Santa Margarita Lake has not had a trout plant in the past three years.
However, it didn’t prevent a team from winning Saturday’s Tri Valley Club bass tournament by exclusively casting trout bait lures.
A lawsuit prevented the Department of Fish and Game from stocking numerous waterways with trout plants. The Nacimiento River and Lopez and Santa Margarita lakes were among the venues deprived of plants.
No matter. An out-of-the-area team of Matt Newman of Agoura Hills and Jason Hemminger of Oxnard cast Huddleston swimbaits all day and nothing else. The team got six bites on their 8-inch trout imitations. They reeled in all six largemouth bass, including the event’s biggest fish, 7.09 pounds.
Their actual weight was 29.01 pounds, plus a 0.20 bonus for each of the team’s fish for a tournament weight of 30.21 pounds. That gave them a winning margin of 6.08 pounds over the Atascadero team of Brad Shepherd and Clark Endres.
The runners-up estimated they caught a dozen largemouths by probing waters three to eight feet deep.
“My first fish was caught on a crankbait but drop-shotting accounted for most of our catch, said the 29-year-old Shepherd.
His partner, Endres, 30, reeled in the tournament’s second-largest fish, 6.77 pounds.
“I was using 8-pound test line and drop-shotting about 10 o’clock,” Endres said. “At first I thought it was a catfish. The hook-up was in a foot of water and the fish jumped three times and circled Brad’s boat several times. I had to make sure that fish didn’t get tangled with the big motor.”
Added Shepherd: “With 38 teams on this small lake, it was hard to get sites that weren’t already occupied.”
Heading the Tri Valley tournament standings after three events is the team of Dan Barrios of San Luis Obispo and partner Scott Garman, the lure innovator from Morro Bay, with 149 points. Just four points behind is the Atascadero tandem of Jeff Smith and Justin Ludwig.
Tri Valley Top 10 (All 6-fish team limits) Weight
1. Matt Newman, Agoura Hills, Jason Hemminger, Oxnard, 30.21 pounds; 2. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 24.13 pounds; 3. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Scott Garman, Morro Bay, 24.04 pounds; 4 Andrew Levy, Grover Beach, Stanley Beebe, San Luis Obispo, 23.94 pounds; 5. Jeff Smith, Justin Ludwig, Atascadero, 22.59 pounds; 6. Dustin Selck, Atascadero, Phil Van Zee, Morro Bay, 22.03 pounds; 7. Jeff Hodges, Arroyo Grande, Bud Aquino, Grover Beach, 21.17 pounds; 8. Danny Knotts, Skeeter Moore, Santa Maria, 17.49 pounds; 9. Johnny Johnson, Santa Maria, Rob Marquez, Orcutt, 17.13 pounds; 10. Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 16.89 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 7.09 pounds, Newman & Hemminger; 2nd Big Fish, 6.77 pounds, Shepherd & Endres.
Lintner begins eighth elite campaign
Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner begins his eighth season on bass fishing’s most esteemed trail, the Bassmaster Elite series. Event No. 1 begins a four-day run today on the Sabine River in Texas. Ninety-seven anglers will vie for the title and $100,000 check. It is the first time a B.A.S.S. event has been held there.
The field will be trimmed to the top 50 Friday and further cut to the top 12 Saturday. The championship will be settled Sunday.
The 39-year-old Lintner originally qualified for the Elite series by winning a Bassmaster Open tournament at Clear Lake, Texas. He has fished the Elite circuit since its inception in 2006. In the 112-
page, 2013 Bassmaster Elite Media Guide. Lintner says the accomplishments he is proudest of “are qualifying four of seven years for the Bassmaster Classic. A close second is winning the Open at Clear Lake.”
Clients reserving a private rockcod charter prior to May 1 will receive a 10 percent discount. The salmon season opens April 6. Reservations are being taken. The store is stocked with salmon gear.
Fishing licenses are available. Call 772-1222 for reservations and to schedule whale watching trips that cost $39 for adults $29 for children age 15 and under.
A combination crab and sanddab trip is scheduled from Saturday from 6 a.m to noon for $60. Whale watching and nature cruises will be offered Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon for $35.
Reservations are being taken for salmon fishing trips beginning April 6. Loads are limited to 16 passengers. The trolling trips are from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $64.
Dave Rymal, reporting from Heritage Ranch, says: “Mike Collins using curly tail worms on dartheads Monday morning caught spotted bass measuring 12, 14, 15 and 17 inches.”
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Don Lopez says anglers are catching some nice bass on these warm days.
Marina manger Ken Hemer says “spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs are working for largemouth who are moving into shallow water.” Smallmouth have not shown. Trout fishing has been slow but a 4,000-pound plant scheduled for Tuesday by the Calaveras Trout farm should help. Windy conditions have hampered the crappie bite. Shore fishermen using cut mackerel are catching catfish.