Make lasting memories on free fishing day

Opportunity knocks with a loud, clear sound Saturday. It’s one of California’s two 2014 free fishing days. No license is required.

The next one won’t happen until Sept. 6.

You’ll never know where taking advantage of this invitation will take you unless you give the sport a try.

I shudder at the thought of what I would have missed. 

In the mid 1960s when I was Sports Information Director at Cal Poly, I accepted an invite from legendary  Mustangs wrestling coach Vaughan Hitchcock. It was a saltwater trip in his boat with some other Cal Poly coaches out of Port San Luis.

At that point in my life I had fished only once in my life and that was as a teenager with my uncle on New Jersey’s Mullica River.

Skip Sato, who founded the sportfishing business out of Port San Luis and the late Bob Honley, a subsequent owner of the operation, played key roles in my learning about saltwater fishing.

At age 87, it has been a few years since I’ve been a participant in the sport.  Fishing for albacore undoubtedly is my fondest memory. Hearing and watching my reel sing as a tuna raced for the ocean floor still rings in my ears.

I’ve dabbled in bass fishing as a member of the defunct Gold Coast Club. An accomplished fisherman I’m not.

On these pages since the mid 1980s, I’ve had the opportunity on a weekly basis to spin tales of the accomplishments of fishermen young and old.  Although I’ve never met a majority of the people who have been the focus of this column, I’ve reveled in telling their stories. 

But for a single fishing trip, who knows what course my life would have taken.

Seize the opportunity on Saturday. While a fishing license is not required, all other regulations apply.  


View Fireworks From Sea

For a different perspective on the Fourth of July fireworks, try viewing them from a boat off Cayucos or Pismo Beach.

You'll avoid the parking hassle and experience a fresh air, front row seat to watch the shows.

Heading to Cayucos

Virg’s has a 6:30 p.m. check-in time with boats leaving at 7 p.m. Fares are $29 for adults and $19 for children. Make reservations by calling 772-1222.

Boats out of Morro Bay Landing at 1213 Embarcadero have a 7 p.m. check-in time with departures at 7:30. The fare is $29.

Heading to Pismo Beach

Patriot Sportfishing

Check in time is 6:30 p.m. at Port San Luis for Patriot’s trip for viewing the Pismo Beach show. Boats depart at 7. There will be a nature show en route. For fares, reservations call: 595-7200. 

Virg's Landing

A Fresno angler, Bryce Dolin, became the eighth qualifier for Virg’s end-of-the-year John Rowley Lingcod Tournament. His catch of a 13-pound, 2-ounce ling was the last week’s largest.

Weekly winners through Nov. 30 will vie for some hefty cash awards in a Showdown event Dec. 6. One dollar of each fare from May through November is going into a sweepstakes pot. Fifty percent of the money will go to the Dec. 6 winner. Second place will receive 30 percent of the pot while a third place will pocket 20 percent of the fund.

All jackpots last week were lingcod. Winners and the weights were: Jack Childs, Bakersfield, 11-6, Matthew Miranda, Bakersfield, 11-4, Kyle Dover, Fresno, 9-8, Richard Fox, Fresno, 8-7, August Silf, Atascadero, 8-6, Luis Jones, Tulare, 7-0, Richard Voth, Ontario, 6-7, and Thomas McCullen, Fresno, 6-0.

For upcoming trips and reservation go online to www.virgs.com or call: 772-1222. 

Port San Luis Boatyard

Earning Whopper of the Week honors last week was Phil Rietkerk of Arroyo Grande. His big fish was a 13-8 lingcod caught on June 28.

Totals for the week are less Thursday’s catch, which was not recorded. Forty-nine boats were dispatched. Full rockcod limits were posted four days. Three-quarter limits and half limits also were logged the other two days. The catch included five salmon and two white seabass.

Morro Bay Landing

Last week’s jackpot winners included Greg Veach of Visalia with a 12-0 ling and Kyle Sousa of Lompoc with a 10-0 ling. Sixty-six anglers caught seven lingcod, 60 red rockcod and 260 assorted rockfish.

On Saturday, there is a 7-to-3 trip for fares of $69 for adults, $59 for seniors and military and $49 for children 12 and under. Sunday’s agenda includes an 8-to-2 trip with fares of $59, $52 for seniors and military and $40 for children 12 and under when accompanied by a paid adult fare.

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

Patriot Sportfishing

A breakdown in communications has resulted in no report this week.

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

Whale Rock

Sixteen of the 89 trout caught through 10 weeks of fishing have been retrieved by anonymous anglers. 

Two new baits have been used the past two weeks, crickets two weeks in a row for a total of three trout and a newcomer this past week, salmon meat, for one 13-inch fish. 

PowerBait and nightcrawlers are the most productive baits with 48 and 29 trout, respectively. Cheese has tempted seven fish. 

Catch leader Jeremy Harkins added one each of 15-, 16-, 18- and 19-inch trout on worms plus a 16 and an 18 on crickets. A week ago he reeled in a 17-inch rainbow but did not register his bait. Harkins has landed 28 fish.

Phil Vanzee is second to Harkins with 11 fish, 10 on PowerBait and one on worms.  Fishing days are Wednesdays through Sundays.

Lake Nacimiento

Heritage Ranch source Dave Rymal witnessed the excitement of his 10-year-old granddaughter Lilly as she caught “10 fat bluegill” last Friday. She was fishing in Heritage Cove from Dave’s pontoon boat with mealworms. 

Cachuma Lake

Marina manager Ken Hemer reports catfish are more catchable than any other species. They are being caught in any cove or creek channel. Fly lined mackerel in from two to 10 feet of water for the most successful approach.  The best bass action happens early, prior to the fog burning off, using spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Drifting mini jigs baited with a mealworm has worked near the Cistern. Trout fishing has been slow as the fish have moved deeper. Trolling baited with crawlers has produced somewhat.