Tournament bass fishermen are a mobile lot. Take the winners of two competitions at Nacimiento Lake last weekend, for instance.When contacted Tuesday evening, both were on the road in their trucks pulling boats en route to their next challenge — a two-day pro-am tournament this weekend at Lake Shasta.
Thinking that Darrin Bishop hadn’t won a tournament in a while, my opening question to him was a monumental gaffe on my part.“I won the pro division of the WON Bass Western Classic at Nacimiento last December,” he said.
I confessed to a brain drain. The event had slipped through the cracks. I had forgotten about it. And the event was in Paso Robles.Said Bishop: “I thought about calling you but that would have been out of character for me.”
Perusing the WON Bass website, I learned that the Paso Robles pro, one of the better anglers on the Central Coast, was in third place, two pounds off the lead after the first day at San Antonio. He bolted to the pro division championship by weighing a 13.21-pound limit at Naci-miento on the second day. He won by two pounds over Mike Folkestad, one of California’s most esteemed bass anglers. Included in Bishop’s 24.10 two-day limit was a 4.89-pound fish, the event’s biggest, almost a full pound heavier than the next best.
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It was Bishop’s second WON Western Classic Pro title. He also won at Clear Lake in 2004.
Darrin, fishing with his father Del of Templeton on Saturday, captured top honors in the third test on the American Bass Pacific Coast schedule.
“We had a 10-pound limit by 10 o’clock when dad reeled up a 3.85-pounder from 20 to 30 feet of water,” Darrin Bishop said. The Bishops had an estimated 50 bites Saturday, including six to 10 largemouths. But their 13.69-pound limit was made up of all spots. The big fish accounted for $495 of their total winnings of $4,188.33.
Thirty-two of the 34 teams entered had five-fish limits. The Fraziers, Dan of Arroyo Grande and his brother David of Westminster, placed second with an 11.38-pound weight paying $1,373.
ABA Pacific Coast Top 10 (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings
1. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 13.89 pounds, $4.199.33; 2. Dan Frazier, Arroyo Grande, David Frazier, Westminster, 11.38 pounds, $1,373; 3. Jason Letterman, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 10.55 pounds, $1,025.33; 4. Jim Slusher, Atascadero, Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, 9.63 pounds, $610; 5.Clark Small, Solvang, Randy McAbee, Bakersfield, 9.61 pounds, $250; 6. Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, Todd Reccord, Paso Robles, 9.58 pounds, $591.33; 7. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 9.32 pounds, $125; 8. Bryan Grier, Hollister, Joe Golz, Salinas, 9.32 pounds, $100; 9. Sam James, Doug Slaton, Salinas, 9.25 pounds, $297; 10. Steven Grier, Jeff Buckner, Salinas, 8.77 pounds, $160.
1st Big Fish, 3.85 pounds, Bishop & Bishop, $495; 2nd Big Fish, 3.25 pounds, James & Slaton, $297; 3rd Big Fish, 2.07 pounds, Doss & Reccord, $198.
Grier wins first event of season
My next cell conversation was with Bryan Grier, the same angler who caught a 7.31-pound spotted bass for a Nacimiento record last month.
On Saturday, he placed eighth in the ABA event and the next day, fishing with Scott Mullins, took top honors in the first WON Bass event of the season.
“There was a lot of boat traffic on Sunday and I couldn’t get to my top locations so we fished elsewhere with jigs in 35 feet of water. Our 13.19-pound weight (all spots) was enough to win by a pound. My partner caught our two biggest spots (3.86 and 3.67 pounds).”
In the pro-am at Shasta, both Grier and Bishop will have amateur partners to be drawn prior to each day’s fishing. Last January Bishop was the pro winner at Shasta.
WON Bass Central Coast Top 10 (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings
1. Bryan Grier, Hollister, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 13.19 pounds, $1,420; 2. Tom Guidry, Dustin Isbell, Vandenberg Village, 12.11 pounds, $810; 3. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 11.76 pounds, $595; 4. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 19.73 pounds, $280; 5. Neal Franklin, Atascadero, Brad Austin, San Miguel, 10.31 pounds, $135; 6. Dustin Selck, (cq) Sal Rocha, Arroyo Grande, 10.15 pounds; 7. Ron & Heather Raymond, Paso Robles, 9.90 pounds; 8. Roger Haas, Morro Bay, 9.82 pounds; 9.Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 9.81 pounds; 10. Mead Hedricks, Tom Vienola, Lompoc, 9.59 pounds.1st Big Fish, 3.86 pounds, Grier & Mullins; 2nd Big Fish 3.68 pounds, Raymond & Raymond; 3rd Big Fish, 3.48 pounds, Guidry & Isbell.
Whale Watching trips are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost us $39 adults, $20 for children age 15 and under.
Call 772-1222 for reservations. Three boats ranging in length from 55 to 90 feet in length are available for private charters. Forty-one whale watchers from 4-H Marine Science Project of San Luis Obispo County cruised aboard the 90-foot Admiral with Captain Charlie Lanini on Saturday.
The annual migration of 80,000 gray whales on their 10,000-mile journey from Alaska to birthing lagoons in Mexico is in progress. It’s an opportunity to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles.
Port San Luis Boatyard
A big swell has discouraged most boat owners from launching. Two boats were dispatched Jan. 3 and Jan. 4. One white seabass was caught Tuesday. Tide books are now available.
Combination crab and ocean excursion trips are being offered both Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. On the last such trip Jan. 1, everyone went home with dungeness crabs and saw 16 whales and other sea life. Cost is $45.
On Saturday, an ocean excursion only trip from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. has a $35 fare. For more information and reservations call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
The second event in the new101 Bass series is set for Saturday at Nacimiento Lake.
On Jan. 3, an Arroyo Grande brother and sister made some pleasing catches. Shelby Masters, 12, caught a 31⁄2-pound trout while her brother, Joe, 14, reeled in an 8-pound catfish on a nightcrawler. The marina’s Jonathan Garcia said anglers attaching wax worms to flies and a drop shotting were catching crappie off the F dock.
Santa Margarita Lake
Anglers who are persistent are catching bass in 25 to 30 feet of water with jigs and a trailer, marina operator Don Lopez said. Winter hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Dave Rymal reports some of his Heritage Ranch neighbors are catching 1 to 11⁄2-pound spotted bass by drop shotting with live nightcrawlers. Virgil Ray probed Snake Creek for spots and connected by drop shotting.
Rymal said the fish are scattered in the wake of numerous bass tournaments this month.
Lake San Antonio
Winter hours for the marina are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.
For the first time since summer, carp showed up on the surface last week so bowfishing for carp picked up. Best trout reports came from those who trolled from the surface down to 15 feet in Cachuma Bay.
Bank fisherman had the best success soaking crawlers and PowerBait in Harvey’s Bay. Casting spoons and Rapalas also worked. Bass have dropped down 25 feet making fishing tough around Arrowhead Island and The Narrows. Jigs and blades worked for largemouth while smallies are scarce. Drifting worms and trolling CD3 Rapalas is effective for crappie up to two pounds.