Fishing Report: Local seabass catches are being kept under wraps

White seabass are being caught by anglers aboard private boats out of Morro Bay and the Sports Launch at Port San Luis.

But, it’s a secret. Or that’s what numerous posts on the www.fishreports.net website are trying to promote.

There are advantages of writing this column from Oregon, where I live. Of course, there are disadvantages, too. I’m not interested in salmon or trout fishing, and folks hereabouts have those species on the brain.

A writer is trained to use attribution. But, I plead the fifth this week at least as far as the saltwater scene is concerned. I don’t want to subject any of my sources to verbal attacks, or being ostracized or worse.

I’m told that seabass are being caught 20 minutes out of the public launch in Morro Bay. Estero Bay is the locale.

The other “hot” location is the Coke plant near where the Santa Maria River — when it’s running — empties into the Pacific Ocean.

“They are excellent eating,” a source told me. “The only thing better are groupers caught down in Mexico.”

My contact smacked his lips while revealing his preferred way of preparing seabass — stuffed with crab and bacon.

Currently, squid are plentiful in Central Coast waters. A source told me that seabass feed on squid and that is what attracted the fish in February. They were not as abundant then as they are now.

Through Wednesday, 67 seabass have been counted at the Port San Luis Sports Launch. Two fishermen were back in by 8 a.m. Wednesday with limits. The minimum length is 28 inches, and the limit is three fish per angler.

I know it’s a secret, but three anglers are pictured on the fishreports.net website with eight white seabass.————

Port San Luis Boatyard

Joe Vaugh of Santa Maria claimed Whopper of the Week honors with a 47-pound, 2-ounce white seabass Sunday. But, a larger seabass, 50 pounds, 2 ounces, was weighed on Monday after being caught by Maysun Wells of Los Osos.

Robert Mott of Arroyo Grande had the whopper lead Saturday with a 44-pound, 2-ounce halibut caught Saturday.

During the week ending Sunday, 124 boats were launched. It was only the second time this season when more than 100 boats were dispatched. The high point was 150 during the July 5-11 period. Ninety white seabass were counted last week — 46 on Sunday and 33 on Saturday. Three-quarter to full limits were registered over the weekend. It was half to three-quarter limits for the first five days of the week.

Tri Valley Bass

Three teams will jockey for the Anglers-of-the-Year crown in Saturday’s eighth and final regular season tournament at Lopez Lake. Mark Scribner of Pismo Beach and Graham Grove of Atascadero own a 10-point lead. They have 336 points.

John Phillips of Santa Margarita and partner Brad Austin of San Miguel rank second. In third with 316 points is the father-son tandem of Ken and Damon Meeks of Atascadero.

The fish-off for qualified teams will be Sept. 11 at an unannounced site.

Virg’s Landing

Last week’s search for tuna turned into a 250-mile round trip for Captain John Rowley and 17 passengers aboard the Admiral. No longfins were found. The trip began Tuesday evening and concluded about 3 a.m. Thursday.

Reservations are being taken for the next overnight rockcod-lingcod fishing trip Aug 14-15. Nineteen of the 40 spots have been booked. Call 772-1222 for reservations. The Admiral departs at 3 p.m.

Saturday and returns Sunday afternoon. Passengers may catch two limits of fish. Cost is $205.

Last week’s jackpot winners included: Brad Cariff, Bakersfield, 15-0 ling; Jaune Alexander, Lemoore, 14-0 halibut; Jeff Paul, Porterville, Eddie Martinez, Baldwin Park, both 12-0 lings; Cody Dunn, Visalia, 11-0 ling; Ashley Smith, Crestline, 10-0 ling; Brett Maxwell, Bakersfield, Lorenzo Morales, Dinuba, both 7-0 red rockcod; Henry Ortiz, Delano, and Thomas De Simone, New York, both 6-0 lings.

Last week 549 patrons caught 71 lingcod, 816 red rockcod, 3,902 assorted rockfish, 40 bocaccio, 159 coppers, 20 bolina, one ocean whitefish, and one rock sole.

Central Coast Sportfishing

Garrett Bayles of Lehi, Utah, had last week’s lone jackpot winner on a Wednesday half-day trip with a 10-pound lingcod.

The catch by 20 anglers included 103 assorted rockfish, 34 red rockcod, 23 coppers and one lingcod. Other trips last week were charters.

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

Patriot Sportfishing

Six double-digit lingcod topped last week’s jackpot winners.

A 17-pounder caught by Bakersfield’s Lanny Beasley was the biggest. Other hefty lings were: 14-8 and 13-12 by Sean McCombs, Taft; 13-11 by Tom Camparo, Oxnard; 12-13 by Lewis Pressley, Bakersfield; and 12-0 by Don Larson, Pismo Beach. Jackpots also were won by Justin Miles, Bakersfield, 8-5 ling; Justin Fordin, Porterville, 8-0 ling; Tim Murphy, Cayucos, 6-0 ling; Jared Pareira, Merced, 4-0 vermillion; Liz Vasques, Santa Maria, 4-0 bocaccio; and Mike Angele, Stockton, 3-0 vermillion.

So far this season, 25 free trip passes have been awarded to anglers who have caught lingcod weighing 10 or more pounds and released them alive.

For reservations and trip schedules, call 595-7200.

The catch by 388 passengers last week included: 63 lingcod, 446 red rockcod, 1,144 assorted rockfish, 1,318 bolina and 30 cabezon.

Santa Margarita Lake

Marina operators Don and Sandra Lopez celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary earlier this week. They’ve been on the job since May 1, 2005. Don says catfish are the most noticeable catches. Bluegill and redear are showing up at the cleaning station. So are a few crappie. Bass are no-shows.

Lopez Lake

Using crankbaits in the Arroyo Grande Arm of the lake July 26, Matthew Torrealba of Bakersfield caught two largemouths. The biggest weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces.

Isaiah Rocha of Oceano recently landed a 21⁄4-pound bluegill while fishing from the F dock. His bait was a nightcrawler.

Lake San Antonio

Stripers are being caught near the dam. The bay near the marina was full of shad Wednesday morning. Boils are scarce. Crappie are on the bite, but marina staffer Nick Pena had no report on bass.

Cachuma Lake

Trout limits are numerous these days, according to marina staffer William Jones. Trollers are connecting at a depth of 55 to 65 feet near the dam. They are dragging Needlefish. Drift fishermen are using nightcrawlers or PowerBait. White crappie jigs adorned with nibbles are attracting crappie while mackerel is effective for those targeting catfish.

Whale Rock

Twenty-one anglers caught three trout last week. It’s only the second time that more than two rainbows were caught during a 5-day open period. Gary Collier caught two trout July 31. His 17-inch and 12-inch fish boosted his total for the year to four fish. He employed PowerBait. The reservoir has been open 74 days. Nineteen trout have been caught by 207 anglers. Fishing is allowed Wednesdays through Sundays.