A pair of Atascadero teenagers graduated, so to speak, last weekend when they placed first and second in the two-day San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers tournament.
The club is noted as a learning center for bass fishermen, especially young members.
By finishing at the top of the leaderboard in the overall standings of the final competition on the club’s 2009 schedule, Graham Grove and Austin Bonjour proved their mettle in an organization comprised of fellow members two to three times their age.
Grove, 17, won his first tournament in this, his third season. Bonjour, 15, logged his second runner-up placing of 2009. He just completed his fourth season. Each teenager finished in the top 10 six times in the 10-event schedule.
Never miss a local story.
Grove, a senior at Atascadero High School, said he fished when he was younger, then abandoned the sport.
“In 2005 my interest in fishing was rekindled after a summer of fishing a farm pond at an uncle’s place in Tennessee,” he said.
“I’ve learned a lot about bass fishing from different people. Ken Meeks has been especially helpful. It’s been fun fishing with Steve Bereda and Neal Franklin. They’ve been patient with me.”
Nineteen of the 23 anglers posted 5-fish limits at Nacimiento Lake on Saturday. Marc Hazuka led the field with 9.05 pounds. Grove was fifth at 7.83. He trailed Hazuka by 1.22 pounds. Bonjour was a distant 16th with a 6.84 limit.
Fishing with Franklin both days, Grove found fortune in the first 20 minutes Sunday at Santa Margarita Lake.
“I caught what proved to be the big fish of the day (4.05 pounds) on a drop shot in 8 feet of water.”
Grove landed two more by drop shotting and one on a Senko for a 4-fish weight of 10.69 pounds, the heaviest weight on the second day. Bonjour, a sophomore at Atascadero High, was the only entrant to limit both days. He made the big jump from 16th to second overall on the strength of his 8.65-pound limit at Margarita, coupled with 10 anglers, including Hazuka, blanking.
Fishing from the back seat with Cambria’s Erik Zillig, Bonjour drop shotted for four fish of his limit in a span of 10 minutes Sunday.
Top 10 at Nacimiento Lake, all 5-fish limits, Weight — 1.Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 9.05 pounds; 2. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 8.49 pounds; 3. Clay Gates, Paso Robles, 8.48 pounds; 4. Mitch Wasley, Paso Robles, 8.40 pounds; 5. Graham Grove, Atascadero, 7.83 pounds; 6. Mark Scribner, Avila, 7.82 pounds; 7. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 7.80 pounds; 8. Paul Gates, Paso Robles, 7.70 pounds; 9. Steve Bereda, Santa Margarita, 7.60 pounds; 10. Mike Mill, Atascadero, 7.42 pounds.Big fish, 2.16 pounds, Hazuka, $115. Top 10 at Santa Margarita, Number of Fish, Weight — 1.Graham Grove, 4, 10.69 pounds; 2. Austin Bonjour, 5, 8.65 pounds; 3. Clay Gates, 2, 5.65 pounds; 4. Steve Bereda, 3, 5.34 pounds; 5. Mitch Wasley, 2. 4.69 pounds; 6. Erik Zillig, Cambria, 2, 3.98 pounds; 7. Al Rush, 2, 3.83 pounds; 8. Paul Gates, 1, 3.14 pounds; 9. Randy Rowlette, 1. 2.63 pounds; 10. Ken Meeks, 1, 2.37 pounds.Big Fish, 4.05 pounds, Grove, $115. Overall Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight Winnings 1. Graham Grove, 9, 18.52 pounds; 2. Austin Bonjour, 10, 15.49 pounds; 3. Clay Gates, 7, 14.73 pounds, $292.50; 4. Mitch Wasley, 7, 13.09 pounds, $175.50; 5. Steve Bereda, 8, 12.94 pounds, $117’ 6. Al Rush, 7, 12.32 pounds; 7. Erik Zillig, 7, 11.23 pounds; 8. Paul Gates, 6, 10.84 pounds; 9. Ken Meeks, 6, 10.17 pounds; 10. Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, 6, 9.14 pounds. Angler of Year Standings (after 2 lowest scores tossed out), points —1. Clay Gates, 830; 2. Steve Bereda, 822; 3. Mitch Wasley, 813; 4. Al Rush, 810; 5. Marc Hazuka, 807; 6. Graham Grove, 797; 7. *Neal Franklin, Atascadero, 788; 8. Ken Meeks, 788; 9. Austin Bonjour, 787; 10. Allan Branson, Paso Robles, 757.*Tie broken by having heavier big fish.
———— Port San Luis meeting set
Port San Luis Harbor Master Steve McGrath has set a meeting with fishermen for Monday at 3 p.m. Among the topics to be addressed are parking of boat trailers and the early lineup of boats prior to the opening of the launch. The meeting will be in the conference room at the Port’s office. Those planning to attend should e-mail McGrath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anglers aboard the Pacific Queen had five albacore as of noon Wednesday. Twenty passengers on board were fishing 50 miles out of port.
Albacore runs on the Pacific Queen depart at 11 p.m. today and Friday. Virg’s will send the Princess or Admiral on a tuna trip departing today. The fare is $235. For reservations call 772-1222.
Last week, 264 passengers caught 100 albacore, 5 bluefin, 1 lingcod, 37 red rockcod, 869 assorted rockfish, 60 coppers and 9 bocaccio.Jackpot winners included Ken Bruce, Bakersfield, 7-pound bocaccio, Carly Sanford, Bakersfield, 7-pound red rockcod, Jerry Mulvihill, Fresno, 4-pound red rockcod, Dan Spaulding, Coarsgold, 4-pound bocaccio.
Central Coast Sportfishing
Audrey Bardan of Arroyo Grande caught the big fish, a 9-pound lingcod, Tuesday, while on the 13th and final Kids At Sea trip of the year. There were 25 Coastal Christian High School students on board the Rita G.
Reservations are being accepted for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. trips and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. trips. Fares are $66 and $56, respectively.
Skipper Michele Leary also is offering 16-hour albacore trips. The fare is $190.For reservations, call 704-2084.
The Pacific Horizon was dispatched Tuesday night for a crew trip prospecting for albacore. No information was available Wednesday on how the trip went.
An albacore trip will be offered departing between 10 and 11 tonight Trips departing Saturday and Sunday evenings are a possibility, depending on the number of reservations. The fare is $225. Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information.
Last week 143 anglers caught one lingcod, 84 red rockcod, 433 assorted rockfish, 110 bolina, one cabezon, 20 albacore.Jackpot winners included Joe Torres, Santa Maria, 17-pound albacore, Larry Fannuni, Keene, 5-pound cabezon, Stephen Ward, Tulare, 4-poumnd boccacio, Evan Patterson, Clovis, 4-pound yellow rockcod.
Santa Margarita Lake
Steve Goldman of Santa Margarita caught seven crappie Monday while fishing across from the marina using crappie jigs. Marina spokesperson Sandra Lopez said that catfish and crappie are being caught.
Reservations are being taken for the Oct. 24 Swap Meet. Thirty spaces are available for $15 each. The focus is on camping, boating and fishing equipment.
Chuck Shrode used crankbaits to land 3-pound and 21⁄2-pound largemouth bass while fishing by the boat house. Joseph Martinez of Santa Maria caught a 41⁄2-pound bass on a nightcrawlers at Cottonwood Cove point.
Redear and small catfish are being caught.
Lake San Antonio
Marina staff Eric Peterson said stripers are being caught when baitfish are boiling.
Smallmouth bass are being harvested in Harris Creek and by the dam.
Rod Burnell caught a 13-inch trout on PoweBait, and John Baugman reeled in an 8-inch trout on a Kastmaster. Seven anglers showed up last week.