To compete or pass, that was the question Creston’s Dale Ball confronted his partner with on the eve of last weekend’s WON Bass Central Coast tournament at Lopez Lake.
Ball and Santa Margarita’s Steve Bereda practiced for the event in separate boats Friday. Bereda returned home early after not getting a single bite.
When Ball phoned Bereda on Friday night, he suggested passing on the tournament. He had managed only two bites in practice. But, he did catch two fish — one a 5-pounder.
They wavered on whether to compete or pass. Ball’s next call included a new idea — “bad practice, good tournament!” They decided to enter.
“We went to a point in the Lopez Arm where Dale had caught his practice big fish,” Bereda said.
Fishing in 10 to 15 feet of water, Ball caught what was to be the tournament’s second largest fish, 5.31 pounds.
“He only got one more bite, while I was having no success at all,” Bereda continued.
They returned four times to the site of Ball’s big catch. By 10:30 a.m., they had four fish in the live well, all caught on jigs by Ball.
Bereda finally made a connection using a plastic worm at a mid lake location at about 1:30 p.m.
After eight hours of fishing the team had six bites, and five fish weighing 18.61 pounds —1.46 pounds better than runners-up Danny Knotts and Tim Sharpe.
WON Bass Top 10 — Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Dale Ball, Creston, Steve Bereda, Santa Margarita, 5, 18.61 pounds, $935; 2. Danny Knotts, Santa Maria, Tim Sharpe, Grover Beach, 5, 17.15 pounds, $575; 3. Robert Merino, Steve Merino, 5, 14.70 pounds, $410; 4. Nick Salvucci, San Miguel, Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, 5, 13.16 pounds; 5. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 5. 13.01 pounds; 6. Sam James, Chris Rains, Salinas, 4, 12.98 pounds; 7. Sheldon Waters, 5, 12.10 pounds; 8. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 5, 12.03 pounds; 9. Randy McAbee, Sr., Bakersfield, Clark Small, Solvang, 5, 11.45 pounds; 10. Sean Baker, Shane King, 5, 8.99 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 6.09 pounds, James & Rains, $160; 2nd Big Fish, 5.31 pounds, Ball & Bereda, $100.
Best Bass finale
Hollister’s Jason Ballew and Ken Allerton clinched the Best Bass Coastal Region Anglers of the Year honors as well as their first event championship at Nacimiento Lake on Saturday.
Buzzbaits and topwater offerings produced an 8.87-pound limit, including the 2.78-pound big fish and winnings of $1,370.
Prunedale’s Dan Tracy Jr. and Dan Tracy Sr. were nipped by three-hundredths of a pound for the event win.
Atascadero’s Eddie Davidson and Matt Messina were fourth with a 7.71-pound limit, worth $435. They were the highest placing Central Coast team.
The top 17 teams with the best four-tourney point totals will qualify for the Best Bass Tournament of Champions on Oct. 13-14 at a lake to be named. Unofficially, four Central Coast duos are expected to qualify — Davidson and Messina; Rudy Rowlett and Paul Gates, Paso Robles; John Flynn and Scott Lamberton, Solvang; and Neal Franklin and Kyle King, Atascadero.
An 11-pound lingcod caught by Jesse Spencer of San Luis Obispo and Stewart Haner of Visalia shared big fish honors last week.
Other jackpot winners included Tim Brooks, Clovis, 10-0 ling; Mike Lewis, Oxnard, and Juan Gomez, Avenal, both 8-0 lings; Garrett Billings, Tehachapi, 8-0 red rockcod; and Mike Pennington, Visalia, 7-0 ling.
The catch by 168 anglers last week included 42 lingcod, 593 red rockcod and 862 assorted rockfish.
For reservations and trip schedules, call 772-1222.
Strong winds limited Patriot to two trips last week.
Lemoore’s Jeff Stubbs had the big fish of the week, a 12-pound lingcod Sunday. Other jackpot winners were Joe Chesnut, Vandenberg Village, 6-0 lingcod, and Roy Webb, Bakersfield, 5-0 ling. Caught by 98 passengers were: 14 lingcod, 106 red rockcod, 139 assorted rockfish, 37 bolina, three bocaccio, one halibut and one kelp greenling.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Windy conditions kept private boaters off the sea Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week. Fifty-one boats were launched, 35 of them Sunday. Fifty eight salmon were caught, 43 on Sunday. Twenty-three lingcod were reported.
No fish were weighed so there was no Whopper of the Week.No fish were weighed so there was no Whopper of the Week.
Last week on stop No. 5 of the Bassmaster Elite schedule, Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner placed 43rd in the field of 99 anglers. For the fourth time this season, he cashed a $10,000 check. The seventh-year Elite pro caught limits all three days at Toledo Bend, Many, La. His 15-fish bag weight was 36 pounds, 10 ounces.
Three tournaments remain on the regular schedule. Next up is a date on the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., on June 21-24.
Santa Margarita Lake
San Luis Obispo’s Marek Johnson, fishing from the shore, caught a 10-pound catfish Saturday. The marina’s Sandra Lopez says bass and catfish are active and panfish are hiding.
“Bass are biting on spinnerbaits, Roostertails and Laser crankbaits,” marina manager Aaron Boyd said. “Crappie are being caught off the F Dock with crappie jigs and nibbles.”
Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal said residents Jerry Wallace and Virgil Ewing caught and released 25 2-pound spotted bass Tuesday. Chris Lutz and his grandson found a white bass boil Tuesday in Las Tablas and caught 25 fish. Fishing from shore, Rymal caught and released six 1-pound crappie using chartreuse grubs. Fishing is best early and just prior to dark.
Marina manager Ken Hemer said: “Both largemouth and smallmouth bass were caught last week on topwater lures as well as shad imitation crankbaits in shallow water. Drifting nightcrawlers by the dam worked for trout. Paying out five to six colors of lead core line armed with Rapalas also worked. Catfish continue to bite in the backs of coves on cut mackerel and packaged baits. Crappie jigs and meal worms enticed crappie in Santa Cruz and Cachuma bays. Some archers were reporting as many as 20 fish a day bow fishing for carp.”
Four of the five trout caught last week were by one man. He caught one each on four different days all on worms — a 12-inch on June 6, a 17-inch on June 7, a 17-inch Friday, and a 14-inch Saturday. He has caught six of the 23 trout caught in the first 33 days the reservoir has been open for fishing. Using PowerBait. another angler caught the other trout last week, a 15-inch rainbow June 7.
The facility is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays.