Nacimiento Lake will be a different venue Friday, one that bass fishermen have not experienced since 1983.
It’s full now, meaning that familiarity is down to zero. Favorite locations where competitors have caught fish for decades are now under water.The lake could be a riddle for even the most experienced anglers who will be looking to qualify for the second annual California State Championship.
On Tuesday, tournament director Tom Leogrande said he expects 40 to 45 entrants.
Twenty-five percent of the entrants will qualify for the state championship event, set for June 2-3. That site has not been announced. Creston’s Dale Ball is the reigning state champion, having won the title last fall at Clear Lake.
Should Leogrande’s expected number of entries show up, there could be 10 or more qualifiers for the title competition.
First event begins at first safe light with weigh-in at 3 p.m.
The tournament is an individual competition with one angler to a boat. The entry fee is $138 plus an annual membership.
College bass nationals
Cal Poly’s entry in last week’s second annual FLW National Guard collegiate bass fishing championship finished sixth out of 25 teams. At Kentucky Lake, the Mustangs were the highest-placing team from the West region.
Seniors Scott Hellesen and Damian Bean missed qualifying for the Day 3 finals by 15 ounces.
“On day one we caught 25 fish but only four were keepers,” Hellesen said. “We had nearly 20 fish that missed the 15-inch minimum length by a quarter or half an inch. That cost us a berth in the finals.
“We were in eighth place, just three spots behind the Florida team that repeated as champions.
“I fished jigs off the bow while Damian cast 3⁄16-ounce shaky heads with 6-inch worms from the stern. Our five fish limit weighed 9 (pounds), 14 (ounces), just two ounces better than day one. We fished all new water on Friday and spent several hours seeking bigger fish, but it didn’t pan out. We figured we needed an 11-pound bag, and we were right-on about that.”
Hellesen and Bean qualified for the nationals with a fifth-place in the October 2010 regional at Folsom Lake.
Hellesen and Bean have already qualified for the 2011 regional with a third-place finish at Arizona’s Lake Roosevelt in February. Their nex test will be May 7 at the California Delta.
WON bass tournament
WON bass tournament winners Danny Knotts of Santa Maria and Tim Sharpe of Grover Beach were prepared for the weather change.
“In 30 years of tournament fishing, I’ve learned that rate-of-fall of your lures is critical, especially when there is a cold front,” Sharpe said.
“We practiced in T-shirts, but changed to thermals for the tournament. It was 29 degrees en route to Santa Margarita Lake. The water temperature dropped from 70 to 58 degrees in two days. We opted for slow-falling jigs, dark colors in the morning and lighter in the afternoon. The subtlety made a difference.”
Added Knotts: “In this tournament, I picked the places to fish and the color, and Tim caught most of our 15 fish. We had a limit on jigs by 9 o’clock and the flipping bite turned on as it warmed up.”
Their 26.63-pound limit included the second-big fish, 7.07 pounds, for winnings totaling $1,510.
Runners-up John Phillips and Brad Austin were 29-hundreths of a pound behind the victors.
Early in the day, the tournament’s big fish, 7.78 pounds, was caught on a Senko by George Stamper. It was worth $460 to the ninth-place team. Stamper caught it within 50 yards of where his partner, Byron Hallett, caught a 10-15 bass in Wednesday’s practice.
WON Bass Top 10 (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings
1.Danny Knotts, Santa Maria, Tim Sharpe, Grover Beach, 26.63 pounds, $1,510; 2. John Phillips, Santa Margarita, Brad Austin, San Miguel, 23.34 pounds, $920; 3. Roger Haas, Morro Bay, Kevin Rayner, Templeton, 22.42 pounds, $710; 4. Greg Hanley, Paso Robles, Jedd Ingraham, Atascadero, 20.36 pounds, $450; 5. Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, Shawn Lee, Arroyo Grande, 20.21 pounds, $320; 6. Carlos & Jacob Vasquez, Soledad, 19.67 pounds, $210; 7. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 19.61 pounds, $160; 8. Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 19.53 pounds, $110; 9. Byron Hallett, Templeton, George Stamper, Paso Robles, 18.86 pounds; 10. Mark Hinson, San Luis Obispo, 18.80 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 7.78 pounds, Hallett & Stamper, $460; 2nd Big Fish, 7.07 pounds, Knotts & Sharpe, $300; Closest bag weight to 10 pounds, 9.69 pounds, Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, $340.
Cachuma Trout Derby
More than 600 men, women and children participated in last weekend’s 16th-annual Trout Derby benefiting the Cachuma Lake Nature Center.
The top prizes were won by Richard Johnson, Santa Clarita, $2,000 for highest number tagged fish, No. 124; Bruce Levine, Moorpark, $1,000 for the longest trout, 225⁄8 inches; Zach Medaris, Simi Valley, $550 for second-highest tagged trout, No. 47; Larry Neal, Nipomo, $500 for second-longest trout, 1715⁄16inches.
Other winners included: Lily Cheverez, 11, Santa Maria, longest trout 1813⁄16 inches by girl age 11-16; Austin Bright, 14, Arroyo Grande, longest trout 1715⁄16 inches by boy age 11-16; oldest angler, William Massa, 87, Santa Maria.
Children won $25 plus a rod and reel for the longest fish by anglers age 10 and under included: Alec Rodriguez, 10, Lompoc, 193⁄4 inches; Justin Knauss, 5, Santa Ynez, 18⁄4 inches.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Operator Marty Codorniz has not seen a salmon caught from a boat dispatched out of the Sports Launch. He’s offering $100 for the first salmon caught from a PSL Boatyard-launched vessel plus a free lunch by Portside Coffee. The second salmon presented from a different boat will get a free launch, plus breakfast or lunch from Portside Coffee. Thirteen boats were launched last week and one through Wednesday this week, but zero salmon were present.
John Rowley piloted the Fiesta on a Tuesday salmon trip with 10 anglers on board. Two keepers, one a 12-pounder, were caught under rough seas and windy conditions. Four keepers and 20 shorts were reported on the April 9 trip. Call 772-1222 for trip schedules and for reservations.
One short was caught by 11 anglers on the April 9 salmon trip. A salmon trip from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. is planned for Saturday. Cost is $80 for adults, $60 for children 12 and under. A crab and sanddab trip from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. is set for Sunday. Cost is $66. Call 595-7200 for reservations and for more information.
A few salmon are being caught from boats using the public launch ramp at Morro Bay. Shorts are dominate.
Senkos and spinner blades are catching spotted bass, Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal said. Trolled Kastmasters, Roostertails and Shad Raps are catching white bass in Snake Creek.
“The fishing is getting better in the warmer weather,” Rymal said.
Santa Margarita Lake
Atascadero’s Zac James caught a 6-pound bass on a spinnerbait April 10. John Wrona of Templeton caught a 14-pound bass on a jig in the river April 2 while Richard Capper of Atascadero landed a 9-pound, 14-ounce catfish on a hot dog April 3.
An angler promised to send marina operator Jerry Weatherly a photo of 9 1⁄4-pound bass he caught. Bluegill and redear are more catchable than crappie.