This week is a “Good News-Bad News” edition, the first such column in the 30-some years I’ve been piecing together this kind of journalism.
First, of course, is the news that the veteran Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner qualified for the 2017 Bassmaster Classic in March on Lake Conroe near Houston, Texas.
The recently turned 43-year-old from Arroyo Grande will be fishing the classic for the sixth time.
Lintner entered last week’s Toyota Angler of the Year championship at Minnesota’s famed smallmouth bass fishery, Mille Lacs Lake, in 22nd place.
He came out of the event in 26th place, having earned 714 points. The bass he caught over the course of 11 tournaments weighed 255 pounds, 10 ounces.
Any way you look at it, his 2016 Elite fishing season was filled with outstanding accomplishments.
Lintner has fished the Bassmaster Elite circuit since its birth in 2006. He ended the season as the No.1 California representative. Skeet Reese from Auburn placed 27th with 703 points. Brent Ehrler from Newport Beach was 34th with 671 points, while Ish Monroe from Hughson was 40th with 650 points.
Lintner was one of the 14 anglers in the competition awarded checks in the amount of $12,000.
Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Alabama, clinched his second Angler of the Year title since 2004. He was the leader entering the TOC and emerged on top, but it was far from smooth sailing. He earned the customary winner’s purse of $100,000.
Others in the 50-man competition split the remaining $900,000.
The downside of the news was the death last Friday of Steve Vidmar, the congenial longtime Tri Valley Bass tournament director.
Danny Knotts, who formerly served the club in that capacity, credits Vidmar with warding off the demise of the organization.
“Nobody else was willing to step up and take charge,” Knotts said. “That was back around 2001. His calm demeanor made it a pleasure to fish tournaments. He had things under control, and there was never a time when he embarrassed an angler for a poor decision.”
Vidmar seamlessly directed Tri Valley tournaments for 15 years, handing over the position to Josh Signorelli for the 2016 season.
Frank Fernandes, a veteran angler who was out of the organization for some years before Vidmar lured him back, said: “It was Steve who smoothed my return to the club. For the last four years my girlfriend (Janet Ross) and I have handled tournament weigh ins.”
San Luis Obispo angler Tip Martin has been Vidmar’s teammate the past two seasons.
“He was a gentleman and a great friend. I loved the man,” he said.
Vidmar, 62, retired from Von’s grocery chain. His wife, Mary, has chosen to honor Steve’s request for no service.
Over the years, this writer’s experience in dealing with Vidmar has been excellent. He was always helpful and went to great lengths to provide the requested information. I will miss him.
Final 2016 Tri Valley Tourney
As anticipated, the Tri Valley Angler of the Year determination is going down to the eighth and final tournament of the 2016 season. The Twomey brothers from Lompoc, Bill and Pat, are six points ahead of the McAllisters of San Luis Obispo, father Ted and son Dustin, 332 to 326.
The third-place duo from Lompoc, Robert Gardiner and Dale Litwiler, are not out of the running with323 points.
The eighth contest of the year will be played out Saturday in a daytime competition at Lake Nacimiento.
Port San Luis Boatyard
San Joaquin Valley angler John Lindgren earned “Whopper of the Week” honors with the catch of a 44 pound white seabass on Saturday. Anglers aboard 102 dispatched boats brought in 90 lingcod, 20 bonito and the two seabass. This was the first time in 2016 season that bonito made an appearance.
Week No. 24 qualifier for the December Lingcod contest was Santa Maria’s Aaron Bravo. He qualified with a 21-pound lingcod.
Ten fishing trips were offered last week with 230 customers catching 2,446 fish. The harvest included 153 lingcod, 402 red rockfish and two sheephead.
Through Saturday, the year’s lingcod count is 5,474 fish.
Other jackpot winners were: Dennis Veleym, Bakersfield, 15.3 ling; Drew Smith, Morro Bay, 17.6 ling; and Anthony Meraz, Tulare, 13.0 ling.
Morro Bay Landing
All 11 jackpots last week were lingcod. Winners were: Dustin Miles, 22 pounds; Bob Schemp, 21.0, Yorba Lind; Milton Cox, 19.0, Temecula; Fernando Villegas, 15.0; Dustin Morgen, 13.0, Fresno; Trey Williams, 12.0; Mike Jennings, 17.0; Jeff Reynolds, 12.0, Colorado; Robin Vasquez,10.0, Oxnord; John Moore, 7.0, Bakersfield.
The catch by 211 patrons included 236 lingcod.
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said: “Residents Dean and Sandy Shupp on Wednesday caught limits of spotted bass to two pounds. They were trolling Shad Raps. I witnessed multiple boils of spotted bass, which is something I haven’t seen in quite a while.”
No report provided.