Veteran saltwater anglers find success at Santa Margarita Lake

Veteran saltwater skippers are proving their talent on freshwater venues as the American Bass Pacific Region tour concluded its regular season last Saturday at Santa Margarita Lake.

Dustin Selck and partner Fernando Salazar have logged four top-10 finishes in the six-event Pacific tour.

In the fifth competition on the schedule in early April, the duo finished a fraction of a pound behind winners Joey Baldacchino and Daniel Figueroa.

Only two of the 21 entries logged five-fish limits.

One fish, the big one of the competition at 6.07 pounds, was the difference between first and second place.

Registering a runner-up finish was San Luis Obispo’s Stanley Beebe and Grover Beach’s Andrew Levy with a 12.07-pound limit.

Selck operates a squid fishing boat out of Ventura and is now preparing for the upcoming season. Salazar plans to continue captaining the Pacific Dawn, another sport fishing boat out of Ventura.

Reflecting on their day at Santa Margarita Lake, Selck, 39, said his team only had seven bites all day.

“We were using Senkos and Shaky Head tackle all day in 15 to 20 feet of water,” he said. “I happened to catch our big fish at midday.”

American Bass, Pacific Coast, Top 10 (team, number of fish, weight, winnings): 1. Dustin Selck, Fernando Salazar, Atascadero, 5, 18.21 lbs., $2,510; 2. Stanley Beebe, San Luis Obispo, Andrew Levy, Grover Beach, 5, 12.07 lbs., $656; 3. Joey Baldacchino, Daniel Figueroa, 4, 10.02 lbs., $434; 4. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 4, 9.54 lbs., $520; 5. Austin Bonjour, Paso Robles, Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, 3, 7.18 lbs., $108; 6. Greg and Mike Higgins, Santa Margarita, 2, 7.09 lbs.; 7. Dusty and Brayden Kahler, Paso Robles, 2, 6.90 lbs.; 8. Troy Tidwell, Prunedale, Scott Mullins, San Juan Bautista, 2, 6.9 lbs.; 9. Jerry Waldrip, Bakersfield, Richard Neal, Clovis, 2, 5.46 lbs.; 10. Darrin Bishop, Atascadero, Dean Miller, Tulare, 2, 5.08 lbs.

First Big Fish: Selck and Salazar, 6.07 lbs., $270. Second Big Fish: Tidwell and Mullins, 4.1 lbs., $162. Third Big Fish: 4.06 lbs., Kahler and Kahler, $108.

101 Bass at Santa Margarita

Tournament Director Jim Slusher got back in the tournament game last month with his first competition of the year at Lopez Lake.

Event No. 2 will be held at Santa Margarita Lake, and many of the anglers who fished the final ABA Pacific Region tournament last week will be among the contestants.

That includes Darrin Bishop of Atascadero, who won the April 8 starter event with his father, Del Bishop. They brought a 19.74-pound bag to the scales. The runner-up team of Slusher and Erik Zillig had an 18.35-pound limit.

Twenty-eight teams fished the renewal event last month, which proves the popularity of Slusher’s tournament series still exists.

Lintner Finishes in the Money

Bassmaster Elite angler Jared Lintner was in position to make the second cut last week in the fourth event at Ross Barnett Reservoir in Mississippi.

He began with a 16.11-pound day one limit that had the 11-year tournament professional from Arroyo Grande in 12th place in the 109-man entry. A berth in the final 12 was a good possibility, but he was done in by a second straight day without a limit. Only 28 anglers logged limits all three days.

Lintner’s three-day weight of 37 pounds, 8 ounces was good for 24th place. His day two and day three bags were 15.8 and 6.12. Each was for three fish.

He made the first cut that pared the field to the top 50, so he earned a $10,000 check.

Next up is event No. 5 from May 17 to 21 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Lufkin, Texas.

Virg’s Landing

Qualifier No. 4 for the end-of-the-year John Rowley Lingcod fish off is Hal Rosewell of Atascadero. He did it with a 17.3-pound ling caught aboard The Fiesta on April 17. Bruce Harwood, Virg’s manager, advised “sustained high winds from mid-morning through the rest of the day kept our boats off the water for a good part of the week.”

Three trips last week with 49 anglers produced a total of 470 fish, including 35 lings. As of April 29, Virg’s legal lingcod count for 2017 is 348.

Patriot Sportfishing

This season’s lingcod count totals 735.

Jackpot winners include: Roger York, San Luis Obispo, 17.0 and 8.0 lings; Sam Jasso, Visalia, 16.12 ling; Anthony Gonsalves, Brawley, 20.0 ling; Michael Garcia, Nipomo, 4.0 ling; Paul Huber, 5.0 ling; Aaron Thompson, Arroyo Grande, 8.0 ling; Dave Johnson, Fresno, 14.0 ling; Joe Leblanc, Santa Maria, 18.0 ling; and Rick Rhodes, Bakersfield, 13.0 ling.

Morro Bay Landing

Recent jackpot winners include: Kevin Hill, Vandenberg,17.0 ling; Jack Childs, 18.0 ling; Megan Fox, 9.0 ling; and Dustin Stone, 10.0 ling.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Salmon began showing up in the catch last week — 27 of them, in fact. But the Whopper of the Week went to Mike Manning of Paso Robles for the 31.2-pound lingcod he reeled in. Sixty-five boats were dispatched, 35 on Sunday and 27 on Saturday. No boats went out Monday and Tuesday, and only one each the other three days of the week. The lingcod harvest totaled 45 fish.