A duo that has been fishing Best Bass Coastal Region tournaments for four years registered its first win Saturday in the rain at Lopez Lake.
The duo was connected through businesses, and conversations about bass fishing prompted the men to become teammates in the Best Bass series.
Grover Beach’s Dan Dostal is a salesman for B&B Steel out of Santa Maria. Danny Conatser owns a fabrication shop in King City.
Around noon Saturday, Conatser worked a Senko deep to catch a 7.28-pound largemouth that anchored the team’s 21.51-pound limit that paid $1,770. It was the second-largest fish caught.
Dostal jigged for three fish the team weighed. Together the team caught eight fish spending the afternoon in the back of the lake’s Lopez Arm.
Runners-up Dan Barrios and son Charlie finished a little over 2 pounds behind the winners. Their 19.30-pound limit included a 6.47-pound largemouth Charlie pulled out of a bush. It was his only fish.
Dan Barrios has only been bass fishing for seven years. Prior to his current interest, he was recognized as an outstanding saltwater angler. In fact, the 81-pound albacore he caught off Morro Bay on Oct. 27, 2001 is still the International Game Fish Association line class record for albacore caught on 30-pound test line.
Best Bass Coastal Top 10
Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Danny Conatser, King City, Dan Dostal, Grover Beach, 5, 21.51 pounds, $1,770; 2. Dan & Charlie Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 5, 19.30 pounds, $900; 3. Jim Keeney, Tom Ryan, Paso Robles, 4, 18.85 pounds, $725; 4. Mitch Wasley, Paso Robles, Nick Lerno, Atascadero, 5, 17.91 pounds, $815; 5. Patrick Touey, Nipomo, Carlos Cecena, Arroyo Grande, 5, 16.26 pounds, $205; 6. Scott Mullins, Salinas, Tim Mullins, Templeton, 5, 16.24 pounds, $180; 7. Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, Mark Moreno, Arroyo Grande, 5, 15.15 pounds; 8. Matt Clausen, Troy Tiddwell, 5, 14.93 pounds; 9. Mark Del Papa, Arroyo Grande, Michael Meier, 5, 11.26 pounds; 10. August Kinney, Santa Barbara, Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, 5, 10.87 pounds. 1st Big Fish, 9.10 pounds, Wasley & Lerno; 2nd Big Fish, 7.28 pounds, Conatser & Dostal; 3rd Big Fish, 6.78 pounds, Keeney & Ryan; 4th Big Fish, 6.47 pounds; 5th Big Fish, 5.76 pounds, Doug Slaton & Jason Ballew, Hollister.
Veteran bass angler dies
Paul Bales, 79, of Arroyo Grande, a longtime tournament bass fisherman, died Feb. 6. Bales competed in Gold Coast and Tri Valley Club tournaments for many years.
A celebration of Bales’ life will be held at 1 p.m. March 14 at the Arroyo Grande Association Hall.
Bales is survived by daughters Debbie Fisher of Arroyo Grande, Paula Sartain of Paso Robles, Michelle Lewis of Incline Village Nev., and a son, Harry Bales of Arroyo Grande. His family suggests contributions in Paul’s memory be made to the charity of one’s choice.
Cal Poly bass team places seventh
Johan Eide was the lone Cal Poly fisherman to register a catch in the first of two FLW Western Conference tournaments at Lake Havasu on Feb. 7.
The sophomore from Sebastopol caught one fish (5 pounds, 14 ounces) in placing seventh in a field of 18 Western teams. His teammate, Colton Farquer from Oakdale, blanked.
Cal Poly’s other entry, Clayton Lauchland and John Zeolla, was among the six teams in the 17-team field that did not catch a fish.
The next competition will be May 9 at the California Delta.
Ex-Poly angler places third as pro
Former Cal Poly collegiate fisherman Scott Helleson from Whittier finished in third place in a field of 150 pros in the FLW Western three-day tournament on Lake Havasu.
With 16-pound, 8-ounce and 17-pound, 6-ounce limits plus a 14-pound, 5-ounce bag for four fish on day three, Hellesen had a total weight of 48 pounds, 3 ounces for $12,000.
Surprise, Ariz. pro Joe Uribe Jr. won the Rayovac FLW Western Series event worth $40,000 for his 15 fish total weight of 67 pounds, 3 ounces.
Placings of other Central Coast entrants were: 88. Nick Salvucci, Atascadero, 4 fish, 11 pounds, 3 ounces; 134. Shawn Lee, Arroyo Grande, 2, 3-11 pounds; 145, Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 1, 1-15 pounds.
Central Coast Co-Angler placings were: 55. Whitney Uyeda, Buellton, 2, 6-03 pounds; 64. Kyle Greenlaw, San Luis Obispo, 2, 5-09 pounds.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports: “The bass bite picked up a bit last week. Both boaters and shore fishermen got in the action. Most fish ate reaction baits and jigs. However, a swimbait nailed an 8-pounder at an undisclosed location. Catfish have gone on the chew and a handful of guys who targeted them capitalized on the opportunity using chicken livers, inflated crawlers and mackerel.”
Last weekend’s rains brought the lake up enabling the Heritage Ranch Launch Ramp to be opened Monday.
“An anonymous angler who did not disclose the bait or the location caught a 13-pound, 4-ounce bass last week. Until official confirmation is granted the fish will be the unofficial lake record largemouth,” reported marina manager Cody Uhrig. “At E Point, Drake Cove and the Mohawk Area catches of catfish up to 5 pounds were reported by anglers using chunks of mackerel for bait. A few smallmouth were caught at the mouth of Johnson Bay.”
Whale Watching trips are offered from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Cost is $39 for adults, $29 for those 15 and under.
For reservations, call 772-1222 or go to www.virgs.com.
Rain wiped out Saturday’s crab and sanddab trip. Another trip is scheduled for Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $60.
Call 595-7200 for reservations or go to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
Morro Bay Landing
Whale Watching trips are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 pm. Cost is $40 for adults, $35 for military and adults age 60 and above, $25 for children 12 and under.
For reservations, call 771-5500 or go to www.morrobaylanding.com.