On Sept. 8, Anglers Anonymous, the brainchild of Greg Birkholz of Arroyo Grande and a few of his friends, is sponsoring an ocean angling experience for some of our nation’s heroes.
Wounded Warriors, a coalition that aids troops severely wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq, will transport some of the participants to the Central Coast.Birkholz, an amputee himself, has shared some of the same emotional upheaval as the veterans albeit less traumatic. Eleven years ago (Mar. 31, 2001) he lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident. Today he wears a carbon fiber prosthetic leg. His e-mail address begins with: Pegleg Greg.This column, however, is not all about Birkholz but his desire to enable others to share a joy that has enhanced his life — ocean fishing.
Through a post on fishreports.net, he sought an opportunity to learn how to salmon fish. Will Bateman of Templeton responded with an invitation. Birkholz experienced his first salmon catch on his initial trip. That was a little over a year ago. Gary Moore on his boat Waverunner and Mark Stuthard on Pisces have been other mentors.
“Saltwater fishing has changed my life. This year I’ve gone over 60 times and I’ve fished aboard 18 different private boats,” the 49-year-old asserted.
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When I caught up with him by phone Tuesday evening, Birkholz was returning from a successful albacore trip out of Monterey. In February this year, he purchased his own boat. He named the 211⁄2-foot Cabo “Mandy Lee” after his 16-year-old daughter. Greg and his wife, Lindy, also are parents of a son, Bradley, 15.
Back to the Sept. 8 project. The event will be held on the second Free Fishing day of the year in California. Anyone with a desire to fish freshwater or saltwater may do so without a fishing license that day only.
Anglers Anonymous has morphed from AMPSURF, an organization focused on teaching amputees and the disabled how to surf. Birkholz was co-founder of the 11-year-old entity. AMPSURF is co-sponsor of the Sept. 8 fishing event.
Other key individuals in the November 2011 formation of Anglers Anonymous include John Roan, Ken Jacobsen and James Hale, all of Arroyo Grande, Charles Buzzetti of Templeton, and David Fort and Jeff Horton of Paso Robles.
Wounded Warriors will be coming to the Central Coast from as far away as San Diego and perhaps farther. They will board the Harbor Pathfinder, a 65-foot vessel now owned by commercial fisherman Daniel Holtzman. It formerly was part of Virg’s sportfishing fleet. Also a number of private boat owners have volunteered to host distinguished warriors.
On Sept. 8 fishing will take place between 11 am. and 3 pm. The Atascadero Kiwanis Club will prepare a post-fishing barbecue.
Individuals or organizations wishing to participate in this event can contact Greg Birkholz by phoning (805) 714-6776 or on line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anglers Anonymous is a recognized non-profit organization. Additional funding is needed to purchase food for the barbecue, fishing equipment for the veterans and to pay for overnight accommodations. Donations payable to Anglers Anonymous may be sent to 375 Helroy Road, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420.
On a day when anglers out of the Sports Launch at Port San Luis had the week’s best harvest of white seabass, Grover Beach’s Jim Elkins out dueled adversaries in 10 other boats. The 43-pound seabass he caught Aug. 6 turned out to be the Whopper of the Week. Fifteen of last week’s take of 30 seabass were landed that day.
Last week 105 boats were dispatched. One hundred twenty-six lingcod were checked in, 57 of them last Friday, Aug. 10. Sixteen halibut also were in the catch. Rockcod limits were recorded five days and half limits Aug. 6 and 7.
Five of last week’s jackpot fish were double-digit lings topped by a pair of 14-pounders caught by Jessie Spencer of San Luis Obispo and Lev Carruth of Levy, Ark.
Other jackpot winners included: Anthony San Miguel, Visalia, and David Hockett, Bakersfield, both 13-0 lings; Victor Plaza, Bakersfield, 12-0 ling; Greg Veech, Visalia, and Riley Dickey, Bakersfield, both 9-0 lings; Carl Lind, Madera. Ben Lypps, Fallbrook, Randy Mirra, Visalia, and Tim Larson, Santa Maria, all 8-0 lings; Kurk Sell, Squaw Valley, 7-0 ling; and Dammon Flag, Chico, 4-0 bolina.
On 16 trips last week 472 passengers caught 89 lingcod, 1,654 red rockcod and 2,216 assorted rockfish.
For trip schedules and reservations call: 772-1222.
Paso Robles angler Daniel Bruhns shared big fish honors last week with Palmdale’s Daniel Pryor. Both reeled in 10-pound lingcod. Other jackpot winners were: Colton Clark, Porterville, 8-0 ling; John Ransome, Sakem, OR , 6-0 cabezon; and Dean Debernardi, Santa Maria, 6-0 red rockcod.
For trip schedules and reservations call 595-7200.
Last week 149 anglers caught 29 lingcod, 162 red rockcod, 852 assorted rockfish, 66 bolina, and one cabezon.
It was the Jace Zavala Show at Whale Rock Reservoir last week. Nineteen fishermen showed up but Zavala was the only one who caught fish. He caught three of them—two on Aug. 9, a 16-inch and a 14 -inch on worms and the next day he bagged a 17-inch trout using grubs for bait. Zavala has caught a total of 14 trout over a period of six weeks. Whale Rock has been open for fishing 78 days. The turnout for the season: 446 anglers. Trout caught: 82. The reservoir is open from Wednesday through Sunday plus legal holidays.
Santa Margarita Lake
“Finally, bluegill and redear are being caught and the kids are loving it,” advised Don Lopez, marina manager. Of course, the bass bite continues to be great.
A 41⁄2-pound largemouth bass was caught yesterday (Aug. 15) by Bob Rang of Phelan, CA. He was fishing across from the marina drop shottig a purple plastic worm. Nightcrawlers are working for crappie and bluegill, according to Aaron Boyd, marina manager.
While hot weather has slowed the bass bite, most anglers have been able to scratch out limits. Both largemouth and smallmouth have been eating a variety of presentations from topwater to jigs all in 20 feet of water. Catfishing has slowed a bit, says Ken Hemer, marina manager. Cut mackerel has been working just about anywhere in the lake. Crappie and bluegill catches have been reported in The Narrows on mini jigs tipped with meal worms. Trout fishing is slow. The majority of trout are in the dam area 50 to 60 feet down.