A duo from Vandenberg Air Force Base parlayed a fortuitous catch into their first American Bass Pacific Region tournament victory Saturday at Cachuma Lake.
Calvin Long, 55 and retired from the Air Force, made the decisive catch about noon.
While controlling the trolling motor from the front deck, Dean Krambeck saw a branch moving toward his boat.
“Suddenly the bass Calvin had on unwrapped itself and jumped out of the water,” said Krambeck, 36.
Never miss a local story.
Long picked up the story. “The fish was about 10 feet from the boat when it jumped. Then it went deep, but instead of coming up under the boat, it surfaced parallel to the boat.”
What Krambeck netted was a 3.88-pound bass that provided a 1.68-pound margin of victory and a $2,639 payday.
Krambeck came to Vandenberg from Louisian in 2003. He’s on active duty with electronics responsibility for the 576 Flight Test Squadron.
“I was accustomed to flippin’ for bass in 4 feet of water and channels that were 8 feet deep,” Krambeck said. “Here the channels can be 100 feet deep. Fishing California lakes is graphically different.”
Krambeck and Long had different partners while competing for five years in the now defunct Gold Coast Bass Club. They compiled their winning ABA weight of 12.94 pounds in less than 10 feet of water using Senkos and Trick worms on 8-pound test lines.
ABA Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings — 1. Dean Krambeck, Calvin Long, Vandenberg Village, 5, 12.94 pounds, $2,693; 2. Danny Knotts, Santa Maria, Tim Sharpe, Grover Beach, 5, 11.26 pounds, $800; 3. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Dean Miller, Tulare, 5, 10.65 pounds, $780; 4. Louis Fernandes, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 5, 10.02 pounds, $250; 5. Gene Gray, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 5, 9.82 pounds, $460; 6. Danny Conaster, Thomas White, King City, 4, 9.26 pounds, $650; 7. Clark Small, Solvang, Randy McAbee, Bakersfield, 5, 8.72 pounds; 8. Scott Lamberton & John Flynn, 5, 8.53 pounds; 9. Mark Pollorena, Buellton, Steve Fernandes, Santa Maria, 5, 7.96 pounds; 10. John & Julie Beckett, 5, 7.95 pounds.1st Big Fish, 4.44 pounds, Gray & Kahler, $650; 2. 2nd Big Fish 3.88 pounds, *Krambeck & Long, $390; 3rd Big Fish 3.88 pounds, Bishop & Miller, $260. (*Tie broken by team with heaviest bag weight.)
Balmy 85-degree weather prevailed while Ambusher anglers practiced Friday at Lake San Antonio. It was mostly cold and overcast, however, for the Saturday and Sunday tournament.
“I saw, but refrained from catching 100 bass on beds, in practice,” tournament winner Damon Meeks said.
Bed fish basically disappeared during the tournament. Meeks caught 5.15- and 5.31-pound largemouths on beds Saturday when he had a limit. He mistakenly chose the lighter fish but still won big fish honors Saturday.
“I caught all four of my Sunday fish on beds during a 45-minute window when the sun came out and wind subsided,” Meeks said.
His winning weight was 29.40 pounds for nine bass. Runner-up Joey Davis had Sunday’s big fish, 3.44 pounds, and two limits totaling 24.67 pounds.
Ambushers’ Two-Day Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight Winnings — 1. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, (9), 29.40 pounds, $315; 2. Joey Davis, Atascadero, 10, 24.67 pounds, $189; 3.Erik Zillig, Cambria, 10, 24.27 pounds, $126; 4. Neal Franklin, Atascadero, 9, 19.29 pounds; 5. Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 7, 17.66 pounds; 6. Steve Bereda, Santa Margarita, 8, 15.49 pounds; 7. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 8, 14.89 pounds; 8. Graham Grove, Atascadero, 5, 9.30 pounds; 9. Jeremy Donk, Atascadero, 4, 9.16 pounds; 10. Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 5, 9.05 pounds.Big fish, Day 1, 5.15 pounds, Damon Meeks, $120; Day 2, 3.44 pounds, Joey Davis, $120.
Pre-paid reservations are being taken for 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. salmon trips beginning April 3. Trips will be limited to 15 anglers and cost $89.
Whale watching trips are planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Fares are $39 for adults, $29 for children 15 and under. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information.
A combination crab and sanddab trip is scheduled for Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fare is $66. Whale watching trips are planned for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost is $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 4-12, $15 and $10 for children 3 and under.
The April 3 salmon opener is sold out. Reservations for other salmon trips are being accepted. Fares are $80. Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information.
Santa Margarita Lake
A Kid’s Fishing Derby is planned for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The event, open to those 15 and under, is sponsored by Friends of Santa Margarita Lake. Instruction will be given along with the opportunity to fish and compete for prizes. Lunches will be free.
Catching big bass this past week were: Steve Fernandes, Santa Maria, 11 pounds, 1 ounce on a jig, Carlos Mireles, Los Osos, 8-1 on a plastic worm and Dan Magda, Atascadero, 6-1 on a crankbait.
Dave Rymal and four other Heritage Ranch residents each caught 40 white bass Monday night while fishing from shore in Snake Creek. Rymal was using Blue Fox Flash spinners.
“We were catching so many fish there was a lot of laughing, hooting and hollering,” Rymal said.
On Tuesday morning, Rymal caught a bunch of crappie up to 11⁄2 pounds using white crappie jigs three feet under a bubble float.
Lake San Antonio
Doug Rice of Atascadero and Tony Grijalva of Paso Robles arrived at the dam before sunrise Sunday and caught 12 stripers by 9 a.m. and called it a day. Damon Meeks, the Ambushers’ bass tourney winner, and other entrants witnessed the striper catches.
Prospective bidders for the Cachuma marina concessionaire position have until Aprril 2 to file. Bids will be reviewed and a recommendation sent to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. According to Parks Director Daniel Hernandez, the marina, which has been closed since early October, is expected to reopen by early May A limited number of rental boats will be available for the annual Trout Derby, April 17-18.
Both the youngest and oldest Bassmaster Elite angler finished in the top 12 at Clear Lake last week.
Rookie Brandon Roy, 19, the youngest Elite Series pro ever, placed eighth and earned $12,500. Guy Eaker, 70, finished third and earned $20,000. Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner, 36, placed 10th for an $11,500 paycheck. Only 12 pros qualify for the finals.