Every once in a while a story that slipped through the cracks so to speak is worth telling, albeit a bit tardy.
The case in point is a night bass tournament at Nacimiento Lake. Originally it was scheduled for Aug. 23. But unbeknownst to this columnist, it had been moved up two weeks to take advantage of a full moon.
This time of year, vacations sometimes are an obstacle in my quest for tourney details. And so it was.
Prior to the blast off for the 6 p.m. to midnight competition, the only woman angler entered — Joan Lund — asked her husband, Burt, if he had paid for her entry fee.
“Get real,” he replied. Then he noted that she’d be in the back of their boat fishing “used” water. He rattled off some additional reasons why he was all in, and she was not.
For a variety of reasons, some participants in San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambusher events opt not to participate in the options that pay small cash awards to the top three placers.
The Lunds have been fishing tournaments together for almost 20 years, starting in American and WON Bass events.
It was 10 p.m. and things were unfolding as Burt had figured. He had a limit all taken on jigs. Joan had not caught a fish, although she also had been casting jigs.
Prior to the tournament, the retired 64-year-olds had agreed not to bring a net, which they thought would be useless in the dark.
Burt was seated in the back of the boat when things changed abruptly for Joan.
She hooked what is considered to be a good-sized fish at Nacimiento Lake and deposited the flopping bass at the feet of her husband. He was occupied tying on a new jig.
While her catch occurred 24 days ago, Joan’s excitement was still bubbling during our Tuesday phone interview.
“It weighed 3.40 pounds and was the big fish of the tournament,” she said. “A few minutes after catching my first fish, I landed another one slightly smaller.”
Again she swung it on board, depositing it at her husband’s feet as he was handling a catch of his own. She filled out her five-fish limit before the midnight weigh-in.
Joan’s 9.10-pound limit turned out to be the heaviest. It was the first title of her angling career. The fact that it paid nothing mattered not. In her wake were the efforts of 13 men.
Her 3.40 pound tournament big fish paid $70. The pride attached to winning was a sufficient reward on this night for Joan Lund.
Runner-up Erik Zillig collected $197 in first-place money.
Ambushers Top 10, No. Fish, Weight, Winnings 1. Joan Lund, Atascadero, 5, 9.10 pounds; 2. Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 5, 8.85 pounds, $197; 3. Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 5, 7.45 pounds; 4. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 7.32 pounds, $118; 5. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 5, 6.63 pounds, $79; 6. Greg Hanley, Paso Robles, 5, 6.38 pounds; 7. Sam Sawdey, Paso Robles, 5, 6.37 pounds; 8. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 5, 6.23 pounds; 9. Burt Lund, Atascadero, 5, 6.07 pounds; 10. Ralph Sawdey, Creston, 5, 6.06 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 3.40 pounds, Joan Lund, $70.
Visalia’s Kevin Rhea cranked up the heaviest lingcod of last week, a 21-pound, 9-ounce fish. Last week, 112 lings were brought aboard the Patriot vessel.
Other jackpot winners included: Robert Mitchell, Simi Valley, 12-0 ling, Adrian Reed, Fresno, 10-0 ling, Alex Adona, Bakersfield, 8-0 ling, Isaac Simafranca, Simi Valley, 7-0 ling, and Jeanett Cecial, Bakersfield, 3-0 red rockcod.
One hundred sixty-four passengers caught 159 red rockcod, 910 assorted rockfish, 263 bolina, five cabezon in addition to the lings.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.
Morro Bay Landing
A 12-pound, 6-ounce lingcod caught by Tim Nichols of Pasadena was last week’s big jackpot fish.
Other winners included: Allen Meaney, Bakersfield, 10-8 ling, plus Benny Lizamo, Atascadero, Ron Wilson, Bakersfield and Tom Ramos, Bakersfield, all 8-0 lings.
The catch by 135 passengers last week included 45 lingcod, 52 red rockcod and 975 assorted rockfish.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.morrobaylanding.com or call 771-5500.
Cambria’s Clay Chisum nailed down the 17th berth in the season-ending John Rowley Lingcod tournament. He punched his ticket by catching last week’s heaviest lingcod, a 20-pound, 8-ounce fish.
Each week, the angler catching the heaviest ling qualifies for the Dec. 6 showdown.
Last week’s catch by 349 passengers included 206 lingcod, 930 red rockcod, 1,792 assorted rockfish, two cabezon and two wolf eels.
Additional jackpot winners included: Hank Yang, Fresno, 19-0 ling, Jayven Rojas, Bakersfield, 14-2 ling, William Bruter, Jr., Hanford, 12-0 ling, Linda Hopkins, Bakersfield, 11-12 ling, Ingrid Scannel, Antioch, 10-4 ling, Bruce Yang, Fresno, 9-15 ling, Adam Boyd, Arroyo Grande, 8-0 ling, and Andy Malovos, Los Osos, 8-0 ling.
For reservations and trip schedules, go to www.virgs.com or call 772-1222.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Tony Salvucci of Atascadero captured Whopper of the Week honors with the catch of a 30-pound halibut Aug. 29.
Seventy-nine boats were launched during the week. The catch included 74 lingcod, five halibut and 20 white seabass.
Three-quarter rockcod limits were caught four days last week. Full limits were logged Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jeremy Harkins using PowerBait caught 16- and 18-inch trout Aug. 27. For the season he has reeled in 34 fish. Several times earlier in the year he fished with another angler. Their combined fish count was noted, but the number each caught was not indicated.
Thirteen anglers fished during the six-day open period. The reservoir has been open for fishing 94 days and welcomed 436 anglers.
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said: “A Palmdale couple, Tom and Mary Bates, mix a special dough bait. Last week it attracted they a dozen catfish to four pounds and several carp to nine pounds.”
Marina manager Aaron Boyd reports panfish are being caught on meal worms and red worms. Jigs and nightcrawlers are working for bass.
Last week, the early morning scene had bass busting shad on the surface of main lake points.
“Most largemouth and smallmouth are on the small side,” marina manger Ken said. “Catfish continue to bite in the backs of coves and cuts throughout the lake. Cut mackerel and Berkley dough baits are the offerings of choice.”