Fishing Report: Atascadero’s Bernardo hauls in another big halibut

Fisherman Sean Bernardo had one of those days described in Yogi-ism language as “déjà vu all over again.”

Yogi-ism is the language verbalized by Yogi Berra, the Hall of Fame catcher of the New York Yankees. He is regarded as perhaps the most quoted person of our time.

Angling experiences that mirror each other happen to Atascadero’s Sean Bernardo while he’s in the presence of the Rowley clan of Central Coast skippers — Michele Rowley Leary and her mother, Sharon Rowley.

Fortuitous things happen when Bernardo boards a boat skippered by Sharon Rowley out of Virg’s Landing or her daughter, Michele Leary out of Central Coast Sportfishing.

“I was doing poorly throwing swimbaits last Saturday on a rockcod fishing trip out of Virg’s aboard the Harbor Pathfinder,” Bernardo said. “I had to make a change out of necessity when I backlashed the reel I was using for swimbaits.

“I haven’t fished jigs for nearly two years, but I had an 8-ounce white jig that I’d never used.”

Skipper Sharon Rowley said the episode took place while she had the vessel positioned above Cayucos and was drifting over a rocky area for rockfish where the water was estimated to be about 160 feet deep.

“My jig went right to the bottom on my first cast,” Bernardo, 41, said. “At first I thought I was hung up on rocks. But, suddenly 30 feet of line was peeled off. It took me five minutes or so to bring the fish up to where we could see it and it was still 50 feet down. When I got the halibut up to where deckhand Mike Lane could gaff it, he had a hard time getting the fish over the railing.”

Bernardo’s catch was a 36-pound halibut (weighed on a digital scale). The catch was made on 15-pound test line spooled on an Avet MX reel on a 760 Cal Star rod.

On June 26, 2009, Bernardo was serving as a deckhand aboard Michele Leary’s boat, the Rita G. The chartermaster on the trip invited him to join the fun. He also needed to free his lure from the rocks before finally reeling up a 42-pound halibut.

It was déjà vu all over again.


Bishops move up

The Bishops, Darrin of Paso Robles, and his dad, Del, of Templeton, narrowed the gap in the race for Anglers of the Year honors by placing second Saturday in the W.O.N. Bass Central Coast tournament at Santa Margarita Lake.

The Bishops are the reigning Anglers of the Year and are in second place in the 2010 standings, three points out of the lead.

Darrin and Del registered one of only two limits while Hollister’s Will Duncan and Dylan Waldroop, the leaders, finished 10th with just one fish.

Winning the tournament with a 16.24-pound limit was a Salinas duo, Jason Letterman and Sam James. Their limit paid $1,830.The Bishops’ 12.39-pound limit was caught on plastic worms and paid $540.

Mark Hinson, who fishes with his father-in-law, Stan Sherwin, won the 10-pound option. Their three fish weighed 9.80 pounds, which was closest to 10 pounds without exceeding that amount.

Their weight paid $630.

Four of the 14 teams entered failed to weigh any fish.

The W.O.N. finale, event No. 7, is scheduled for June 19 at Santa Margarita Lake.

W.O.N. Bass Top 10, No. Fish, Wt., Winnings---1. Jason Letterman, Sam James, Salinas, 5, 16.24 pounds $1,830; 2. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 5, 12.39 pounds, $540; 3. Mark Hinson, San Luis Obispo, Stan Sherwin, Atascadero, 3, 9.80 pounds, $630; 4. Cory Lintner, Julian Vasquez, Arroyo Grande, 2, 7.00 pounds, $75; 5. Mark Gomes, Shawn Wilson, Paso Robles, 2, 5.81 pounds, $45; 6. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, Al Rush, Paso Robles, 2, 5.38 pounds; 7. Gene Gray, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 1, 5.36 pounds; 8. Neal Franklin, Atascadero, Clay Gates, Paso Robles, 2, 4.66 pounds; 9. Todd Reccord, Santa Maria, Fred Ledesma, Soledad, 2, 4.25 pounds; 10. Will Duncan, Dylan Waldroop, Hollister, 1, 2.29 pounds.1st Big Fish, 6.1l pounds, Letterman & James; 2nd Big Fish, 5.36 pounds, Gray & Kahler.

Virg’s Landing

Last week’s jackpot winners included: Bernardo, Atascadero, 36-pound halibut; Bill Long, Visalia, 7-pound red rockcod; Paul Lee, Paso Robles, 6-pound red rockcod; John Soto, Fresno, 5-pound lingcod; Florence Howard, Sacramento, 5-pound red rockcod; David Rodriguez, Bakersfield, and Bob Spaar, Fresno, both 4-pound red rockcod.

For trip schedules and reservations, call 772-1222.

The catch by 144 anglers last week included: 3 lingcod; 420 red rockcod; 596 assorted rockfish, 20 bocaccio, 45 bolina and 1 halibut. Patriot Sportfishing

Winning jackpots last week were: Joe Torres, Arroyo Grande, 12-10 lingcod; Greg Whitener, San Luis Obispo, 9-pound lingcod; Carlos Jonas, Hanford, and Tim Franklin, Santa Maria, both 6-pound lingcod; Don Merrill, Grover Beach, 5-pound lingcod; Angel Arias, Porterville, 5-pound bocaccio; Joe Orth, Oakdale, 5-pound vermillion.

For reservations and trip schedules, call 595-7200.

Last week’s catch by 135 anglers included: 13 lingcod; 296 red rockcod, 328 assorted rockfish, 52 copper rockcod, 161 bolina, 9 bocaccio; and 6 cabezon. Central Coast Sportfishing

Dan Mansir of Atascadero took the lead in the monthly jackpot program with a catch of a 7-pound, 2-ounce lingcod May 6.Other jackpot winners include Nick Mendoza, Paso Robles, 6-pound lingcod, and Jesus Aispuro, Paso Robles, 4-pound yellowtail rockfish. For trip schedules, reservations Call: 772-3474 or 704-2084.

Forty-six passengers caught 2 lingcod, 175 red rockcod, 140 assorted rockfish, 30 bocaccio, and one rock sole. Port San Luis Boatyard

A 13-pound lingcod caught by Robert Beverage of Oildale on May 4 was the Whopper of the Week. Forty-three boats were launched last week. The catch included 29 lingcod and one halibut. Santa Margarita Lake

Bakersfield’s Kenny Davis caught a 5-pound, 13-ounce largemouth bass Sunday while fishing at Vaca Flats with a shad imitation lure. On May 10, Steve Goldman of Santa Margarita and his girlfriend, Christine, caught 15 crappie in The Narrows using crappie jigs. Lopez Lake

A free kids fishing clinic for youth under 16 years of age is scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. All equipment needed is provided. Experienced adults will teach knot tying, casting techniques, as well as ethics and conservation.

Steve LaBuff of Los Osos caught a 1 1/4-pound smallmouth bass in Cottonwood Cove on a crankbait Sunday. Lake San AntonioWindy conditions have sent stripers deep. Net-dipped shad are the bait of choice for catfish anglers, the marina’s Nick Pena said. Whale RockFour trout were caught last week when 15 anglers tried their luck. Jeanne Holder caught 12- and 18-inch fish on worms May 5 while David Waters used spinners Saturday to land 14- and 16-inch trout. The reservoir is open for fishing Wednesday through Sunday.