A 27-year-old heavy equipment operator didn’t do much heavy lifting Saturday at Nacimiento Lake, but he did catch the event’s “big fish,” albeit a 2.39-pound bass.
Sam Sawdey, of course, was unaware that the first fish he and his dad, Ralph, caught would be the heavyweight of the American Bass Pacific Coast Region competition. But, it was by a matter of 23-hundredths of a pound.
Sam Sawdey has been tournament fishing for three years, and this was his first victory.
He’s found bass fishing a lot less strenuous than his previous recreational activity — motorcycle racing. As a 17-year-old, he suffered a broken back while racing. It prompted him to give up that activity in 2000.Although his back still gives him problems, no doubt the $2,987 check he split with his dad eased the pain and was cause for celebration.
“I caught our ‘big fish’ in less than 4 feet of water on a spinnerbait,” Sam Sawdey said.
It accounted for $600 of the team’s winnings.
“We worked the backs of creeks all day,” Sam Sawdey added. “My dad threw jigs while I stayed with spinnerbaits.”
The senior Sawdey lives in Shandon and owns the team’s boat, a 2006 Skeeter 20i. The winners caught 10 fish, all spotted bass.
The inaugural 2010 ABA tournament drew 26 teams. Those teams combined to catch 93 bass, including 14 five-fish limits.
Vandenberg Air Force Base resident Dean Krambeck and partner Calvin Long from Lompoc divided $800 as the runner-up team with a 7.71-pound limit.
San Luis Obispo’s John White and teammate Steve Bereda of Santa Margarita had the second “big fish,” 2.16 pounds worth $360. Lompoc’s Dana Chatterly and Ron Morrison placed sixth and had the third-largest fish, 2.03 pounds. It accounted for $240 of their $415 winnings.
Tournament director Bobby Doss, in his second year, wants to expand participation. Last season an average of 25-plus teams participated in the six tournaments. The previous three seasons the number of teams entered averaged 14, 8.5 and 8.8, respectively.
To learn more about the ABA series, contact Doss at 937-1056 or 680-3160 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
American Bass Top 10 (all-5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings
1.Ralph Sawdey, Shandon, Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, 9.53 pounds, $2,987; 2.Dean Krambeck, Vandenberg AFB, Calvin Long, Lompoc, 7.71 pounds, $800; 3. Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, Todd Reccord, San Luis Obispo, 7.59 pounds, $425; 4.Fred Ledesma, Soledad, Jose Canchola, Salinas, 7.39 pounds; 5.Bob Simmons, Andrew Ditommaso, Morro Bay, 7.29 pounds; 6.Dana Chatterly, Ron Morrison, Lompoc, 7.23 pounds, $415; 7. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Dean Miller, Tulare, 7.10 pounds; 8.Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 7.08 pounds; 9.Aaron Quarles, San Luis Obispo, Casey Langley, Arroyo Grande, 6.69 pounds; 10. Larry Merlo, Buttonwillow, Jim Graddy, Shafter, 6.07 pounds.1st Big Fish, 2.39 pounds, Sawdey & Sawdey, $600; 2nd Big Fish, 2.16 pounds, White & Bereda, $360; 3rd Big Fish, 2.03 pounds, Chatterly & Morrison, $240.
————Other bass news
Only six teams showed up at a U.S. Angler’s Choice Southern California tournament Jan. 16 at Cachuma Lake. Lompoc’s Mead Hedricks and Marc Townes placed fourth with four fish for 5.85 pounds. The winning weight was 10.47 pounds.
The Tri Valley Bass Club will launch its season Saturday at Nacimiento Lake.
Stormy weather has kept visitors to a minimum, marina manager Jerry Weatherly said.
The weather will determine whether there will be whale-watching trips this weekend. Friday was a successful trip, but no whales were seen Sunday, prompting Virg’s to offer rain checks.
The Pacific Horizon and Patriot will be hauled out into dry dock preparatory for their annual Coast Guard inspections. The vessels are not expected to be available until the second week of February.