Fishing Report: Port San Luis Halibut Derby is back after five-year hiatus

It’s time!

It’s time to rekindle the competitive juices that have been dormant as far as halibut is concerned.

The Port San Luis Halibut Derby is being jump started after a five-year absence.

The marina will be open at 4:30 a.m. Saturday to register entrants. The competition gets underway at safe light. Boats are to be back at the Sports Launch by 4 p.m.

Sunday’s check-in time is an hour earlier, 3 p.m.

The entry fee is $100 per person, and everyone on board a tournament boat must be registered in the competition.

Is there still interest by veterans like Andy Koch, Joe Vaughn, Brian Sato and of course, “The Legend,” Tom Foran?

Tammy Schuyler, who played a key role in a number of Derbys before moving to Grants Pass, Ore., to care for her grandparents, is back in town for the Derby. She and Anita Taylor hung the name “Legend” on Foran after he caught a world-record, 163-pound Opah in waters off the Central Coast. He held the international record for nearly 16 years. His record was broken last August in international waters, so he still owns the California record.

Foran is a former Derby winner in 1997 with a 26-pound, 5-ounce halibut.

Koch, from Nipomo, set the record in the last competition (2009) at 54-2.

Vaughan, from Sisquoc, is a three-time winner. Sato won the 2005 event as an 18-year-old with a 39-pound flattie.

A post-tournament barbecue is planned Sunday after the tournament.

Spread the word.

Port San Luis Boatyard

In the seven days prior to this weekend’s Halibut Derby, no flatties were in the catch by fishermen aboard 145 dispatched boats.

That definitely will change this weekend.

A dozen white seabass and 177 lingcod were in the catch. Whopper of the Week honors went to Mike Limon and friends from Arroyo Grande for the catch of a 36-pound white seabass on July 19.

Halibut weighing 39.11 and 27.1 pounds earned “Whopper” designations earlier this month. They were cranked up by Templeton’s Randy Pharr and Shell Beach’s James Palmese, respectively.

The lingcod haul was second largest of the season. The only count bigger was the 204 fish count from July 6 to 12.

Austins prevail in Tri Valley

First-time entrants into a Tri Valley club tournament competition July 11 at Lopez Lake walked off with a win over a team that has been leading the Anglers of the Year points race.

“We caught most of our 20 or so fish at Lopez on jigs,” noted Chase Austin, a third generation representative of his family in a sport that was pioneered by Lynn Austin, 75.

Chase was pared with his uncle, Brad Austin, 40, who doesn’t get to fish as often as he’d like due to his out-of-town work schedule.

The Austins weighed a six-fish team limit to out-distance Joey Reggio and Brian Nawrocki by 1.21 pounds. The Austins had a 23.80-pound bag while the runners-up weighed 22.59 pounds.

Tri Valley Top 10 — 1. Brad Austin, San Miguel, Chase Austin, Templeton, 6, 23.80 pounds; 2. Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, Brian Nawrocki, Atascadero, 6, 22.59 pounds; 3, Tip Martin, San Luis Obispo, Bill Lukeman, Santa Maria, 6, 19.48 pounds; 4. Gene Gray, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 6, 18.84 pounds; 5. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, 6, 17.63 pounds; 6. Jeff Hodges, Arroyo Grande, Bud Aquino, Grover Beach, 6, 16.85 pounds; 7. Nick Salvucci, Atascadero, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 6, 16.36 pounds; 8. Steve Morris, Meade Hedricks, Lompoc, 6, 16.30 pounds; 9. Ron Morrison, Jeremy Dyer, Lompoc, 4, 15.98 pounds; 10. Greg and Mike Higgins, Santa Margarita, 6, 15.22 pounds.

First-place Big Fish, 6.26 pounds, Morrison and Dyer; Second Big Fish, 5.28 pounds, Pat Schmidt, Templeton, Terry Wolf, Santa Margarita.

Patriot Sportfishing

San Luis Obispo’s Abdul Samaan caught the largest lingcod of 2015 out of Patriot. He reeled in a 23-pounder taken on a jig while fishing at Pt. Purisma. Roger York of San Luis Obispo, the retired Patriot office manager, had the previous biggest lingcod, a 16-8 fish from May 26.

Other jackpot winners were: Bill Huett, Bakersfield, 11-0 ling; Vincent Brooks, Bakersfield, 10-0 ling; Chris Beckett, Paso Robles, 9-0 ling; and Bob Bowes, Fresno, 8-0 ling.

Last week’s catch by 178 anglers included: 151 lingcod, 199 red rockcod, 1,016 assorted rockfish, 290 bolina, 51 coppers, four cabezon, two rubber lip perch, and one rock sole.

For trip schedules and reservations, go online to: www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.

Virg’s Landing

Full limits of rockfish were the norm last week as 467 anglers on 16 trips caught 4,776 fish. The lingcod count was 287.

Los Osos angler Eric Hedger became the 15th qualifier for the end-of-the-year John Rowley Lingcod Tournament. He punched his ticket by catching a 15.8-pound ling on a July 7 trip aboard the Fiesta. The angler who catches the biggest ling each week gains entry into the Rowley event.

Skipper Tommy Holland guided the Princess on a July 17 trip to waters above San Simeon. Twenty-nine anglers bagged 62 lings, 87 reds, 80 coppers and 123 assorted rockfish. Joy Sayarath, of Fresno, took jackpot honors with a 10.5 ling. Chris Sheley, of Orangeville, won a jackpot with an 11.7 ling.

Morro Bay Landing

The lone report submitted was for July 18.

The Endeavor made two trips. On the morning half-day, Vannessa Keast of Bakersfield took jackpot honors with a 14-pound ling. Thirty-eight passengers caught four lingcod, 38 red rockcod, 340 assorted rockfish, and two cabezon.

On Endeavor's afternoon half-day, 40 passengers caught three lingcod, one cabezon, 20 red rockcod, and 300 assorted rockfish. Jackpot winner with a 10-pound ling was Thomas Cochran of San Luis Obispo.

The San Pedro Special carried 47 anglers on a three-quarter day trip. Thirty lings were caught with Nick Slinkard of Bakersfield taking jackpot honors with a 10-pounder. The catch also included 100 red rockcod, 39 coppers, and 331 assorted rockfish.

Nacimiento Lake

Dave Rymal, Heritage Ranch reporter, advised: “On Monday, resident Dean Shupp was fishing for crappie in Las Tablas and caught a 61⁄2-pound spotted bass. He caught the fish on a sukver flake crappie jig. I was with him when he weighed the fish on a hand scale. He also caught some crappie.”

Whale Rock

There's good news, sorta.

For the first time since the one and only fish was caught on May 9, there was activity last week. An anonymous angler left a report card advising he caught a 6- and an 8-inch fish. No name or date was listed. Six anglers turned out. Whale Rock is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays.