An uncle and his nephew from the San Joaquin Valley, who have been fishing together for more than 40 years, used homemade lures to win the initial 2015 event in the 101 Bass Series. Season No. 4 for Jim Slusher’s brainchild was contested at Nacimiento Lake where 20 of the 21 teams entered weighed five-fish limits.
“We idled across the lake and primarily fished a 100-yard stretch of water.
We probably caught 100 fish,” Clovis resident Richard Neal said. “We never needed to get our boat up on plane during the tournament.”
His uncle, Jerry Waldrip of Bakersfield, caught the “kicker fish” they needed to win the competition.
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The 3.07-pound bass bit on a Green Weenie-colored paddle tail grub poured by Neal. The fish caught on a drop-shot presentation provided a win by 0.52 pounds over the father-and-son team of Del Bishop of Templeton and Darrin Bishop of Paso Robles.
Neal and Waldrip said they have won tournaments at Nacimiento with weights as little as 4 pounds.
101 Bass Top 10 (All 5-fish Limits), Weight
1. Richard Neal, Clovis, Jerry Waldrip, Bakersfield, 8.97 pounds; 2. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 8.45 pounds, 3. Randy McAbee, Sr., Randy McAbee, Jr., Bakersfield, ]8.09 pounds; 4. Marc Hazuka, Clarke Castenada, Atascadero, 7.94 pounds; 5. Todd Reccord, Paso Robles, Mike Maddux, Arroyo Grande, 7.76 pounds; 6. Jim Slusher, Atascadero, Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 7.63 pounds; 7. Scott & Matt Mullins, Salinas, 7.44 pounds; 8. Bud Aquino, Grover Beach, Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, 7.30 pounds; 9. Gene Gray, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 7.25 pounds; 10. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Casey Langley, Nipomo, 7.21 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 3.07 pounds, Neal & Waldrip.
Jan. 24 tournament events
Twenty-year-old Jacob Lewis of Atascadero and partner Nick Gregg fished slowly with jigs and plastics in capturing top honors in Tri Valley’s first tournament of 2015 at Lopez Lake. Inability to contact the winners prompted a delay in reporting this event.
Fishing from Lewis’ recently acquired Ranger Z 519 boat, the Tackle Warehouse retail clerk reeled in the tournament’s big fish. The 5.49-pound largemouth was taken on a worm. It anchored their 23.12-pound, six-fish team limit. Eight of the top 10 teams in the January 24 event had six fish team limits.
Tri Valley Top 10, Place, No. Fish, Weight
1. Jacob Lewis, Nick Gregg, Atascadero, 6, 23.12 pounds; 2. Mike Maddux, Matt Quaresma, Arroyo Grande, 6, 21.60 pounds; 3. Louis Fernandes, Troy Fernandes, Santa Maria, 6, 21.16 pounds; 4. Frank Fernandes, Santa Maria, Janet Ross, Santa Margarita, 6, 18.36 pounds; 5. Dan Barrios, Justin Goodman, San Luis Obispo, 4, 15.89 pounds; 6. Joey Reggio, Brian Nawrocki, San Luis Obispo, 6, 15.19 pounds; 7. Felix Camacho, Nipomo, Ken Camacho, Santa Maria, 6, 14.98 pounds; 8. Mark Scribner, August Kinney, Pismo Beach, 6, 12.69 pounds; 9. Patrick Touey, Nipomo, Mark Moreno, Arroyo Grande, 6, 12.47 pounds; 10. Robert Gardiner, Dale Litwiler, Lompoc, 4, 11.99 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.49 pounds, Lewis & Gregg; 2nd Big Fish, 5.18 pounds, Fernandes & Fernandes.
Bass tournament directors may find it necessary to tweak their 2015 schedules if sufficient amounts of rains fail to significantly improve Santa Margarita and Lake San Antonio.
The Best Bass Coastal Region schedule calls for tournaments at Margarita on March 7 and April 11.
The 101 series lists events for April 4 and April 25 at Margarita.
Tri Valley’s agenda has visits to Margarita on May 16 and July 18.
Currently, neither the main lake nor White Oak launch ramps are available to launch boats.
SLO County Bass Ambushers tournament director Al Rush says he’s holding out hope that San Antonio would be able to host events March 28, Aug. 29 and Sept. 19. Barring huge amounts of rain, that venue does not appear likely to be able to host tourneys this season.
The Ambushers also are slated to visit Margarita on April 12.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina manager Ken Hemer reports there are no launching facilities until further notice. People who fish from a boat must either rent a boat or bring a kayak or small boat that can be hand-launched.
“The bass bite has been day-to-day,” Hemer reported. “Mackey Point continues to be the hot spot for shore anglers soaking inflated nightcrawlers in approximately 20 feet of water. There probably is a good catfish bite but nobody was targeting them last week.”
Cody Uhrig reported: “Warm weather last week made it tough for fishermen to get a consistent bite. Only about 10 catfish were reported all in the 1- to 2-pound range. Nightcrawlers and mackerel were the top baits. Shore anglers working the stick ups by Drake Cove caught some healthy smallmouth bass. Largemouth did not make a showing last week. Those trolling for trout found it difficult.”
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said that Saturday, Doug Rice’s girlfriend, Jolene (no last name given), caught three spotted bass weighing 2.5, 3.5 and 4.2 pounds. All were caught on Senkos by the main marina.
Good saltwater news
Virg’s Landing reported receiving confirmation the rockcod season will start April 1. That is a month earlier than in recent years.
Reservations are being taken for both daily trips and charters. Call 772-1222 or go online to www.virgs.com
Patriot Sportfishing On a crab and sanddab trip Jan. 31 aboard the Patriot, 11 anglers brought in 151 sanddabs, seven rock crab and 41 dungeness crabs. For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfising.com.