Fishing Report: Bowfishing taking off at Cachuma Lake

A style of fishing that’s legal at only one of the five Central Coast lakes is flourishing at Cachuma Lake.

Instead of fishing with a rod, it’s done with a bow.

Carp are the only fish that can be harvested by bowfishing. The sport is not only invigorating and fun but beneficial as well. Carp are an invasive species that impacts the water quality of the lake as well as the population of other fish species.

This week, a Cachuma marina spokesman said it’s common now for 10 carp to be harvested in three hours. The carp are averaging six to seven pounds.

There are very few ways of controlling these invaders, but one way to get rid of a few and have fun at the same time is to shoot them with a bow.

David White, president of Cajon Archery, says: “If flinging arrows at garbage fish sounds like fun to you, the good news is it’s inexpensive to get involved in the sport.

“Most beginners start out with a bow purchased from a garage sale or eBay. Almost any bow will do the trick when bowfishing. Most people start with an old recurve.”

An archery store owner characterized recurve bows as a stick with string similar to what American Indians used.

“Recurves are nice for bowfishing because you can shoot them at half draw or anywhere in the draw cycle,” White said. “If the fish appears at the last second, you only have a brief moment to get a shot. You can quickly draw and let the arrow go.”

Added Cachuma Lake marina manager Ken Hemer: “The most productive bowfishing locations are around Arrowhead Island and in The Narrows. Fishing is very good early and late.”

Children 18 or younger must be accompanied by an adult to bowfish. A fishing license is required for anyone 16 years of age or older.Free bowfishing permits are available at the entrance to Cachuma Lake.

Bonjour wins

Alternating between punching through grass mats and using topwater offerings, Atascadero’s Austin Bonjour registered his first Ambushers bass tournament win of the season Saturday at Santa Margarita Lake and increased his points lead in the Angler of the Year chase from eight to 12 points.

His 25.37-pound five-fish limit worth $112.50 provided a 6.01-pound margin of victory over Jim Keeney of Paso Robles. Keeney moved into second place in the AOY standings with 599 points. His 19.36-pound limit, worth $130.50, was fashioned with jigs and by drop shotting.

A topwater presentation netted Atascadero’s Marc Hazuka big fish honors with a 7.22-pound bass that paid $90.

Ambushers Top 10 Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1.Austin Bonjour, Atascadero, 5, 25.37 pounds, $112.50; 2. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 5, 19.36 pounds, $130.50; 3. Ken Meeks, Atascadero 5, 17.68 pounds, $47; 4. Joey Davis, Paso Robles, 5, 17.52 pounds, $60; 5. Jeremy Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 14.80 pounds; 6. Neal Franklin, Atascadero, 5, 14.28 pounds; 7. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 4, 12.81 pounds; 8. Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 5, 11.57 pounds; 9. Paul Bailey, Creston, 5, 11.34 pounds; 10. Jeremy Donk, Atascadero, 5, 9.94 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 7.22 pounds, Hazuka, $90.

Lompoc duo prevail

Steve Morris won his second Cachuma Pro Teams tournament title with a different partner. He chose wisely as Meade Hedricks, who subbed for regular partner Adam Kota of Fontana, caught the event’s big fish, 3.31 pounds on a jig just 15 minutes until weigh-ins.

The combination of bass in their post spawn doldrums and bluebird weather made fishing tough, Morris said. Jigs and worms produced 10 fish, a first-place limit of 13.74 pounds and a $745 check. Cachuma Pro Teams Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1. Steve Morris, Meade Hedricks, Lompoc, 5, 13.74 pounds, $745; 2. Larry & Jason Marquez, Santa Barbara, 5, 11.92 pounds, $130; 3. Tony Vultaggio, Jeff Perry, Santa Barbara, 5, 10.45 pounds; 4. Steve Rio, Dustin Mendenhall, 5, 10.17 pounds;5. Jeff JueDeVine, George Garcia, 5, 9.89 pounds; 6. Darin Ferguson, Buellton, Dustin Mojonnier, Los Alamos, 5, 9.17 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 3.31 pounds, Morris & Hedricks.

Patriot Sportfishing

On Father’s Day, Caesar Chang of Rowland Heights took over first place in the current two-month Lingcod Contest that ends June 30. He caught a 17-pound, 12-ounce lingcod to move ahead of previous leader, Joe Cinelli of Grand Island, N.Y., who caught a 17-pound, 4-ounce lingcod May 13.

Other jackpot winners last week included: Don Wolstenholm, Alder Springs, 11-5 ling; Chuck Williams, Orcutt, Adam Rasico, Tulare, and Glenn Fukumoto, Palo Alto, all 10-0 lings; Mark Oden, Lake Isabella, 9-0 ling; David Ethier, Lompoc, Cameron Chinnm Oakland, and Roger York, San Luis Obispo, all 8-0 lings; and Isaac Simafranca, Simi Valley, 3-0 red rockcod.

For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.

Virg’s Landing

Last week’s catch was topped by an 18-pound lingcod caught by Morro Bay’s Tabby Stamback.

Other winners were Daryl Mackings, Atascadero, 12-0 ling; Mitch Plunez, Linwood, 11-0 ling; Jeff Reed, Burbank, Michael Robledo,Wasco, both 10-0 lings; and Garret Toy, Fresno, 7-0 ling.

For trip schedules and reservations, call 772-1222.

Thirty-four lings, 565 red rockcod, 1,519 assorted rockfish and four salmon were caught by 262 passengers

Port San Luis Boatyard

Cody Johe of Los Osos earned Whopper of the Week honors with the catch of an 11 1⁄2-pound cabezon Saturday. Dispatched last week were 117 private boats. The catch included 21 salmon, 78 lingcod and one halibut.

Full rockcod limits were logged five days, with three quarter limits June 11 and half limits June 12.

Nacimiento Lake

“Martin Rowley trolled white grubs on Monday for 12 white bass and three spots,” Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal said. “Otherwise, fishing has slowed down for most of the regular anglers.”

Lopez Lake

Santa Maria’s Chris Collins reeled in a 2-pound, 3-ounce crappie fishing at Marina Point on Saturday.

Santa Margarita Lake

“Bass fishing has slowed for non-tournament anglers but fishing for catfish is productive,” said marina manager Don Lopez.

Cachuma Lake

Trout turned on last week. Many anglers caught holdover fish trolling Needlefish, Rapalas and Dodger-Crawler combos paying out four to six colors of lead core line. The dam is a prime location. Topwater offerings are working early for large and smallmouth bass. Bottom bouncing lures has worked later in the day. The Narrows and Santa Cruz Bay are the best areas for crappie. Best locations for catfish anglers continues to be creek channels in shallow coves.

Whale Rock

Worms were the bait that produced all three trout caught last week by 20 anglers. Gary Collier, who has five fish for the season, landed 17- and 12-inch trout June 13.