Participants in Tri Valley’s split weigh-in bass tournament at Santa Margarita Lake on Saturday figure to have their hands full catching fish, keeping them alive and making decisions.
Temperatures are likely to be at least in the mid 90s. Based on Tip Martin’s practice last Sunday, catching fish in the first place could prove to be a daunting task.
“I fished from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and had only a few bites and no fish after 9:30 until one catch at 5:30,” groaned the San Luis Obispo veteran of 30 years of tournament competition.
“Arrow grass is thick and extends from the banks out 20 feet. Then there is aquarium grass to contend with. It’s long, straw-like and up to 20 feet off the bottom.”
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Tournament director Steve Vidmar noted a start time of 6:30 or 7 a.m. and a midday weigh-in of 11 or 11:30 a.m.
A barbecue shared by wives and children of participants bisects the competition.
Fishing will resume at 2 or 2:30 and terminate at 7:30.
Tri Valley has a six-fish team limit for the entire event.
So, anglers must decide how many fish to keep prior to bringing their catch to the scales for the morning weigh-in.
“It’s interesting watching anglers trying to out think the system,” Vidmar said.
Added Martin: “It’s always a gamble. If Bill Lukeman and I catch six in the morning and two of them are 2 pounders, we’d probably cull the small fish.”
The Salvucci brothers, Nick and Tony, have won two Tri Valley tournaments at Lopez and finished second at Margarita in March. They sit atop the standings, 31 points ahead of Martin and Lukeman.
“At the morning weigh-in, we probably will only bring 4 pounds or bigger fish to the scales and take our chances in the second half of the tournament,” Nick Salvucci said.
To keep the fish alive, Martin said he would have his aerator working in both of his live wells. “And I’ll have ice for both me and the fish,” he said.
Scott Garman, who’ll fish with partner Dan Barrios, said he will keep his aerator pump on high. “But, I don’t use ice due to the shock factor,” he advised.
What Garman does have is a new frog that has caught fish for both he and his partner in their past four outings. The Morro Bay angler has invented several fishing lures that are on the market.
“Dan and I are excited about this new product, which has a hook that is spring loaded and becomes exposed and penetrates the fish’s mouth when it bites,” Garman said.
The product is in the prototype stage and one of Garman’s testers, Elite Bassmaster pro Jared Lintner, will have one when he and his son fish the Tri Valley tournament Saturday.
Twenty-eight passengers aboard the Pacific Horizon on Sunday landed 49 lingcod while fishing at Pt. Purisima. The biggest lingcod was a 16-pound, 8-ounce fish caught by Morro Bay’s Zach Mueller.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Other jackpot winners last week included Matt Suddath, Arroyo Grande, and Ed Manties, Fresno, both 10-0 lings; Craig Carrier, Santa Maria, 10-pound cabezon; Arnold Luis, Arroyo Grande, 9-0 ling; Eric Jones, Paso Robles, 8-0 ling; Jake Phillips, Summerland, Rainer Libb, Grover Beach, both 7-0 lings; Johnny Bustos, Bakersfield, 7-0 red rockcod; Jose Arredondo, Santa Maria, Jason Potter, Atascadero, Luis Meza, Shafter, Anthony Rodriguez, Downey, and Paul Perkins, Bakersfield, all 6-0 lings; and Joe Maciel, Hanford, 4-0 vermillion.
Last week 454 anglers caught 122 lingcod, 1,005 red rockcod, 1,520 assorted rockfish, 40 cabezon and four kelp greenling.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 595-7200.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Apparently, private boat owners embarking out of the Sports Launch at Port San Luis aren’t interested in a free boat launch. That’s the award for catching the biggest fish each week. The kicker is that someone (at least one) must weigh his catch in order to claim Whopper of the Week honors and the accompanying free launch. For the second week in a row and the fourth time since the rockcod season began May 1, no fish were weighed.
One hundred sixty boats were launched and the catch included 121 lingcod, 13 halibut and one salmon.
Full rockcod limits were recorded six days and three-quarter limits July 2.
An overnight fishing trip is being offered this weekend with departure set for 3 p.m. Saturday and return around 5 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $205. Passengers may catch two limits of fish.
Call 772-1222 for reservations and trip schedules.
Passengers last week caught 88 lingcod, topped by Sunday catches by Delano’s Dan Castillo’s 19-pounder aboard the Princess and a 16-pounder bagged by George Suchard, San Luis Obispo, aboard the Fiesta.
Other jackpot winners were Andrew Viloria, Clovis, 15-0 ling; Bob Evans, Banning, and Julie Rollman, Oakhurst, both 12-0 lings; Adam Huth, Porterville, and Kayde Connelly, Las Vegas, both 9-0 lings; Wayne Pritts, age 7, Normal, Ill. 9-0 red rockcod; Nels Nelson, Chandler, AZ., 8-0 ling; Tom Morris, Bakersfield, 7-0 ling; Aaron Morris, Bakersfield, 7-0 red rockcod; Roy House, Taft, and Ismael Elizondo, Wasco, both 6-0 lings.
The catch by 339 passengers last week in addition to the aforementioned lings were 1,222 red rockcod and 1,889 assorted rockfish.
The second-biggest trout harvest of the 11-week old fishing season at the reservoir was recorded between July 4-8. The nine trout caught brought the season’s total to 55. The most fish caught in a week (14) occurred June 20-24. Jeff Minkler caught four fish — a 17-inch on July 4, two 16-inchers on July 6 and a 15-inch on July 7 — all on worms.
J. Zavala reeled in three trout,a 17-inch on salmon eggs July 6, an 18-inch and a 16-inch both on worms July 7. Worms was the bait used by Jeff French for a 15-inch trout July 4 and an 18-inch by J. Anaya on July 8.
Heritage Ranch resident Dave Rymal reports that “the fishing is especially good just before dark. Martin Rowley has done well trolling white grubs in Las Tablas. Spot bass are averaging 11⁄2 pounds and are being taken across the lake in Snake Creek and Las Tablas.”
Rymal caught six crappie one spot and a white bass on a chartreuse curly tail grub.
Marina Manager Aaron Boyd reports that “crappie are being caught on crappie jigs by the F dock and meal worms are catching bluegill by the dam.”
Fishing for bass and carp are the best options. Topwater offerings are working for bass until the cloud cover lifts.
Drop-shotting plastics and Texas-rigged jigs are working the rest of the day, according to marina manager Ken Hemer. Bow fishing for carp has been good along the wall between Bobcat and Santa Cruz point and the Chalk Cliffs.