The thought that bass would be on beds never entered the minds of most of the 16 teams entered in Sunday’s Angler’s Choice Central Coast bass tournament at Santa Margarita Lake.
“Five or six weeks ago, bass were on beds,” said Carlos Vasquez, who with his son, Jacob, won the season’s seventh and final tournament.
“I pre-fished on Saturday and caught one fish. We started Sunday with no pattern in mind. Fishing grassy shoreline produced nothing. It was 11:30 before we caught our first fish. While moving along the White Oak shoreline, we discovered bed fish. They were scattered about every 40 to 60 feet.
“Jacob didn’t tell me he had a female ready to eat a plastic swimbait. He hooked her, but she came unbuttoned under the boat when my rod tangled with our net. On our third attempt we netted her. It was the tournament’s big fish (5.55 pounds) and accounted for about $890 of our $2,430 winnings.”
The Vasquez team posted the only five-fish limit on a day when only 34 fish were brought to the scales.
Their 15.01-pound bag gave the Soledad duo a win by nearly seven pounds. Nearly three years ago — July 30, 2008 — Carlos caught a 13.13-pound bass, which, at the time, was a Santa Margarita Lake record. The current record is 13.47 pounds.
Although Jared Lintner and Nick Salvucci finished third (three fish for 8.20 pounds), they captured Anglers of the Year honors as they finished with 753.2 points, nearly 32 points more than runners-up Ron Raymond and Bryan Vogt of Paso Robles. Lintner and Salvucci comprise the only team to win two tourneys. On Sunday, Lintner caught all three of the team’s bass, two off beds and one by drop-shotting.
Ten Central Coast teams qualified for the Tournament of Champions, which will bring together teams from 13 regions at Clear Lake on Oct. 15-16.
Angler’s Choice Top 10, Number of Fish, Total Weight Winnings — 1. Carlos & Jacob Vasquez, Soledad, 5, 15.01 pounds, $2,430; 2. Jason Letterman, Salinas, Ken Restani, Carmel Valley, 3, 8.53 pounds, $890; 3. Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 3, 8.20 pounds, $420; 4. Roger Haas, Bob Simmons, Morro Bay, 2, 7.97 pounds, $90; 5. Bryan & Steven Grier, Salinas, 2, 7.75 pounds, $60; 6. Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, John White, San Luis Obispo, 4, 7.49 pounds; 7. Richard Neal, Clovis, Jerry Waldrip, Bakersfield, 4, 7.04 pounds; 8. Dan & Charlie Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 2, 6.44 pounds, $200; 9. Jim Keeney, Tom Ryan, Paso Robles, 3, 5.42 pounds; 10. Ron Raymond, BryanVogt, Paso Robles, 2, 4.20 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.55 pounds, Vasquez & Vasquez, $890; 2nd Big Fish, 4.85 pounds, Barrios & Barrios, $200.
Invasive muscle inspections
Beginning this weekend, all boats seeking to go onto Nacimiento Lake and Lake San Antonio must pass an inspection at the entry. Inspections are designed to stop the spread of invasive species such as quagga and zebra mussels.
Upon entry, boats must be clean, drained and dry. Lopez, Santa Margarita and Cachuma lakes have had similar programs in place.
Port San Luis Boatyard
The Whopper of the Week winner was Jon Nunez of Orcutt. On Friday, he caught a 17-pound, 4-ounce salmon on a green hoochie.
Thirteen of the 19 salmon caught were bagged on May 16. Forty-three boats were launched. Eight lingcod were in the catch.
Rod Childers of Atascadero caught last week’s biggest fish, a 13-pound, 2-ounce lingcod. Other jackpot winners were: Arnold Luisi, Arroyo Grande, 7-pound vermillion; Chuck Keele, Sanger, Tom Joste, Santa Maria, and Randall Morris, Sanger, all 6-pound lingcod; Dwayne Cripe, Los Alamos, 6-pound vermillion; Kevin Lamley, Madera, Andrew Tremper, Arroyo Grande, both 5-pound lingcod; Bobby Bird and Royce McKinley, both Bakersfield, 5-pound coppers; Justin Montes, Santa Maria, 3 1/2-pound vermillion; and William Rogers, San Luis Obispo, 3-6 vermillion.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200 or click on patriotsportfishing.com.
The catch by 243 passengers last week included 20 lingcod, 950 red rockcod, 719 assorted rockfish, 157 bolina, eight cabezon, eight kelp greenling, six bocaccio and one sheephead.
Central Coast Sportfishing
The Rita G made two trips out of Patriot Sportfishing last week.
Forty-four passengers caught three lingcod, 191 red rockcod, 149 assorted rockfish, two cabezon and six kelp greenling.
For reservations and trip schedules, call 772-3474 or 704-2084.
The first overnight trip of the season is scheduled to depart at 3 p.m. Saturday and return Sunday afternoon. Passengers may catch two limits of rockcod. Cost is $205 per person. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information. Bad weather translated into no trips from May 15 through Saturday.
A senior foursome known as Bunky and the Boys caught 66 white bass and spots Monday. Heritage resident Dave Rymal is enjoying catching bluegill on a fly rod. Rymal says fishing for white bass is improving. Trolling is effective. Quality 1 1⁄2- to 2-pound spots are being caught under boiling shad and white bass.
Roostertails worked for two friends who caught 30 white bass on white Roostertails.
Santa Margarita Lake
Long Beach’s Joe Martin reeled in a 20 1⁄2-pound catfish on a nightcrawler while fishing by the dam Friday. Using an Oxblood Robo Worm, Brian Luna of Lompoc, caught a 10 1⁄2-pound bass Friday.
Robert Schwarz of Grover Beach caught a 7 1⁄4-pound largemouth in Cottonwood Cove on a nightcrawler May 19. Bass, redear and bluegill are being caught but crappie are more difficult.
Bow fishing for carp has been good with several double-digit harvests. Still fishing in The Narrows with inflated crawlers or PowerBait is producing quality holdover rainbows. Trolling at a depth of three to four colors of leadcore line is producing some sizeable trout. Windy and cooler weather has curtailed bass catches. Fishing for trout, crappie and bass are rated “fair.”
Catch and release fishing is permissible on the Lower Nacimiento River that flows through the base. Angling will be allowed when there are simultaneous hunting days. The first session begins Saturday and runs through Monday. The base will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. For updates, call the taped information line at 238-8167.
Gary Collier has taken three of the six trout caught through the first 17 days the reservoir has been open. On Friday, he caught a 10-inch rainbow on a lure. Sixty-one anglers have turned out since the April 30 opening.