Three fishermen who are regulars aboard Patriot Sportfishing boats out of Port San Luis captured the top three places in the first round of the ninth-annual Lingcod Contest.
One of the three wasn’t even aware there was a contest in progress. In all probability, that’s because there is no entry fee, and all paying passengers are automatically entered even if they don’t enter the optional jackpots.
John Sturgeon, 31, placed first in the May-June competition with a 17-pound, 5-ounce lingcod caught aboard the Patriot on June 9.
“I’ve won a lot of jackpots out of Patriot ($280 on his contest-winning trip) but this is the first time I’ve placed in the contest,” he said.
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A fisherman before he was a teenager, Sturgeon usually comes to the coast from his home in Bakersfield with his dad, Lloyd, 68.
His award-winning ling bit on a swimbait and was pulled from 60 to 70 feet of water.
Runner-up Mike Wilson, 69, has homes in Morro Bay and Strathmore. Fishing aboard the Rita G on June 11, he reeled in a 16-pound, 2-ounce ling on a white swimbait. He caught four lings on the trip, keeping his limit of two and sharing the others. Swimbaits also are his preference while bass fishing.
A 16-pound ling meant a third-place finish for Bryan Meadows, 38, of Bakersfield. He caught seven of the 13 lings harvested on the June 22 trip aboard the Rita G.
Meadows, a hunting guide on the 240,000-acre Tejon Ranch, used to sleep in his truck before his saltwater adventures out of Patriot. He has a place to sleep now that his mother recently moved to Avila. A rubber squid imitation is part of his swimbait presentation that paid contest dividends.
Awards of $300, $200, and $100 go to the trio. Underway is the July-August phase of the lingcod contest.
Greg Phillips of Bakersfield had the biggest ling last week, a 16-pounder.
Other jackpot winners included: Norm Baker, Atascadero, 14-0 ling, Mark Mueller, Santa Maria, 13-0 ling, Rodney Turner, Bakersfield, and Sean Vedeno, Visalia, both 12-0 lings, Devlin Autry, Bakersfield, 11-0 ling, Justin Jackson, Grover Beach, 10-5 ling, Jenny Casey, Madera, 8-5 ling, Curtis Schwedler, Selma, 8-4 ling, Zack Brown, Santa Maria, 7-0 ling, David Hernandez, Oceano, and John LeBrecque, Arroyo Grande, both 6-0 lings, and Larry Parewell, Santa Maria, 5-0 red rockcod.
For reservation or to book a trip, go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.
On Friday, a charter is booked for the Patriot, and the Rita G is scheduled for a half-day trip (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.) for $68 for adults and $50 for children 12 and under. Both boats are available for Saturday and Sunday trips.
Last week, 355 passegers caught 184 lingcod, 504 red rockcod, 1,795 assorted rockfish, six cabezon and 706 bolina.
Port San Luis Boatyard
A 23 3⁄4-pound salmon caught by Aaron Floyd of Los Osos on Saturday captured Whopper of the Week honors. It was one of 33 salmon harvested along with 92 lingcod, two halibut and one white seabass. Rockcod limits were caught each day last week when 109 boats were launched.
A pair of 14-pound lingcod topped the catch last week. Winning jackpots with the twin lings were Jesse Perez of Dana Point and Pedro Silveas of Visalia.
Other jackpot winners were: Dick VanDam, Tipton, 12-0 ling, Lesle Earle, Illinois, 11-0 ling, John VanDam, Tipton, 10-0 ling, Greg Veach, Visalia, 9-0 ling, Jeff Walsh, Paso Robles, and Andrea Wilson, Dinuba, both 8-0 lings, Jack Ridener, Fresno, and Emerl Pasomba. Coalinga, both 6-0 lingcod, Virginia Napolin, Taft, 5-0 vermillion, and Bobby Walker, Bakersfield, 4-0 ling.
Long Range trips (6 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are scheduled for Fridays and Sundays. Sundowner trips (3:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.) are Saturday and Sunday agenda items.
For reservations or a complete list of trips, go to www.virgs.com or call 772-1222.
Caught by 454 passengers last week were: 90 lingcod, 587 red rockcod, one cabezon, six barracuda, four coppers, and 3,396 assorted rockfish.
A.R. Bratvold reeled in four of the six trout that were caught last week. The catch by 39 participants swelled the season’s total to 104 fish.
Bratvold employed spoons to land 18- and 14-inch fish July 10 and added 19 1⁄4 and 17-inch fish Friday. Jeremy Harkins, who has caught more trout this year than any other fisherman, added his 22nd fish, an 18-incher, with PowerBait on Sunday.
The same day, Danny Brebs bagged a 16-inch trout on a worm. It was his sixth fish of the year.
Thus far, 593 anglers have fished the lake.
Santa Margarita Lake
On Saturday, Stanley Binet, 10, of Arroyo Grande caught a 4-pound, 15-ounce bass on a crappie jig while Creston’s Tom Thumb hooked and released six bass ranging from 4 to 6 1⁄4 pounds. Santa Clarita 11-year-old Jessica Hovey landed a 14 1⁄2-pound channel catfish on mackerel.
Marina reporter Lacey Wineman says: “Fishing from the F Dock last week, Branden Mahara, Grover Beach, caught a 2 1⁄8-pound crappie on a black leech, Elizabeth Trimble, Arroyo Grande, used a jig to land a 1 3⁄4-pound crappie, Kaika Oxendine, Santa Cruz, bagged a stringer of bluegill and crappie with mini nightcrawlers, and Jaden Ojeda reeled in a 2-pound bass on a red worm.
“With a black and white jig, a 1-pound crappie was retrieved from Strawberry Flats by Bakersfield’s Alicia Rizer, and Simi Valley’s Andrew Nava nabbed a 35⁄8-pound bass on a crawler in Cottonwood Cove.”
“Currently, fishing is tough here,” said Heritage Ranch contact Dave Rymal. “Resident Dean Shupp Sr. only caught one largemouth and two spotted bass on Broken Back Shad Raps. Also on the weekend, Paul Walden caught catfish up to six pounds using shrimp for bait.”
Because Saturday’s free Kids Fishing Workshop is limited to 50 children ages 7-15, advance registration is advised. Call the Cachuma Nature Center at 693-0691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Workshop hours are 8:45 a.m. to noon.
Cut mackerel has enticed catfish to eight pounds behind Arrowhead Island and Cachuma Bay. Both bass and crappie have retreated to a depth of 20 to 25 feet because of the heat. Nightcrawlers are best bass producers. Crappie jigs tipped with mealworms works for crappie. Trout are down 40 to 50 feet around the dam.