State bass fisherman champion will be crowned through three-tiered program

Could there be a California state bass champion in our midst?

California Bass Fishing State Championship, a brand new organization, has developed a three-tiered tournament program to determine a state champion in all probability for the first time.

Stage one, a local tournament at Nacimiento Lake, is scheduled for Friday. As of Tuesday, there were 32 entrants. There was room for 18 more for a maximum of 50 anglers.

Pre-registration is required. Go to wwww.californiabasschampionship.com for details.

Participants are to check in between 4:30 and 5:15 a.m. Blast-off will occur at first safe light, following a pre-tournament meeting. A real- time viewing of the weigh-in between 3 and 4 p.m. will be available on the website, provided cell phone service is available at the lake.

The top-10 finishers will advance to the July 9 regional tournament at Lopez Lake. The top 10 at Lopez qualify for the state championship at Clear Lake on Aug. 13-14.

Nacimiento participants who fail to make the top 10 have one final chance to qualify for the regional. It is at Lake Berryessa near Winters on June 4. It is the 16th and final local tournament. The Lopez regional is the final gateway to Clear Lake. The other regionals have already been completed.

Only the top 10 move on, first from a local tournament to regional qualification and then to state. All competitions in the series are boater only events — one person in each boat.

Bassmaster Elite angler Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande is entered. He’s between Elite tourneys.

Other local entrants include: Atascadero — Gene Gray, Dusty Kahler, Damon Meeks; Paso Robles — Darrin Bishop, Greg Hanley, Jim Keeney, Ken Sauret, William Rush; San Luis Obispo-— Dan Barrios, Mark Hinson; Los Osos — Courtney Barrett; Nipomo — Danny Knotts; Cambria — Erik Zillig; San Miguel — Nick Salvucci; Santa Maria —Bobby Doss.

It’s top 10 or bust Friday and again at the Lopez Regional. The state champion at Clear Lake could earn $21,000 or more.

Anglers who regularly fish Central Coast tournaments who have already qualified for the Region 2 event at Lopez Lake are Mike Stiles of Bakersfield, Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles and Casey Langley, Arroyo Grande, who finished second, seventh and eighth, respectively, at Pyramid Lake; and Stan Skou of Los Alamos and Clark Small of Solvang, who finished sixth and seventh, respectively, at Cachuma Lake.

Patience pays off for Salvucci

Patience paid dividends for Nick Salvucci in the May 22 Angler’s Choice bass tournament at Lopez Lake. The San Miguel 29-year-old invested more than an hour to catch what proved to be the competition’s big fish.

“I spotted a 2-pound male sitting on a nest,” Salvucci said. “On closer observation, I saw a big female who was on the outskirts. Time after time I flipped a plastic grub in front of her nose. Finally, she ate it and headed for deeper water. She tried to rap my 8-pound test line around my big motor. I managed to avoid that catastrophe and lipped her into the boat.”

The 7.29-pound bass anchored Salvucci’s 20.41-pound limit worth $2,780. Additionally the win elevated the Lintner-Salvucci team to seventh place in the standings. It’s significant because it cemented a spot in the postseason. Other commitments will prevent both men from fishing the final tournament June 5.

The limit Salvucci weighed included three bed fish caught in the morning and two swimbait fish caught after the wind came up. He caught a total of 15 fish.

Thirteen of the 24 teams entered did not have a limit.

Angler’s Choice Top 10, Number of Fish, Weigh, Winnings — 1. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 5, 20.41 pounds, $2,780; 2. Aaron Quarles, San Luis Obispo, Sal Rocha, Arroyo Grande, 5, 19.87 pounds, $860; 3. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 5, 18.22 pounds, $620; 4. Jason Newby, Mike Stiles, Bakersfield, 5, 18.20 pounds, $435; 5. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 5, 16.95 pounds, $85; 6. Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, John White, San Luis Obispo, 3, 16.04 pounds; 7. Gene Gray, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 5, 14.53 pounds; 8. Mike Griffith, Atascadero. Pat Motley, Arroyo Grande, 5, 13.28 pounds; 9. Fred & Freddy Ledesma, Soledad, 4, 12.15 pounds, $320; 10. Roger Haas, Morro Bay, Jerry Williams, Porterville, 5, 11.28 pounds.1st Big Fish, 7.29 pounds, Salvucci; 2nd Big Fish, 7.06 pounds, Ledesma & Ledesma; 3rd Big Fish, 7.04 pounds, Newby & Stiles.


Central Coast Sportfishing

Forty-knot winds and 10-foot seas at 10-second intervals kept the Rita G in port all last week. Scheduled this week are long-range (6 a.m. to 4 p.m.) trips today and Sunday; a full-day (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.) trip Friday, plus a 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a sundowner (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) trips Saturday.

For reservations and more information, call 772-3474 or 704-2084.

Virg’s Landing

Arroyo Grande’s Jesse Spencer caught the big fish of the week, a 13-pound lingcod.

Other jackpot winners included Craig Williams, Tulare, 8-pound lingcod; Adam Sequest, Sacramento, 7-pound red rockcod; Matt Kopper, San Luis Obispo, 5-pound bocaccio; Stephen Elrod, Bakersfield, and Daniel Reyes, Simi Valley, both 5-pound red rockcod; and Naomi Fernandez, Wasco, 4-pound red rockcod.

Last week, 195 passengers caught 9 lingcod, 719 red rockcod, 577 assorted rockfish, 99 bocaccio, and 178 coppers.

For reservations and more information, call 772-1222.

Patriot Sportfishing

A 13-pound cabezon, caught by Larry Vandergrift of Collbran, Colo., was last week’s biggest fish.

Other jackpot winners included Arnold Luisi, Arroyo Grande, 10-8-pound lingcod; Mark Cabatuan, Santa Maria, 8-12-pound lingcod; and Pete Ruiz, Lincoln, 4-pound vermillion.

Last week, 66 anglers caught 28 lingcod, 146 red rockcod, 100 assorted rockfish, 318 bolina, and 21 cabezon.

For reservations and more information, call 595-7200.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Turbulent seas limited the number of launches last week to 24. The catch included seven lingcod and three halibut. Half rockcod limits were logged Thursday through Saturday. Full limits were recorded May 17 when eight boats were dispatched.

Santa Margarita Lake

A lake largemouth bass record was set in a bass tournament — 13.47 pounds. I’ll have more details next week after interviewing the Bakersfield angler. Morro Bay’s Scott West caught a 12-pound, 4-ounce bass in Murphy’s Bay on May 21.

Lake San Antonio

Marina spokesman Nick Pena says stripers are occupying the bays and Three Fingers Cove while shad are along the North shore and moving around followed by birds. Carp are on the surface.

Nacimiento Lake

Plenty of crappie are being caught around docks mainly on white and chartreuse crappie jigs, Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal said.

Some nice bluegill are being taken on nightcrawlers and crappie jigs. Rymal witnessed two anglers with crappie limits, plus a limit of spots caught near the main marina.

Lopez Lake

Marina manager Jerry Weatherly caught crappie ranging from 11⁄2 pounds to 2 pounds on Monday evening. Anglers have reported catching crappie limits from the old F dock. One fisherman reported catching a 10-inch trout, The lake hasn’t had a trout plant in over a year.

Cachuma Lake

The marina opens Friday under new management. The marina store, boat rentals and moorings have been shuttered since the first week in October. The marina phone number remains 688-4040. For boat rentals and mooring information, call (661) 702-1420.

Whale Rock

For the fifth straight week, at least one trout has been caught. The reservoir will be open Wednesday through Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

Thus far, 103 anglers have caught a total of 10 trout. Last week’s 8-inch catch by Tom Mowry was released. The largest trout caught thus far have been 15, 16 and 17 inches.