Fishing Report: Volunteerism at its finest at tourney

It’s apparent that the Nov. 19 saltwater fishing tournament and barbecue was more than competition embellished by good food.

Volunteerism at its finest was an obvious presence. Many saltwater fishermen who had swapped productive fishing locations via radio for years seized the opportunity to finally meet their benefactors.

Anglers Anonymous was born out of this event. Thus far, the most promising promotion will take place Sept. 8, 2012, which is one of two California free fishing days next year when no fishing license required. The focus will be on taking wounded warriors, amputees and other veterans, as well as local disabled persons, on ocean fishing adventures aboard privately-owned fishing boats.

Locally, at least 30 boats have been pledged for this mission. Numerous skippers have expressed eagerness to take part in the project,which promises to have far reaching participation.

Spearheading this project, as well as last month’s tournament and barbecue held at Port San Luis, were Greg Birkholz, Barry Stewart, Jim Banakus and many others. Sixty-eight fishermen participated in the tournament.

Lingcod Tourney Winners

1. Pablo Chagolla, San Luis Obispo, 12-7 ling, $465; 2. Pete Nelson, Shell Beach, 8-9 ling, Shimano rod; 3. Chris Lopez, Arroyo Grande, 7-5 ling, fillet knife.

Open Class Winners

1. Adam Putinkamp, Lompoc, 7-14 halibut, $465; 2. Curt Lanini, Santa Maria, 7-0 halibut, Shimano rod; 3. Brian Hondry, Cayucos, 6-0 red rockcod, filet knife.

Cal Poly bass team

Two small fish played a significant role as a senior Cal Poly duo fished its way into the national college bass fishing championship field for the second time.

The story played out over Nov. 17-19 in the National Guard Western Region tournament at Arizona’s Saguaro Lake.

Damian Bean and Scott Hellesen, who placed sixth in the 2011 national competition on Kentucky Lake in April, had an Arizona beginning that would discourage most competitors.

Fishing at depths ranging from 30 to 70 feet, which had been productive in practice, netted Cal Poly’s entry only one fish, which weighed only 15 ounces. The 20-team field weighed just 30 fish Thursday. Six teams blanked. Bean and Hellesen were in 14th place, 9 pounds, 6 ounces off the lead held by a Sacramento State tandem’s four-fish, 10-pound, 5-ounce weight.

“I knew things would turn around on Friday. It was my 23rd birthday and the good vibes were in the air,” Hellesen said. The Mustang duo changed its approach. “We started fishing in 30 feet of water near a vertical wall,” Bean said. “We targeted boulders and some other structure with a combination of Robo worms and Jackal cross tail shad.”

Only 20 minutes remained to weigh-in when Bean reeled in a 121⁄2-inch fish that rounded out the team’s limit, one of only two in Friday. Hellesen caught four fish. The 10-pound, 1-ounce limit elevated the Cal Poly team to fourth place with 11 pounds.

“Those two small fish enabled us to qualify for day three when the field was cut to five teams,” Bean said. “Without those little guys we’d have missed the cut.”

Although the Cal Poly team caught only two fish in Saturday’s finals, the 4-pound, 11-ounce weight was the heaviest of the day.

“We got on a good cross tail pattern, but we ran out of time,” Bean said.

By placing second with a total weight of 15 pounds, 11 ounces Bean and Hellesen qualified for next spring’s national college tournament. Cal Poly earned $2,500 for the university and $7,500 for the Mustang Bass Club.

“We want some redemption for the western guys. We’re going all-out to bring something back for the west,” Bean said.

A Fresno State team won the tournament on day two with a 15-pound, 10-ounce limit and finished at 23 pounds, 11 ounces.

Only 66 fish were caught over three days. Two teams did not catch a fish.

National Guard College Western Region 3-day Totals, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1.Christopher Delgado, Kong Moua, Fresno State, 10, 23-11 pounds, $12,500; 2. Scott Hellesen, Damian Bean, Cal Poly, 8, 15-11 pounds, $10,000; 3. Robert Matsuura, Thomas Kanemoto, Sacramento State, 9, 14-3 pounds, $5,000; 4. Thomas White, Frank Vogt, Chico State, 6, 13-15 pounds, $5,000; 5. Bob Harkins, Anthony Dayton, Chico State, 8, 14-4 pounds, $5,000.

(Fresno State won $12,500 for college plus bass club won Ranger 177TR boat and Mercury or Evinrude 90 hp. outboard. Cal Poly received $2,500 plus bass club earned $7,500).

Port San Luis Boatyard

While just one halibut was caught last week, the flattie that Roscoe Rickard of Grover Beach caught Nov. 26 (18 pounds, 9 ounces) took Whopper of the Week honors.

Ninety-four lingcods were brought in by anglers aboard 86 launched boats. Minnesotan Zack Huseby was the winner the week ending Nov. 20 with a 7-11 ling Nov. 18. Thirty-eight boats were dispatched with 40 lings and two halibut in the take.

Patriot Sportfishing

Five weeks remain for saltwater fishing and opportunities to unseat the three leaders in the seventh-annual Lingcod Contest. The trio at the top has been there since the opening of the competition Sept. 1. The prizes are $3,000 first place; $2,000 second place; and $1,000 for third. For trip schedules and reservations call 595-7200.

Recent jackpot leaders include Neal Enciso, Long Beach, 14-0 ling; James Vikitis, Hawkins, 12-0 ling; Alford Johnson, Oxnard, 11-0 ling; Manuel Chavez and Allen Magby, both Bakersfield, 10-0 lings; Don Pack, Santa Maria, 10-0 red rockcod, and Anthony Yracheta, Grover Beach, 8-0 cabezon.

Virg’s Landing

Virg’s boats again are participating in Saturday’s annual Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade. To ride along as a participant, call 772-1222 for reservations. Cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m.

Ladies Day fishing trips are scheduled Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fares are $25 for women and $59 for men. The series was launched last week with 28 aboard the Princess captained by Sharon Rowley and 23 on the Fiesta captained by Brad Leage.

Santa Maria’s Sabrina Bartlett had the jackpot fish, a 15-pound ling. Other recent jackpot winners include: Donald Doodley, Visalia, 18-0 ling, Lloyd Sturgeon, San Marcos, 15-0 ling, Dan Yoder, Paso Robles, 12-0 ling, Robert Wiegel, Bakersfield, 9-0 ling, and Monique Flack, Morro Bay, 6-0 red rockcod.

Central Coast Sportfishing

The Rita G will not be fishing Dec. 1-15. The vessel will be undergoing annual Coast Guard inspections.

On the Nov. 19, trip 23 anglers caught 80 red rockcod, one rock sole and 231 assorted rockfish. There was no jackpot winner.