Decision making, accompanied by a measure of good fortune, played a prominent role in the July Tri Valley’s split weigh-in bass tournament.
To cull or not to cull — and if culling, how many fish does a team release prior to the morning weigh-in — was a key decision for the winning team.
A change in venue was mandatory this year because of the low water level at Santa Margarita Lake. Lopez Lake was this summer’s site, and it responded nicely, yielding six-fish limits to nine of the teams that placed in the top 10. Seventeen duos participated.
Triumphing was a 20-something tandem that culled three fish at the intermission but still included a couple of 5-pounders in their bag. That would be San Luis Obispo’s Nick Gregg, 25, and Jacob Lewis, 20, of Atascadero.
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Dana Chatterly and his son, Clayton, didn’t have any difficult decision to make because failure of their big motor had forced them to fish close to the marina during the 6:30 to 11 a.m. portion of the competition.
The Lompoc anglers chose to weigh their six-fish limit and abandon further frustration that their ailing boat was certain to provide, including the possibility of not being able to make it back for the second weigh-in, a possibility that would have meant disqualification.
The Chatterlys’ limit weighed 23.43 pounds and meant a second-place finish.
Gregg and Lewis were atop the leaderboard at the end of the day with a six-fish limit of 26.66 pounds in their initial venture as teammates.
Gregg’s 1999 Stratos 201 Pro Elite boat performed seamlessly.
“We fished offshore in shallow water no deeper than 10 or 12 feet. All our fish in the morning were caught with reaction baits,” Gregg said.
Added Lewis: “My biggest fish (5.55 pounds) anchored our morning catch.”
Gregg cemented the team’s win by catching a 5.81-pound fish on a buzzbait as well as a 4-pounder in the second portion of the tourney.
Tri Valley Top 10
Number of Fish, Weight
1. Nick Gregg, San Luis Obispo, Jacob Lewis, Atascadero, 6, 26.66 pounds; 2. Dana & Clayton Chatterly, Lompoc, 6, 23.43 pounds; 3. Sheldon Waters, Kevin Hang, Lompoc, 6, 23.01 pounds; 4. Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, Brian Nawrocki, Atascadero, 6, 21.97 pounds; 5. Robert Gardiner, Dale Litwiler, Lompoc, 6, 20.52 pounds; 6. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 6, 20.32 pounds; 7. Louis & Steve Fernandes, Santa Maria, 6, 18.79 pounds; 8. Danny Knotts, Skeeter Moore, Santa Maria, 6, 17.09 pounds; 9. Dan Barrios, Justin Goodman, San Luis Obispo, 5, 16.74 pounds; 10. Meng Her & Chuey Moua, 6, 15.92 pounds. 1st Big Fish, 7.05 pounds, Reggio & Nawrocki; 2nd Big Fish, 5.82 pounds, Twomey & Twomey.
Nipomo’s Harrell Kimball has been an ocean fisherman for many years, but he and two buddies experienced a rarity Tuesday.
The trio were fishing for halibut down by the Coke plant. Several hours of bounce balling had produced none of those delicious flatties.
Richard Kubel of Arroyo Grande and fellow Nipomo resident Gary O’Rourke were fishing from Kimball’s boat. They had nothing to show for their efforts as the clock approached 11 a.m. The trio had embarked from the Sports Launch at Port San Luis around 6 a.m.
“When bounce balling for halibut, I had never experienced two rods going off at precisely the same time,” Kimball said.
One of the rods was in the hands of Kimball. O’Rourke was tending the other.
Retrieved were a pair of 20-pound halibut, guaranteeing some fine dining for the three South County families.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Nipomo’s Patrick Star captured Whopper of the Week honors for the second week in a row. His latest award was earned by catching a 33-pound, 5-ounce white seabass on Aug. 1. The previous week he had the heaviest fish, a 35-pound, 8-ounce halibut.
The 201 boats launched last week were a 2014 high. Eighty-three white seabass, 144 lingcod, 44 salmon and 21 halibut were in the catch. Full rockcod limits were recorded six days and three-quarter limits last Friday.
An 18-pound, 3-ounce lingcod catch qualified Matthew Shaw of Los Angeles for the year-end John Rowley Lingcod competition. Matthew and Steve Shaw (15 pounds) had the two big fish on the July 28-29 trip.
Other jackpot winners were: Jimmie Enriquez, Bakersfield, 14-1 ling, Gary Lynch, Bakersfield, 14-0 ling, Alfredo Lopez, Orange county, 13-6 ling, Wayne Ito, Orcutt, 11-0 ling, Heather Maley, Fresno, 10-3 ling, Homberto Sanchez, Dinuba, 10-0 ling, Bakersfield’s Phillip Ballard and Billl Vigstom, both 9-0 lings, Duane Morrrison, Wyoming, 8-9 ling, Todd Moscrit, Paso Robles, 5-2 red rockcod, and Jason Saler, Morro Bay, 4-7 ling.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.virgs.com or call 772-1222.
Bakersfield’s Joe Chernabaeff caught last week’s biggest jackpot fish, 15 pounds, 15 ounces.
Other jackpot winners were: David Shromb, Lompoc, 13-5 cabezon, Sisavath Keonoi, Lompoc, and Jeff Arter, Bakersfield, both 12-8 lings, Josh Sousa, Dinuba, 12-6 ling, Kirby Nikell, Santa Maria, 11-12 ling, Mike Alvarez, Clovis, Sutton McCann, Atascadero, and Craven Morehead, Oildale, all 10-0 lings, Jill Moseley, Atascadero, 8-5 ling, and Jim Ransome, Orcutt, 7-0 ling.
For reservations and more information, call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
Morro Bay Landing
Makena Anderson of Cypress had the big fish of the week, a 13-pound lingcod caught July 29 aboard the San Pedro Special.
Other jackpot winners included: Zane Barrera, Bakersfield, Dean Delker, Porterville, and Ty Barringer, Exeter, all 10-0 lings, Hugh Lee, La Canada, 9-0 ling, and Joseph West, Fresno, 5-0 ling
Call 771-5500 for reservations and trip schedules.
No trout were caught for the third open period in a row. Twenty-one anglers turned out, bringing the season’s total to 398. The week wasn’t a total loss as an angler who chose anonymity caught two bluegill on worms.
Whale Rock is open for fishing from Wednesday through Sunday.
On Sunday, Martin Rowley caught 12 white bass and three spotted bass trolling leadcore line at a depth of 15 feet, according to Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal.
For the third week in a row, catfish were dominant with fish up to 5 pounds.
“Boaters connected in Santa Cruz, Cachuma and Little Cachuma Bays while shore anglers did well around the old launch ramp at Tee Pee Island,” marina manager Ken Hemer said. Cut mackerel and packaged blood baits are the most productive.
“Catches are being made in as little as one foot of water,” Hemer said. “The bass bite continues to get better. Topwater presentations are working early and late. Fish are holding in 10 to 15 feet of water.”