This is a tale about woulda, shoulda and coulda, but didn’t.
When I caught up with an old friend of this column earlier this week the tale unfolded.
Harken back to the Port San Luis Halibut Derby on July 25-26. Greg Birkholz might have celebrated his 52nd birthday in style July 25 or belatedly the next day. Instead he was on the sideline.
Fast forward to July 29. Birkholz had a big fishing day on the water out of Port San Luis, catching three white seabass, a limit of lingcod and two halibut; his big one weighed 35 pounds.
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With that kind of luck three or four days earlier he could have been a Halibut Derby winner. David Aguayo earned the title with a 31-pound, 2-ounce halibut. In last week’s column he was mistakenly listed as Robert Aguayo.
Undoubtedly there were a number of wannabe champs who sat out the event.
Birkholz, the president of Anglers Anonymous Central Coast, is moving ahead with plans for a fourth-annual Wounded Warriors saltwater fishing trip out of Morro Bay on Oct. 3. In prior trips, contributions have played a major role in funding the event.
Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner finished in the money last week on the St. Lawrence River in New York. The Arroyo Grande resident and 106 other pros have this week off. Next week, the 107 anglers will compete on Chesapeake Bay, Cecil County, Md.
It’s their next-to-last event on the eight tournament 2015 agenda. The regular season ends for most of the group Aug. 27-30 at Lake St. Clair near Detroit.
With 17-pound, 1-ounce and 14-pound, 9-ounce limits the first two days on the St. Lawrence, Lintner made the first cut with a 31-pound, 10-ounce bag weight. He was in 40th place and assured a $10,000 check. Only the top 50 entrants made the first cut.
Lintner managed only 12 pounds on day three of the topsy-turvey competition.
Day one leader Shaw Grigsby was a prime example of how unpredictable the fishing was. After a tournament best catch of 22 pound, 15 ounces Thursday, Grigsby caught just two fish that weighed 3 pound, 13 ounces Friday. He plummeted to 78th place and out of the money.
Lintner finished in 42nd place with a 43-pound, 10-ounce total weight. In the angler of the year standings, Lintner ranks 55th with 272 points.
One hundred seventy-eight lingcod were caught last week by 349 passengers.
Jaimee Roberts from San Luis Obispo had the biggest lingcod last week — 13.14 pounds. Other jackpot winners, all with lings, were: Mark Masicampo, San Luis Obispo, 13 pounds, Justin Maretti, Santa Maria, 12 pounds, Johnnny Rojas, Fresno, and Jon Casey, Lemoore, both 12 pounds, Roger von Ting, Villa Park, and Nicki Fournier, Arroyo Grade, both 10 pounds, Nick Albair, Bakersfield, nine pounds, and Mark Masicampo, eight pounds.
Rounding out the catch totals were: 651 red rockcod, 85 coppers 20 cabezon, 2,128 assorted rockfish, 192 bolina, and two bocaccio.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.
Jimmy Moran of Wood Lake became the Week 17 (July 25-31) qualifier for the end-of- the-year John Rowley Lingcod Tournament. He caught a 19-pound, 3-ounce lingcod, the heaviest of the period.
Other jackpot winners with ling weights were: Eileen DeRaadt, Lemoore, 15.2, Jackson Riley, Fresno, 12.6, Kevin Hill, Lompoc, 12.5, Matthew Hanner, San Luis Obispo, 11.7, and Terry Brown, Bakersfield, 8.5.
Marina manager Bruce Harwood said: “Full limits of rockfish continued to be the norm last week with a few ocean whitefish and sheephead in the mix.”
Sixteen trips last week catered to 438 angler who caught 4,580 fish including 254 lingcod.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.virgslanding.com or call 772-1222.
Port San Luis Boatyard
The year’s biggest Whopper of the Week catch, a 42-pound, 4-ounce white seabass, earned Roger Bruce of Arroyo Grande a free launch ticket. He caught the seabass July 30. The previous leader was a 39-pound, 11-ounce halibut caught by Templeton’s Randy Phaar on July 5.
One hundred fifty-six boats were launched last week. The catch included 16 seabass, eight halibut and 169 lingcod — 66 of them Saturday.
Morro Bay Landing
A 21-pound lingcod topped last week’s catch by 283 patrons. Lompoc’s Wendell Chen caught the big one while on board the Endeavor.
All jackpot winners had lingcod. Weights were: Vidal Casares, Kingsburg, 17 pounds, Denny Gunnels, Cathey’s Valley, 16 pounds, Marty Dyke, Porterville, and Robert Kent, Iona Valley, both 14 pounds, Chuck Phillips, Fresno, 11 pounds, Jesse Kim, Santa Maria, 10 1/2 pounds, Junior Martinez, Woodley, and Luke Hoage, Templeton both 8 pounds, and James Tartaglia, Reedley, 7 pounds.
Last week 283 patrons caught 213 lingcod, 532 red rockcod, 2,028 assorted rockfish, 64 coppers, 18 bolina, three cabezon, three bocaccio and two kelp greenling.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.morrobayanding.com or call 771-5500.
Complete details of the Ambushers’ Aug. 1 night tournament at Nacimiento Lake were not available. The tournament director is on vacation. Damon Meeks of Atascadero won with a 5-fish limit weighing 9.84 pounds.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer said: “The best bass fishing has been early on frogs and poppers, jigs and drop-shot. Crappie action slowed some last week although some quality fish were checked in at the marina. Mini jigs fished around docks in the White Oak area reportedly were the ticket. A handful of bullhead and channel catfish came from the same area on cut mackerel.”
Whale Rock Last week was No. 15 since the beginning of the season in late April. Only one angler showed up and that person didn’t catch anything. The facility, which is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays, has been open 73 days.
The turnout total stands at 148. One trout was caught in Week 3, a 16-incher by Jeremy Harkins. There was an anonymous report of a 6-inch and an 8-inch fish being caught during the July 15-19 open period.