There are numerous ingredients that factor into achieving success in local bass tournaments. Being in the right place at the right time and offering the appropriate bait is important. Skills accumulated over the years play a part. But, such things as your ride (boat) and your age don’t seem to matter. Of course, having a little luck is a bonus.
Such was the scenario that played out Saturday in two club bass tournaments — the Tri Valley at Santa Margarita Lake and the SLO County Bass Ambushers at Lopez Lake.
At the Tri Valley tournament, there were four-, six-fish team limits in excess of 18 pounds of actual weight.
Brad Lum and Joey Reggio of San Luis Obispo, competing in their first tournament, finished one pound in front of Morro Bay’s Scott Garman and partner Dan Barrios of San Luis Obispo.
“This definitely was a lot better outcome than we had expected,” Lum said. “Our practice the week before was not great. Although we were the last boat out (28th), we were able to start fishing where we wanted. We stayed at the northern end of the lake.”
Added Reggio: “I caught two fish early on spinnerbaits. The rest of the time we drop-shotted off points in water two to 20 feet deep.”
Fishing from Lum’s 1993 Ranger, the team caught nine fish. Their six-fish actual weight of 20.92 pounds grew to 22.12 pounds with the 1.20 live fish bonus.
Danny Knotts won big-fish honors with an 11.74-pound bass caught on a black and blue jig. It was more than a pound better than his previous personal best of 10.70 pounds. Knotts and Bill Lukeman of Santa Maria lost two fish and weighed only five in placing third with a final weight of 20.93 pounds.
Tri Valley Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight
1. Brad Lum, Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, 6, 22.12 pounds; 2. Scott Garman, Morro Bay, Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 6, 21.13 pounds; 3. Danny Knotts, Bill Lukeman, Santa Maria, 5, 20.93 pounds; 4. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 6, 19.78 pounds; 5. Graham Grove, Atascadero, Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, 6, 17.62 pounds; 6. Jeff Rose, Rich Zeilenga, Oceano, 6, 17.31 pounds; 7. Jason Letterman, Tom Nieto, Salinas, 5, 15.35 pounds; 8. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 4, 14.07 pounds; 9. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 4, 13.44 pounds; 10. Jeremy Goldsmith, Jason Martin, 4, 13.28 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 11.74 pounds, Knotts & Lukeman; 2nd Big Fish, 5.09 pounds, Garman & Barrios.
At the Ambushers Tournament, Paso Robles’ Ron Raymond used homemade 4-inch worms on dart heads to catch an 18.09-pound, 5-fish limit to win the second Ambushers’ competition at Lopez.
He was reluctant to disclose where he caught his fish and the color of his plastic worms as he has a WON Bass event at Lopez in two weeks. He fishes the WON venue with his 22-year-old daughter, Heather.
Raymond had a vastly different experience than the passenger aboard his 2001 Champion boat. Raymond caught seven keepers en route to besting runner-up Casey Langley of Arroyo Grande by 4.50 pounds. His passenger, Bryan Vogt, managed just one fish placing 12th in the 20-angler field.
Jesse Wilson, 18, an Atascadero High senior, had a tournament he will remember forever. He fished alone from his dad’s 14-foot Valco aluminum boat powered by a 15hp Evinrude motor.
This was only his second tournament experience.
“About 9:30 I was slow rolling over weeds near shore in six to 10 feet of water,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t expecting the big hit my Strike King spinnerbait produced. The fish took off for deeper water. It felt like a long time before I got it in the boat, but it probably wasn’t.”
The 6.89-pound bass was the big fish of the tournament.
“My live well is a Coleman cooler with a Bass Pro Shop aerator. I was thankful it kept my three fish alive,” Wilson said.
His big fish paid $105 and his 12.69-pound weight placed him third.
Ambushers Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Ron Raymond, Paso Robles, 5. 18.09 pounds, $242; 2. Casey Langley, Arroyo Grande, 5, 13.59 pounds, $145; 3. Jesse Wilson, Atascadero, 3, 12.69 pounds, $15; 4. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 3, 10.38 pounds, $82; 5. Greg Hanley, Paso Robles, 5, 8.89 pounds; 6. Erik Zillig, Cambria, 4, 8.74 pounds; 7. Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 2, 4.68 pounds; 8. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 2, 4.23 pounds; 9. Skylar Feldman, Los Angeles, 2, 3.30 pounds; 10. Jeremy Donk, Atascadero, 1, 2.79 pounds.1st Big Fish, 6.89 pounds, Jesse Wilson, $105.
Jeremy Harkins of Morro Bay celebrated his 34th birthday Sunday with the catch of a 15-pound steelhead in San Simeon Creek. “I’ve caught 35 fish this year under 16 inches that I had to release,” Harkins saidvia phone. His trophy catch was made on 4-pound test line.