Two bass competitions thousands of miles apart are the focal points this week.
Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande is among 50 Bassmaster Elite pro anglers who, starting today, will be battling the waves on the northern end of Lake Michigan at Bays de Noc out of Escanaba, Mich.
The Angler of the Year crown, $900,000 in prize money and berths in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic are at stake.
His partner in 101 Bass events, Nick Salvucci, will be fishing alone in the two-day, third-annual 101 Tournament of Champions.
Twenty-five teams will face off first at Lopez Lake on Saturday and then at Nacimiento Lake on Sunday.
A handful of the top Elite pros will compete for the AOY title.
Lintner, who is winding up his ninth season on the Elite tour, ranks 31st in the Classic qualification picture.
The Elite pros will carry with them the points accrued through the eight regular season tournaments. Up for grabs are 50 points for the champion of the three-day event with points awarded in descending order of finish.
Berths in the Classic hinge on points from this event and added to the regular-season point totals.
The drama begins today and continues Friday before Saturday’s day off for Bassmaster University. The full field finishes the season Sunday.
Meanwhile, back on the Central Coast, the cream of local anglers will be competing for pride and quite a few coveted merchandise prizes.
Lintner and Salvucci won the inaugural AOY three years ago. This season they finished eighth in the regular-season standings with a best finish of third in February at Lopez Lake.
No team won more than one of the six regular season tournaments. Finishing in first place with 600 points was the Tulare team of Dean Miller and Darrel Masterson. Dean’s cousin, Darrin Bishop of Paso Robles, and his father, Del Bishop of Templeton, placed second with 504 points.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Santa Maria’s Don Gheno is making a tradition out of catching halibut and earning Whopper of the Week honors. The 25-pounder he cranked up Sunday was an award winner. He was a two-time winner in 2013 with catches of 22 1⁄4-pounder Sept. 21 and a 27 1⁄2-pounder Oct. 19.
Last week, 119 boats were launched. The catch included 205 lingcod, six halibut and four white seabass. Full rockcod limits were logged three days.
A Gardena fisherman, Mark Alarcon, became the 19th qualifier for Virg’s early December John Rowley lingcod gala. Alarcon caught his 19-pound, 10-ounce lingcod aboard the Princess on a two-day trip.
Eleven slots remain to be filled in the December competition. It’s accomplished by catching the heaviest lingcod of the week.
Twenty-three anglers on last week’s two-day trip caught 92 lings, 410 red rockcod and 50 assorted rockfish.
Long-range trips from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. are offered Fridays and Sundays for $89.
The next over-nighter is scheduled for Oct. 25-26 for $235. Passengers may catch two limits of fish on these trips.
For trip schedules and reservations, go to www.virg.com or call 772-1222.
Other jackpot winners included: Dean Patty, Lemoore, 15-4 ling, Ray Chavez, Morro Bay, 14-15 ling, Jack Childs, Bakersfield, 13-10 ling, Doug Carpenter, North Fork, 11-9 ling, Kevin Fitz, Arizona, 9-25 ling, Lou Tedor, Cambria, 9-0 ling, Chase Silva, Kerman, 7-3 ling, Christine Miduff, Bakersfield, 5-8 ling and Ed Bernard, Paso Robles, 4-5 cabezon.
Last week, 283 passengers caught 285 lingcod, 925 red rockcod, 1,711 assorted rockfish, one cabezon and one sheephead.
Dan Barrios trumped his son when he cranked up the heaviest lingcod of the year by a Patriot fishermen. The San Luis Obispo angler, who is a frequent jackpot winner, caught a 25-pound, 10-ounce lingcod Sept. 11 while fishing aboard the Sea Angler. Son Charlie was the previous leader. He caught a 23-pound ling July 27.
Other jackpot winners included: Jess Spencer, Grover Beach, a double winner with 14-0 and 11-0 lings, Mike Wilson, Morro Bay, 12-2 ling, Andre Gorshkov, Grover Beach, 12-0 ling, Cody Rosa, Orcutt, and Bruce Hudson, Santa Maria, both 11-0 lings, Chris Pimetel, Arroyo Grande, 10-0 ling, Omar Cerda, San Luis Obispo, 8-0 ling, and Eduardo Romo, Taft, 3-pound blue rockfish.
The catch by 212 passengers included: 258 lingcod, 521 red rockcod, 1,562 assorted rockfish and 50 cabezon.
For reservations and trip schedules, go to www.patriotsportfishing,com or call 595-7200.
Morro Bay Landing
A 12-pound lingcod caught by Ben Bogess of Bakersfield was the big jackpot fish of the week when there were just three trips aboard the San Pedro Special.
Other jackpot winners were: Merlin Hehnke, Fresno, 7-3 ling, and Jim Finley, Templeton, 4-8 bocaccio.
Ninety five anglers caught 13 lingcod, 69 red rockcod, 808 assorted rockfish and three bocaccio.
For reservations and trip schedules, go to www.morrobaylanding.com or call 771-5500.
For the seventh week in the past nine, no trout were caught at the reservoir. Week 21 saw 13 anglers try their luck in vain. Thus far, 455 anglers have fished Whale Rock and 107 fish have been caught. The facility is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Catfish remain the hot ticket, especially in Santa Cruz and Cachuma bays, marina manager Ken Hemer said.
“Once again, fly-lining mackerel is the technique and bait of choice,” Hemer said. “Catches are being made in from 1 to 10 feet of water. Shad are all over the lake which has the smallmouth population on a tear. Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and rip baits are working well.
Largemouth bass are not tempted as easily but some are being harvested in schools of smallies. Crappie are being caught under docks and other floating platforms.”