Teammates Mike Griffith and Pat Motley went deep Saturday and it paid victory dividends.
The duo won the inaugural event on the 2010-11 U.S. Angler’s Choice Central Coast Region bass tournament at Lopez Lake.
“We pre-fished on Thursday and found fish in 25 to 35 feet of water and that’s the plan we stuck with in the tournament,” the 62-yard-old Griffith said.
Catching big fish has been no big deal for Griffith, who has resided in Atascadero since retiring in September 2003. He admits to having caught 35 bass that weighed more 10 pounds. He and his Arroyo Grande third-year partner, Motley, didn’t need a big one Saturday.
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“The bite was off and on. It was overcast and rainy at the outset of the tournament,” Griffith said, “but unlike the usual conditions at Lopez there was no wind. Whatta difference.”
Griffith and Motley did have the fourth-heaviest fish of the tournament, 4.16 pounds. But only the three-heaviest bass put cash in a team’s pocket.
Pressed to recall the heaviest bass he’s caught, Griffith had a ready answer: “A 15.6-pound Florida strain largemouth. That was 17 or 18 years ago at Castaic Lake.
“In the tournament we had 15 keepers and finished with a 16.22-pound bag weight. All our fish were caught on jigs and Yamamoto grubs.”
The winners’ check was $1,645. And the last fish Griffith and Motley caught just before the end of competition enabled them to improve their sack weight by an estimated pound. That fish provided a 1.44-pound advantage over the runner-up team of Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande and Nick Salvucci of San Miguel.
Griffith and Motley qualified for the 2010 Tournament of Champiuons at Clear Lake but elected not to participate. They placed 11th in the final standings. The top 22 teams qualified for the TOC. Last season, the best finish Griffith and Motley had were eighth places at Lopez in May and Santa Margarita in June. They are focused on a loftier finish this campaign. Angler’s Choice Top 10, No. Fish, Weight Winnings
1. Mike Griffith, Atascadero, Pat Motley, Arroyo Grande, 5, 16.22 pounds, $1,645; 2. Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 5, 14.78 pounds, $1,215; 3. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 5, 14.60 pounds, $510; 4. Jim Keeney, Tom Ryan, Paso Robles, 5, 12.01 pounds, $220; 5. Scott Garman, Morro Bay, Cory Woodman, Cayucos, 3, 11.58 pounds, $320; 6. Ron Raymond, Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 5, 10.93 pounds; 7. Herm DeLore, Jeff Smith, Atascadero, 5, 10.25 pounds; 8. Matt Jackson, John Zulik, Visalia, 3, 8.23 pounds, $300; 9. Carlos & Jacob Vasquez, Soledad, 4. 7.98 pounds; 10. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Erik Zillig, Cambria, 3, 6.40 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.64 pounds, Lintner & Salvucci; 2nd Big Fish, 5.50 pounds, Garman & Woodman; 3rd Big Fish, 5.07 pounds, Jackson & Zulik. American Bass, Pacific Coast Region
The second event on the six-tourney 2010-11 schedule will be Saturday at Cachuma Lake. A Huntington Beach team, Manas Malikian and John Demonet, won the first tournament at Santa Margarita Lake by better than three pounds. Twenty-seven teams were entered. Cal Bass Team Tournament
Nacimiento Lake will be the site of Cal Bass Team Tournament on Sunday. The series would appear to be on shaky grounds. The sponsors were anticipating full fields of 30 teams at each site. Only six teams showed up Oct. 30 at Cachuma. The top six teams advance to the regional round The fact that tournament results are hard to come by if not impossible to find posted on the Internet looms as a red flag as to the viability of the series. Three team tournaments in the South Region have already been held. But the tournament director ignored my requests for the results.
Creston’s Dale Ball, who won the solo version of the series and is the reigning state bass champion, plans to enter the Nacimiento event. He will team with a former Paso Robles resident, Dave Solis, who now makes his home in Antioch.Ball said his practice sessions at Nacimiento this week have gone well. “One day I had 30 keepers and 15 shorts. Fishing has been good,” he said. Virg’s Landing major tournament
Twenty-six anglers who had the heaviest lingcod each week from May through October qualified for Saturday’s championship tournament. No entry fee was charged for anyone fishing from a Virg’s vessel throughout the event. The landing set aside $1 from each customer’s fare to build a tournament fund of $7,386.
Seventeen of the weekly winners have confirmed they will be on hand for the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. tournament aboard the Fiesta skippered by John Rowley. Four qualifiers declined the opportunity while five others could not be reached to confirm or decline.
Locals in the hunt for a $3,705 first prize, a $2,405 second prize or a $1,276 third prize include Mike Blackstone of Atascadero, John Byde of Cambria, Ray Chavez of Morro Bay and Jesse Spencer of Arroyo Grande.
Other qualifiers who plan to compete Saturday are John Castro, David Huey, Brad Cariff and Dat Tran, all of Bakersfield; Jim Laswell and Brian Skaggs, both of Hanford; Eric Burkholder, Brentwood, Chris Cribbs, Corcoran, Summer Ledbetter, Dinuba, Andrew Trujillo, Palmdale, Kevin Kim, Tujunga, Cassondra Scaduto, Visalia, and Wayne Arnold, Orosi. Patriot Sportfishing
David Glass of Lompoc took over the lead in the four-month- long lingcod contest with the catch of a 24-pound, 6-ounce lingcod Oct. 31. The contest ends Nov. 15.
Slipping to second place with a 20-12 lingcod caught Oct. 14 was Joe Torres of Arroyo Grande. In third place, with the catch of a 19-2 lingcod on Oct. 8, is Bryan Shishido of Lindsay.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Other jackpot winners last week included Joe Torres with a 12-0 ling, Steve Garcia, Whittier, 8-0 cabezon, Matt Crown, Shafter, 7-0 ling and Andy Hudson, Bakersfield, 5-0 red rockcod.
The catch by 174 anglers included: 27 lingcod, 326 red rockcod, 455 assorted rockfish, 435 bolina, 11 cabezon and one barracuda. Virg’s Landing
Last week’s big fish was a 9-pound lingcod caught by Joe Simons of Utah. Other jackpot winners included Matt Culver, Coalinga, 6-0 ling; Donna Arvier, Hanford, Julian Berral, Hanford, and Ralph Kaehle, Visalia, all 4-pound red rockcod.
For reservations and trip schedules, call 772-1222.
Last week’s catch by 122 anglers included nine lingcod, 160 red rockcod, 684 assorted rockfish, 20 bocaccio, 17 coppers and two cabezon. Port San Luis Boatyard
For the first time since the week of June 21-27, a lingcod catch has earned Whopper of the Week honors. Atascadero’s Pete Nelson weighed a 16-pound, 9-ounce lingcod Sunday to claim honors. Twenty five of the 47 boats launched last week were dispatched on Halloween. The catch included 11 lingcod and nine halibut.
A Kids’ Old Fashioned Fishing Day is planned from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The event is open to those ages 5-15. Fishing for trout will take place in the swimming pool at Cachuma Lake. Participants will use bamboo poles, bobbers and bait. The equipment will be provided and experienced local anglers from the Cachuma Nature Center will on hand to assist young fishermen. Adults may fish from 1 to 3 p.m., provided they have a valid fishing license. Use of bamboo rods and bobbers are required. There is an $8 per vehicle admission to the park. Whale Rock
Jeff McCune of Santa Barbara caught trout measuring 11 and 14 inches Sunday. The catches were made with nightcrawlers. Six anglers turned out during the Oct. 27-31 open period. The reservoir has been open 140 days. During the open period, 257 anglers have caught 26 trout. The season will end Nov. 15.