The 2-year-old Wild West Bass Trail is luring some Central Coast fishermen to Shasta Lake for a season-opening three-day pro-am tournament commencing Friday.
Pros Nick Salvucci and Gene Gray will be back for a second season after placing 15th and 30th, respectively, in the 2016 Angler of the Year final standings.
Salvucci, the frequent partner of Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner in various tournament series on the Central Coast, will be competing with amateur partner Jeremy Burns. Both reside in Atascadero.
Gray once again will be fishing as a pro, but he does not have a regular amateur partner.
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“I was able to catch some good size fish in practice prior to the lake being declared off limits,” Gray said in a phone interview from his hotel room Tuesday evening.
He added: “They were the size you hope to put in the live well during the tournament.”
He also cautioned that participants should be on the lookout for wood floating in many parts of the lake.
Veteran tournament fisherman Darrin Bishop, who has moved from Paso Robles to Atascadero, is expanding his tournament fishing to include the Wild West events. He will be fishing as a pro.
Paso Robles angler Graham Grove announced previously that he would be competing as a pro for the first time.
Atascadero's Dusty Kahler, a competent fisherman who has been on a prolonged hiatus, also will be entered as a first-time pro.
Ambushers to Begin Season
Tournament director Al Rush confirmed via phone Tuesday that his circuit (SLO County Bass Ambushers) would begin its 2017 season as scheduled at Lake Nacimiento on Saturday.
He advised that some safeguards would be discussed at the traditional Wednesday night club meeting at Jim's Pro Bass shop in Paso Robles.
Last Saturday was to have been the season opener for the Coastal Region of the Best Bass series, but tournament director Chris Gilkison said he called off the event slated for Nacimiento as a precautionary measure due to the abundance of wood in the water.
No makeup date has been announced.
The three most recent recipients of Angler of the Year honors (Steve Bereda in 2016, Jerry May in 2015 and Ken Meeks in 2014) all are expected to compete in the 2017 tournament series.
Time to Order Albacore Enchiladas
For the ninth straight year, Central Coast Women for Fisheries is selling Super Bowl albacore enchiladas as a fundraiser.
Fishermen aboard the vessel Capriccio, owned by Wayne and Diane Moody of Morro Bay, troll caught the albacore last summer off the Oregon Coast.
Two options are offered: Green sauce/corn tortillas or red sauce/flour tortillas. The price per tray is $10.
The supply is limited, so early orders are encouraged. For tickets, contact Jackie, 805-772-8281, or Lenore, 805-550-0253. Orders are to be picked up Feb. 4 between 1-5 p.m. at Morro Bay Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way, Morro Bay.