Fishing Report: Rain doesn’t deter Shepherd on lake

While Gene Kelly was immortalized for his role in the 1952 musical “Singing In the Rain,” Atascadero’s Brad Shepherd earned some plaudits and a nice check for his efforts in another capacity. 

It happened Saturday at Santa Margarita Lake where Shepherd and 24 other teams endured wire-to-wire rain in the 2012-13 101 Bass tournament series opener.

Kelly’s singing and dancing in the rain became his signature performance in a long movie career.

“I don’t mind fishing in the rain. It doesn’t bother me at all,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd spent the afternoon alone in his 2007 Skeeter boat. Partner Clark Endres had to leave to attend the wedding of a friend. The absence of his partner caused him to recall how difficult it can be to net a fish while holding onto a fishing rod with a wiggling customer bent on escaping its plight.

The team had three fish on board when Endres had to depart. Shepherd had caught all three, one on a crankbait and two on spinnerbaits. 

“I had a 3 1⁄2-pounder in the live well. The other two were small, in fact one was barely legal,” Shepherd said.

The trio of fish Shepherd caught in the afternoon enabled him to cull his barely legal fish. He changed tactics pitching jigs adjacent to a downed tree and reaped the benefits of catching his two biggest fish.

Shepherd, who won three tournaments in 2012, didn’t think he had enough weight this time.

He earned a $2,160 winner’s check for his 16.65-pound bag. His margin of victory was 83-hundredths of a pound more then Damon Meeks and Jay Short (15.82 pounds).

The figures tell how difficult the fishing was. Three teams didn’t catch a fish. Only four limits were weighed and just 54 fish were caught by the 25 teams entered.

Big-fish honors were secured by Soledad’s Jose Canchola. A chatter bait produced a 6.67-pound largemouth that paid $360.

101 Bass Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 5, 16.65 pounds, $2,160; 2. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 5, 15.82 pounds, $1,285; 3. Austin Bonjour, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 5, 12.61 pounds, $590; 4. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Tony Pratt, Paso Robles, 5, 12.53 pounds, $220; 5. Fred & Freddy Ledesma, Soledad, 2, 11.47 pounds; 6. Mead Hedricks, Tom Vienola, Sr., Lompoc, 3, 9.65 pounds; 7. Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, Ralph Sawdey, Shandon, 2, 8.96 pounds; 8. Carlos & Jacob Vasquez, Soledad, 4, 8.82 pounds; 9. Jose Canchola, Soledad, 1, 6.67 pounds;10. Jim Keeney, Tom Ryan, Paso Robles, 3, 6.25 pounds.

1st Big Fish,  6.67 pounds, Canchola, $360.

WON Bass North Team TOC

Only three of the 16 Central Coast teams that qualified for the WON Bass North TOC at Clear Lake Nov. 17-18 actually participated. 

Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande and Ken Mah from Elk Grove qualified through Delta Region events.

Lintner and Mah placed sixth. Their 10 bass weighed 52.46 pounds. They had the sixth-heaviest bass, 7.07 pounds. Winnings were not listed on the WON Bass website.

Nick Salvucci of San Miguel and Dusty Kahler of Atascadero placed 11th with 10 fish weighing 41.55 pounds.

Only 37 teams participated in the TOC won by Paul and Brian Bailey with 62.11 pounds for 10 fish.

Whale Rock

Back-to-back seasons with more than 100 trout caught concluded Nov. 15. Seven fish were caught in the final two days of the season — five on lures and two on PowerBait. In 2012, 124 trout were caught. Twenty anglers turned out, bringing the season’s total to 681 fishermen.

Last year, 130 trout were caught by 442 anglers. In 2011, Gary Collier caught 35 fish, and Tom Reynolds bagged 34.

Collier didn’t participate nearly as often this year as he did last season. He did catch three fish Nov. 14, (12-, 13- and 15-inch fish) one on PowerBait and two on lures to bring his 2012 total catch to eight. Jace Zavala reeled in 21 trout, while Jeff Minkler and Jeff French each caught 16. 

Whale Rock will be closed to fishing until April.

Virg’s Landing

Jeff Burns of Stanton had last week’s big fish, a 28-pound albacore. Other jackpot winners included Greg Veach of Visalia, 13-0 ling; Ken Hutchison of Atascadero, 12-0 ling; David Bacclat of Santa Maria, 8-0 ling; and Helen Burton of Morro Bay, 7-0 ling.

Last week, 199 passengers caught 134 lingcod, 626 red rockcod, 751 assorted rockfish, one cabezon, one bocaccio and 38 albacore. 

Patriot Sportfishing

A pair of 10-pound lingcod topped the jackpot fish last week. Won Kuk Park of Los Angeles and Lanny Beasley of Bakersfield had the 10-pound lings. Other jackpot winners were: Marc Weiting of San Luis Obispo, 6-0 ling; and Joe Jameson of Tulare, 5-0 ling.

The catch by 122 anglers last week included 40 lingcod, 304 red rockcod, 396 assorted rockfish, 13 cabezon, 93 Dungeness crab and two rock crab.

Port San Luis Boatyard

A 14-pound, 3-ounce lingcod caught by Sotero Lopez of Grover Beach on Nov. 12 was the Whopper of the Week. Thirty-two boats were launched last week. The catch included 37 lingcod and one white seabass. 

Nacimiento Lake

Heritage Ranch residents Dean Shupp and Lance Fairmont caught 15 spotted bass Friday. Their catch included two 2-pounders and a 3-pounder.

Lopez Lake

Fly fisherman Michael Masicampo, using 4-pound test line, caught a 31⁄2-pound largemouth bass in Cottonwood Cove on Nov. 13. Three days later he landed a 51⁄2-pound largemouth on an olive nymph, An unidentified angler fishing from the F Dock caught a 21⁄2-pound redear on a fly.

The marina will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

Santa Margarita Lake

The marina will be closed today and reopen Friday.

Cachuma Lake

Trout fishing has improved for both trollers and shore fishermen. Fish up to six pounds were caught at E Point and Marina Point. Inflated nightcrawlers and PowerBait was the best tactic for shore fishermen. Trollers flat lining Kastmasters or fire tiger Rapalas did well at Cachuma Bay and the mouth of Harvey’s Bay. Anglers targeting smallmouth or largemouth bass experienced improved results by drop-shotting or using jigs, spinnerbaits or crankbaits. The best catfish action was wherever there was runoff entering the lake.