Jared Lintner and 112 other Bassmaster Elite pros began their final regular season competition Wednesday morning at Lake St. Clair near Detroit.
Undoubtedly the pros are glad they have the Chessapeake Bay in their rear view mirror. Tournament No. 7 two weeks ago played out as perhaps the toughest test in the 10-year Elite series history.
For example, 10 anglers blanked on day one and as many did the same on day two.
Casey Ashley, the 2015 Bassmaster Classic champion, managed just two fish and placed 90th. Kevin VanDam, who is recognized as the world’s best bass fisherman with four Classic crowns under his belt, finished in 78th place with four fish in two days. His total weight was 9 pounds, 7 ounces.
Lintner, Arroyo Grande’s favorite son, had one fish in the opening round and a day two limit good for 62nd place (12 pounds, 11 ounces for six fish).
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Enough about hindsight.
There are plenty of challenges this week. Lake St. Clair is bisected by a line through the heart of the lake that separates Canada from the United States. Catches made in foreign water translates to disqualification.
And then there is the wind which is always a factor around the Great Lakes. Pros must decide whether or not to buck the wind, which is a gamble, to reach some desired locations found in practice.
Lintner began his 10th season as an Elite pro by notching his best Classic finish in five qualifications. He was 18th and pocketed $12,800.
In the 2015 Elite series, his best efforts were 53rd at Lake Guntersville that paid $10,000 followed by a 15th place at Lake Havasu and a 42nd at Kentucky Lake that paid similar amounts.
Lintner is in 62nd place in the Angler of the Year standings.
Morro Bay Landing
Huge jackpot winning lingcod highlighted last week’s fishing experienced by 254 anglers on 13 trips aboard three different boats, the San Pedro Special, Endeavor and Reel EZ.
Ken Fowler of San Diego reeled in a 30-pound ling aboard Endeavor, while Ron Keck of Cambria bagged a 25-pounder on a Friday trip also aboard the Endeavor.
Other jackpot winners, all with lingcod, had these weights: Glenna Davis, Wasco, 19; Mark Masicampo, San Luis Obispo, 17; Sylvester Torres, Sanger, 16; Jim Webb, Cambria, and Derrick Bickerson, Bakersfield, both 10; Derek Phillips, Pismo Beach, 9; Stan Peterson, Atascadero, Dianna Cortez, Dana Point, and Chris Miller, Carson City, Nev., all 8.
The anglers caught 297 lingcod, 746 red rockcod, 1,741 assorted rockfish, 54 copper rockfish, two bocaccio, one cabezon, and one sheephead.
Port San Luis Boatyard
The 53-pound, two-ounce white seabass Mark Stuthard of Grover Beach caught took Whopper-of-the-Week honors.
One hundred fourteen boats were dispatched last week. Anglers aboard these private boats caught 133 lingcod, seven halibut and two seabass. Full rockcod limits were logged three days and three quarter limits were recorded four days.
Latest to qualify for the December John Rowley Lingcod Tournament is an angler from Diamond Bar, Jerry Chang. He made it with a 20.8-pound ling caught August 16 on a two-day trip aboard the Princess. Chang is the 20th qualifier.
At the Cape San Martin area the 26 anglers landed 156 lingcod. One crew member caught a 24-pound ling.
Due to high demand, five more two-day trips have been scheduled in September and October. For trip schedules and reservations, call 772-1222 or go to www.virgslanding.com.
Additional jackpot winners who all caught lings were: Chris Bastian, Porterville, 11.3 pounds; Jesus Medina, Woodlake, 11.2 pounds; and Kate Nichols, Templeton, 9 pounds.
The catch by 297 patrons on 12 trips was 3,239 fish, including 269 lingcod.
A 36-pound halibut caught by Paul Hawk of Tollhouse topped last week’s jackpot winners out of the landing. He made the catch at Pt. Sal on a Sunday trip aboard the 6-pack boat, Avenger.
Other jackpot winners included: Santa Maria’s Robert Jordan, a 22-7 lingcod; Tyler Barton, Paso Robles, 18-7 sheephead; Mike Wilson, Morro Bay, 12-0 ling; Gabriel Fabala, Fresno, and Keaton Eldridge, Nipomo, both 10-0 lings; Jesse Kim, Santa Maria, and Manuel Bravo, Santa Maria, both 9-0 lings.
One hundred eighty-eight lingcod were caught by 205 passengers. Also caught were 322 red rockcod, 380 bolina, 50 copper rockfish, 1,219 assorted rockfish, 15 cabezon, six boccacio, one halibut, three white seabass, and one sheephead.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.
Three anglers turned out last week with the usual results — no trout. The number of participants for the year is 161. The fish count remains at three and just one angler was identified. That was 2014’s most successful guest, Jeremy Harkins. He reeled in a 16-inch trout May 9. An anonymous angler left a report saying he or she caught two trout measuring six and eight inches. That was back during July 15-19.
The reservoir is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Zac Miller reported from the marina, “Arroyo Grande’s Dwight Bagby caught a 6-3 Ω bass August 22. We’ve also had reports of catfish catches up to 11 1/2 pounds”
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports, “This past week the bass bite has been fair to good on a variety of baits. Frogs, jigs, flukes and Senkos caught fish to six pounds. Windy days have been the most productive. Mini jigs fished in the White Oak area kicked out a lot of crappie. Some anglers harvested as many as 15 apiece. Fly-lining cut mackerel resulted in some nice catches of larger blue catfish as well as some channels and bullheads. Again White Oak was the best area for whiskerfish. Bluegill and redear took the week off.”
Marina Manager Cody Uhrig says, “Both large and smallmouth bass are active. Smaller lures such as crappie jigs and split-tail power minnows are working the best from accessible shore areas and Cachuma Bay point. Up to three pound catfish are plentiful.”