Late catches were decisive in two bass tournaments last weekend. In each event, veteran anglers captured championships in the first competition of the 2011-12 campaign.
The proprietor of Jim’s Pro Bass Tackle, Jim Slusher, made his final cast of the day a victory pitch. On Saturday, Slusher and partner Ken Sauret were positioned outside the White Oak launch ramp five minutes before weigh-in. He cast a wacky-rigged Yum Dinger into 22 feet of water.
“I let the bait sit on the bottom and lifted it slowly,” Slusher said. “On my second lift I connected on my third keeper, a 5-pounder that sealed the deal for us.”
The team’s 17.5-pound limit provided a 1.78-pound margin of victory. It was Slusher’s first tourney win in two years, both scored at Santa Margarita Lake.
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The duo had only seven keepers out of 15 fish caught. Sauret had four keepers. A portent of the success that was to come occurred on Slusher’s third cast of the morning.
His swimbait fetched a 5.98-pound largemouth, the biggest fish of the American Bass Pacific Coast Region event. It accounted for $375 of the team’ $3,560 total winnings. Ten of the 27 teams had limits.
ABA Pacific Coast, Number of Fish, Weight Winnings
1. Jim Slusher, Atascadero, Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, 5, 17.50 pounds, $3,500; 2. Fred Ledesma, Jose Canchola, Soledad, 5, 15.72 pounds, $1,453; 3. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 5, 15.25 pounds, $797; 4. Jason Letterman, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 5, 13.10 pounds, $225; 5. Joe & Keith Gardiner, San Luis Obispo, 4, 11.58 pounds, $200; 6. Stanley Beebe, San Luis Obispo, Andrew Levy, Grover Beach, 5, 11.48 pounds, $125; 7. Michael & Joe Meier, Bakersfield, 5, 11.31 pounds; 8. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 4, 10.96 pounds. $225; 9. Patrick Motley, Arroyo Grande, Mark Del Papa, Bakersfield, 5, 10.89 pounds; 10. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 2, 10.10 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.98 pounds, Slusher & Sauret, $375; 2nd Big Fish, 5.89 pounds, Salvucci & Lintner, $225; 3rd Big Fish, 5.58 pounds, Ledesma & Canchola, $150.
Reunion produces a win
Veteran Lompoc bassers Steve Morris and Mead Hedricks reunited for the first time in many years and fashioned a win at Lake San Antonio on Saturday in the Angler’s Choice Central Coast event. The death of a former tournament director and the transfer to another venue by Bill Cook complicated avoiding a conflict with the ABA tourney.
Fishing secondary points and over creek beds, the partners posted one of only two limits by the five teams entered.
“We used small jigs and drop shots and caught fish by dead sticking. We had a limit by 8:30 but there was a four hour period without a catch,” Morris said.
Their 11.70-pound limit all smallmouths was worth $570. Big-fish honors went to Arroyo Grande’s Dan Frazier with a 3.07-pound fish, his only catch, worth $125.
Bob and Mark Tull of Santa Maria are the new tourney directors. Angler’s Choice, Central Coast, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Mead Hedricks, Steve Morris. Lompoc, 5, 11.70 pounds, $570; 2. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 10.27 pounds; 3. Mike Pierce, John Shaw, Prunedale, 3. 4.76 pounds; 4. Bryan Grier, Salinas, 2, 4.43 pounds; 5.Dan Frazier, Arroyo Grande, 1, 3.07 pounds.1st Big Fish, 3.07 pounds, Frazier, $125.
Barbecue and tournament
A saltwater fishing tournament will complement the third-annual gathering of area anglers Saturday at Port San Luis. Competition will be in these categories: Lingcod, other sport fish and women only. Fishing begins at 5:30 a.m. with a 2:30 p.m. weigh-in.
Food will be available all day, says Barry Stewart, chairman of this event phase. He expects the main barbecue to begin “around 2:30.” In addition to tri-tip, a variety of donated seafood offerings will enhance the menu.
Numerous raffle prizes have been donated, including a turquoise silver pendant custom made by Charlie Reed in honor of his wife of 61 years, Mary. Local artist-angler Will Bateman has contributed a framed oil painting of Port San Luis.
Raffle tickets are $5 each, five for $20. It’s not necessary to enter the tournament to take part in the barbecue and raffle. Additional details are on the fishreports.net website.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Whopper-of-the-Week went to Atascadero’s Tim Rademacher for his catch of a 10 3⁄4-pound lingcod Nov. 8. Thirty-eight boats were dispatched last week. The catch included 43 lingcod and four halibut. Full rockcod limits were logged three days and three quarter limits twice.
Charles Bishop of San Luis Obispo had the big fish of the week a 17-pound sheephead caught Nov. 13. Other jackpot winners were Jesse Gauna, Santa Maria, 16-8 ling; Andrew Barton, Bakersfield, 15-0 ling; John O’Connor, Bakersfield, 10-0 ling; Bart Powers, Atascadero, 8-0 ling; Christina Acosta, Hanford, 6-0 ling; Steve Miller, Woodland, 5-0 red rockcod; Jerry Jordan, Jr., Woodland, 4-0 red rockcod.
Call 595-7200 for trip schedules and reservations.
The 4-month-long seventh-annual Lingcod continues until Dec. 31. The trio of leaders, Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces), William Chong (19 pounds) and Brad Hudson (18 pound, 12 ounces) caught their fish on the same boat, Sept. 4. There is no entry fee. All fare-paying anglers are automatically entered. Call 595-7200 for schedules and reservations.
Last week, 128 passengers caught 56 lingcod, 350 red rockcod, 770 assorted rockfish, 277 bolina, 12 cabezon, two bocaccio, one sheephead, halibut and sand sole.
The first of a series of weekly ladies day fishing trips aboard the Princess with Skipper Sharon Rowley is set for Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ladies pay a $25 fare. Men are welcome for a $59 fare.
Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information.
Tickets for on-the-water viewing of the traditional Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade on Dec. 3 are on sale at the marina store, 1169 Market St., Morro Bay. Tickets are $25. Participants need to board by 6 p.m. Hot drinks and snacks will be served on board.
Jackpot winners last week were Dan Holtzman, Morro Bay, 9-0 ling; Ryan Peterson, Bakersfield, and Miguel Rodriguez, Visalia, both 7-0 lings. The catch by 90 passengers included: 41 lingcod, 333 red rockcod, 10 bocaccio, 420 assorted rockfish, and 46 coppers.
Central Coast Sportfishing
Morro Bay’s Jeremy Hawkins’ catch of an 8-pound cabezon took jackpot honors Sunday aboard the Rita G. Thirteen anglers caught three lingcod, two cabezon, four red rockcod, three coppers and 108 assorted rockfish.
For trip schedules and reservations call 772-3474 or 704-2084.
Three trout were caught by a record turnout of 34 anglers in the final week of the season. Employing PowerBait on Sunday, Gary Collier caught a 16-inch trout bringing his total for 2011 to 36 fish. Joe Reynolds, who did not record a catch, finished with 34 fish.
On lures, Jeff Winkler and Pat Morris reeled in a 13-inch fish on Nov. 10 and Sunday, respectively. Over 29 weeks, 145 open days, 442 fishermen caught 130 trout, an astounding number when compared with the usual harvest: 34 in 2010, 44 in 2009 and 35 in 2008.
“Currently, fishing is spotty,” reports Dave Rymal from Heritage Ranch.
On Monday, Zolie Meyer and his wife, Aggie, caught nine spotted bass jigging off rocky points in 15 to 20 feet of water. And Martin Rowley reeled in four whites and some small spots.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina manager Don Lopez said: “Bass are being caught all over the lake by jigging. Crappie fishing is most productive by the dam and in The Narrows.”
Marina operator Randy Van Otterloo said: “If you have the techniques down you’ll catch fish.” Crappie up to 2 1⁄2 to 3 pounds were caught last week. John Adame of Guadalupe landed a pair of 2-pound smallmouths on red worms.”
Ken Hemer’s weekly report card: “Trout are providing the most action. Shore anglers soaking PowerBait or floating nightcrawlers in Mohawk area and Harvey’s Bay are having the most success. It’s tougher for trollers paying out six colors of leadcore line with Dodger/Needlefish combos. Persistent bass anglers are limiting in 3 to 15 feet of water using small swimbaits, Texas-rigged jigs and blades for largemouths. Spooning works for some smallmouths.”