Creston’s Dale Ball, the reigning California state bass champion, defends his crown at Clear Lake in a two-day tournament beginning today.
Ball earned the right to defend his title by winning the Bullards Bar regional with a 21.95-pound limit. Today and Friday he’ll be contending against as many as 80 anglers.
Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff who competed on the Bassmaster Elite tour from 2006-08, qualified by winning the Lake Shasta regional.
Sean Stafford of Fairfield and Mike Tuck of Granite Bay have been top performers in FLW and WON Bass pro competitions. Stafford won an April Delta Pro-Am with a two-day weight of 56.32 pounds for 10 fish.
San Luis Obispo’s Dan Barrios, who won the Nacimiento Lake qualifier, and Casey Langley of Arroyo Grande, who placed fifth, were early arrivals at Clear Lake. Windy conditions prevailed Tuesday but both caught 19 pounds of bass in practice.
Other Central Coasters who have qualified and their Nacimiento placing include: 2. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles; 3. Jay Short, Templeton; 8. Steve Bereda, Santa Margarita; and 9. Jason Smith, Santa Maria.
The moon was not shining during the May 21 Ambushers’ night tournament at Nacimiento Lake. Consequently, few fish were caught after sundown in the 4 p.m. to midnight event.
Cambria’s Erik Zillig logged his first win in the 24-angler tourney. All but one of his 11.20-pound limit ate topwater baits prior to darkness. The win was worth $252.
Runner-up Damon Meeks said: “It was so dark that I was leery of driving my boat as the high water has meant giant trees are now upright in the lake. I preferred to continue fishing in the Oak Shores area of the lake but opted to move to the marina area after 10 o’clock.
“All my fish were caught in the two hour window before and after dark.”
His early catches were on topwater presentations before switching to reaction baits after dark. The Atascadero angler has two seconds, a fourth and a win in club events. His 9.89-pound limit paid $151.
Big Fish honors and $100 went to Atascadero’s Neal Franklin with a 2.74-pound fish. Ambushers’ Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight Winnings
1. Erik Zillig, Cambria, 5, 11.20 pounds, $252; 2. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 9.89 pounds, $151; 3. Neal Franklin, Atascadero, 5, 9.67 pounds, $100; 5. Burt Lund, Atascadero, 5, 7.78 pounds; 5.*Graham Grove, Atascadero, 4, 7.25 pounds; 6. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 5, 7.25 pounds; 7. Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 7.19 pounds; 9. *Rudy Rowlett, Paso Robles, 5, 7.18 pounds; 8. Rod Berry, Paso Robles, 5, 7.18 pounds; 10. Greg Hanley, Paso Robles, 5, 6.60 pounds.
*In event of equal bag weights, the higher placing is awarded to angler with larger fish.1st Big Fish, 2.74 pounds, Franklin, $120.
Kids At Sea
Reservations are being taken for the first free Kids At Sea trip June 21. The 8 a.m. to noon combination harbor cruise and fishing trip is open to children under 18. The trip aboard the Rita G departs out of the Central Sportfishing location in Morro Bay. Fishing is for children only. Adults who accompany their child are aboard to help the youngsters. Call 772-3474 for reservations.
Reservations are being taken for the June 11-12 overnight trip departing at 3 p.m. Saturday and returning late Sunday. Cost is $205. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information.
Long-range trips from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. are scheduled Fridays and Sundays for $89.
Virg’s is operating out of an expanded center at 1169 Market Ave., Morro Bay.
Last week’s big fish were a pair of 15-pound lingcod caught by Visalia’s Enrique Celaya of Visalia, and Carroll Thomas of San Diego. Other jackpot winners were: Jesse Spence, Morro Bay, 14-pound ling; Tom Lindberg, Montana, 11-pound ling, Mike Madrigal, Grover Beach, Jake Bina, Atascadero, and Jessie Spencer, San Luis Obispo, all 9-pound lingcod, Don Russell, Morro Bay, Cathy Andrews, Roseville, both 8-pound lings, and T. Stamback, Morro Bay, 8-pound red rockcod.
Caught by 294 anglers last week were 39 lingcod, 833 red rockcod, 1,429 assorted rockfish, 176 coppers and one cabezon.
Central Coast Sportfishing
Space is available for Saturday and Sunday fishing trips aboard the Rita G. Call 772-3474 or 704-2084 for reservations.
Last week 19 anglers on two trips caught 104 assorted rockfish, 42 red rockcod, and five browns. Katherine Vigneault of Lake Isabella won a jackpot with a 4-pound red rockcod.
Combination rockcod and crab trips will be offered Wednesdays and Fridays this month. The next combo trips are Friday and Wednesday. Cost is $66. For reservations and more information, call 595-7200.
A long-range trip to Pt. Purisima is set for Sunday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $78.
Eight-pound lingcod caught by Richard Windham of Lake Isabella and Tim Murphy of Lompoc were the big fish of the week.
Two lingcod, 249 red rockcod, 165 assorted rockfish, 55 bolina, 113 Dungeness crab and seven rock crab were caught by 158 anglers.
Port San Luis Boatyard
There was no Whopper of the Week for the week ending Sunday. This week’s leader with a dressed 15-pound salmon caught Monday is Arroyo Grande’s Daron Mafi. A dozen boats were launched Monday. Four salmon, four lingcod and two halibut were in the catch. Rockcod limits were registered.
“White bass were not up on the surface Wednesday morning,” Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal said. “I caught 10 whites trolling a No. 4 Shad Rap for 90 minutes.”
There was minimal fishing during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Santa Margarita Lake
Mike Garrett of Moorpark caught a 10-pound bass on a nightcrawler while Rick Lewis of Gilroy landed a 9-pound, 14-ounce bass on a Brush Hog. Both were caught Saturday in Murphy’s Bay. Red worms are working consistently for bluegill and redear.
Meal worms were employed by three anglers in one boat and four in another to catch a mixed bag of bluegill and redear Saturday, a marina spokesman said.
Bow and arrow fishing for carp was good last week when the carp were feeding on the surface. There was an early morning bass bite in Johnson’s Bay on Senkos and creature baits. Trolling leadcore line at depth of three to four colors produced best trout fishing. Catfish were biting in the backs of shallow coves.
Two trout were caught during the six-day open period that concluded Sunday.
Using a nightcrawler for bait, David Anderson caught a 15-inch trout on May 28. Terry Lamb bagged a 13-inch rainbow on a lure Sunday. It was his second fish of the season. Seventeen anglers turned out during the May 25-30 open period. The reservoir has been open for fishing 23 days. Seventy-eight anglers have harvested eight trout. The facility is open Wednesdays through Sundays.