Fishing Report: Swimbaits pay off at Lopez Lake

Swimbaits worked their magic for both the winners of the fourth American Bass Pacific Coast Region tournament and the duo that earned big-fish honors.

Lopez Lake was the scene Saturday as the Sawdeys — son Sam and father Ralph — nipped Jared Lintner and partner Nick Salvucci by 2.99 pounds. It’s a task that’s hard to do but an achievement that put a smile on Sam’s face. “It’s about time to interrupt their domination,” Sam Sawdey said.

Sam Sawdey noted that he got on some fish late in the day three weeks ago in a Tri Valley tournament at Lopez and the fish were still there. That day he caught the big fish (6.31 pounds) and placed third.

“It’s awesome fishing with my dad,” Sam Sawdey said. “We caught 15 keepers all on swimbaits by fishing for pre-spawn fish all over the lake in 15 to 20 feet of water I caught our biggest one (6.27 pounds) and dad had a 5-pounder.”

Their 23.34-pound limit was worth $3,915. The Sawdeys also are a team in the 101 Bass competition.

Another father and son team grabbed big fish cash by using a new method for catching bass. The Alabama Rig is so new that the developer has a patent pending. It’s a multiple-bait rig also known as an Umbrella Rig. California angling regulations limit fishermen to have hooks on a maximum of three of the five wires.

Although he caught the tournament’s largest fish, 7.60 pounds, Santa Maria’s Mike Dashek said he was disappointed in the results. He and his son Travis caught only 12 fish.

“In practice I was catching 21- to 22-pound limits. If we’d been able to cull our smallest fish (1.12 pounds) with a 4-pounder or so we could have won the tournament,” Mike Dashek said.

The Dasheks placed third with a19.80-poound limit that paid $1,354. Mike Dashek said his Alabama Rig was armed with 5-inch swimbaits that were fished in 5 to 8 feet of water. He kept the color of his swimbaits secret.

Twenty-five of the 31 teams entered had limits.

ABA Pacific Coast Top 10 (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings

1.Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, Ralph Sawdey, Shandon, 23.24 pounds, $3,915; 2. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, 21.25 pounds, $1,516; 3. Mike & Travis Dashek, Santa Maria, 19.80 pounds, $1,354; 4. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 17.48 pounds, $250; 5. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 17.38 pounds, $400; 6. Jason Letterman, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 16.56 pounds $200; 7. Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 16.34 pounds, $200; 8. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 15.69 pounds; 9. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 15.20 pounds; 10. Jason McLey, Tyler McCutcheon, Bakersfield, 14.93 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 7.6 pounds, Dashek & Dashek, $450; 2nd Big Fish, 6.27 pounds, Sawdey & Sawdey, $270; 3rd Big Fish, 6.21 pounds, Bishop & Bishop, $180.

Virg’s Landing

The landing has scheduled a May 11 Long Range tournament with Papa’s Jigs, Bob’s Bait Bucket of Bakersfield and Morro Bay’s Bottle Liquor & Deli as sponsors. There’s a 35-angler limit. The entry fee is $110 with $89 covering the trip and $21 ear marked for the jackpot. The angler catching the big fish on a Papa’s Jig wins all of the jackpot money. Second place wins a rod and reel while third place receives a free pass on a Virg’s fishing trip. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information.

Whale-watching trips are scheduled Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $39 for adults and $29 for children age 15 and under.

Patriot Sportfishing

Combination crab and sanddab trips are scheduled from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $60 for adults, $45 for children 12 and under.

Twenty-six passengers shared a harvest of 156 Dungeness crabs Saturday.

A whale-watching and nature trip is scheduled for Monday from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $35 for adults, $15 for children 4-12 with children 3 and under free. Call 595-7200 for reservations.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Marty Codorniz reported dredging of the launch basin is scheduled to begin the first week of March. Commercial fishermen are catching some halibut, he said.

Nacimiento Lake

Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal predicts: “There will be an 8-pound spotted bass lake record within a month.”

His forecast came on the heels of a 7-pound, 9-ounce spot caught Feb. 9 by Craig Eckert. The fish was weighed on a hand-held scale.

Not caring that the fish was a probable lake record, he opted not to take it to a local market for a certified weight.

Hollister’s Bryan Grier owns the record, 7.31 pounds, set in an Angler’s Choice tournament Dec. 10, 2011. Drop shotting Roboworms, Mike Collins caught a 3 1⁄2-pound spot, Dean Guzman caught two 4-pound spots and Rymal reeled in a 4-pounder on a leadhead spiked with a live nightcrawler.

Santa Margarita Lake

Marina manager Don Lopez says “bass fishing is picking up.” That should bode well for Bakersfield anglers fishing the Golden Empire tournament Saturday.

Lopez Lake

Marina operator J. Randy Van Otterloo caught smallmouth bass and crappie in Marina Cove on Saturday. He used jigs and crappie jigs spiked with crappie nibbles.

Cachuma Lake

Cooler water chilled the bass bite as fish retreated to 25 to 40 feet of water. Deep-water techniques did pick up some fish but required substantial effort to do so. The trout bite benefited by cooler water. Trollers were able to get some fair to good action on Rapalas, Needlefish and Kastmasters in Santa Cruz and Cachuma Bays and the dam area. PowerBait and inflated nightcrawlers worked for shore anglers in Harvey’s Bay. Friday’s Calaveras hatchery trout plant will be 4,000 pounds rather than a 400-pound plant as noted last week.