A ribbon was wrapped around the fourth season of 101 bass tournament fishing last weekend, and part of the winning team celebrated his 24th birthday as well on Sunday.
Graham Grove was the birthday man and he celebrated with fellow Atascadero resident Gene Gray.
During the six-event regular campaign, Grove and Gray never finished above fourth place, an achievement they reached three times.
The “G Men” placed third Saturday at Lopez Lake and fourth Sunday at Nacimiento Lake. In the process, they accumulated 205 points, one more than the San Joaquin Valley tandem of Richard Neal of Clovis and Jerry Waldrip of Bakersfield.
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“At Lopez, we were fishing in 30 feet of water using jigs and drop shotting,” Gray said. Their biggest fish, 4.30 pounds, actually was only the seventh largest Saturday.
Grove added, “I think we only had six legal keepers at Lopez.”
The team’s 13.66-pound weight was bettered by Darrin and Del Bishop’s 18.11 sack and the 14.50 bag weighed by Neal and Waldrip.
Grove, a welder with Upper Story Design of Los Osos, said that he and his partner had a limit in the first 30 minutes at Nacimiento.
“Culling was a real grind, as the fish are all about the same size,” he said.
Gray chimed in about the team’s tactics Sunday. “We fished in three feet of water or less using a variety of crank and chatter baits plus some jigs.”
Their 7.43-pound limit was the fourth heaviest.
The Mullins brothers from Salinas, Scott and Matt Mullins, had the heaviest Nacie sack at 8.89 pounds.
The Bishops, 2015’s 101 Anglers of the Year, placed ninth Sunday with a 6.26-pound limit.
101 Bass TOC Top 10, Day 1 at Lopez Lake
1. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 18.11 lbs., 105 pts.; 2. Richard Neal, Clovis, Jerry Waldrip, Bakersfield, 14.50 lbs., 104; 3 pts.; Gene Gray and Graham Grove, Atascadero, 13.66 lbs., 103 pts.; 4. Todd Reccord, Paso Robles, Mike Maddux, Arroyo Grande, 12.74 lbs., 102; 5 pts.; Scott and Matt Mullins, Salinas, 12.60 lbs., 101 pts.; 6. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 12.51 lbs., 100 pts.; 7. Chase Austin and Jared Mackey, Templeton, 12.30 lbs., 99 pts.; 8. Greg and Mike Higgins, Santa Margarita, 12.07 lbs., 98 pts.; 9. Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, Charley Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 11.09 lbs., 97 pts.; 10. Byron Hallett, Templeton, George Stamper, Paso Robles, 10.77 lbs., 96 pts.
Big Fish, 7.73 lbs, Bishop and Bishop.
101 Bass Day 2 at Nacimiento Lake, Wt.. Pts.
1. Jim Slusher, Atascadero, Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 8.89 lbs., 105 pts.; 2. Roger Haas, Morro Bay, Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, 8.16 lbs., 104 pts.; 3. Quarles and Barrios, 7.46 lbs., 103 pts.; 4.Gray and Grove, 7.43 lbs., 102 pts.; 5. Meeks and Short, 7.02 lbs., 101 pts.; 8. Neal and Waldrip, 6.82 lbs., 100 pts.; 7. Higgins and Higgins, 6.62 lbs., 99 pts.; 8. Mullins and Mullins, 6.29 lbs., 98 pts.; 9. Bishop and Bishop, 6.26 lbs., 97 pts.; 10. Hallett and Stamper, 5.84 lbs., 96 pts.
Big Fish, 2.47 lbs. Meeks and Short.
Final TOC Standings
1. Gray and Grove, 205 pts.; 2. Neal and Waldrip, 204; 3. Bishop and Bishop, 202; 4. Meeks and Short, 201; 5. Quarles and Barrios, 200; 6. Haas and Sauret, 199; 7. Slusher and Zillig, 199; 8. Mullins and Mullins, 199; 9. Higgins and Higgins, 197; 10. Hallett and Stamper, 192.
ABA TOC at Clear Lake
Fourteen teams from American Bass’ Pacific Region are at Clear Lake for the ABA Northern Tournament of Champions on Friday and Saturday. Gene Gray of Atascadero and partner Jay Short of Templeton placed second last year, just two pounds behind the champs. They are back.
Others include Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner and Nick Salvucci of Atascadero, Darrin Bishop of Paso Robles and his cousin Dean Miller, Jim Slusher and Ken Sauret, Louis Fernandes and Patrick Touey, Brad Shepherd and Clark Endres, Dan Barrios and Justin Goodman, Mike and Lee Maddux, John White and Freddie Ledesma, Stanley Beebe and Andrew Levy.
Qualifier No. 28 for the Dec. 12 John Rowley Lingcod Tournament is Visalia’s Greg Veach. He had a 16.3 ling on an Oct. 10 trip to the Domes aboard the Fiesta. Only six more weeks of qualifying remain.
Other jackpot winners last week were: Mike Dobbs, Wasco, a 15.5 sheephead, and Rich Windham, Lake Isabella, 11.0 ling.
The 210 anglers on nine trips last week caught 2,107 fish, including 111 lings.
For trip schedules and reservations, call: 772-1222.
At Point Sal last Friday on a trip aboard the Avenger, Masson Guisi caught a 22-9 lingcod. Other jackpot winners were: Michael Paloma, Delano, 16-0 ling, Derek Cannes, Nipomo, and Brian Rezak, Clovis, both 10-0 lings, Chris Bana, Creston, 9-0 ling, Tyrel Berna, Lemoore, 6-0 ling and Freddy Cardenas, Visalia, and Justin Hanson, Bakersfield, both 6-0 lings.
The catch by 210 passengers last week included: 80 lingcod, 107 red rockcod, 1,914 assorted rockfish, 30 coppers, 16 bonito, 190 bolina, and five cabezon.
For trip schedules and reservations, call: 595-7200.
Port San Luis Boatyard
A 24-pound halibut caught by Mike Limon of Arroyo Grande on October 18 was the Whopper of the Week. Last week, 103 private boats were dispatched. The catch included: 171 lingcod, six halibut and 150 bonito. Full rockcod limits were registered every day last week.
Morro Bay Landing
Atascadero’s Gene Garcia had last week’s biggest jakpot fish, an 18-pound lingcod. Other jackpot winners were: Mike Crosby, Bakersfield, 15-0 ling, and Rosie Vickers, Bakersfield, 10-0 ling.
Seventy-two anglers caught 50 lingcod, 238 red rockcod, and 443 assorted rockfish.
For trip schedules and reservations, call: 771-5500.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reported: “The weather kept some people away last week. Bass and bluegill were caught all over the lake. Bass were hitting on nightcrawlers, plastics, a few lipless baits and Rat-L-Traps. A 5.5-pound bass was caught on a Senko dunked in the White Oak area.”