Neither rain, nor snow nor cancelled flight could keep Nick Salvucci from his bass fishing date at Santa Margarita Lake on Saturday.
Just getting there for the fourth stop on the Angler’s Choice Central Coast Region event required ingenuity and persistence.
Once on the scene, more weather issues had to be confronted and endured before Nick and his bass fishing sidekick, Jared Lintner, could post their second series victory while widening their lead in the standings.
Friday night found Salvucci en route home from a Houston business trip. The hop to Phoenix was seamless. He and most of the other passengers ticketed to board an 86-passenger plane to San Luis Obispo were bumped. Windy conditions prompted the airline to board only 30 people. Twenty seats went to the Northern Arizona basketball party headed for a Saturday game at Cal Poly.
So Salvucci booked a flight to Fresno. A car rental was out because to his late-night arrival. Atascadero’s Dusty Kahler, his WON Bass teammate, came to the rescue. He picked Salvucci up at the Fresno airport and drove him to his truck parked at the San Luis Obispo airport. When Salvucci arrived at Lintner’s Arroyo Grande home it was 3:30 a.m., but he was too tired to sleep. Lintner’s alarm rang at 5 a.m., and the teammates trucked to Santa Margarita Lake.
Only 16 teams showed up. That’s six below average. The hearty competitors were challenged by a persistent rain, cold and snow.
“We had a limit in the first hour and by 10:30 we had all the fish we would weigh-in,” Salvucci said.
“Nick’s a trooper. He hung in there all day although he was exhausted,” Lintner said. “We caught all our fish on jigs and spinnerbaits. None were deeper than 15 feet.”
Their 25.25-pound limit was worth $1,540. Lintner and Salvucci widened their lead in the Angler’s Choice standings to 22.19 points over Herm DeLore and Jeff Smith. Prior to event four, they were just 0.87 points ahead of Mike Griffith and Pat Motley.
Stanley Beebe and partner Andy Levy took big-fish honors worth $1,225 with a 6.17-pound bass.
Lintner leaves this weekend for the Bassmaster Elite tour in Florida. He will miss the next two Angler’s Choice tournaments.
Cal Poly seniors Scott Hellesen of Whittier and Damian Bean of Oakland are achieving a remarkable record of consistency in a sport that in all probability few fellow students are aware even exists.
The teammates have been representing the Mustangs in National Guard FLW college fishing competitions for the past three years. On Saturday, they finished third at Arizona’s Lake Roosevelt to qualify for a berth in the western regional later this year.
Hellesen and Bean drove from San Luis Obispo to the tournament site two hours out of Phoenix. Thirty-five teams representing 17 western colleges and universities endured rain and wind during the competition won by an Oregon team that weighed a five-fish limit of 12 pounds.
“We focused on drop shotting near rocks adjacent to deep water,” Hellesen said.
Added Bean: “We caught 15 fish. Our 9-pound, 5-ounce limit came mostly from drop shotting although we did catch a couple bass on jigs.”
They earned $1,500 for the Cal Poly Bass Club and $500 for Cal Poly.
FLW furnishes boats and drivers for each team. The top five teams in each of four western tournaments will make up the regional field.
The first-place team in the regional wins $12,500 cash for their school and $12,500 cash and a Ranger bass boat and outboard motor wrapped in school colors for their fishing club.
The next National Guard FLW College Western Division tournament is scheduled for May 7 at the California Delta.
By placing fifth in October’s western regional at Folsom Lake, Hellesen & Bean qualified for the College National Championship Bass tournament at Kentucky Lake on April 7-9.
“We plan to fly to Kentucky and spend our spring break (March 18-26) practicing for the nationals,” Hellesen said.
FLW Everstart Series at Lake Roosevelt
The lone Central Coast pro in the 137-man field, Shawn Lee of Arroyo Grande placed 119th with eight fish for a two-day weight of 12 pounds, 9 ounces at last week’s event. Whitney Uyeda of Buellton the only Central Coast co-angler entered, placed 103rd with a two-day weight of 7 pounds, 13 ounces for 5 bass.
Santa Margarita Lake
On Friday, Herm DeLore of Atascadero caught a 13-pound bass weighed on the marina scales by Don Lopez. Had the catch been made Saturday, he’d have won the tournament by a wide margin.
Weather permitting, a crab and sanddab trip is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 5. Cost is $66. Call 595-7200 for reservations and more information. No whale watching trips are scheduled this weekend.
Whale watching trips are for scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call 772-1222 for reservations and departure times. Cost is $39 for adults, $29 for children ages 15 and under.