Fishing Report: Bass titles go to first-time winners

At separate bass tournament venues Saturday, titles were seized by first timers. 

But, what a disparity. 

Thirty-five year-old teammates prevailed in the Best Bass session at Santa Margarita. A just-turned 16-year-old San Luis Obispo High sophomore succeeded in a Bass Ambushers Club event at Lopez Lake.

The elder duo’s junior high years were spent fishing local lakes for bass from float tubes. Several years back, the current young gun caught an 8-pound largemouth in tournament competition from his kayak. That feat prompted the club to waive its 16-year-old minimum age barrier.

Best bass story

“It was a grind,” asserted Dustin Selck after he and Phil Van Zee bested a 30-team field at Santa Margarita Lake. 

The boyhood friends from Los Osos caught only five fish, but their 20.66-pound limit provided a 3.61-pound cushion over the runners-up. 

They rotated between the Salinas River and the main lake. Early on, Selck caught their first fish from 18 inches to three feet of water in the river. Then, the team that is in only in its second season of competitive bass fishing, was blanked until 11:30 a.m.

A big catch by Van Zee changed the team’s fate.

Using an Alabama rig with a maximum of three of the five arms baited with Keitech swimbaits, Van Zee retrieved the tourney’s big fish. 

“It felt really good cranking it up from 20 feet of water,” he said. The 6.91-pound fish accounted for $275 of their total winnings of $1,510.  

In the final 45 minutes, Square Bill crankbaits enabled Selck and Van Zee to fill their limit with three catches. 

Selck’s day job as skipper of the Apollo out of San Diego’s Fisherman’s Landing may limit the team’s entry in upcoming bass events.

Best Bass Top 10. Number of  Fish, Weight

1. Dustin Selck, Atascadero, Phil Van Zee, Morro Bay, 5, 20.66 pounds, $1,510; 2. Mike Gutierrez, Juan Acosta. 5, 17.05 pounds, $725; 3. Nick Gregg, Atascadero, Kyle Gregg, San Luis Obispo, 5, 16.24 pounds, $550; 4. Austin Bonjour, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 5, 15.20 pounds, $265; Ö. 9. Dan & Charlie Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 5, 12.87 pounds; 10. Mitch & Michael Wasley, Paso Robles, 3, 12.84 pounds

1st, Big Fish, 6.91 pounds, Selck & Van Zee, $275; 2nd Big Fish, 5.60 pounds, Clay Gates & Jesse Sims, Paso Robles, $150.

Ambusher watch                                                                                                          

“Another Jeremy (Lewis) who has the same Feb. 16 birthday but is a year older, encouraged me to join Ambushers when I expressed the desire to take my love of fishing seriously. I’ve fished Ambushers since I was in the sixth grade,” Jeremy Donk said.

Donk was a backseater fishing Saturday with veteran Terry Wolf.

“Crawdad-colored crank-baits and drop-shotting Robo Worms is how I caught a 14.03 limit,” Donk said. “I thought about entering the options to celebrate my birthday, but didn’t.  Although I won the tourney, I didn’t win any money, but I’ll remember my first win.”

Only six of the 25 entrants had limits. Atascadero’s Marc Hazuka claimed Big Fish honors with a 5.65-pounder that paid $125.

Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings

1. Jeremy Donk, San Luis Obispo, 5, 14.03 pounds; 2. Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 13.18 pounds, $321; 3. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 4, 12.60 pounds, $187; 4. Jeremy Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 12.45 pounds, $72; 5. Terry Wolf, Santa Margarita, 5, 11.90 pounds, $53; 6. Chase Castaneda, Atascadero, 5, 10.10 pounds; 7. Andy Levy, Grover Beach, 3, 10.07 pounds; 8.Ron  Raymond, Paso Robles, 5, 9.94 pounds; 9. Jedd Ingraham, Paso Robles, 4, 9.40 pounds; 10. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 3, 8.74 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 5.65 pounds, Hazuka, $125.

Patriot gets second boat

Wade Gavin, Patriot Sportfishing’s new owner, announced the 50-foot Rita G will embark out of Patriot this rockcod season. John and Sharon Rowley, parents of the deceased former Rita G owner-skipper — Michele Leary — confirmed the news.

“Having a second boat available will enable us to better serve our clientele,” Gavin said.

Last summer, Patriot functioned with only one boat after a July accident kayoed the Pacific Horizon.

Gavin said former Pacific Horizon skipper Sal Rocha will captain the Rita G.

Bassmaster Classic  

Arroyo Grande pro Jared Lintner, competing in his fourth Classic at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees missed the day two cut by 3 pounds, 5 ounces. He started in 33rd place on day one with a 10-pound, 13-ounce limit and remained there with a day two 11-pound, 13-ounce limit. His 22-pound, 10-ounce total in the 53-man field was worth $10,000.

He’ll begin his eighth season on the Bassmaster Elite tour at the Sabine River System, Orange, Texas, on March 14-17.

Cal Poly team places ninth

In last week’s Western Region FLW College bass tournament at Arizona’s Roosevelt Lake, Cal Poly had a team place ninth. John Zeolla from and Kyle Greenlaw from caught three bass weighing 

4 pounds, 5 ounces. Thirty-four teams were entered. Event No. 3 is scheduled for May 16 at the California Delta.

FLW Peo-Am at Roosevelt Lake

Arroyo Grande’s Shawn Lee placed 62nd in a field of 92 pros in a three-day FLW Pro-Am at Arizona’s Roosevelt Lake last week. He blanked on day one. The next day his two fish weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces. In AAA competition, Buellton’s Whitney Uyeda had one fish (1-pound, 13-ounces). He finished 69th.

Saltwater events

Virg’s has sanddab and crab trips scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $59 for adults and $39 for children 13 and under. Call 772-1222 for reservations and more information.

Patriot is scheduling sanddab and crab trips one week at a time because of boat work. Call 595-7200 for trip schedules, reservations.

Cachuma Lake

Crappie fishing broke wide open last week. There were several 25-fish limits with fish up to 2.5 pounds. The hot ticket was trolling CD Rapalas in The Narrows. Mini jigs tipped with crappie nibbles or mealworms worked in Santa Cruz Bay. Trout fishing remained slow. PowerBait and inflated worms produced nice stringers for shore fishermen. 

The bass bite is slowly improving as fish are moving up on secondary points. Cranks, jigs, Texas rigs and Senkos produced fish to 5 pounds.