On Saturday, flawless fishing by a team that has been together for seven years earned an American Bass championship at Cachuma Lake.
Meanwhile, at Nacimiento Lake, two veteran fisherman whose styles have blended seamlessly in their second season as a team were Tri Valley Club winners.
Santa Maria’s Louis Fernandes said that he and 19-year-old Patrick Touey caught everything that bit on their 8-pound test lines during the American Base event.
“That’s not easy to do,” Fernandes said.
Tip Martin said he and Bill Lukeman had the right pattern working all day en route to their Tri Valley success at Nacimiento Lake.
American Bass Pacific Coast
“I’ve been fishing with Patrick in tournament competition since he was 12 years old,” Fernandes said. “Finesse fishing with jigs and crankbaits is how we won our second ABA tourney this season. Although the river was crowded with boats, we caught two fish right away. We also had success on the main lake. That’s where I landed the tournament’s big fish (4.53 pounds). It was taken on a jig in 10 feet of water late in the day.”
The victors caught 20 fish en route to weighing a 15.63-pound limit worth $2,910.
“Patrick and I each caught about the same number of fish. Improving our limit was difficult, as most of the fish we caught were 2.5 or 2.6 pounds,” Fernandes said. “Three-pounders were virtually nonexistent.”
Twelve of the 20 teams had limits. Fishing alone, Templeton’s Nick Salvucci placed second with a 13.54-pound limit that paid $1,127. Nick’s usual partner, Jared Lintner, is in Oklahoma preparing for his fourth Bassmaster Classic.
ABA Pacific Top 10, (All 5-fish Limits), Weight, Winnings
1. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 15.63 pounds, $2,910; 2. Nick Salvucci, Templeton, 13.54 pounds, $1,127; 3. Jason Letterman, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 12.09 pounds, $687; 4. Larry & Jason Marquez, Santa Barbara, 12.03 pounds, $200; 5. Randy McAbee, Ty McCutcheon, Bakersfield, 11.50 pounds, $100; 6. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Dean Miller, Tulare, 11.49 pounds; 7. Patrick Motley, Arroyo Grande, Mark Del Papa. Bakersfield, 11.48 pounds; 8. Bobby Doss, Santa Maria, Todd Reccord, San Luis Obispo, 11.13 pounds; 9. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 10.75 pounds; 10. Austin Bonjour, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 10.27 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 4.53 pounds, Fernandes & Touey, $285; 2nd Big Fish, 4.32 pounds, Doss & Reccord, $171;
3rd Big Fish, 4.17 pounds, Salvucci, $114.
Tri Valley Bass
By virtue of their fourth-place finish in the Tri Valley opener last month and first at Nacimiento Lake, San Luis Obispo’s Martin and Santa Maria’s Lukeman opened up an 11-point lead in the Angler of the Year chase.
Not surprising, all 15 fish they netted Saturday were spotted bass.
“Jigs, worms and drop-shotting enabled us to catch fish from two to 40 feet of water,” Martin said.
He noted that he had wanted to partner with Lukeman for 20 years.
Lukeman’s previous teammate, Skeeter Moore, retired from tournament fishing two years ago. Together they won two Tri Valley Anglers of the Year crowns.
Lukeman added: “Tip and I are both finesse-type fishermen. He knows what he’s doing. It’s been fun and we haven’t been losing any fish. Knock on wood. Besides, it’s his boat (a 2006 Skeeter ZX200.”
A six-fish, 10.88-pound team limit provided Martin and Lukeman a 1.12-pound advantage over runners-up Danny Conatser and Dan Dostal.
Lompoc’s Chris and Kathy Purgason caught only two fish. However, their 4.53-pounder was the event’s big fish.
Number of Fish, Weight
1. Tip Martin, San Luis Obispo, Bill Lukeman, Santa Maria, 6, 10.88 pounds; 2. Danny Conatser, King City, Dan Dostal, Grover Beach, 6, 9.76 pounds; 3. Mark Weiting, San Luis Obispo, Dean Shupp, Paso Robles, 6, 8.63 pounds; 4. Scott Garman, Morro Bay, Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 6, 7.81 pounds; 5. Greg & Mike Higgins, Santa Maria, 5, 7.21 pounds; 6. Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, Steve Vidmar, Santa Maria, 5, 5.95 pounds; 7. Chris & Kathy Purgason, Lompoc, 2, 5.87 pounds; 8. Johnny Johnson, Rob Marquez, Santa Maria, 5, 5.81 pounds; 9. Jeff Smith, Justin Ludwig, Atascadero, 4, 5.34 pounds; 10. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 4, 5.29 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 4.53 pounds, Purgason & Purgason.
On Saturday, 20 participants caught 53 sanddabs, 134 dungeness crabs and eight rock crab. A combo trip is planned for Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost is $60 for adults and $50 for children 12 and under. Call 595-7200 for reservations and information regarding combination whale watching and nature cruises.
During the 2012 fishing season, Patriot customers caught 2,166 lingcod.
Patriot has received its 2013 California license machine. Licenses and tags can be purchased in the office.
Seven passengers caught more than 200 sanddabs and three dungeness crabs on a Saturday trip.
Sanddab and crab combination trips are scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $59 for adults and $39 for children 15 and under.
Call 772-1222 for reservations and information, including whale watching trip schedules.
During the 2012 fishing season, passengers aboard the Princess caught 16,638 vermillion rockcod. It was No. 1 for California sportfishing boats. The Fiesta ranked fourth with 9,898 vermillion. The Princess was No. 2 in the state with 2,131 lingcod, while the Fiesta ranked 14th with 791 lings.
2013 California fishing and hunting licenses are available for sale in Virg’s store in Morro Bay.
Reporting from Heritage Ranch, Dave Rymal said: “The fish are putting on some weight and look healthier now. Over the weekend, fishing from a boat, Dean Guzman and Mike Martin caught 16 spotted bass to 2 1⁄2 pounds. On Monday, Martin caught a 3 1⁄2-pound spot on a Senko.”
Marina Manager Ken Hemer said: “Warmer weather turned on the crappie bite. There were numerous double digit days with crappie to 2.5 pounds. The hot ticket was trolling CD Rapalas in The Narrows. A 11.9-pound trout was caught on a plastic worm. Some 4- to 7-pound rainbows were weighed at the marina. Largemouth and smallmouth bass began to move up for the spawn.”