A comedic touch was added to the 15th-annual Cachuma Lake Trout Derby on Saturday when a young man presented his catch to tournament officials two hours into the event.
This wasn’t just any old trout, but a very special trophy.
In the first place, the trout wasn’t completely visible. In fact, it was protruding from the mouth of an 8-pound-plus catfish. What was showing was a tag on the 11-inch rainbow.
Fittingly, Neal Taylor was on the premises. The retired Cachuma Lake naturalist spent nearly 20 years spinning tall tales while guiding nature cruises around the lake.
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Of course, Taylor’s penchant for pulling the collective legs of his audience is quite natural. Often, he’s reminded that he’s a Jonathan Winters look alike. Neal, who lives in Santa Barbara as does Winters, has the same cherubic features as the 84-year-old comedian.
When the trout was pulled from the mouth of the catfish, tag No. 189 was revealed. It turned out to be the third-highest numbered tagged trout caught during the two-day tournament. It was worth $300 to shoreline fisherman Shaun Sullivan of Santa Barbara.
Taylor stepped forward with an additional tournament award. It was $50 for the wackiest fish story of the event.
On a side note, I’ve been personally entertained by Taylor, who also happens to be an outstanding fly fisherman and has tutored U.S. presidents. In recent years, Taylor has taught fly fishing seminars at Cal Poly.
The Derby, which attracted 665 entrants, paid out $5,000 in cash prizes and more than $13,000 worth of merchandise prizes. A multitude of donors played significant roles in the staging of the event.Major prize winners were: Highest Tag Number, No. 890, Rob Campbell, Simi Valley, $2,000; Longest Trout, 19 5/8 inches, Gilbert Echevarria, Buellton, $1,000.
Central Coast prize winners included: 3rd Longest trout, 18 1/2 inches, Ed Longstreth, Arroyo Grande, $250; 2nd Longest Trout by boy age 11-16, 17 1/4 inches, Casey Olivera, Santa Maria, $25; Oldest Angler, Manuel Mideiros, 94, Santa Maria, $50; Rod and reel plus $25 for Kids Age 10 and under, Zack Oliveria, 6, 17 1/4 inches; Kylie Bright, 10, Arroyo Grande, 17 1/16 inches; Amber Olivera, 10, Santa Maria, 17 inches.
Changes in the 2010 recreational salmon fishing season were announced late last week by the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
The size limit, which was 20 inches long, will become 24 inches beginning May 1. Another change is that fishing is to take place between Thursday and Monday from May 1 through the end of the season, Sept. 6.
No salmon fishing will be allowed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Weather permitting, salmon fishing trips will be offered Thursday through Sunday. Fares for the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. trips are $80 for adults, $35 for those 12 and under.
A whale watching trip from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is scheduled for Saturday. Fares are $35 for adults, $15 for children ages 4-12 and $10 for children age 3 and under.
Reservations are being taken for rockcod trips beginning May 1.
Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information.
The next salmon fishing trip is planned for Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The prepaid fare is $89. For more information and reservations call 772-1222. Reservations are being taken for the rockcod season opening May 1.
Michele Leary, owner-operator of the vessel named after her grandmother, Rita Gartrell, is accepting reservations for the upcoming rockcod season. Her reservation number is 704-2084. Beginning Monday, the phone number will be 772-FISH (3474).
She plans monthly big-fish competitions with awards of $500, $250 and two long-range trip passes for the three-heaviest catches each month. Customers will be automatically entered at no cost. She said a $15,000 award from Cable Committee will enable her to expand her Kids At Sea program.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Nine boats were launched last week and two salmon were caught Sunday. Neither was weighed so there is no Whopper of the Week.
The Annual Trout Derby has been cancelled. Lopez has not had any trout plants since April 29, 2009.
“Currently fishing for white bass is the best I’ve seen it in my five years as a resident of Heritage Ranch,” asserted Dave Rymal. “At least six of us are fishing from shore on a nightly basis. We’ve found the best action an hour before sundown. Two-pound whites are caught with regularity and 3-pounders are not uncommon.”
Lake San Antonio
Staffer Nick Pena was fishing for stripers recently by the marina. His spoon was gobbled up by a 20-pound fish but instead of a linesider, he caught a carp, which he quickly returned to the lake.
Stripers are being caught by the dam and in Three Fingers Cove. Some largemouth and an occasional catfish also are being taken.