Fishing is all about being in the right place at the right time. Neither age nor sex is relevant. Having skills honed over many years can be an asset. Being on board a sleek bass boat powered by a big motor can transport anglers to locations landlubbers will never visit.
Still, that’s no guarantee of the ultimate goal of catching hefty fish. Shore fishermen can’t be ignored. And Lady Luck sometimes creeps into the equation.
Harvey Mallory, 73, has been relegated to fishing from banks because of boat motor problems. This month, he has been making daily treks to Santa Margarita Lake where he’s been catching big bass.
Five years ago he caught his biggest bass, a 7 1⁄2-pounder on a spinnerbait, also at Santa Margarita Lake.
Twice last week he exceeded his previous best.
His first upgrade occurred May 8, when he reeled in an 11-pound, 2-ounce largemouth on a swimbait.
But the best was two days away for this angler, who has been engaged in his passion for 65 years.
He changed baits last Thursday in his pursuit of an even bigger bass. This time a night crawler was the magic presentation. Mallory reeled in a 13-pounder while his son-in-law, Kevin Pollick of Atascadero, looked on in amazement.
“It was a post spawn female,” Mallory said. “We weighed the fish on three different scales, first on a battery-operated scale, then on my son-in-law’s Rapala digital scale.
“Finally, I took it home and weighed both of us on my bathroom scale. Each time the fish weighed 13 pounds.”
Because it was 6 p.m. and the marina was closed, there was no opportunity to weigh Mallory’s catch on the certified digital scale kept by park rangers.
The catch prompted Mallory’s daughter, Cora Pollick, to send a photo to The Tribune and inquire about the Santa Margarita Lake bass record.It’s been broken two springs in a row, both by tournament anglers. Bakersfield’s Kenny Sims caught a 13.47-pound bass May 22, 2010, and Fresno’s Joe Alanis set the current record March 6, 2011, with a 14.33-pound bass.
After all the weighing and upon releasing the fish back into the lake, you couldn’t blame Mallory for envisioning another hookup with this piscatorial prize perhaps a year hence when she has grown to lake record size.
While in competition, there’s not a tournament bass fisherman alive who doesn’t pray for a hookup like Mallory had.
101 Bass tourney
On Saturday at Nacimiento Lake, Damon Meeks and Jay Short became the seventh different team to win a 101 Bass tourney. All 29 teams had limits on a lake that’s kicking out bigger fish than it did just a few years ago. In fact, Sam and Ralph Sawdey, who placed third, weighed all largemouths (12.18 pounds).
Minutes into the event, Meeks landed the day’s big fish on a swimbait, a 5.04-pound largemouth. Short flipped for a 2 1⁄2 and a bit under 2-pound spots early. Meeks also caught a 4-pound spot on a swimbait. Catches on 4-inch plastic worms late enabled the team to do some culling on a day they estimated catching 70 fish.
A 15.42-pound limit provided a 2.76-pound edge on runners-up Jared Lintner and Nick Salvucci, the reigning 101 Anglers of the Year. Meeks and Short each ended a prolonged absence from the winner’s circle.
101 Bass Top 10 (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings
1.Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton 15.42 pounds, $2,850; 2. Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 12.76 pounds, $1,465; 3. Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, Ralph Sawdey, Shandon, 12.18 pounds, $635; 4. Ken & Kenna Sauret, Paso Robles, 11.15 pounds, $250; 5. Shawn Wilson, Mark Gomes, Paso Robles, 10.58 pounds, $200; 6. 6. Scott Mullins, Salinas, Bryan Grier, Hollister, 10.11 pounds; 7. Carlos Vasquez, Jose Canchola, Soledad, 9.89 pounds; 8. Jim Keeney, Tom Ryan, Paso Robles, 9.81 pounds; 9. Austin & Larry Bonjour, Atascadero, 9.77 pounds; 10. Frank Fernandes, Brandon Reynolds, Santa Maria, 9.72 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.04 pounds, Meeks & Short.
Port San Luis Boatyard
A huge salmon catch Saturday highlighted a week when 571-plus salmon were harvested. There were 300-plus counted Saturday by marina personnel. However, eight boat owners chose to put their boats on moorings over night to ensure an early out Sunday. Marty Codorniz said anglers on those boats probably caught 40 or more salmon.
For the week, 166 boats were dispatched, 65 on Saturday, 35 on Sunday and 34 on Friday. The salmon take on Sunday was 134 fish and 114 on Friday.
Scott Hollingsworth of Oceano earned Whopper of the Week honors with an 18.1-pound salmon weighed Friday or Saturday. Lingcod totaled 94 with full rockcod limits three days.
The three placewinners in the Friday Papa Jigs tournament were: 1. Joe Jenson, Parkfield, 11-0 lingcod; 2. Larry Gonzales, Exeter, 10.5 lingcod; 3. Jason Ballentine, Los Osos, 9-0 lingcod. Winning jackpots were: Mark Helton, Atascadero, and Jeff Reed, both 9-0 lings.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 772-1222.
This year, the annual Lingcod Contest has been changed to four separate competitions with the final big ling worth $1,000.
Leading the current May-June event are: Joe Cinelli, Grand Island, N.Y., 17-pound, 4-ounce ling; John Mulay, Atascadero, 16-pound, 8-ounce fish; and Danny Mogg, Santa Maria, 16 pounds.
Prizes awarded June 30 will be $300, $200, and $100 for the three heaviest fish. Subsequent competitions will be July-August, September-October and November-December. There is no entry fee. All paying customers are automatically entered.
Winning jackpots were Roger York, San Luis Obispo, Brian Kinson, Santa Cruz, and Curtis Codiroli, Bakersfield, all 10-0 lings; Keith Bow, Pismo Beach, 9-0 ling; Randy Olsen, Pismo Beach 8-0 bolina; Lori Brown, San Luis Obispo, Victor Kzatpichuk, Roseville, both 7-0 lings; Tim Wise, Bakersfield, 6-0 red rockcod; and Kirk Frey, Corona, 5-0 red rockcod.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal reports double-digit catches of white bass. Resident Martin Rowley used Real Image jigs to catch and release 40 whites fishing outside Dip Creek on Monday. Residents Rick Foster and Bunky Childs bagged 19 whites and limits of spots in Dip Creek on Tuesday. Rymal, using a fly rod with Caddis flies, focused on fat bluegill up to one pound.
Santa Margarita Lake
Tammy Holder of Santa Margarita, caught a 13-pound, 12-ounce catfish Saturday on a nightcrawler. The fish was released. Brody Chenouth of San Luis Obispo caught a 6-pound, 5-ounce bass on a Senko on Wednesday morning.
Marina manager Aaron Boyd says anglers must fight through clusters of shad to get to their targeted species.
The majority of bass are holding in 1 to 10 feet of water and are being caught all over the lake on jigs, Texas rigs, shallow water crankbaits as well as top water presentations both early and late. Trout have moved a bit deeper, reports marina manager Ken Hemer.
The dam area has been productive with Dodger/Needlefish or Dodger/Crawler combos. Trollers pay out four colors of lead core line. Mackerel is attracting catfish in creek channels and shallow coves. Crappie anglers are successful in The Narrows, in Santa Cruz Bay and the back of Cachuma Bay. Bowfishing for carp has been at its best early morning or late evening.
PowerBait worked for James Taylor for a 17-inch trout. It was the only catch by 24 anglers during week three of the fishing season. To date, 10 trout have been caught and 85 anglers have tried.