Coming off his highest finish in five trips to the Bassmaster Classic, Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner begins his 10th season on the major league bass fishing trail, the Bassmaster Elite Series.
It gets underway today on the Sabine River in Orange, Texas.
The 41-year old professional fisherman not only had his best Classic finish, 18th, last month at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, but he also finished eighth in the 2014 Elite Series Angler of the Year standings.
The Elite Series this season has 113 anglers registered. That’s the most in the history of Bassmaster Elite Series which had its beginning in 2006.
Lintner’s tour buddy, Mike McClelland from Bella Vista, Ark., finished 11th the last time the Elites competed on the Sabine River. It was the 2013 season opener.
Lintner probably has wiped out the remembrance of the 2013 tournament. Lintner caught three fish on day one and two the next day for a total weight of 8 pounds, 11 ounces for 55th place.
The entire field will fish today and Friday. The field will be cut to the top 50 on Saturday and top 12 on Sunday.
Saltwater fishing opens earlier
Ocean fishing along the Central Coast will open a month earlier than it has in recent years.
The 2015 opener will be April 1.
It’s not too early to make some early season reservations at Patriot Sportfishing (595-7200), Virg’s Landing (772-1222) or Morro Bay Landing (771-5500).
The lingcod limit has been increased from two to three fish per trip with a minimum length of 22 inches. You may keep only five blackcod in your 10-fish limit.
Avila Kids Fishing Derby
On Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., a Kids Fishing Derby is scheduled on Harord Pier.
Participation is limited to anglers 15 and under. There is a $5 entry fee.
Sign in will be at Patriot Sportfishing. Entrants who catch the 10 largest fish and the one smallest fish will win prizes.
For those needing a fishing rod, one may be rented at Patriot Sportfishing for the reduced rate of $5.
Meeks rebounds to win Ambushers
Last season’s Ambushers’ Angler of the Year, Ken Meeks, had to be wondering if the start of Saturday’s tournament at Lopez Lake was going to be a duplicate of the 2015 club opener at Nacimiento Lake in January, when he caught only one fish and placed last in a 12-angler field.
No doubt his spirits were buoyed by catching a fish, albeit just a 2-pounder, in the first five minutes of Saturday’s competition.
What followed had to be disheartening.
“In practice, I had been catching bass consistently by drop-shotting,” Meeks said. “But, after my first fish I never got bit again for four and a half hours.
“I kept probing shallow water along areas with rocky walls. I was strictly drop-shotting. That’s how I caught what proved to be the big fish of the tournament. It was a 6.21-pound female. Later I went back to that spot and caught a 4-pound male.”
Only five of the 14 entrants limited.
Bass Ambushers Top 10
Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings
1. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 16.33 pounds, $207; 2. Jeremy Lewis, Atascadero, 5, 12.48 pounds, $124; 3. Jesse Wilson, Atascadero, 5, 12.42 pounds, $83; 4. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 5, 12.28 pounds; 5. Andrew Levy, Grover Beach, 5, 10.69 pounds; 6. Marc Hazuka, Atascadero, 4, 9.03 pounds; 7. Stanley Beebe, San Luis Obispo, 4, 8.69 pounds; 8. Burt Lund, Atascadero, 3, 8.50 pounds; 9. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 3, 7.47 pounds; 10. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 1, 5.90 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 6.21 pounds, Ken Meeks, $70.
Lompoc duo places third at Lopez
The Lompoc team of Meade Hedricks and Steve Morris placed third Sunday in a Best Bass Coastal Region bass tournament that had been relocated to Lopez Lake. The third stop on the Coastal schedule had originally been set for Santa Margarita Lake.
Launching of bass boats isn’t possible at Margarita because of insufficient water levels. Relocation became mandatory.
Hedricks and Morris weighed a 17.53-pound limit that paid $605.
Best Bass Top 10 (All 5-Fish Team Limits), Weight, Winnings
1. Matt Clausen, Troy Tidwell, 25.45 pounds, $1,985; 2. Ray Huff, Tim Caudle, Bakersfield, 21.13 pounds, $930; 3. Meade Hedricks, Steve Morris, Lompoc, 17.53 pounds, $605; 4. Ralph Sawdey, Tanner Kuhnle, Shandon, 16.57 pounds, $455; 5. Scott Mullins, Salinas, Tim Mullins, Templeton, 16.42 pounds, $320; 6. Patrick Touey, Carlos Cecena, Nipomo, 15.67 pounds, $180; 7. Michael Meier, Mark Del Papa, Arroyo Grande, 15.59 pounds, $400; 8. Russell Mineau, Todd Allen, 15.45 pounds; 9. Jason Martin, Jeremy Gearhart, Atascadero 14.99 pounds; 10. August Kinney, Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, 13.46 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 6.77 pounds, Clausen & Tidwell; 2nd Big Fish, 5.88 pounds, Meier & Del Papa; 3rd Big Fish, 5.75 pounds, Jim Keeney & Tom Ryan, Paso Robles; 4th Big Fish, 5.66 pounds, Martin & Gearhat; 5th Big Fish, 5.30 pounds, Hedricks & Morris.
On the March 14 Crab ’N Dab trip, 12 participants caught 36 sanddabs and shared 64 dungeness crabs and three rockcrab.
Crab ’N Dab trips are scheduled most Wednesdays and Saturdays in March.
Cost is $60. For reservations and more information, call 595-7200.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reported: “Warmer weather the past week heated up action on several species. Bass have started to move up and are taking reaction baits as well as jigs and worms. Bob Holder of Atascadero took his family out on Sunday for a mixture of fish. Amber Holder, 4, caught an 18.5 catfish. The largest bass caught was 8.3 pounds.”
“Both bass and catfish bite last week was excellent,” marina manager Cody Uhrig said. “Both boaters and shore fishermen caught catfish using cut mackerel, bloody dough and chicken livers. Catfish ranged from 1 to 9 pounds.”