Whale Rock Reservoir’s fishing season ends today, probably much to the chagrin of one Jeremy Harkins.
Obviously, he figured out how to catch trout at the impoundment. He did it using five different baits — PowerBait, nightcrawlers, crickets, cheese and dough.
Twenty five of his 43 trout measured 17 inches or more. Cheese tempted a 21-inch rainbow and a 20-inch fish dined on a nightcrawler.
The season has spanned 29 weeks, and Harkins’ name was enscribed on 14 weekly creel reports.
Three different times his name was linked with a companion. Their catches were not delineated, hence the catches did not pad Harkins’ total fish count.
Anglers were blanked four straight weeks from July 16 through Aug. 10, and again three weeks in September — Sept. 3-21.
Despite those lulls, anglers caught 114 trout.
Five hundred five anglers have challenged the reservoirs’ banks prospecting for trout. That’s the angler count through No. 9.
This year’s total catch was a big drop from last year’s extraordinary campaign when 192 fish were harvested. Triple-digit catches have been recorded for four straight years —130 in 2011 and 124 in 2012.
Just 35 trout were caught in 2010 and 28 the previous year.
Those counts were palatable compared to the start of the 2006 season when only eight fish were caught from April through Sept. 24. A pair of 12-fish weeks, plus an eight-count down the stretch, boosted the fish total to 49.
Only three more weeks of qualifying remain for the Dec. 6 John Rowley lingcod event. Hanford’s David Haines was the Virg’s patron who reeled in the heaviest lingcod last week. He became the 27th qualifier by weighing a 19-pound, 4-ounce lingcod. The landing boarded 291 passengers, and they caught a total of 299 lings.
Virg’s has been setting aside monies from each paid fare since the start of the bottom-fishing season May 1. The prize fund totaled $8,356 through Oct. 31. The eventual winner of the Rowley competition will earn 50 percent of the purse, while the second- and third-place anglers will pocket 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
The lone halibut caught, a 30-pounder, by Moises Marin of Bakersfield, was last week’s big fish.
Other jackpot winners included Richard Splann, Visalia, 14-6 ling, Andrew Bartlik, Morro Bay, 14-0 ling, Garrett Hunter, Santa Ynez, 10-0 ling, Freddy Gomez, Atascadero, 9-8 ling, Kevin Marchiando, Terra Bella, 8-10 ling and Matt Koop, Bakersfield, 5-6 red rockcod.
Last week’s catch also included 432 red rockcod, 1,470 assorted rockfish and one cabezon.
For reservations and trip schedules, go to www.virgs.com or call 772-1222.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Lingcod catches have earned Whopper of the Week honors four times this season. The 23-pound, 3-ounce specimen caught Sunday is the heaviest ling to earn honors this season. Lompoc’s Ray Ocha made the catch.
Earlier this year, a 13-pound, 8-ounce lingcod won twice and a 10-pound, 3-ounce weight was the initial Whopper of the Week registered in early May. No fish were weighed six weeks this season. Halibut have won nine times, white seabass four times and salmon twice.
The Boatyard log did not have any boats dispatched Nov. 3-4. Launches of 100 or more anglers has been recorded 18 times in 2014. The busiest week was July 28 to Aug. 3 when dispatches totaled 201. The most bountiful lingcod count was 205 from Sept. 8-14.
Joe Torres of Arroyo Grande, a money winner previously in several Patriot Lingcod contests, was last week’s leader with the catch of a 19-pound, 5-ounce lingcod Nov 9.
Other jackpot winners included Bruce Neff, Grover Beach, 19-0 ling, Brian Garces, Hanford, 16-0 ling, Valerie Madril, Santa Maria, 13-0 ling, Karson Jackson, Grover Beach, Jack Story, Atascadero, Jim Snow, Dinuba, and Andrew Gorshkov, Grover Beach, all 12-0 lings, and Greg Terry, Paso Robles, 9-0 ling.
For reservations, go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.
Combination crab and rockcod trips from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. will begin Nov. 17. The plan is to offer these trips Mondays and Fridays. Cost is $84.
Morro Bay Landing
Kylee Hall from San Luis Obispo caught the jackpot fish, a 10-pound lingcod, on last week’s only trip aboard the San Pedro Special.
Twenty anglers were on board. They caught seven lingcod, 18 red rockcod and 182 assorted rockfish.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.morrobaylanding.com or call 771-5500.
This week’s update from Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal notes: “On Monday morning, Martin Rowley trolled Roostertails on leadcore line for eight white bass. Bunky Giles, along with Jack and Brad Foster, caught limits of spotted bass by casting grubs toward shore. A 5-pound catfish also was in their catch. Both spotted and white bass are active.”
Griffin Horton handled reporting duties from the marina Wednesday.
“Last Saturday, Joseph Valencia Jr., 9, of Nipomo caught a 3 1⁄2-pound bass off the F Dock with a grub. On Sunday, a trio of Santa Maria anglers (Mary Vargas, Phillip Alverez and Ruben Moreno) caught a nice stringer of bluegill ranging from a half-pound to 1 1⁄2 pounds. They were fishing in Cottonwood Cove.”
Marina manager Ken Hemer said: “The seemingly endless hot catfish bite began to taper off last week. Only a handful of whisker fish were checked at the marina. There’s a lot of shad in the lake and anglers who have net dipped them for bait are having the most catfish success. Bass are biting best in the evening on reaction baits.”