It has been a long, long time since saltwater enthusiasts have been authorized to engage in their angling passion — rockcod fishing.
A state imposed 135-day hiatus ends Sunday and businesses such as Virg’s Landing, Patriot Sportfishing, Central Coast Sportfishing and the Port San Luis Boatyard can stride toward profitability.
Virg’s is offering two trips Sunday. Cost is $69 for the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. trip and $89 for the 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. trip. Virg’s is now located at 1169 Market St. in Morro Bay. Fishermen can buy their tickets, tackle and other needs plus rent rods at the Market Street location. Rental rods may be picked up on the boat. Staff will advise customers where to park and where to board their boat.
For more information and reservations call 772-1222.
Patriot Sportfishing will have two boats going to Point Purisma on Sunday, weather permitting. The 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. trips are priced at $78 for adults and $52 for children 12 and under.
A combination salmon and crab fishing trip from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. is scheduled for Friday. Cost is $80 for adults, $60 for children 12 and under. Rockcod trips are planned for 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6. Prices are $66 for adults and $45 for children 12 and under.
Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information.
At Central Coast Sportfishing, owner Michele Leary has leased the Fiesta from Virg’s. The Rita G and the Fiesta will embark on long-range trips for Sunday’s rockcod opener.
Cost for the 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. trips are $89. Half-price fares are offered to active military personnel and children 12 and under. An 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. trip is planned for Monday. Brian Rowley will run the shop, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and earlier on trip days. Rowley also does rod and reel repairs and wrap rods.
For reservations and more information, call 772-Fish (3474) or 704-2084 and leave a call-back number. At the Port San Luis Boatyard, boaters desiring to get a head start on the rockcod season may put their vessels on moorings for $10 a night. Launchings will begin at 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
When is second place better than first in a bass tournament?
That was the scenario that played out in Saturday’s San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers competition at Santa Margarita Lake.
Former San Luis Obispo resident Skylar Feltman, an inconsistent entrant in Ambusher tournaments since he was a teenager, finished atop the standings for the first time. He did so in spite of being assessed a two-tenths of a pound penalty for bringing a dead fish to the scales.
Usually, he enters the options. This time, the 29-year-old did not. The omission cost him $435. Although Rick Long of Taft placed second, he pocketed first-place money, and Feltman took home no money.
Feltman, from Santa Monica, had an 18.14-pound weight after the penalty. He became a winner and a loser because of his pre-tourney omission. Long came in second in weight at 18.13 for five fish but was a money winner.
Long has entered Ambusher events on an infrequent basis for three years. He entered for the first time Saturday in the club’s fourth tournament. Long, from Bakersfield, caught his limit by drop shotting at a flat area near the dam. Feltman’s catches were the result of Wacky-rigged presentations of Senkos dunked near the Salinas River.
Only nine of the season’s highest number of entrants, 39, had limits.
Ambushers Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings---1. Skylar Feltman, Santa Monica, 4, 18.14 pounds; 2. Rick Long, Taft, 5, 18.13 pounds, $435; 3. David Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 5, 17.39 pounds, $253; 4. Neal Franklin, Atascadero, 5, 16.79 pounds, $162; 5. Jesse Wilson, Atascadero, 5, 16.50 pounds; 6. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 5, 15.69 pounds; 7. Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 5, 14.09 pounds; 8. Graham Grove, Atascadero, 5, 13.87 pounds; 9. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 5, 13.32 pounds; 10. Casey Langley, Arroyo Grande, 4, 11.96 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 4.67 pounds, Franklin, $195.
Santa Margarita Lake
Steve Goldman caught 11- and 9-pound bass while fishing with shad-colored Rat-L-Traps by the dam Friday. Nancy Tharp used mackerel dunked at Jackass Cove to harvest a 16-pound, 2-ounce catfish. Her fishing companion, Dillon Talley, reeled in an 8-pound catfish. A dozen crappie to 31⁄2 pounds were caught by Dennis Yates on micro mini jigs.
The 10th-annual Easter Egg hunt was a big success, attracting an estimated 300 children. Marina manager Jerry Weatherly hard boiled and colored 900 eggs. Another 300 plastic eggs were donated. Some held prize slips.
A 3 1⁄2-pound largemouth was caught by Casmalia’s Richard Mineau.
Arnutfo Navarro landed a 31⁄2-pound largemouth while Bret Rueda landed 11⁄2 and 1-pound redear plus a 11⁄2-pound bass.
“We have yet to see the white bass boiling on the surface, but that should be happening soon,” said Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal, who keeps a watchful eye on fishing from a participant’s vantage point.
“I’ve been fishing for white bass mornings as well as evenings and I have been more successful mornings trolling Shad Raps. Recently, my biggest white weighed 2 pounds. Fishermen on boats around me were catching white bass by trolling Roostertails. I’m unaware of what is happening with spotted bass.”
Whale Rock Reservoir
Trout fishing opens Saturday. The facility is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The facility is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.