A 15-minute spree in the first hour of Saturday’s Angler’s Choice bass tournament at Lopez Lake set things up for a championship for Fred Ledesma and his son.
But it was the catch of a 5-pounder at 11 a.m. that was the clincher.
Winning was not a surprise for Soledad’s Fred and Freddy Ledesma.
“The venue has been very good to us,” the 51-year-old dad said.
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Etched in his memory are back-to-back experiences at the lake in 2007. That season the duo earned $6,690 by winning tournaments in March and May.
Currently, Fred and his son, Freddy, 27, are competing in three team circuits — American Bass and W.O.N. Bass and Angler’s Choice. Upcoming schedules will bring the Ledesmas back to Lopez Lake on April 10 for an ABA test and May 22 for another Angler’s Choice exam.
The deck seemed stacked against the duo last week, however. They were in the 32nd and final boat dispatched. That usually means other teams are already fishing the spot where you planned to begin.
That was the case when the Ledesmas arrived at their Arroyo Grande Arm destination. Three other teams were fishing in the vicinity. The Ledesmas were lured to the location because it was the only place they found quality fish during six hours of practice Friday.
Swimbaits, the only presentation they would employ all day, worked for two small bass in the first few minutes of the tournament. Then the action became heated.
“On back-to-back casts,” Fred Ledesma said, “my son retrieved a pair of 6-pounders. The second one tore up his bait. While Freddy was gluing it back together I landed a 4 and a 5. My GPS read 7:37 a.m. In a span of 15 minutes we had more than 21 pounds in the live well.”
The team’s seventh and final bass, the clincher, was caught at 11 a.m. Freddy’s mended swimbait produced a 5-pounder. It replaced a culled 21⁄2-pound fish and also provided a 2.71-pound margin of victory.
Their 27.02-pound limit was worth $3,620. The tourney’s big fish, 6.37 pounds, accounted for $1,150 of their winnings.
One of the teams that experienced early success in the Arroyo Grande Arm was Atascadero’s Gene Gray and Dusty Kahler. It was about 8 a.m. when Kahler nailed his team’s big fish (5.90 pounds). It was the event’s third-largest bass. However, only the two-heaviest earn cash.
Gray and Kahler placed placing second with a 24.31-pound limit and won $1,005. All 11 of their fish were caught on swimbaits.
Arroyo Grande’s Shawn Lee used a trout swimbait to catch the second-largest fish, 6.00 pounds. It accounted for $450 of the team’s $970 winnings. Lee and Ken Sauret of Paso Robles placed fourth with a 17.70 limit.
Twenty-two teams caught limits and 135 fish were caught and released alive.
Angler’s Choice Top 10 (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings — 1, Fred & Freddy Ledesma, Soledad, 27.02 pounds, $3,620; 2. Gene Gray, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 24.31 pounds, $1,005; 3. Jason Newby, Mike Stiles, Bakersfield, 18.20 pounds, $725; 4. Shawn Lee, Arroyo Grande, Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, 17.70 pounds, $970; 5. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 17.29 pounds, $410; 6. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Casey Langley, Arroyo Grande, 17.23 pounds, $250; 7. Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 16.58 pounds, $200.00; 8. Jason Letterman, Salinas, Ken Restani, Carmel Valley, 16.53 pounds; 9.Todd Livermore, San Luis Obispo, Tray Williams, Porterville, 14.50 pounds; 10. Herm DeLore, Jeff Smith, Atascadero, 13.85 pounds.1st Big Fish, 6.37 pounds, Ledesma & Ledesma, $1,150; 2nd Big Fish, 6.00 pounds, Lee & Sauret, $450.
Lintner back on Bassmaster tour
Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner begins his fifth campaign today on the Bassmaster Elite trail at the site of one of his four top-10 finishes, the California Delta.
In 2007, Lintner placed seventh with a four-day weight of 69 pounds, 15 ounces for 20 fish.
Next week, Lintner will be fishing Clear Lake, the second stop on the Elite tour. In 2007, he had the heaviest bag weight of his major league pro fishing career — 97 pounds, 4 ounces for 20 bass. It was good for ninth place.
A year ago, Lintner registered his best finish when he began the season with a third place at Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas. His 20 fish weighed 76-10.
Weather permitting, Humboldt Squid trips will be offered Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fare is $66. Reservations are needed. Call 595-7200 for reservations or more information.
Call 772-1222 for schedules and reservations. Trip offerings hinge on favorable sea conditions.