Fishing Report: Lingcod contest goes to the wire

There was a father-son aspect to winning the ninth-annual Patriot Sportfishing’s Lingcod Contest.

From all appearances, however, it looked like the catch of the heaviest lingcod in the history of the event on Oct. 27 would prevail. For 62 days, Arroyo Grande’s Casey Lintner was sitting in the catbird seat, and his 28-pound, 5-ounce fish became the target to beat.

Patriot Sportfishing ran 65 trips carrying 1,685 anglers through Dec. 26th. Lintner’s catch still held the lead for the $1,000 prize.

Only five days remained in the contest when the Patriot left port on Dec. 27th with 20 anglers and the Sea Angler with 51 passengers.

Anglers aboard the Sea Angler included 8-year-old Max McGraw, who was making his sixth deep-sea adventure with his dad, Shane.

Obviously, there were numerous skilled anglers on board, but that doesn't always translate to who captures jackpot honors — much less the winner of an 8-month long competition. 

Dad had armed his young son with used equipment valued  at $50. 

Shane McGraw, a 41-year-old bar tender at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant in Pismo Beach, is a regular Patriot customer who tries to fish two or three times a month. And he does it with equipment costing in the $800 neighborhood.

As it often does, the unexpected happened on this trip. Early on, Max had a hookup he was unable to lift.

His father took over. 

“At first, I thought he was hooked on some rocks, but soon my impression was that it was a halibut,” Shane said. 

“During the retrieve, the fish ran off some line a time or two. Before we could see color, Captain Sal (Rocha) told me it was a big ling and not a halibut.

“It only took me about five minutes to bring the fish to gaff with a slow, steady retrieve.”

It was a big lingcod indeed. 

There were 26 lings caught on the Sea Angler Dec. 27. But, none was as important as the one first hooked by his son.

The fish weighed 29 pounds, 7 ounces, a new record for the 9-year-old tournament series.

All-Time Winners

2005 — 21 pounds, 6 ounces, John Mulay, Atascadero, Nov. 20.

2006 — 25 pounds, 13 ounces, Rick Inman, Atascadero, Sept. 24.

2007 — 18 pounds, 10 ounces, Fred Kenniston, Bakersfield, Nov. 6.

2008 — 22 pounds, 1 ounce, Joe Torres, Arroyo Grande, Nov. 6.

2009 — 21 pounds, 9 ounces, Craig Gong, Selma, Nov. 12.

2010 — 24 pounds, 6 ounces, David Glass, Lompoc, Oct. 31.

2011 — 26 pounds, 11 ounces, Guy Leo, San Jose, Sept. 4.

2012 — 24 pounds, 0 ounces, Curtis Ridenour, Santa Maria, July 26.

2013 — 29 pounds, 7 ounces, Shane McGraw, San Luis Obispo, Dec. 27.

Virg’s Landing

Sharon Moores, owner of the Morro Bay sportfishing business Virg’s Landing, boldly discredited rumors that the business had been sold. “Virg’s has not been sold,” Moores said by email. The company was founded by Sharon's father, Virgil Moores.

Whale watching trips will begin Friday. Adult fares are $39. Fares for children 12 and under is $29. Call: 772-1222 for reservations.

Results of the Dec. 21-22 two-day trip are: 20 anglers aboard the Princess caught 67 lingcod, 410 red rockcod and 90 assorted rockfish. 

Caught by 25 anglers on the Dec. 28-29 two-day were: 67 lingcod, 410 red rockcod and 90 assorted rockfish.

Recent jackpot winners include: Joe Salveira, Half Moon Bay, and Ed Hedger, Bakersfield, both 18-0 lings, Ralph Boone, Atascadero, 15-0 ling, Sean Chen, Cypress, and Jesse Spencer, San Luis Obispo, both 14-0 lings, Mike Fralicks, Oakhurst, 11-0 ling, Spencer Putman, Atascadero, 9-0 ling, and Nel Glasgow, Fresno, 9-0 red rockcod.

The catch by 330 passengers during the week ending Dec. 29 included 282 lingcod, 1,306 red rockcod, 3,185 assorted rockfish and one cabezon.

Rockcod season reopens May 1. Lingcod catches numbered 4,935 in 2013. Annual California fishing licenses are available for $46.44.

Patriot Sportfishing

The lingcod haul for 2013 was 3,796. Through the month of January Crab and Sanddab trips will be offered Fridays and Saturdays beginning this week. Call 595-7200 for reservations or go online to www.patriotsportfishing.com.

Jackpot winners from Dec. 23 through Dec. 31 included: Shane McGraw, San Luis Obispo, 29-7 ling, Kellen McBrien, Grover Beach, 20-10 ling,  Paul Ito, Gardena, 18-2 ling, Adam Wren, Bakersfield, 15-12 ling, Raliegh Guice, Orcutt, 15-0 ling, Chris Chan, Arcadia, 14-11 ling, Roy Rowe, Bakersfield, 13-8 ling, Flint Epps, Tulare, 13-0 ling, Jody George, Hussna, 12-1 ling, Keith Bow, Pismo Beach, 12-0 ling, John Mulay, Atascadero, 11-0 ling, Mark Caniguila, 9-0 ling,  Andy White, Grover Beach, 7-0 ling, and Phil Parley, Fresno, 4-0 red rockcod.

The catch by 425 anglers from Dec. 23-29 included 189 lingcod, 449 red rockcod, 2,477 assorted rockfish, 500 bolina, 38 cabezon, one sheephead, 112 Dungeness crab, and  eight rock crab.

Totals for 135 anglers who fished Dec. 30 and 31 were: 136 lingcod, 130 red rockcod, 585 assorted rockfish, 19 cabezon, 440 bolina, one bocaccio, 65 Dungeness crab, and one rock crab.

Port San Luis Boatyard

 Although the Sports Launch was closed on Christmas Day, there still were 115 boats launched last week. That ranks 11th in 2013. It's the most launchings in  a week since Oct. 14-20 when 140 were dispatched. 

Whopper of the Week honors went to Jason Murray of Arroyo Grande. He weighed a 22-pound lingcod on Dec. 27. Eighty lings were caught last week. Three quarter limits of rockfish were caught five days and half limits on Sunday.