Fishing Report: Leary will long be remembered for creating her Kids at Sea Program

Michele Leary, who inspired youngsters with her Kids At Sea program, will return to the environment she loved June 23.

The 36-year-old skipper of the Rita G out of Central Coast Sportfishing in Morro Bay died May 30 because of complications from an illness.

Her ashes will be scattered at sea near Morro Rock. The Rita G, Michele’s Sportfishing vessel, will transport friends and family for the 9 a.m. ritual June 23. Other boat owners are welcome to participate.

Following the scattering of ashes, Michele’s life will be celebrated from noon to 4 p.m. at a barbecue gathering at the Veterans Memorial Building in Morro Bay.

She is survived by her 11-year-old daughter, Amanda, parents and brother Brian Rowley.

Michele earned her marine captain’s license in 2004, making her a third generation of women captains in Morro Bay. She joined her grandmother, the late Rita Gartrell, who died in 1998, and her mother, Sharon Rowley, who currently skippers boats out of Virg’s Landing.Her father, John Rowley, has piloted boats out of Virg’s for many years.

Michele and her brother Brian Rowley worked as deckhands on Virg’s boats while in high school and became accomplished at all skills that come with the job, including filleting fish at a fast pace.

After piloting the Fiesta out of Virg’s for five years, Michele purchased her own 50-foot boat and began Central Coast Sportfishing. Her initial voyage was Sept. 6, 2008. She named her boat Rita G in honor of her grandmother.

One of Michele’s passions was a Kids At Sea program, which she launched three years ago. The program was funded through grants from the Central California Joint Cable/Fisheries Liaison Committee. Groups of youngsters were taken on free trips where they learned about Morro Bay harbor, local marine life, were taught boat safety and how to catch fish.

One of Michele’s childhood friends, Meridith Sweeney, spoke about the benefits her autistic son, Wyatt, 11, derived from the program.“For the past three summers Michele included special needs children, their peers and siblings,” she said. “My son enjoyed the crew, the fresh air and the fishing was a bonus. The trips were extremely beneficial for Wyatt.”

Heather Salyer-Frith, a recreation supervisor withMorro Bay Recreation and Parks Department, said: “Each summer groups of 30 to 40 children have participated. Many of them as well as camp counselors had never been on the ocean previously.

“The kids, as well as adults, loved learning about the ocean ecosystem. Witnessing the youngsters catching their first fish was an unforgettable experience. Michele was living proof you can live your dream. She inspired all children, especially young girls that you can achieve great things if you set lofty goals and are willing to do the work to achieve them.”

Port San Luis Boatyard

A 17-pound halibut caught by Aaron Floyd of Los Osos on May 30 captured Whopper of the Week honors.

Eighty-four boats were dispatched last week. Anglers aboard private boats caught 35 salmon, 34 lingcod and one halibut. Full rockcod limits were recorded May 31 and June 2. Three-quarter limits were logged the other five days.

Virg’s Landing

A 14-pound lingcod caught by King City’s Nick Tate was the heaviest fish caught by passengers last week. Other jackpot winners were Dicky Vandam, Visalia, 11-0 and 7-0 lingcod; Jarred Esquivez, Fresno, 8-0 red rockcod; Louie Rodriguez, Hanford, 7-0 lingcod; Mason Mallory, San Luis Obispo, 8-0 copper; and Rick Doyal, Kingsburg, 7-0 lingcod.

Last week’s catch by 168 passengers included 42 lingcod, 593 red rockcod, and 862 assorted rockfish.

For trip schedules and reservations, call 772-1222.

Patriot Sportfishing

Caught last week by 271 anglers were 39 lingcod, 363 red rockcod, 462 assorted rockfish, 60 bolina, four kelp greenling, and 210 Dungeness crab.

For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.

Lintner Resumes Elites

Arroyo Grande Bassmaster Elite pro Jared Lintner resumes Bassmaster competition today after a month-long hiatus. The competition today through Sunday begins the second half of the eight-tourney campaign. The 99 pros will be attempting to solve what’s biting at Toledo Bend Reservoir at Many, La.

Lintner is 41st in the Angler of the Year standings with 223 points acquired by finishing 38th at St. Johns River, FL; 20th at Lake Okeechobee, FL; 85th at Bull Shoals, AR; and 34th last month at Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn.

He has earned $10,000 each for his placings at all but Bull Shoals.

The 38-year-old pro is 25 points out of 28th place in the standings. The top 28 anglers in the Elite standings, plus the eight tournament winners, earn berths in the prestigious Bassmaster Classic in February.

Santa Margarita Lake

Fishing by the dam Sunday, Santa Margarita’s Justin McCullum caught a 16-pound catfish. A Senko offering enabled Pat Corcoran of Goleta to catch and release an 11 1⁄2-pound bass Saturday. Hunter Burgman of Santa Maria landed a 5-pound bass on a Senko while fishing in Marina Cove on Saturday. Jerry Robertson of Hollywood caught a bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 7 ounces Friday. Nightcrawlers was his bait. Harvey Mallory of Santa Margarita added an 8-pound bass to his recent stream of bass fishing catches.

Lake San Antonio

“Currently, there’s a reaction bite going on for large and smallmouth bass,” marina spokesman Casey Shepherd said. Swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are all working. The banks near the houseboats have been a hot area. The shallows was opened up Memorial weekend. Striper catches have happened occasionally by anglers fishing for bass.

Nacimiento Lake

“Small Rat-L-Traps and shad-colored Rapalas have been working for both white and spotted bass plus crappie,” reports Casey Shepherd who works Nacimiento Lake and Lake San Antonio. White bass are schooled around the marina. Whites and spotted bass are suspended on the flats in Las Tablas Cove.

Cachuma Lake

“Bass fishing continues to be good both mornings and late using medium cranks and plastics. Shad have been seen up tight to banks in several lake areas,” marina manager Ken Heme said. Cut mackerel and dough balls are top choices for catfish, which are still swimming in creek channels all over the lake. Hot spots for trout are the dam area and in front of Harvey’s Cove. Trolling to a depth of six colors of leadcore line with Dodger/ Crawler combos is working for trout. Santa Cruz Bay is a hot spot for crappie.

Whale Rock

PowerBait was used by Gary Collier for a 15-inch trout Friday and by Jayson Hofstetter for a 17-inch trout Sunday. Thirteen anglers turned out. In 28 open days this season, 155 anglers have caught 18 trout. The facility is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays.