On a day when success was hard to come by on the albacore grounds 50 miles out of Morro Bay, two youths visiting from Alaska scored a “football-size” tuna while their dad and the boat skipper were blanked.
It happened Monday when Atascadero’s Kevin Piper skippered the Katmandu on a tuna run for the first time this season.
“I haven’t been able to get out there this year and I miss it. I had a 17-fish day once last year,” Piper said.
On board with Piper were Ted Blankenship and Ted’s sons, Jake, 13, and Stephen, 11, who were visiting their dad for a week in Atascadero. It was the first time all three Blankenships went tuna fishing.
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“We began trolling about 8:45 or 9 o’clock,” Piper said. “We were fishing the same area where everyone else was over the weekend. Then we switched to soaking bait. Still no takers, so I returned to trolling at 5 nautical miles. Within five minutes, two footballs were hooked on the outriggers trolled back a ways on Mexican flags.”
The hookup on Jake Blankenship’s line happened a few seconds before his brother’s.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said.
Catching big fish was not new for him. When he was 10, he won The Homer Winter King tourney with a 28.82-pound salmon. He’s also landed an 85-pound halibut.
“I was really surprised when my line went off,” Stephen Blankenship said.
He, too has tasted angling success with catches of a 22-pound salmon and an 80- to 85-pound halibut.
Estimated weights of the tuna were 12 to 15 pounds and 10 pounds.
Competition has been a part of the Blankenship family heritage.
“The boys let me know they were one up on me in the quest for albacore,” Ted Blankenship said.
And then there was the sparrow.
The bird flew into the back of the boat about the time Piper headed back to port. It went back and forth from one passenger to another, sitting on shoulders, hands and limbs.
“I don’t know what it was doing 50 miles out at sea. But when we reached port it was home, too and disappeared in the sky,” Piper said.
American Bass North Team Classic
At Clear Lake last week, Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande and partner Nick Salvucci of San Miguel opened in fourth place with a 24.42-pound limit. They were less than four pounds off the lead. The Pacific Coast Region’s Anglers of the Year finished sixth with a two-day 44.90 total paying $2,745.
Ken Sauret of Paso Robles and Jim Slusher of Atascadero settled for 51st place after ranking seventh after day one with a 23.36-pound limit. They added only 6.25 pounds for two fish for a 29.61 total.
Placings of other Pacific and Central Coast teamsNumber of Fish, Weight, Winnings — 52.Darin Ferguson, Dustin Mojonnier, Vandenberg Village, 8, 29.52, $200; 63. John White, San Luis Obispo, Steve Bereda, Santa Margarita, 8, 25.62; 70. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 7, 22.63; 75. Mike & Travis Dashek, Santa Maria, 5, 21.57; 77. Tom Guidry, Stan Skou, Los Alamos, 5, 20.68; 95. Clay Gates, Paso Robles, Neal Franklin, Atascadero, 5, 15.61; 99. Sam & Ralph Sawdey, Paso Robles, 4, 14.49; 104. Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, Todd Reccord, Paso Robles, 5, 13.03; 118. Graham Grove, Atascadero, Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, 3, 9.35; 126. Erik Zillig, Cambria, Tim Vaughan, Los Osos, 3, 7.30; 132. Paul Gates, Rudy Rowlett, Paso Robles, 3. 4.65.
Weekend albacore prospects
Private boaters can expect afternoon winds on the fishing grounds 50 miles out of Morro Bay. Catches have been sporadic early in the week. The Pacific Queen returned to San Diego after its Saturday-Sunday trip produced 11 tuna mostly on bait for 11 anglers.
Beginning Wednesday, shallow water (120 feet or less) limited-load, jigs-only trips will be offered from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays for $89. Virg’s will buy used reels and tackle. See Greg at the Morro Bay office at 1169 Market St.
The next overnight trip departs Nov. 5 and returns 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 6. Cost is $205. Call 772-1222 for reservations.
Last week’s jackpot winners: David Post, Redlands, 11-0 ling; Andy Hernandez, Atascadero, Mike Blackstone, Atascadero, both 9-0 lings; Greg Leach, Visalia, 8-0 ling; Sierra Munson, Lompoc, Jeff reed, Burbank, both 7-0 red rockcod; and Fernando Melchor, Sanger, 6-0 ling.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Todd Vido of Arroyo Grande took Whopper of the Week honors with a 251⁄2-pound halibut caught Sunday.
Anglers aboard 84 launched boats last week caught 125 lingcod (48 on Saturday and 45 on Sunday), 19 halibut and three albacore.
Although 137 lingcod were caught on trips Saturday through Monday, the top three weights were unchanged in seventh-annual Lingcod Contest. They are: 26 pounds, 4 ounces, 19 pounds and 18 pounds, 12 ounces.
Paying customers are automatically entered. There is no entry fee. Undoubtedly, more lings will be added today and Sunday by passengers on 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. trips to Pt. Purisima.
For schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
So far, 2,272 lings have been caught. For schedules and reservations, call 595-7200. Last week’s jackpot winners: Thaddis Johnson, Lemoore, 14-5 ling; Kevin Uraine, Taft, 13-5 ling; Joe Torres, Arroyo Grande, Nate Frowsing, Fresno, both 13-0 lings; Ray Garza, Nipomo, Mike Lester. Bakersfield, Alex Shillo, Goleta, all 8-0 lings; Tim Duncan, Clovis, 7-0 ling; Kathy Carter, Oklahoma City, 6-0 red rockcod; and Steve Elliot, Morro Bay, 5-0 vermillion.
Central Coast Sportfishing
Madera’s Jerry Casey caught a 20-pound albacore, the only tuna caught by 14 passengers aboard the Rita G on Friday.
Jackpot winners Saturday and Sunday were James Adams, 16-pound sheephead, and Roosevelt Vickers, 9-pound lingcod. Both are from Bakersfield.
For schedules and reservations call 772-3474 or 704-2084.
Fishing in the Vasquez Arm, Steven Thresher of Arroyo Grande landed a 10 3⁄4-pound catfish on a red worm Friday.
The same day 11-year-old Spencer Sylvester of Grover Beach caught 18 redear and a 1 1⁄2-pound crappie on pieces of nightcrawlers, and Jonathan Garcia of San Luis Obispo caught a 1 1⁄2-pound crappie on a crankbait. Brandon Woo of Santa Maria reeled in a 3 1⁄2-pound largemouth on a white spinnerbait, and 15 bluegill up to 1 1⁄4 pounds were enticed by crawlers dangled by Ceasar Chand of San Luis Obispo.
Santa Margarita Lake
Bass are being caught all over the lake on topwater, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, frogs and Senkos, marina manger Don Lopez said.
Crappie and redear are being harvested in The Narrows.
Heritage Ranch resident Martin Rowley caught 16 white bass, three spotted bass and a catfish by trolling then casting Kastmasters.
Lake San Antonio
Aubree Kinkade of the marina said that anglers trolling Krocodile lures are picking up 8- to 10-pound stripers by the North Shore launch ramp and by the dam.
Fishing in general has picked up, says marina manager Ken Hemer.
Catfish are the most active in Drake’s Cove, and Johnson, Sweetwater and Santa Cruz Bays. Mackerel, chicken livers and dough balls are working. Poppers and Spooks are enticing large and smallmouth bass early. Some nice holdover trout are being caught trolling Needlefish and Dodger combos down 30 to 40 feet.
Joe Reynolds and Gary Collier each caught two trout last week, raising their season’s take to 33 and 31, respectively.
Reynolds caught a 14-inch fish on worms and a 16 on a lure. Collier bagged a 15-inch trout on worms and a 14-inch on a “secret” bait. Eight anglers participated last week, hiking the season’s total to 363. In 130 open days, 108 trout have been caught.