Healthy, skinny bass caught in Nacimiento Lake fog

Lake Nacimiento was blanketed by a thick winter fog last Saturday. It altered the plans of 36 teams for the second stop on the 101 Bass schedule for 2012-13. The event lacked the 40 mph dashes to mine the sites identified in practice as “sweet spots” where catchable fish were hanging out.

Participants found a number of fish floating on the surface — dead. The biologist overseeing Nacie has been advised of the plight.

Perhaps with a dash of good fortune at this time of year an interview may be arranged and the health of the lake can be a topic in next week’s column.

Both healthy fish and skinny bass were caught in this tournament. Some productive sites yielded both types. In other locations only the healthy ones were duped by the offerings of some of the Central Coast’s angling elite. Then there were spots where only the skinny swam.

Tournament Director Jim Slusher and sidekick Erik Zillig were one of the 20 teams with a  five-fish limit. 

“I caught one fish that measured 14 1⁄2 inches and weighed only a pound,” Slusher said. Their limit weighed 4.15 pounds, good for 23rd place. 

What a difference a year makes!  

Last year’s second 101 contest was won by Ken Sauret and his daughter, Kenna, with a 14.46-pound limit.

This year’s event, also at Nacie, was won in the final 20 minutes.  Del Bishop landed a 21⁄2-pounder on a worm. 

“His catch enabled us to cull a 11⁄2-pounder,” Del’s son Darrin said. The North County team posted a victory by a half pound, 10.76 pounds worth a pay day of $2,950.

Scott Mullins and partner Kelly Keeling from Salinas placed second with a 10.23-pound bag.

Darrin Bishop, who used a 4-inch Senko to catch most of their fish, recalled the present draw down of the lake compares to 2007 “when the fishing was horrible.”

Steve Bereda, fishing alone as his partner Dale Ball was at work on the ocean, still claimed big-fish honors despite a malfunctioning GPS system. 

“I didn’t know where I was for the first 45 minutes of the tournament,” Bereda said. “Another boater bailed me out. But, I’m certain I wasn’t the only one confused by the fog.”

He said he caught the 3.35-pound big fish on a jig. He placed fifth with 9.18-pound limit. The biggie acccounted for $540 of his $820 winnings. 

101 Bass Top 10 (all had 5-bass limits) Wt., Winnings — 1. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Del Bishop, Templeton, 10.76 pounds, $2,950; 2. Scott Mullins, Kelly Keeling, Salinas, 10.23 pounds, $1,740; 3. Dean Miller, Daryl Masterson, Tulare, 9.67 pounds, $750; 4. Bryan Grier, Hollister, Tom Nieto, Salinas,  9.37 pounds, $330; 5. Steve Bereda, Santa Margarita, 9.18 pounds, $820; 6. Austin Bonjour, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 8.41 pounds, $230; 7. Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, Ralph Sawdey, Shandon, 8.22 pounds, $200; 8. Randy Mc Abee, Jr., Ty McCutcheon, Bakersfield, 7.54 pounds; 9. Roger Haas, Morro Bay, Kevin Rayner,Templeton, 7.42 pounds; 10. Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, Corey Schmidt, Oceano, 7.28 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 3.35 pounds, Bereda, $540.


Patriot Sportfishing

Arrangements were completed last Friday enabling the business to remain open until the close of the rockcod fishing season, Dec. 31. Prior plans to end fishing trips Dec. 15 were rescinded and the final month of the 8th Annual Lingcod Contest will continue until the end of the calendar year.

The grand prize winner of the contest will receive a check for $1,000. 

Santa Maria's Curtis Ridenour has been the contest leader since he caught a 

24-pound ling on July 26.

The fourth phase of the contest (November and December) is led by Taft's Louie McCombs with a 21-14 ling. Sean Combs of Taft ranks second with a 16-10 fish. There is a two-way tie for third. Josh Knapp of Arroyo Grande and Won Kuk Park of Los Angeles have caught 16-pound lings.

Beginning in January, Crab 'N Dab trips will be offered with a fare of $60. The schedule has not been set as yet.

Winning jackpots last week were: Paul Ito of Gardena with a 12-0 ling and Daniel Montoya of San Dimas and Tyler Dorsett of Turlock. Each had a 10-0 ling.

Last week 89 passengers caught a total of 91 lingcod. The catch also included 172 red rockcod, 110 assorted rockfish, 329 bolina, 32 cabezon and one barracuda.

Virg's Landing

Reservations are still being taken for Friday’s Papa Jigs Saltwater Tournament. The fare for the  6 to 4 competition is $89. There's an added cost of $21 to participate in the jackpot competition. Call: 772-1222 for reservations, more information.

The final overnight trip of the year is planned for Dec. 29th  and 30th. The fare is: $230.

Coalinga's Derrick Polk won the jackpots both days of the Dec. 15-16 overnighter. He caught 15 and 27-pound lings. Eighteen anglers on that trip harvested 72 lings, 270 red rockcod and 90 assorted rockfish.

Other jackpot winners last week were: John Drahas, Bradley, 12-0 ling; Mel Rangel, Visalia, 11-0 ling; Ron Keck, Cambria, 10-0 ling and Jim Webb, Cambria, 9-0 ling.

The fish count for 100 passengers last week included: 92 lings, 566 red rockcod, 361 assorted rockfish, two cabezon and two Humboldt squid.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Although 49 lingcod were caught by fishermen aboard 27 launched boats last week,  none of the lings were of the 10-pound variety so they were not weighed. The result: No Whopper of the Week.

Seven boats came in with limits of Dungeness crab (10 crabs per person). The best day of fishing was Dec. 14 when anglers aboard 15 boats came in with 32 lings.