Editor’s Note: At the time of this event, Wayne Shaw was hospitalized and later underwent gall bladder surgery. “It was a miracle we ever got the fish on board,” exclaimed Greg Malik in recalling the landing of the winning fish in the 16th-annual Port San Luis Halibut Derby held July 25-26.
“Andy (Koch) had the smallest net you’ll ever see for halibut,” said Malik, estimating the width of the net was at the most 24 inches.
Koch picked up the story.
“There was a little over an hour left on Sunday when my rod went off,” Koch said. “At first, I thought I was hung up on the bottom. My two fishing buddies on the boat (Malik and Bob Hardy) coached me considerably once we realized we had a big one.
“Greg had it in the net when I brought the fish up to the boat the first time, but the halibut slipped out and went to the bottom 70 to 80 feet below.”
It was obvious the flattie was too large for the net.
When Koch cranked up the halibut a second time, he lifted his rod as instructed. Hardy dropped his rod and together he and Malik managed to get the flattie, which filled the net and then some, over the side and onto the deck. High fives and some whooping and hollering celebrated the successful 15-minute battle.
The halibut measured more than 50 inches long and weighed 54 pounds, 2 ounces. That’s nearly 15 pounds heavier than the previous largest fish in the derby — a 39-pound, 4-ounce catch by Brian Sato in 2005.
Malik, Koch and Hardy made the 15-mile trip back to Port San Luis 15 minutes before the derby deadline.
Koch said: “I’ve competed in this derby six or eight times and have been skunked each time.”
Indicative of the difficulty of the fishing is the fact that only 12 fish were weighed Saturday and 15 Sunday of the tournament. There were 52 entries.
Hardy landed a 15-pound, 2-ounce fish around 8:15 a.m. Saturday. A little over two hours later, Malik boated a 26-pound, 2-ounce catch. They were the only two bites of the day. The catches were good for third and second place, respectively in the final derby standings. Koch’s catch was the lone bite Sunday. All three fish were caught by the 10E buoy north of Morro Rock.
The trio also won the optional $100 per-boat sidepot. Their total winnings were split three ways.
Early in the event, Koch said: “If we get one more fish, I’ll donate to the church.” He did and contributed his share to needy families at his church. It prompted fellow angler Tom Foran to nickname Andy “The Born Again Halibut Fisherman.”
Places July 25 — 1. Greg Malik, Atascadero, 26-2 pounds, $390; 2. Bob Hardy, Atascadero, 15-2, $325; 3. Adam Enticknap, Lompoc, 13-0, $260; 4. Tommy Patton, Arroyo Grande, 12-4, $195; 5. tom Foran, Atascadero, 9-2, $130.
Places July 26 — Andy Koch, Nipomo, 54-2 pounds, $390; 2. Ray Nanini, Santa Maria, 14-0, $325; 3. Tyler Enticknap, Lompoc, 9-2, $260; 4. Ronnie Andrews, Lompoc, 8-8, $195; 5. (tie) Nick Reisbeck, Santa Maria, 8-4, $65; Adam Enticknap, Lompoc, 8-4, $65. Overall Big Fish — 1. Andy, Koch, 54-2, $650; 2. Greg Malik, 26-2, $390; 3. Bob Hardy, 15-2, $260. Port San Luis Boatyard
Morro Bay’s Scott Hollingsworth earned Whopper of the Week honors with the catch of a 34-pound, 6-ounce halibut Sunday.
Thirty-six lingcod and 9 halibut were caught by anglers aboard 43 boats. Full limits were logged four days, three-quarter limits one day and three-quarter to full limits Sunday. No report was available for Saturday. Patriot Sportfishing
Dennis Hyde of Bakersfield grabbed the lead in the three-month long Lingcod Contest. He caught a 17-10 lingcod Oct. 9.
Currently, Leo Davis of Sisquoc is in second place with a 16-9 ling and Paul Hendricks of Torrance is third with a 15-7 ling.
Davis held the lead for 26 days with a 16-9 ling. The payoff at the close of fishing Nov. 15 will be $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively for first through third place. Call 595-7200 for reservations and trip schedules.
Other jackpot winners included Tammy Stracener, Atascadero, 15-6 ling, Jerry DePew. Lompoc, 14-14 ling, Scott Doudy, Fresno, 13-10 halibut, Joe Torres, Arroyo Grande, 12-6 ling, Pat Burchard, Santa Maria, Scott Welton, Templeton, both 8-pound lings,Tomas DeRosa, Santa Maria, 7-5 ling.
Last week, 39 albacore and 2 bluefin tuna were caught by 79 passengers on board the Pacific Queen.
An overnight trip is scheduled to depart at 3 p.m. Saturday and return between 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday. The fare is $205. Call 772-1222 for reservations.
Jackpot winners included Anthony Simos, Hanford, 12-pound ling, Ed Kieter, Alta Loma, Chris Griffith, Fresno, both 10-pound lings, Jason Mayo, Bakersfield, Shane Gidlund, Santa Maria, 6-pound rockcod.
Santa Margarita Lake
Twenty spaces are still available for the Oct. 24 camping, boating and fishing Swap Meet. Space fees are $15 each. Set-up time will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Swapping will continue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On Saturday, Chino mayor Dennis Gates caught 20 bluegill on nightcrawlers Lopez Lake Brandon Chang, 10, of Nipomo caught a 4 1/4-pound largemouth on a spinnerbait while fishing by the boathouse, a 2-pound smallmouth and a 1 1/4-poound largemouth while fishing by the dam Oct. 9.
A 90-minute program about “Creepy Creatures” will be presented for kids of all ages Saturday starting at 11 a.m. at the Nature Center. Featured will be live bats, a Great Horned owl, spiders, snakes and other reptiles. Imaginative face painters will be on hand to adorn young faces to get them ready for Halloween.
Twelve anglers tried and failed to catch a trout during last week’s open period.