispatched Saturday caught 20 salmon, while 35 salmon were brought in Sunday by fishermen aboard 22 boats.
Roscoe Ricker of Grover Beach had the Whopper of the Week, a 19-pounder Sunday.
Dean Branscom from Paso Robles had some help catching the big fish Sunday aboard the Fiesta. He left his rod unattended briefly. During his absence, a 13-pound salmon was hooked. A fellow angler began the retrieve and returned the rod to Branscom. Thirteen anglers caught four salmon. Fourteen were aboard Saturday when Brent Scroggens of Fresno caught the only salmon, 16 pounds.
Call 772-1222 for reservations or go to www.virgs.com. Salmon trips from
6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. are being offered Thursdays through Sundays for $89.
Three salmon were caught both Saturday and Sunday with a max of 16 anglers aboard each day. Kingsburg’s Dyllan White, 11, was Sunday’s jackpot winner with an 8-pound, 7-ounce fish.
Combination salmon and crab trips are offered Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s a salmon charter Saturday. Sunday’s trip is sold out. Fares are $84 for all trips. For reservations, call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfishing. com.
Santa Margarita Lake
Don and Sandra Lopez, who have operated the marina and mini market since April 1, 2005, are ending their tenure April 18. The combination of low water and lack of customers has prompted their decision.
The Lopezs have been cordial and popular hosts and will be missed.
Marina manager Aaron Boyd says spinnerbaits and flies are working for bass. Trout are being caught from the F Dock and other shoreline locations. Red worms and crappie nibbles are enticing crappie.
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal notes Doug Rice has been catching spotted bass with Senkos and 1 1⁄2-pound crappie from docks. Lance Clairmont launched his boat from the marina last weekend. Using dartheads baited with Robo worms, he caught 10 to 15 spots each day on beds.
The bass bite has finally started to turn on for both largemouths and smallmouths, Hemer, the marina manager, said in his weekly report. “They have been biting on just about anything thrown at them.”
Catfish are moving up shallow and are attacking cut mackerel and packaged dough baits.
The best crappie bite is in the east end of the lake on trolled or drifted mini jigs and grubs.