Atascadero’s Marc Hazuka is on a hot streak on bass fishing trails with back-to-back titles in San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers competition — and he’s looking for more in upcoming dates in the revived 101 Bass tournament series.
His most recent triumph was registered at a venue he hasn’t visited in a number of years: the California Delta.
It was a site tournament director Al Rush began penciling in as a substitute for the steady diet of tournaments at Lake Nacimiento, the lone Central Coast facility with sufficient water to accommodate bass boats.
Hazuka and his back seat occupant and fellow competitor, Rush, found an abundance of water to cover, but their most productive locations were small patches of muddy water 5 feet deep or shallower.
“I was throwing Texas rigged creature baits among other things,” Hazuka said. “We found fish on beds including my big fish, 6.24 pounds.”
He was in a battle with fellow North County resident Jerry May of Paso Robles.
Huzuka had limits of 19.87 and 14.96 pounds for a 34.83 total to best May by 6.85 pounds. May weighed in limits of 12.98 and 14.32 pounds for his 27.98 total. The winnings were $150 for Hazuka and $95 for May.
Ten Ambushers members made the trip and will compete at Clear Lake later in the season.
Ambushers Top 10 (fish total, weight, winnings): 1. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 10, 34.83 pounds, $150; 2. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 10, 27.98, $90; 3. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 7, 20.75, $65; 4. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 9, 19.19; 5. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 6, 14.83; 6, Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 6, 11.62; 7. Tom White, King City, 5, 11.62; 8. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 3, 6.00; 9. Paul Bailey, Cresston, 3, 5.83; 10. Mark Rodiguez, Paso Robles, 1, 2.25.
Big Fish: Hazuka, 6.24 pounds, $50.
Canary Rockfish Can Be Retained
Canary rockfish, a species declared overfished and off-limits since 2000, now can be retained in 2017. That announcement was issued earlier this year by the by California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The population of canary rockfish has been rebuilt to healthy levels quicker than anticipated based on a combination of conservation efforts and restrictive management, according to the department.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Last week, the third of the 2017 saltwater season, saw 57 lingcod harvested from 53 launched boats.
There has not been a Whopper of the Week registered since April 2, when George Lopez reeled in a 15-pound ling.
The most recent jackpot winners included: Matt Krause, Granite Bay, 16-pound ling; Clint Thomas, Santa Maria, 13.6 ling; Stan Dunn, Arroyo Grande, 13.0 ling; Steve Hahn, Hanford, 12.5 ling; Travis Matthews, Chowchilla, 12.0 ling; Cliff Delong, Arroyo Grande, Scott McElroy, Springville, Lola Munoz, Lompoc and Larry Basset, Orcutt, all 12.0 lings; and Kevin Rhea, Visalia, 9.0 ling.
The 2017 lingcod haul has totaled 488 lings thus far.
High winds made fishing somewhat challenging a few days last week, noted manager Bruce Harwood.
The second qualifier for the end-of-the-year John Rowley Lingcod Fish-Off event is Kevin Watkins of Bakersfield. He reeled in a 16.8-pound ling. Morro Bay angler Steve Howell was the first qualifier with a 21-pound ling on the April 1 season opener.
The fish count for the week ending April 15 for 291 anglers was: 2,730 fish, including 77 lings, 1,331 reds, 313 coppers, 191 canary rockfish and four rock sole.
Jackpot winners included: Kevin Watkins, Bakersfield, 16.8 ling; Ken Ross, Santa Barbara, 14.9 ling; David Tovar, Bakersfield, 9.0 ling; Larry Hipple, Carmicheal, 7.0 ling; and Byron Hampton, Paso Robles, 5.5 red rockcod.
Morro Bay Landing
Through the first 17 days of the sportfishing season, 459 passengers aboard the boats Endeavor, Avenger, Flying Fish and Phoenix have caught 459 lingcod.
Jackpot winners include: Greg Sanders, Virginia, two 14.5 lings; Larry Gaebe, Templeton 13,0 ling; Calvin Walker and Dan Barraza, both of Bakersfield, 12.0 lings; Bob Gannon, Atascadero, Doug May, Orcutt, and Larry Tucker, Shafter, all 8.0 lings; Brian Davidson, Bakersfield, 7.0 bocaccio; and Ted Wolff, Santa Maria, 6.0 red rockcod.