I know it’s “ 'Tis the season to be jolly,” and I’ll get to that later, but first the focus is on a local bass tournament that can only be described as an anomaly.
That’s especially true at Lopez Lake, where limits are the norm and catching big fish happens more often than not.
But, the outcome at Lopez was anything but normal. Only four of the top 10 teams last weekend had five-fish limits. In fact, 23 of the 26 teams entered failed to limit and five teams were blanked.
The winners were thankful for a 30-minute period when their entire catch for the day, 10 bass, were caught.
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Erik Zillig of Cambria and Tim Vaughan of Los Osos, a tandem competing as a team in only their second season, surprised themselves by winning the second stop on the 2009-2010 W.O.N. Bass Central Coast Region schedule.
“Obviously, we were thrilled by our spree of catches. They occurred only 20 minutes into the competition. And we never got a bite after that,” Zillig said.
“En route to the weigh-in we were concerned because our limit included a 2-pound fish,” Vaughan added. “We returned to the area where we caught all our fish three or four times but were unable to coax a bite.”
Zillig, 36, and Vaughan, 33, registered their first tournament victory by 12-hundredths of a pound.
“All our catches were made on chartreuse or silver ‘Sexy Shad’ spinnerbaits,” Vaughan said.
He had a special reason to remember the ninth fish in his team’s early morning flurry. It was Vaughan biggest bass and was the difference in this tournament.
“The 6.40 bass bit on a chartreuse spinnerbait,” Vaughan said.
Three years ago the same color bait produced his previous largest bass, a 5.5-pounder. The big fish anchored the team’s winning weight of 19.29 pounds, a weight that paid $2,655.
The tournament championship went a long way in erasing memories of the season-opening October tournament at Nacimiento Lake. Zillig and Vaughan finished 28th in a field of 44 teams. Their win enabled the team to climb to 10th in the standings.
Dan Barrios of San Luis Obispo and teammate Casey Langley of Arroyo Grande are first in the standings, six point ahead of the North County tandem of Neal Franklin and Clay Gates. Barrios and Langley won at Nacimiento Lake and finished seventh in event No. 2 on the seven-tournament schedule.
Big Fish honors last weekend went to the runner-up team of Dale Ball and Dave Solis. who had a 6.42-pound bass and a 19.17-pound limit worth $2,360.
Event No. 3 is scheduled for Dec. 12 at Nacimiento Lake. A new tournament director will be in charge as Bill Cook, the longtime director from Bakersfield, is moving over to leadership of U.S. Angler’s Choice Central Coast Region tournaments. That season begins Saturday at Nacimiento Lake.
W.O.N. Bass Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight Winnings — 1. Erik Zillig, Cambria, Tim Vaughan, Los Osos, 5, 19.29 pounds, $2,655; 2.Dale Ball, Creston, Dave Solis, 5, 19.17 pounds, $2,360; 3, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 5, 18.60 pounds, $715; 4. Jason Newby, Mike Stiles, Bakersfield, 4, 17.48 pounds; 5. Richard Neal, Jerry Waldrip, Bakersfield, 5, 13.06 pounds, $360; 6. Todd Livermore, San Luis Obispo, Tray Williams, Porterville, 2. 11.23 pounds, $200; 7. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Casey Langley, Arroyo Grande, 3, 11.13 pounds; 8. Darren Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 4, 10.67 pounds; 9. Carlos & Jacob Vasquez, Soledad, 4. 10.28 pounds; 10. Mark Hinson, San Luis Obispo, Stan Sherwin, 3. 9.34 pounds, $480;1st Big Fish, 6.42 pounds, Ball & Solis; 2nd Big Fish, Zillig & Vaughan, 6.40 pounds. Script to Santa
Now to get you into the Christmas Spirit, here’s a script written by Doug Grassian, the Bassmaster Elite media rep.
“Dear Santa: We have been good anglers all year (so far). All we want for Christmas is for you to consider a wardrobe makeover. Maybe, just this once, you would consider ditching the funky red suit, and perhaps wear BASS Stuff instead?
“That red material is not, we are sure, a breathable, UV-protective, antimicrobial, 3xDry fabric like so many of the BASS Stuff pieces now on sale here at bassmaster.com.
“On sale means a deeply-discounted sale, as in less than half price.
And Santa, not to be too personal, but can we talk about your accessories? The Rib-digger black belt? The skyscraper boots with black marking soles? (Not on my dock or boat, thank you.) And the hat? Truly, that floppy look does nothing for you — hides your twinkling eyes, your best feature. Could you just take a look at the great BASS Stuff hats?
And hey, you could be stylin’ underneath the red suit! Just in case you get to stop by a party or somewhere fun on your way home to the North Pole. And layering would keep you warmer. While we assume you are indeed magical (the chimney stunt, the flying reindeer, and the ‘round-the-world-in-one-night act?), you must get cold from time to time, so check out the BASS Stuff outerwear page, especially the fleece vests, turtlenecks, hoodies and windshirts (like the other items, all highly discounted).
Oops, almost forgot to mention: A lot of BASS Stuff comes in extra-extra large sizes. Hope you are not offended by this straight talk of wardrobe makeovers. If so, we have 22 days to make amends. Whatever happens, we still will leave cookies and milk for you under the tree.
From your fans down here in BASS land at Lake Buena Vista, FL.
P.S.: Hey, Santa you know those anglers who asked you for a Bassmaster or BASS Times subscription? No sweat. You can get subscriptions for them online 24/7, at Bassmaster.com. Lopez Lake
Chase Schroeder of Nipomo reeled in largemouth bass weighing 2 1/4 and 2 1/2 pounds, a 11/4 smallmouth and 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 redear. All were fooled on crankbaits cast from shore near the boathouse. A San Luis Obispo 15 year-old, identified only as Sam, caught a 2-pound, 7-ounce largemouth bass while fishing for the first time. The catch was made near the bridge.
Santa Margarita LakeJeremy Goldsmith of Atascadero used small swimbaits in catching 6 1/2 and 4 1/2-pound bass last week.