Atascadero’s Damon Meeks will be busy on two fronts this weekend in nocturnal bass tournaments.
He and partner Josh Brard will be gunning for their third straight win in the Friday night series at Nacimiento Lake. Then Damon will go solo at Lake San Antonio on Saturday night in test No. 7 on the Bass Ambushers schedule.
Meeks, who began honing his fishing skills as a youngster probing a creek that runs behind his dad and Steve Bereda’s Garden Farms properties, excels in bass competitions after dark.
This weekend he’ll be fishing under a full moon, a condition that enables anglers to at least see where their casts are going.
Meeks spent last weekend camping at San Antonio. But he didn’t get in any practice. Instead, he focused on giving boat rides to fellow campers in his Skeeter bass boat.
Meeks won his June Ambushers’ event by better than 12 pounds at Lopez Lake. He did so by alternating between using spinnerbaits on the surface and drop-shotting for deeper fish.
June Ambushers Top 5, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings 1. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 22.11 pounds, $260 2. Tim Branson, Paso Robles, 5, 9.90 pounds, $48; 3. Allan Branson, Paso Robles, 5, 9.44 pounds, $56; 4. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 3, 8.12 pounds, $156; 5. Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 3, 7.49 pounds. 1st Big Fish, 5.46 pounds, Damon Meeks, $150.
Lompoc duo wins again
Lompoc’s Ken Whalen and Chris Purgason last weekend duplicated what they had achieved the previous month in Central Coast ABA competition by winning Saturday’s event culling five or six times.
“We had 20 or more bites on Sunday but we kept getting broken off when we got fish near the boat,” Whalen said.
By drop-shotting and casting jigs, the Lompoc partners, who have fished together for nearly 25 years, had a 9.74-pound limit worth $810 on Saturday. They managed just three fish Sunday, placing 12th among 14 teams with a 3.29-pound weight.
The pair only fished on Sunday last month winning with a 10.10-pound limit.
Randy McAbee Jr. and his son Mason from Bakersfield, were Sunday winners with an 11.80-pound limit including the 3.29-pound 1st big fish.
All competitions are at Cachuma Lake. The series concludes Aug. 6-7.
ABA Central Coast Top 5, July 9, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Ken Whalen, Chris Purgason, Lompoc, 5, 9.74 pounds, $810; 2. Mark Pollorena, Los Alamos, Tony Capparelli, Camarillo, 5, 9.57 pounds, $601p 3. Walter Kondracki, Lancaster, Mike Reese, Ventura, 5, 9.38 pounds, $244; 4. Clark Small, Solvang, Randy McAbee, Sr., Bakersfield, 5, 8.87 pounds, $20; 5. John and Julie Beckett, Bakersfield, 5, 8.72 pounds. 1st Big Fish, 3.78 pounds, Darin Ferguson, Santa Ynez, Dustin Mojonnier, Vandenberg Village, $470; 2nd Big Fish 3.34 pounds, Pollorena & Capparelli, $132; 3rd Big Fish, 3.00 pounds, Tom Guidry, Vandenberg Village, Stan Skou, Los Alamos, $44. ABA Central Coast Top 5 July 10, all 5-fish limits, Weight, Winnings
1. Randy McAbee Jr., and Mason McAbee, Bakersfield, 11.80 pounds, $1,280; 2. Scott Lamberton, Santa Maria, John Flynn, Buellton, 11.03 pounds, $960; 3. Guidry and Skou 9.21 pounds, $400; 4. Kondracki and Reese, 8.72 pounds, $300; 5. Pollorena and Capparelli, 8.51 pounds. 1st Big Fish, 3.29 pounds McAbee & McAbee, $550; 2nd Big Fish, 2.87 pounds, Lamberton & Flynn; $132; 3rd Big Fish, 2.63 pounds, Guidry and Skou, $44.
Port San Luis Boatyard
The lingcod harvest by private boaters out of the Sports Launch last week was the third-most of the year. The biggest halibut take of the year, 27, was also logged. Launched were 135 boats. Only three salmon were reported.
Arroyo Grande’s Drew Brandy captured Whopper of the Week honors with a 21-pound, 5-ounce halibut Saturday.
A 31-pound halibut caught by Joe Torres of Bakersfield highlighted catches by 310 patrons last week.
Call 772-1222 for reservations, trip schedules.
Other jackpot winners included: Mike Zack, Fresno, 12-pound ling; Christie Lee, Fresno, 11-pound lings; Gayla Johnston, Bakersfield, Paul Avila, Morgan Hill, Chris Murray, Bakersfield, all 9-pound lings; John Wallace and Otto Connen of Bakersfield, both 8-pound lings; and Ralph Boone, Cambria, 5-pound ling. Caught last week were: 30 lings, 582 red rockcod, 2,017 assorted rockfish, 135 coppers, 3 cabezon and one halibut.
The big fish of the week was a 16-pound, 6-ounce lingcod caught by San Luis Obispo’s Roger York.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Other jackpot winners were: Gary Hill, Lompoc, 15-7 ling; Cass Schulz, Arroyo Grande, 9-6 ling; Nate Mali, Los Osos, Dillan Taylor, Fresno and Mike Shultz, Bakersfield, all 9-pound lings; Scotty Baker, Three Rivers, 8-pound ling; Donald Browne, Lompoc, 7-pound ling; Fred Garcia, Bakersfield, Sue Fische, Lompoc, Dave Wilson, San Luis Obispo, Mike Stubbs, Fresno, and Scott Steizle, Templeton, all 5-pound lings, Manuel Garza, Vacaville, 4-pound vermillion; Colin Day, Fresno, and Tommy Lawler, Powell, Tenn., both 3-pound red rockcod; and Cody Montoya, San Luis Obispo, 2-pound red.
Central Coast Sportfishing
Last week, Cambria’s Jim Webb and Kurt Michel of Visalia shared big fish honors with an 8-pound lingcod.
Other jackpot winners with 7-pound lingcods were Denise Rosburg of San Luis Obispo, Jimmy Wise of Sanger, and Rex Gallagher of Los Osos. Jake Platt of Atlanta took July honors with a 3-pound copper.
Ninety-two anglers caught 10 lingcod, 140 red rockcod, 158 bolina, 489 assorted rockfish, 46 coppers, 19 mackerel, 14 sand dabs, one rock sole and one cabezon.
On a Saturday afternoon whale watch, 13 passengers saw at least 15 whales including four that came up to the Rita G.
For reservations, call 772-3474 or 704-2084.
Onetime Arroyo Grande resident John Stallsmith returned to the Central Coast last weekend for a visit with Dave Rymal at Heritage Ranch. They fished the lake Friday and experienced a 90-minute boil.
“We used tiny torpedo lures and Kastmasters and caught all tournament grade (1 1⁄2-pound) spotted bass,” Rymal said.
Stallsmith now lives in Coarsegold, where he operates a motorcycle business.
Santa Margarita Lake
Two hefty largemouth bass were caught last week at Murphy’s Bay. Employing mackerel for bait, Nipomo’s Robert Osteen reeled in a 13-pound, 8-ounce fish.
On Sunday, Ron Reccord of Nipomo bagged a 10-pound, 2-ounce bass by drop- shotting a 6-inch plastic worm. A few catfish are being caught, as well as bluegill and redear. Anglers targeting crappie and bass are finding it difficult, the marina’s Sandra Lopez said.
Simi Valley visitors Roger and Lee Chickering and Melvin Bestante used Rapalas to catch eight bass averaging more 3 pounds plus a 2-pound crappie Sunday.
Currently, carp are not feeding on top, so bow fishing for them has slowed. However, a 15 1⁄2-pound bugle mouth was taken.
Bass fishermen who focused on deeper ledges and drop-offs and used Texas rigs, drop-shotting or jigs had the best results.
Trout fishermen are having the most success near the dam by drifting nightcrawlers or tolling leadcore line at a depth of four to five colors. Mini jigs and small spinners are working for crappie in Cachuma and Santa Cruz bays and The Narrows.
Two men, who have caught half the trout in the 54 days the reservoir has been open for fishing, were at it again last week. Gary Collier caught his eighth fish, a 10-incher on worms. Ron Holder caught his sixth fish, also 10 inches in length. He did not divulge his bait.
Eleven anglers gave it a try last week. To date, 162 anglers have fished Whale Rock and caught 28 trout.