In his fifth year of Ambushers’ bass tournament fishing, 16-year-old Jeremy Donk won his second consecutive contest Sunday at Santa Margarita Lake.
Going fishless for the first four hours of the competition had him second-guessing his decision to come home early from mountain bike race at Monterey. In that event, he placed ninth in a field of nearly 35 competitors.
Tournament director Al Rush says the San Luis Obispo High sophomore “is a drop-shot fishing machine.”
Donk’s technique started working about noon, he said.
“I caught the tournament’s big fish, a 6.37-pounder, while drop-shotting around 1:30. It was up shallow. Only one fish of my limit came off a bed. The other four were retrieved blind casting drop-shots from Terry Wolf’’s boat.”
The big fish paid $100. By entering the $10 option, Donk’s win was worth another $75.
He was admitted into the Ambushers in 2009, a week after his 12th birthday. The feat that led to his admission was the catch of the second-biggest fish (5.65 pounds) in a Lopez Lake club tourney.
He made it from a double-sit on-top kayak paddled by his father. At the time he was an Atascadero sixth-grader.
Ambushers’ Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Jeremy Donk, San Luis Obispo, 5, 16.43 pounds, $75; 2. Jeremy Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 15.57 pounds, $160; 3. John Zeolla, Cal Poly, 5, 14.89 pounds, $178; 5. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 4, 13.68 pounds, $116; 5. Jesse Wilson, Atascadero, 5, 12.87 pounds, $15; 6. Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 12.06 pounds; 7. Burt Lund, Atascadero, 5, 11.56 pounds; 8. Joey Davis, Atascadero, 5, 10.22 pounds; 9. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 4, 8.30 pounds; 10. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 3, 8.14 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 6.37 pounds, Donk, $100.
Atascadero duo wins best bass
Event No. 4 on the Best Bass Coastal Region schedule, a return to Santa Margarita Lake, was profitable for Atascadero’s Jason Martin and Jeremy Gearhart. The duo had placed fifth in February and 16th in January and March. Martin’s 12.28-pound big-fish Saturday anchored their 28.35-pound winning limit that paid $1,285.
Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Jeremy Gearhart, Jason Martin, Atascadero, 5, 28.25 pounds, $1,285; 2. Jay Rich, Terry Rawles, Bakersfield, 5, 24.88 pounds, $715; 3. Robert Merino, San Luis Obispo, 4, 20.24 pounds, $465; 4. Dan & Charlie Barrios, San Luis Obispo, 5, 19.86 pounds, $355; 5. Ray Huff, Tim Caudle, Bakersfield, 5, 18.45 pounds, $180; 6. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 5, 17.47 pounds, $160; 7. Jason & Geno Lazzerni, Prunedale, 5, 17.30 pounds; 8. Austin Bonjour, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 5, 16.34 pounds $60; 9. Mark Snow, Bakersfield, Harlin Gibson, Maricopa, 5, 15.89 pounds; 10. Nick Gregg, Atascadero, Kyle Gregg, San Luis Obispo, 5, 15.33 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 12.28 pounds, Gearhart & Martin; 2nd Big Fish, 10.78 pounds, Merino; 3rd Big Fish, 6.21 pounds, Rich & Rawles.
Cachuma Lake Trout Derby
Last weekend, the 18th-annual event attracted 751 entrants, 353 of them children, and raised more than $50,000 for the nonprofit Neal Taylor Nature Center. Cash awards totaled $5,200 plus merchandise prizes in excess of $13,000.
Santa Maria’s Denise Achtenberg, won the top prize, $2,000, by catching the trout with the highest tag number, 248. Frank Sheppard of Paso Robles won $1,000 for catching the longest trout, 275⁄8 inches.
Other award winners included: Kylie Bright, 13, Arroyo Grande, $300 for third-highest tag, 218; James Rodriguez, Lompoc, $250 for third-longest trout, 235⁄8 inches; Lazarus Gerber, Atascadero, $100 in nature center raffle.
Age group winners were: Desirae Medina, 15, Santa Maria, $75 for third-longest trout, 18 5-8 inches; Cody Bridges, 12, Santa Maria, $25, for second-longest trout, 20 3-4 inches; Mike Guana, Santa Maria, $25, shortest trout, 9 1-2 inches; Cali Gamble, 6, Santa Maria, $25 and rod and reel for 20 3-8-inch trout; Brooke Tosti, 8, Santa Maria, $25 and rod and reel for 19-inch trout; Malia Guana, 9, Santa Maria, 18 7-8-inch trout, and Aja Foroman, 10, Santa Maria, 18 3-4-inch trout, both rod and reels.
After finishing out of the money in the first two Bassmaster Elite events, Arroyo Grande bass pro Jared Lintner earned $10,000 last week. He placed 46th in the 100-angler field at Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas with three limits (31 pounds, 6 ounces). The midpoint on the 8-tourney schedule May 2-5 will be contested at West Point Lake, La Grange, Ga.
On Saturday, a 25-pound halibut and 200 sanddabs were harvested by 39 anglers aboard the Black Pearl.
Reservations are being taken for rockcod trips beginning May 1. For trip schedules and reservations call 772-1222 or go to www.virgslanding.com
Combination salmon and sanddab trips are scheduled for Friday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $84. Call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfishing.com for reservations.
Eleven anglers were blanked on an April 14 salmon trip. Recent trips had 16 anglers go home with 80 dungeness and one rock crab, and eight passengers came back with 47 dungeness crabs.
Rockcod season opens May 1. Two boats will run all-day trips May 1 and 2 with departures at 5:30 and 6:30 am. Cost is $82. Both boats are full for May 4.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Fourteen boats were launched last week, the third of the salmon fishing season. Two salmon were caught Saturday, the other on Sunday. Anglers aboard eight boats Tuesday caught 10 salmon.
Santa Margarita Lake
Fishermen are catching a lot of bass in tournaments and a few crappie are being taken, marina manager Don Lopez reported.
The marina’s Randy Van Otterloo said 20 children fishing from the F dock Saturday caught more than100 crappie and bluegill on red wigglers. Kaylissa Shier of Grover Beach used gulp minnows Sunday for a big stringer of crappie and bluegill. Felipe Hernandez of Lompoc reeled in a 57⁄8-pound bass on a crawler dunked in Jet Ski Cove.
Reporting from Heritage Ranch, Dave Rymal said Bunky Charles, Jack Foster, Brad Foster and friends caught more than 100 white bass both Monday and Tuesday. The early birds found boils between Dip Creek and Las Tablas.
Marina Manager Ken Hemer said: “Trout fishing should be bountiful as over 12,000 pounds of rainbows have been stocked in the last month. Bass have not spawned yet. Drop shotting, plastics, jigs and shallow cranks are producing. The crappie bite is fair on trolled minnow imitations and mini jigs.”