Weekend conditions appear to be favorable for finding albacore

Could this be the weekend that the seas lay down, offshore waters are warm enough and albacore are finally within range for Central Coast fishermen?

A Monday www.fishreports.net post by Harrell Kimball kindled the hopes of the tuna fleet. It read: “Friday, Saturday and Sunday are looking good weather wise for some tuna prospecting — 58-59 degree water out there that should jump a couple degrees when the wind stops again. ‘The Elbow’ looks good and so does CSM (Cape San Martin) buoy area.”

I had a phone conversation Tuesday with San Luis Obispo’s Bob Hather, who for many years has been a fountain of information for albacore and saltwater fishing.

Ordinarily, you could bet that this weekend Hather would be searching for albacore from his boat. He’s been doing it out of Morro Bay for 37 years. But, his last time out, July 13, he encountered some major boat problems, including failure of one engine and several other issues.

His boat problems occurred 57 miles out of Morro Bay on a 215-degree heading. He had motored over “The Donut” and “The Escarpment.” He said: “I found sun-baked 59.3-degree water. It had good color but no signs of bait, birds or sea life.” “I’ve never been one to wait for somebody else to find the tuna. You’d think I would have learned somewhere along the line in all the years I’ve been scouting.”

Hather doesn’t expect to have his boat repaired for this weekend. He’s hoping for next week. So finding tuna will fall to some other anglers, and no doubt there will be seekers aplenty.

Hather said that if he was prospecting for tuna this weekend he would take a 234-degree heading out of Morro Bay 59 miles to “The Elbow” where the water temperature was 62 degrees late Tuesday afternoon.

His Wednesday morning update noted water temperature at “The Elbow” was 60 degrees, as it was at “The Donut,” which is 55 miles out on a 211 heading out of Morro Bay.

Hather said a July 10 boat out of Moss Landing traveled 115 miles to harvest five albacore up to 40 pounds. Had that party embarked out of Morro Bay on a 270- to 280-degree heading, their tuna rendezvous would have occurred 95 miles out.

In the absence of tuna, Hather has focused on other fishing pursuits. On July 10, he headed 40 miles up the coast along with San Luis Obispo friends Lloyd Marcum, Steve Goodman and Van Barbieri. Fishing in 60 feet of water, they caught two lingcod over 131⁄2 pounds and two others over 10 pounds, plus some red rockcod and coppers around 5 pounds.

Three weeks ago Hather bagged a 13½-pound steelhead fishing the Willamette River in Oregon.


Port San Luis Boatyard

Speaking of white seabass, posts on the fishreports.net website indicated that several fishermen would be targeting them this weekend.

Arroyo Grande’s Todd Vido has a leg up on would-be Whopper of the Week competitors. On Monday, he weighed in a 49-pound, 6 ounce white seabass. It measured 55 inches long.

Seventy-five boats were launched last week. Three-quarter to full limits were logged five days. Anglers caught 28 lingcod and nine halibut. Luke Newman of Santa Margarita caught a 17-pound halibut on July 18.

Tri Valley tournament victory

When you catch the only six-fish team limit and have a “darn good netter” aboard these accomplishments meant a Tri Valley tournament victory for Lompoc’s Dana Chatterly and his 14-year-old son, Clayton.

A Tri Valley tradition is to hold a family barbecue between sessions of the July tournament at Santa Margarita Lake. At the intermission, San Luis Obispo’s Aaron Quarles and partner Roger Vogel led the 35-team field with a bag weight of 13.23 pounds (actual weight). Dana and Clayton had a midway weight of 5.97 pounds.

While the leaders drew an-after-barbecue blank, Dana and Clayton caught three more bass.

“I caught all our fish shaking worms,” the 49-year-old contractor said. “The last one was landed in the event’s final five minutes.”

Tri Valley anglers are awarded 0.20 points for each live fish. Quarles and Vogel had three for a 0.60 bonus and a final weight of 13.83.

Six live fish meant a 1.20 bonus, padding the Lompoc team’s 12.80 actual weight to a winning total of 14 pounds even. It paid $870.

Clayton, who turns 15 on July 25, “has no problem taking half the money,” said his dad, who caught all six of the team’s fish this time. “Netting is important and sometimes our roles are reversed.” Tri Valley Top 10, Number, Weight, Winnings — 1. Dana & Clayton Chatterly, Lompoc, 6, 14.00 pounds, $870; 2. Aaron Quarles, Roger Vogel, San Luis Obispo, 3, 13.83 pounds, $350; 3. Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 5, 12.62 pounds, $265; 4. Felix Camacho, Nipomo, Ken Camacho, Santa Maria, 4, 12.02 pounds, $145; 5.Clay Gates, Mitch Wasley, Paso Robles, 4, 11.66 pounds, $120; 6. Jared & J.C. Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 4. 11.19 pounds; 7. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 3, 10.14 pounds; 8. Erik Zillig, Don Brennan, Cambria, 3, 8.46 pounds; 9. Damon & Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 2, 8.01 pounds; 10. Bill Lukeman, Barney Truhitte, Santa Maria, 2, 5.77 pounds.1st Big Fish, 5.98 pounds, Quarles & Vogel, $245; 2nd Big Fish, 5.54 pounds, Jeff Hodges, Arroyo Grande, & Corey Schmidt, Oceano, $110.

Patriot Sportfishing

Catches of lingcod weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces by Ryan Wills of Atascadero and 12-6 by Louie McCombs of Taft led last week’s jackpot winners. Sixteen free passes have been awarded to anglers who have caught lingcod weighing 10 pounds and up and released the fish alive.

Call 595-7200 for trip schedules and reservations.

Other jackpot winners included: Jim Snow, Dinuba, 10-pound cabezon; Shawn Them, Fresno, 9-pound cabezon; Dustin Miles, Bakersfield, 7-pound lingcod; Joel Sanchez, Tehachapi, and Adolfo, Hurtosa, Visalia, Ben Seaney, Bakersfield, all 4-pound vermillion; Marty Sette, Los Osos, 4-pound copper; Kyle Carson, Santa Maria, 3-pound vermillion; Todd Horn, Bakersfield, and Tommy Holiwell, Bakersfield, both 3-pound coppers.

Last week’s catch by 317 anglers included: 57 lingcod, 345 red rockcod, 114 assorted rockfish, 733 bolina, and 27 cabezon. Virg’s Landing

An overnight trip is scheduled for this weekend, departing at 3 p.m. Saturday. Passengers may catch two limits of fish. Cost is $205. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information. The big fish on a similar trip two weeks ago was a 10-pound lingcod by Chris Cribbs, Corcoran. Recent jackpot winners included; Zach Sollom, Arizona, 9-pound lingcod; Henry Gonzales, Orangevale, 8-pound lingcod; Peter Dortnoff, Fresno, 7-pound red rockcod; Julian Gutierrez, Covina, Luis Salgado, Gonzales, Troy Reis, Hanford, and Darren Jacobs, Bakersfield, all 7-pound lingcod. The catch by 454 patrons last week included: 77 lingcod, 1,246 red rockcod, 2,560 assorted rockfish, 35 bocaccio, 232 coppers, 98 bolina, and one cabezon. Central Coast Sportfishing

Kevin Herrera of Edna Valley and James Vilkitis of Arroyo Grande won jackpots with 7-pound lingcod. Alex Gomez of Paso Robles was a winner with a 6-pound shark.

Call 772-3474 or 704-2084 for schedules and reservations.

Caught by 52 passengers last week were 3 lingcod, 116 red rockcod, 203 assorted rockfish, 110 coppers, 66 bolina, one ocean whitefish and one shark.

Lopez Lake

Seven-year-old Julian Rojas of Nipomo caught a 4-pound largemouth and a 11⁄4-pound bluegill on red worms while fishing by the boathouse Sunday.

Also that day, 10-year-old Sophia Huit of Taft caught a 3-pound largemouth on a nightcrawler at Strawberry Flats. John Thomas of La Puente llanded a 171⁄4-pound catfish using a cricket for bait.

Santa Margarita Lake

On Saturday, Robert Osteen of Nipomo caught a 16-pound, 14-ounce catfish and 16-year-old Colin Hutchison of Santa Margarita caught a 13-10 catfish. Both used mackerel for bait. The most species being caught are catfish, bluegill and redear.

Friday night bass event

The third in a series of five Friday night summer bass tourneys will be held at Nacimiento Lake on Friday.

The fee is $120 per two-person boat. It begins at 7 p.m. with weigh-in at 1 a.m.

The top three teams and big fish catcher earn cash. For more information, call Jim’s Pro Bass Tackle at 237-0549.

Kids Fishing Workshop

Fifty kids between the ages of 7 and 15 will be taught angling techniques Saturday at Cachuma Lake. Pre-register by calling 693-0691 or e-mail lead instructor Neal Taylor at taylornl@cox.net. The event on the Nature Center lawn will be from 8:45 a.m. to noon. It is free.

Whale Rock

The only trout caught last week and the 15th of the season was reeled in by Kalia Clary on Sunday. She used PowerBait. The largest turnout since the opening weekend when 21 anglers tried their luck July 14-18.