Helicopters buzz during big catch at Nacimiento

A duo from Santa Margarita — “Johnny Come Latelys” on the bass tournament scene — almost missed out on their first win due to a flyover of all things.


Such events are supposed to happen at major sporting venues. To occur at Nacimiento Lake during a club bass competition was as out of place as you can imagine.

And the timing could not have been more inopportune.

Greg Higgins turned his attention to the sky as two red helicopters thundered above the river.

“I’ve always been intrigued by aircraft,” the 63-year-old confessed during our Tuesday night phone interview.

Meanwhile, Greg’s 29-year-old son, Mike, his tournament partner, had a hookup and was screaming for his dad to “get the net.”

“I couldn’t hear him yelling,” Greg Higgins said. “He had the fish near the boat by the time I dropped my rod and netted the fish.”

The catch was significant. At 2.77 pounds it was the big fish of the tournament, a weight that meant first place for the Higgins by a mere .06 pounds.

This is only their second season as Tri Valley entrants. Fourth- and fifth-place finishes earlier this season has ushered them to the top of the leaderboard. With two tests remaining, they own a 24-point lead on Tip Martin and partner Bill Lukeman. Anglers-of-the-Year is a likely accomplishment.


Newcomers Win Tri Valley

Top 10, No. Fish, Weight—1. Greg & Mike Higgins, Santa Margarita, 6, 12.59 pounds; 2. Tip Martin, San Luis Obispo, Bill Lukeman, Santa Maria, 6, 11.99 pounds' 3. Dan Barrios, San Luis Obispo, Aaron Quarles, Nipomo, 6, 9.89 pounds; 4. Ted & Dustin McAllister, San Luis Obispo, 6, 9.20 pounds; 5. Ryan Borba, Aaron Davidson, Atascadero, 6, 8.82 pounds; 6. Chris & Kathy Purgason, Lompoc, 6, 8.53 pounds; 7. Ken & Tina Whalen, Lompoc, 6, 8.30 pounds; 8. Grant Koontz, Tyler Dawson, Carmel, 6, 8.21 pounds; 9. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 6, 7.53 pounds; 10. Johnny Johnson, Rob Marquez, Santa Maria, 6, 7.45 pounds.

1st Big Fish, 2.77 pounds, Higgins & Higgins.

Patriot Sportfishing

Fishing aboard the Sea Angler on June 19, Bakerfield’s Ted Costello caught last week's “big fish,” a 20-pound lingcod.

Others winning jackpots last week were: Amanda Miranda, Fresno, and Lawrence Li, Arcadia, both 13-0 lings, Reuben Martinez, Nipomo, and Emma Ramos, Fowler, both 12-0 lings, Pierre Matthews, Pismo Beach, Mike Patrick, Grover Beach, and Clay Gates, San Miguel, all 10-0 lings, Rocky Land, Placerville, 9-0 ling, Richard Wirtz, Pismo Beach, and Donald Orneles, Fresno, both 8-0 lings.

For reservations, trip schedules go online to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call: 595-7200.

Port San Luis Boatyard

A 21-pound, 2-ounce halibut caught June 21 by Chris McDermott of Los Osos took Whopper of the Week. Ninety-one lingcod, 15 salmon and 16 white seabass also were in the catch by anglers aboard 117 launched boats.

Virg’s Landing

Last week’s biggest lingcod (13 pounds, 1 ounce) was caught by Trey Williams of Madera. Other jackpot winners included: Daniel Rojas, Bakersfield, 12-8 ling, Les Conaday, Sanger, Ron Keck, Bakersfield, both 10-0 lings, Omar Glanan, Los Osos, 9-7 ling, Garrett Poy, Fresno, 8-0 ling,  Rudy Rojas, Santa Maria, 7-2 ling, J.P. Cody, Santa Maria, 5-7 ling, Daltin Brown, Bakersfield, 5-1 ling, Abby Zavala, Bakersfield, 5-0 ling, Brix Ghebeau, Springfield, AZ, 4-9 copper, and John Clark, Los Osos, 3-9 red rockcod.

For reservations, more information go online to www.virgs.com or call: 772-1222.

Morro Bay Landing

For reservations, trip schedules go online to www.morrobaylanding.com or call: 771-5500.

Lingcod weighing 16 and 15 pounds highlighted last week's catch, noted marina manager Glenn Fukumoto.

Paso Robles’s Brian Butler had the 16-pound jackpot winner last Sunday, a day after Terry Watkins from Bakersfield was a winner with a 15-pound ling.

Other jackpot winners were: Ryan Kraft, Atascadero, 9-0 ling, Hunter Ogle, Bakersfield, 8-0 ling and Kevin Rhea, Visalia, 6-8 cabezon.

Whale Rock

Jeremy Harkins added five trout to his personal catch totals. For the season, he has 22 fish. He was involved in the catch of another five trout on June 18. He was fishing with Dylan Esparze that day but who caught the 15, 16, 17 and two 18-inch trout on  PowerBait was not delineated.

He reeled in a pair of 19-inch fish  and a 20-inch with nightcrawlers.  He did not list his bait on June 20 when he caught a 17-inch fish.

Brandon Krips landed a 16-inch trout with PowerBait for a total of seven fish for the season. Baited with a nightcrawler Phil Vanzee reeled in an 18-inch trout on June 21 to boost his season's total to 11 fish.

Anonymous anglers caught one 17-inch trout on a cheese bait June 18 and a another 17-inch fish June 22  with a nightcrawler.

The harvest for week No. 9 by 34 anglers was 14 fish. During the 43 days the facility has been open for fishing 243 anglers have caught 80 trout.

Lake Nacimiento

Last week Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal cast a chartreuse grub for a limit of spotted bass and one white bass. Later in the week, he used a fly rod baited with a green and black nymph to land some plump bluegill and crappie.

“Fishing hasn't been as good as it was,” Rymal advised.

Residents Bunky Giles and the Fosters, Jack and Brad, relied on Kastmasters to fetch a limit of spotted bass and a few white bass.

Lopez Lake

Bakersfield’s Dallen Ulrich used a crankbait to catch a 21⁄2-pound trout. Bill Collins of Orcutt reeled in a 3-pound bass while fishing Marina Cove with a nightcrawler.

Santa Margarita Lake

The end of the launch ramp has been graveled, but boat owners launch “at their own risk,” advised Will Wilkerson, park ranger. He said, Wednesday morning an angler caught a trio of redear he estimated to weigh 11⁄2 pounds each.

Cachuma Lake

Anglers are finding catfish in shallow coves and cuts. Ken Hemer, Marina Manager, said “Fish up to six pounds are being harvested. Large and smallmouth bass are being caught all over the lake with spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs. Trout fishing has been slow, but trollers paying out six colors of leadcore line are bagging some hold over rainbows.”