Fishing Report: Anglers show there’s plenty of ways to win bass tournaments

How do you win bass tournaments? Let me count the ways. Last weekend, methods varied at three different lakes for winning.

You can use umbrella rigs to bag a couple of big fish, then rely on Senkos to finish your limit as the extremely successful team of Bryan Grier and Scott Mullins did in the 101 Bass competition at Lake San Antonio.

“It seemed like everyone was throwing Alabama Rigs, but that didn’t work for us,” said Danny Knotts, who teamed with Tim Sharpe to capture WON Bass honors Sunday at Lopez Lake. “We went ‘old school,’ flippin Spider jigs in creek channels and ledges.”

And then there was Steve Morris, who extricated former partner Adam Koda from tournament retirement to help hum Cachuma Lake Pro Teams circuit. “While most teams were fishing shallow we chose to probe the depths where there was the least pressure. We caught three limits of fish using Power Team lures with plastic trailers.”

Sharpe said: “We had some success flippin’ in practice Saturday. It wasn’t as good on Sunday. I didn’t think we had enough weight.”  

They did, weighing a 19.09-pound limit while runners-up Nick Salvucci and Dusty Kahler brought 18.91 pound to the scales —18 ounces too little.

Knotts flipped for the team’s two biggest fish, a tournament best 5.79 that accounted for $265 of their total winnings of $1,360. His other biggie was more than five pounds.

Sharpe, who flipped for all their afternoon fish, was surprised to learn that the team had finished 2011 as Central Coast WON Bass Anglers of the Year. Knotts was aware of the honor, however. The pair received engraved watches and plaques among their awards.

Hollister’s Bryan Grier, who competes in tournaments nearly every weekend, continued his amazing run of success.

“Three weeks ago I got an ABT Multi Rig System. I used it Saturday to catch the tourney’s big fish (5.99 pounds) and another one 5 1⁄2 pounds. We spent four hours in the morning for just two fish. We switched to Senkos in the afternoon and Scott (Mullins) completed our limit.”

Grier, 29, has competed as a pro for 11 years. He and Mullins earned more than $25,000 including a Nitro bass boat last November in the Tri States championship at Nacimiento Lake. “This season I’ve competed in 15 tournaments and finished in the top five in all but one,” he said.

The duo placed third in Sunday’s WON Bass event at Lopez.

Oceano’s Jeff Rose and Rich Zeilenga  were runners-up, catching a 14.92-pound limit worth $1,620 on jigs and spinners. Losing a trio of morning jig fish in the San Antonio River may have cost them.

It had been two years since Morris and Koda were a tournament team. Their 3.38-pound event big fish enabled them to nip the father-son team of Larry and Jason Marquez by 11 ounces —14.17 pounds to 14.06. Fishing off steep banks and offshore structure paid $1,070 dividends.

WON Bass Top 10, (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings

1. Danny Knotts, Santa Maria, Tim Sharpe, Grover Beach, 19.09 pounds, $1,360; 2. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 18.91 pounds, $795; 3. Bryan Grier, Hollister, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 16.30 pounds, $770; 4. Mead Hedricks, Tom Vienola, Lompoc, 13.74 pounds, $280; 5. Aaron Quarles, Casey Langley, Nipomo, 13.13 pounds; 6. Dan Barrios, Justin Goodman, San Luis Obispo, 13.07 pounds; 7. Dan Tracy, Josh Sanderson, Prunedale, 12.88 pounds; 8. Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, Matt Pigeon, Santa Margarita, 12.83 pounds; 9. Clark Small, Solvang, Randy McAbee, Sr., Bakersfield, 12.57 pounds; 10. Mark Pollorena, Los Alamos, Steve Fernandes, Santa Maria, 11.20 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 5.79 pounds, Knotts & Sharpe, $265; Closest to 10 pounds, Graham Grove, Atascadero, Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, 9.49 pounds, $220.

101 Bass Top 10, (all 5-fish limits), Weight, Winnings

1. Bryan Grier, Hollister, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 18.75 pounds, $3,225; 2. Jeff Rose, Rich Zeilenga, Oceano, 14.92 pounds, $1,620; 3. Herm DeLore, Jeff Smith, Atascadero, 14.69 pounds, $700; 4. Ron Raymond, Paso Robles, Bryan Vogt, Santa Margarita, 14.47 pounds, $300; 5. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 14.33 pounds, $250; 6.Fred & Freddy Ledesma, Soledad, 13.89 pounds, $200; 7. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, 13.50 pounds, 8. John White, San Luis Obispo, Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, 13.26 pounds; 9. Dustin Selck, Phil Vanzee, Atascadero, 13.12 pounds; 10. Byron Hallett, Templeton, George Stamper, Paso Robles, 13.06 pounds.1st Big Fish, Grier & Mullins, 5.99 pounds, $500.

Angler’s Choice Cachuma Top 9

Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings1. Steve Morris, Lompoc, Adam Kota, Fontana, 5. 14.17 pounds, $1,070; 2. Larry & Jason Marquez, Santa Barbara, 5,14.06 pounds, $300; 3. Tony Vultaggiio, Santa Barbara, Jeff Perry, Goleta, 5, 12.91 pounds; 4. John Flynn, Scott Lamberton, Solvang, 5, 12.38 pounds; 5. Rick Jarakian, Matt Miller, Simi Valley, 5, 12.22 pounds; 6.Chaz Govan, Camarillo, Ken Hemer, Solvang, 5, 12.17 pounds; 7. Jess Settem, Moorpark, Jon Jordan, Camarillo, 5, 11.12 pounds; 8.Willie Barnes, Jeniffer Abram, Santa Paula, 5, 8.00 pounds; 9. Darin Ferguson, Buellton, Dustin Mojonnier, Los Alamos, 4, 6.62 pounds.1st Big Fish, 3.88 pounds, Morris & Koda.

Jared Lintner in Classic

Beginning Friday, Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner will be competing in his third Bassmaster Classic, and his first since 2008, on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La. The 49-angler field vies for a $500,000 first prize on a waterway noted for turning wild.

Patriot Sportfishing

Owners Steve and Cathe Moore will be in Sports Hall No.1, Booth 125 at the Bakersfield Sportsman Show on Friday through Sunday. Private charters booked at the show will get 2011 prices.

Weather permitting, crab and sanddab trips are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $60 for adults, $45 for children 12 and under. Weekend whale watching trips are also scheduled. Call 595-7200 for times and reservations.

Virg’s Landing

Whale watching trips are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $39 for adults, $29 for children 15 and under. Rockcod charters are being booked at a 10 percent discount.

Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information.

Cachuma Lake

Trout fishing blossomed following the 4,000-pound Calaveras Trout Farm plant Friday. Drake’s Cove and Martini Bay were productive for shore anglers soaking crawlers and PowerBait. Cachuma and Santa Cruz Bays and around Arrowhead Island were hot spots for trollers using Rapala CD7s and a variety of spoons.

Bass fishing improved with Creature baits, drop shot, Texas rigs and blades. Best areas were the lake’s east end and The Narrows.