For this writer, the 12 days of Christmas began with a single-car accident and ended joyously rescued from a forced early retirement from authoring these weekly endeavors.
A Paso Robles-born hand surgeon’s expertise returned me to the “active” roster Tuesday.
My inability to make an obscured righthand turn en route to a church men’s breakfast the morning of Dec. 24 had quickly ushered me into the ranks of the “unwillingly” retired.
My second medical stop was the emergency room at Rogue Hospital in Medford, Ore., where I have lived the past 12 years.
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I left the facility with a heavily bandanged left arm and wrist in a sling. The diagnosis was a fractured left wrist.
The holidays meant a delay before a Jan. 5 appointment with Paso Robles-born Dr. Matthew J. Bengard, a member of the Southern Oregon Orthopedics staff for 2 1/2 years.
Yards and yards of bandages were removed prior to numerous X-rays of my wrist and shoulder. The wonderful report by Dr. Bengard was “my wrist was not fractured.” I left the facility after cortisone injections to my shoulder and the “thumb tendon compartment.”
Enough about me.
“Dad, Stick With Senkos!”
Darrin Bishop repeatedly urges his dad, Del, to continue to throw Senkos because he catches “big fish” tourney after tourney. His string of “big fish” is currently at three straight.
It was 75-year old Del who reeled in a 3.85-pound spotted bass that enabled the Bishops to win the Annual Hangover Bass Tournament on New Year’s Day at Lake Nacimiento.
“Senkos have been good for me,” Del admitted after his big catch gave the North County father and son an 11.58-pound limit. It provided nearly a full two-pound advantage on Nipomo’s Aaron Quarles and his partner, Jaden Jones from Camarillo.
I caught up with Aaron via phone at a time he was enjoying watching the antics of his 4-year-old son.
“He’s pretending to be Kung Fu,” the proud father offered.
“We were fortunate for our 9.68-pound limit because we only put five fish in the live well. Our biggest fish only weighed 2 and 3/4 pounds.”
Clubs from Taft and Bakersfield made it about a 40-team event this year. The usual group of Central Coast anglers rounded out the annual New Year’s Day competition.
Eight trips were crammed into the final four days of the 2015 season. The 189 anglers landed 1,998 fish, including 297 lingcod, reported Virg’s general manager Bruce Harwood.
Customers caught 8,220 lingcod, which eclipsed the 2014 total of 7,219.
Recent jackpot winners with weights of their lingcod included Dustin Riley, Clovis, 17.0; Mike Bonita, Bakersfield, 16.8; Paul McCall, Cambria, 15.8; Beth Clark, Los Osos, 13.7; Matt Smith, Atascadero, 12.0; Bill Hughes, Grover Beach, 9.4.
“There’s a lot going on hereabouts,” Harwood continued. “Two kayak anglers fishing in the harbor side of the breakwater caugh four Calico bass on swimbait. It’s the first time I’ve heard of this species being caught in this area.
Perch fishing is picking up. Some big ones up to 16 inches are being caught in Cayucos and Morro Bay as well as off the T piers. Blood worms, lug worms and Gulp sand worms are the hot ticket.”
An 18-4 lingcod caught by Joe McFaddin, Jr., Bakersfield, was the heaviest fish caught during the closing days of the 2015 saltwater season.
Also taking jackpot honors were Louis Madera, Bakersfield, 14-4 ling; Mr. Mendrin, Fresno, 13-0 ling; Bob Linn, Hollister, 12-0 ling; Anthony Diaz, Arroyo Grande, and Micha White, Paso Robles, both 11-0 lings. San Luis Obispo’s Shane McGraw, Los Osos’ Bill Foster and San Luis Obispo’s Mark Masicampo all caught 10-0 lings.
With four days of fish counts missing in the season’s final 10 days, the breakdown for 338 anglers is 226 lingcod, 457 red rockcod, 1,410 assorted rockfish, 380 bolina, 176 copper rockfish, 24 cabezon, and nine bocaccio.
The 7-day weather forecast for seas ranging with swells from 11 to 19 feet has prompted Patriot officals to place on hold its popular winter offerings of combination Dungeness Crab and sand dab trips.
During the 2015 season, a total of 5,405 lingcod were caught by customers. The 2014 total was 5,558.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Anglers aboard the 49 boats dispatched on the final Sunday (Dec. 27) of the year caught 89 lingcod and two white seabass. The Whopper for that week was a 20-11 ling caught by Dale Weatherby of Grover Beach.
It was a four-day week to close out the year Dec. 31. Forty-three boats were launched that day and 72 lings were harvested. Whopper honors went to Arroyo Grande’s Gary Sheffers with a 21-0 ling. Seventy-one boats were dispatched over the final four days. The catch was highlighted by the 62 lings bagged on closing day, with two full rockcod limits, one three-quarter limit and one half rockcod limit.
Morro Bay Landing
Closing statistics for the landing were not available due to days off for Glenn Fukumotto, who handles this role. Look for details next week.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports, “Fishing jigs, drop shot or rip baits slowly around rocky areas has been the key to catching fish. Catfish remain active in the White Oak area.”