It’s wild, fun and it’s something that had not happened during his 25 years as the marine warden operating along the Central Coast.
Retired Department of Fish & Game warden Drew Brandy was describing the white seabass frenzy, which is in week No. 4.
More than 500 of the delicious-eating “ghost” fish have been landed in waters off the coke plant near the mouth of the Santa Maria River. The species has been tagged “ghost” fish because they could be here today and gone tomorrow.
Brandy was slated to be among the armada jigging for the whites Wednesday. Drew said he and his angling partners had made two trips to the scene of the action and harvested 13 or 14 seabass.
“The smallest were 20-pounders and the largest in the mid 40-pound range,” he said. “It has to be a boost to the local economy, too. The Port San Luis parking lot is full of boat trailers, the guys are happy and virtually everyone is having a ball.”
The bite tapered off Tuesday and Wednesday as 33 vessels bagged 18 White seabass Tuesday and anglers aboard 23 boats Wednesday had 14.
The best day was Monday when 20 boats returned with 86 fish. This week’s total for three days is 118 fish. The Aug. 2-8 harvest was 309 white seabass for 152 boats. The capper was a 60-pound, 5-ounce brute caught Sunday by Sonny Fricia of Grover Beach, to capture Whopper of the Week honors.
Ninety whites passed through the Sports Launch during the July 26-Aug. 1 week when 124 boats were dispatched. The fury began innocently enough when 13 whites were bagged July 19-25 — 11 of them in one day.
Whopper winners were white seabass weighing 49 pounds, 6 ounces by Todd Vido of Arroyo Grande on July 19 and a 47-pound, 2-ounce catch by Joe Vaughn of Santa Maria on Aug. 1. A 50-2 catch by Maysun Wells of Los Osos was trumped by Fricia’s catch.Patriot Sportfishing had crew trips out Aug. 4 and Aug, 6 when nine people caught 27 whites and 13 landed 31, respectively. Only one fish was landed on an open party boat Saturday with 18 on board.
The Pacific Horizon, with 18 customers on board, encountered wind Wednesday afternoon and was returning with no white seabass. Sea-bass were being caught out of the public launch ramp in Morro Bay. That bite has ceased and there is no way to monitor how many were caught. An undetermined number of boats out of Morro Bay have made trips south to the white seabass but results remain unavailable.
Tri Valley bases club
Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande has a protégé — his 9-year-old son, J.C.
The pair won Saturday’s eighth and final regular season Tri Valley Club bass tournament at Lopez Lake. And J.C. made a personal contribution to the team’s 28.25-pound six-fish team limit.
“J.C. had never done any flippin’ but by the end of the day he was hitting his targets,” the proud dad said.
“I was ready to call it quits in the split-sessions July tournament at Santa Margarita Lake. We had blanked before the barbecue, but J.C. wanted to keep fishing. We did and my son caught our biggest fish on a Senko as we placed sixth.”
Eighteen-year-old Graham Grove of Atascadero and Avila Bay Club tennis pro Mark Scribner, a first-year duo, captured club Anglers-of-the-Year laurels. Despite their second poorest finish of the year (11th), they increased a 10-point lead to 19 over John Phillips of Santa Margarita and Brad Austin of San Miguel.
The runners-up finished 20th Saturday, a notch better than their worst 2010 placing. Grove and Scribner had six top-10 finishes. Their best effort was a third at Santa Margarita.
Only two first-place finishes were registered by teams finishing in standings top five. Phillips and Austin won at Nacimiento Lake in January while Felix Camacho and his cousin, Ken, the fourth-place unit, won at Lopez Lake in April.
Tri Valley Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings1. Jared & JC Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 6, 28.25 pounds, $755; 2. Brad Shepherd, Atascadero, Robert Bruggeman, Pismo Beach, 6, 25.60 pounds, $300; 3. Jeff Rose, Rich Zeilenga, Oceano, 6, 21.41 pounds, $230; 4. Felix Camacho, Nipomo, Ken Camacho, Santa Maria, 4, 21.08 pounds, $120; 5. Dana & Clayton Chatterly, Lompoc, 6, 20.59 pounds, $95; 6. Jeff Hodges, Arroyo Grande, Corey Schmidt, Oceano, 4, 29.35 pounds; 7. Jay & Matt Short, Templeton, 6, 19.89 pounds; 8. Terry Wolf, Santa Margarita, Pat Schmidt, Templeton, 3, 18.90 pounds; 9. Mead Hedricks, Rick Delara, Lompoc, 6, 18.06 pounds; 10. Joe Gardiner, Bakersfield, Scott Helleson, Whittier, 6, 17.26 pounds.1st Big Fish, 5.76 pounds, Shepherd & Bruggeman, $210; 2nd Big Fish, 5.51 pounds, Lintner & Lintner, $90.
State bass championship
Four San Luis Obispo County residents begin competition today and Friday at Clear Lake in the first annual California Bass Championship.
Darrin Bishop and Jim Keeney of Paso Robles, who finished 1-2, respectively, in the Region 2 qualifier last month at Lopez Lake, are among the 40 contestants.
Arroyo Grande’s Casey Langley, 10th at Lopez, and Creston’s Dale Ball, sixth in the Region 4 event on the Sacramento River, are also entered.
The sixth-annual Patriot Lingcod Contest begins Sunday.
The contest is open to all paying customers on Patriot Sportfishing boats through Nov. 15. The three-heaviest lingcod will be worth $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000.
There is no entry fee. Employees, vendors and their family members are ineligible.
Weather permitting, Long Range trips to Point Purisima, a haven for hefty lingcods, will be run every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information.
Jackpot winners last week included: Tom Waddel, Oceano, 11-3 ling; Dennis Gummerman, Santa Maria, 10-5 ling; Joe Torres, Arroyo Grande, 10-3 ling; Isaac Adams, Visalia, 10-0 ling; Ben Gilmore, Oceano, 8-0 ling; Cindy Spivey. Visalia, 7-0 ling; Dave Zamore, Visalia, 5-0 sheephead; Wes Hull, Media, Pa., 4-0 bolina; Wesley Harris, Wasco, and Israel Wingatel, Atascadero, both 4-0 vermillion.Last week 409 anglers caught 26 lingcod, 735 red rockcod, 1,259 assorted rockfish, 1,023 bolina, 16, cabezon, one sheephead, and one white seabass.
A shallow-water trip aboard the Fiesta with John Rowley at the helm will target halibut Wednesday. The trip is from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $75 and the limit is 20 passengers. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information. Prize money accrued thus far for the season-ending “Big Fish” tournament totals $3,728. The weekly big fish catchers (possibly 26) will qualify for the Nov. 6 tournament. All paid anglers are automatically entered; there is no entry fee. An overnight trip is set for this weekend departing at 3 p.m. Saturday. The fare is $205. Call for reservations.
Last week’s jackpot winners: Kenny Diaz, Morro Bay, 13-0 ling; Beryl Foster, Morro Bay, John Castro, Bakersfield, both 12-0 ling; Theresa Verburg, Kingsbury, 11-0 ling; Archie Stevens, Taft, 9-0 ling; Troy Gilmore, Jamul, 8-0 ling; Todd Schafer, Paso Robles, Jarof Felix, Salida, James Cobera, Fresno, all 7-0 ling; Pat Cooley, Arizona, 7-0 bocaccio; and Henry Ortiz, Delano, 7-0 red rockcod. Caught by 548 patrons were: 132 lingcod, 1,158 red rockcod, 3,380 assorted rockfish, 90 bocaccio, 165 coppers, 95 bolina, and two cabezon. Central Coast Sportfishing
For reservations, call 772-3474 or 704-2084.
Sixty-six anglers on three trips caught one lingcod, 113 red rockcod, 67 bolina, 26 coppers, 444 assorted rockfish and three ocean whitefish.
The best recent catch in a non-tournament event was the Monday catch by Santa Maria’s Julio Lemon — a 43⁄4-pound largemouth taken in the Arroyo Grande Arm of the lake on a red Roostertail.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina manager Don Lopez reports crappie are a “nice size” when you can find them. Redear and bluegill are being caught and a few catfish.
Treviner Hansen caught trout three weeks in a row including two last week, a 16-incher Saturday and an 18-incher Sunday, both on lures.
Gary Collier landed a 13-inch fish on Friday on PowerBait.
Last week’s turnout: Seven anglers. In 16 weeks of fishing (79 days) 214 anglers have caught 22 trout.