Tournament bass fishermen never seem to get enough of the competition.
Most of them have been idle for several months now, but a return to action on the Central Coast will take place early Sunday morning, New Year’s Day.
It’s time for the annual Hangover Tournament at Lake Nacimiento.
The park gates will be opened at 5:30 a.m. The event, which attracts not only Central Coast entrants but last year also drew participants from Taft and Bakersfield bass clubs that swelled the event to about 40 boats.
It’s a $50 per boat entry fee. The more anglers that turn out the fatter the pay out — to the top three places and big fish winner.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Boats were dispatched only three days last week — Monday through Wednesday. But anglers aboard the 37 boats caught 97 lingcod 53 of them on Tuesday when 23 boats were launched.
No Whopper of the Week was designated.
Bruce Harwood’s weekly report included only activity through Dec. 22.
Anglers averaged eight to 10 fish around the first part of the week.
The Princess brought 34 anglers to Cape San Martin on Dec. 18. The catch included 68 lingcod, 130 reds, 102 coppers, two ocean whitefish, one sheephead and 101 assorted rockfish. Bakersfield’s Mitch Webster had the big fish, an 18.9-pound lingcod.
Fresno’s Cameron Hudson caught the jackpot fish Dec. 18 on the Rita G. It was a 20-pound ling.
The Landing’s lingcod count through Dec. 21 is 7,681.
Patriot’s lingcod count through Dec. 27 is 6,091. The total surpasses the 2015 final count by 686 lings.
Atascadero’s Bob Gannon had the big fish caught recently by jackpot winners, a 13-pound lingcod.
Other winners were: Andrew Rhoades, Tulare, and Mark Spencer, Tollhouse, both 12-pound lings; Doug Butcher, Arroyo Grande, 10-pound ling; and Craig Pacifico, Shell Beach, 8-pound ling.
A total of 104 lings were caught by 96 passengers in the six most recent trips. The catch also included 33 coppers, 43 red rockcod, 36 bolina, two cabezon and 526 assorted rockfish.
Morro Bay Landing
There were no changes in the leadership of the Landing’s Lingcod Contest with two days left to fish. Bakersfield angler Gary Lynch has been in the catbird’s seat since Nov. 23 when he landed a 32.3-pound ling. If his catch holds up, he’ll pocket $5,000.
Holding down second place and in line to cash a $3,000 check is Bill Gerderding from Springville. He caught a 31.6-pound ling that landed him in second place on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th.
Another Bakersfield resident, Dan Barraza, crashed the party Dec. 14 when he cranked up a 30.2-pound ling, good for third place. He will earn $2,000 should his catch hold serve.
No doubt there will be a cluster of anglers trying their luck before the contest closes Saturday.
When the 2017 saltwater fishing season will begin has not been determined.
The possibility of an April 1 start is under consideration.
Recent jackpot winners all caught lingcod. Weights were: David Florez, Bakersfield, 29.9; Paul Jacobs, 24.0; Dirk Lopez, Visalia, 21.0;
Kevin Rhea, Visalia, and Joel Sanchez, Tulare, both 14.0; Ron Keck, Cambria, Ryan Pitts, Ventura, and Greg Bonner, Taft, all 10.0.
Bass Ambushers Club Awards
Santa Margarita’s veteran bass fisherman Steve Bereda edged Paso Robles angler Erik Zillig by three points for club Angler of the Year honors.
The awards were presented earlier this month at the club’s annual gathering at Round Table Pizza in Atascadero.
Zillig caught the big fish of the year, a 7.15-pound largemouth, at the club’s late September tournament at Clear Lake.