It was just a “fun event.” It was a bunch of guys who annually get together to usher in the New Year practicing their passion — competitive bass fishing at Nacimiento Lake.
They call it “The Hangover Tournament.” That’s something of a misnomer because this group knows better than to be on the water impaired.
By themselves, the fish provide a sufficient challenge.
And so it was on a chilly crisp morning on New Year’s Day.
The winners were Jared Lintner and frequent partner Nick Salvucci.
“It’s always a fun tournament. Always good to get together with your buddies and an opportunity to get in some practice for tournaments coming up,” said Lintner, the 38-year-old bass professional from Arroyo Grande.
Tournament Director Damon Meeks said: “It’s no surprise Jared and Nick won. I don’t keep track of these things, but they’ve finished on top a number of times.”
Added Lintner: “I don’t recall how many Hangover Tournaments we’ve won. But, we’ve been on a roll.”
It’s at least two years running, as the pair won in 2011 with a 12.99-pound, five-fish limit including the 4.18-pound “big fish.”
This year, it was a 4.10-pound largemouth that made the difference. Coupled with four spots, all retrieved on jigs and by drop shotting for a weight of 12.45 pounds, the duo raked in $820 for the winners’ share plus $400 for “big fish” honors.
Tandems from Hollister and Salinas claimed the only other paid finishes — second and third. Hollister’s Jason Ballew and Ken Allerton earned $620 for their 11.71-pound limit for a runner-up finish, while Sam James and Jerry Rouse from Salinas were third with an 11.35-pound limit that paid $410.
Forty-three teams competed on a day when the weather turned favorable in the afternoon.
Participants’ boats were inspected at Nacimiento’s entry gate to make sure the vessels were muscle-free. That delayed the event’s start 30 minutes to 7:30 a.m. and pushed weigh-in time to 3:30 p.m. instead of the advertised time of 3 p.m., Meeks reported.
Lintner said his team caught “about 20 fish” while getting in some practice for two tournaments this weekend, both at Nacimiento. The second test in the 2011-12 American Bass Pacific Coast series will be contested at Nacimiento beginning Saturday. Lintner and Salvucci finished third at Lopez Lake on Dec. 10 in the first event of the season.
The Central Coast WON Bass series opens Sunday with Lintner and Salvucci fishing with different partners.
In January, there are four tournaments at Nacimiento. In addition to this weekend’s schedule, there is 101 Bass stop No. 2 on Jan. 14. This new series is the brainchild of Jim Slusher, owner of Jim’s Pro Bass of Paso Robles. Lintner and Salvucci won the inaugural competition in December at Lopez Lake. The San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers’ Club launches its 2012 season Jan. 21.
Other January events include the Tri Valley Club opener Jan. 21 at Lopez and the third stop on the Central Coast Angler’s Choice series the same day at Lake San Antonio.
FLW’s Everstart tourneys, a Pro-Co-Angler series that usually attracts some top Central Coast participants, debuts at Lake Shasta Jan. 26-28. The FLW National Guard series involving teams from Cal Poly and other western colleges will be held at Shasta on Jan. 28. Lintner has mapped out a challenging 2012 professional campaign. It all begins at Shreveport-Bossier City, La., beginning Feb. 24-26 on the Red River where he’ll be one of just two Californians who have qualified for bass fishing’s richest tournament. The winner earns $500,000. Ish Monroe of Hughson is the other Golden State qualifier. Skeet Reese of Auburn, a celebrated angler who had qualified a dozen times and won it on the Red River in 2009, did not make the field this time.
It will be Lintner’s third time in the Classic; his other appearances in 2007 and 2008 saw him finish 19th and 20th, respectively.His seventh season on the Bassmaster Elite pro tour begins March 15-18 on Florida’s St. Johns River. The eighth and final regular season event is set for Aug. 22-26 on Lake Oneida, one of New York’s Finger Lakes.
Preparatory to these tour stops he’s having his new 2012 Skeeter bass boat being professionally wrapped next week. The father of three children with his wife, Keri, plans to compete in all four scheduled 2012 Professional Anglers Association events with Elite pro Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark.
“Last year I only fished in one of the series. My dad (Dan) had foot surgery for a broken foot and could not walk on it for six months so I flew back home a number of times to keep the family business (Lintner Distributing) going,” Lintner said. It’s a dairy products business dispensing to schools, restaurants and stores.
In addition to the aforementioned local tournament events he plans to team with friend Ken Mah of Elk Grove in WON Bass competitions. Their target will be qualifying for the TOC at Clear Lake.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Grover Beach’s Mark Stuthard’s catch of a 32-pound, 8-ounce halibut Dec. 27, which gave him a leg up for the final Whopper of the Week award of 2011, did in fact hold up.
Totals for the week by anglers aboard 32 launched boats included 98 lingcod, four halibut, 10 white seabass and 26 barracuda. Posted were two days of three-quarter to full limits, two half to three-quarter limits and one three-quarter limits. The facility was closed New Year’s Day.
Kaci Reasoner, 8, of San Luis Obispo was in the right place at the right time aboard the Princess on Dec. 29. Standing next to her was Richard Wise of Sierra Madre. He hooked a fish and handed his rod to Reasoner, who caught a 15-pound lingcod, which was the jackpot fish on a trip with 41 anglers on board.
For trip schedules, call 772-1222.
Ninety-one lingcods were caught by 325 passengers last week, bringing the landing’s final count for 2011 to 2,955.
For trip schedules, call 595-7200.