Saturday’s fifth and next-to-last ABA tournament of the 2014-15 season was dominated by relationships and friendships.
Darrin Bishop of Paso Robles and his cousin, Dean Miller from Tulare, finished atop a 19-boat field at Lopez Lake. It was their first win of the season on a circuit that only pays for the top three placings and the three heaviest fish.
“We won finally,” Bishop said. “We started fishing in 17 feet of water but that bite shut off about 9 a.m. We caught fish but none were good enough to win the tournament.
“When we changed to a shallow pattern, it took a lot of patience to get the fish on nests to bite. Both Dean and I had to make multiple casts, one after another to entice the fish to finally bite. Three of the fish we caught (4.85, 4.80 and 4.70 pounds) didn’t count among the three heaviest, but they gave us 21.27 pounds. It turned out to be enough.”
Pat Motley had to call for a new partner. His usual mate moved to Arizona.
He tabbed a friend he’d met in the military nearly 40 years ago. Mike Griffith had competed with Motley a few years back prior to retiring from tournament fishing to tend to family matters.
It was a wise selection.
Early in the event, Griffith, 66, used a Senko to retrieve a 6.43-pound bass out of 5 to 10 feet of water. It was the “big fish” of the tournament and anchored the team’s 19.54-pound bag, good for second place and a $1,422 payday.
“I’m a good netter,” said Motley, 63.
ABA Pacific Coast
(All 5-fish Team Limits) Weight, Winnings
1. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Dean Miller, Tulare, 21.27 pounds, $2,380; 2. Pat Motley, Arroyo Grande, Mike Griffith, Atascadero, 19.54 pounds, $1,422; 3. Jim Slusher, Atascadero, Ken Sauret, Paso Robles, 17.32 pounds, $428; 4. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 16.57 pounds; 5. Jason Letterman, Scott Mullins, Salinas, 15.97 pounds; 6. Louis Fernandes, Santa Maria, Patrick Touey, Nipomo, 14.85 pounds; 7. Mark Scribner, August Kinney, Pismo Beach, 14.40 pounds; 8. Brad Shepherd, Clark Endres, Atascadero, 14.03 pounds; 9. Mike Maddux, Arroyo Grande, Lee Maddux, Paso Robles, 13.49 pounds; 10. Nick Salvucci, Atascadero, 12.97 pounds.
1st Big Fish 6.43 pounds, Griffith & Motley, $240; 2nd Big Fish, 5.71 pounds, Gray & Short; $144; 3rd Big Fish, 4.94 pounds, Fernandes & Touey, $96.
A crab and sanddab trip is scheduled for Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $60.
Call 595-7200 for reservations or go to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
The rockcod fishing season opens April 1. Opening day trips are from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fares are $82, the same as last year.
Scheduled for April 4 is an eight-hour salmon trip (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.). The fare is $84 and the load limit is 16. A 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. rockcod trip is also planned for April 4.
For schedules and reservations for the opening of the rockcod fishing season April 1, call 772-1222 or go to www.virgs. com.
Morro Bay Landing
Two trips are scheduled for the April 1 rockcod opener.
An eight-hour trip (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.) has a fee of $69 while the six-hour (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) trip is $59.
Call 771-5500 or book at www.morrobaylanding.com
Glenn Fukumoto at Morro Bay Landing reports that perch fishing both from the piers and in the surf north of Morro Rock continue to flourish. Lug worms continue to be productive.
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said: “Fishing has been spotty. Some days there are double digit catches of white bass and spots and the next day nothing. … A few catfish (2- and 3-pounders) are being taken at the Heritage Ranch Launch Ramp. A big shad spawn is in progress.”
Marina reporter T. J. Bright said: “A regular park guest who is a catch-and-release fisherman is catching limits of bass daily using plastics and drop- shotting. His biggest fish has been a 7-(pound) 4 (ounce), plus a trio of fish over 5 pounds. Crankbaits are working in the morning. Crappie and bluegill are still in hiding.”
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports: “It was another good week of fishing last week with water temperature at 65 degrees. Boaters and shore anglers are doing well. An 11.5 (pound) bass was caught on a small swimbait near the dam. Most fish have moved up into one to 10 feet in the water column and are biting on reaction baits and finesse presentations. Crappie are being taken off rocky points and are being fooled with crappie jigs baited with nibbles. Some large bluegill have been caught mainly on nightcrawlers. A 13-pound catfish was taken on a rip bait. Shore fisherman are doing well for whiskerfish around Mackey Point using cut mackerel.”
Marina Manager Cody Uhrig reports: “Crappie made a good showing at the east end of the lake. Multiple anglers anchored their boats and caught six to 10 fish each on crappie jigs armed with nibbles. The best bass fishing took place near the launch ramp, Cachuma Point and the rocky bank between Jackrabbit Flats and the pump station. Senkos, spinners and nightcrawlers produced. Catfish hit best between 7 and 11 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Mackerel, dough baits, chicken livers, Panther Martins and nightcrawlers were the best producers.”