Fishing Report: Lopez Lake to host Best Bass event

A bass tournament organization that claims it is California’s No.1 group in payouts is staging an open competition Saturday at Lopez Lake.

This will be the second open event that Best Bass has sponsored in 2015.

A big turnout is expected by tournament director Chris Gilkison from Bakersfield.

Central Coast angling talent, namely Damon Meeks and Chase Austin of Atascadero, won the first Coastal Region competition at Nacimiento Lake in January; Erik Zillig from Paso Robles and his uncle John from Sacramento claimed the title earlier this month again at Nacimiento.

Half of the victorious tandem at the March contest at Lopez has local roots. Dan Dostal from Grover Beach is the backseater for King City’s Danny Conatser.

With prize money totaling $6,250, $4,495, $5,035 and $5,570 in the first four Best Bass Coastal Region events the organization’s payout claim is probably correct.

Saturday’s event is only the second open competition that Best Bass is sponsoring this season, and the turnout is virtually assured of attracting more teams than the 31 that showed up early this year in cold weather at Don Pedro Lake.

It is not necessary to be a Best Bass member in order to enter the event. The entry fee is $120 per team, and teams may participate in the various options for a total investment of $200.

For further details, contact tournament director Chris Gilkison (661) 703-7929.

Lintner and Salvucci place third

Jared Lintner and his usual local partner Nick Salvucci, on the strength of a Day 2 surge, became the only Central Coast entry to finish in the money last Friday and Saturday at Clear Lake.

Four other tandems who regularly compete in local bass tournaments failed to finish in the money. The event was a Clear Lake Team Open Tournament presented by Lucas Oil.

After Friday’s fishing, Arroyo Grande’s Lintner and Atascadero’s Salvucci were in eighth place in the 34-team competition.

They weighed a 27.17-pound limit, anchored by a 6.61-pound big fish. Lintner and Salvucci weighed the third-heaviest limit on Saturday (31.21 pounds).

Their 7.79-pound big fish was the fourth-heaviest of the tournament. It propelled the team to a two-day bag weight of 58.38 pounds that paid $2,890.

The tournament was won by Scott Mackenzie and Jimmy Kuroki. Their 10-fish total weight of 66.14 pounds was worth $6,385.

Atascadero’s Gene Gray and Graham Grove were in 12th place with a 24.95-pound Day 1 limit. A 20.17-pound day-two limit caused them to finish 24th with a two-day weight of 48.34 pounds.

A Soledad father and son, Carlos and Jacob Vasquez, who compete regular in SLO County tournaments, advanced from 13th to 10th place, 24.75 plus 25.49 pounds for a 50.24 weight, four places out of the money.

Clark Small of Solvang, the son of former Central Coast bass tourney director Maynard Small of Nipomo, paired with Randy McAbee Sr. and climbed from 19th place to 11th with 21.64 and 26.70 limits and a 48.34 total weight.

Cachuma Trout Derby

In excess of $33,000 was raised last weekend in the Trout Derby that has morphed into a Fishing Derby in its 20th edition at Cachuma Lake. Proceeds of the event go to operation of the Neal Taylor Nature Center.

Trout were not the only species targeted in the Derby. Bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish and carp catches also were money and prize winners.

Entrants who reeled in the heaviest trout (9.82 pounds), catfish (3.68 pounds), crappie (1.90 pounds), and sunfish (1.10 pounds) each received $599 checks. A majority of the prize winners resided in cities and towns beyond Santa Barbara.

The exception was James McCall of Santa Maria, who weighed the heaviest catfish.

Patriot Sportfishing

Private charters dominated fishing trips last week. Only three trips were available to the general public.

A 10-pound lingcod caught by Jaeden Suval from Santa Margarita was the big fish of the week. Jeff Howard of Taft had the other jackpot winner, a 9-pound ling. There was no jackpot winner on the third trip.

Thirty-two lingcod were caught by the 107 passengers. The catch included 49 red rockcod, seven copper rockfish, four cabezon, and 189 assorted rockfish.

For reservations and trip schedules go to www.patriotsportfishing.com or call 595-7200.

Port San Luis Boatyard

Sixty-seven of the 95 boats launched last week were dispatched over the weekend. And 55 of the 94 lingcod in the catch were boated over the weekend, 38 of them Sunday. Only one salmon was in the catch. No fish were weighed, so no Whopper of the Week. Half rockcod limits were logged four days and three-quarter limits the other days.

Virg’s Landing

The first overnight trip of the season departs Friday and returns Saturday. Cost is $165.

For reservations and further details call 772-1222 or go to www.virgslanding. com

Technical issues limited this report to only trips of April 16, 19 and 20.

Winning jackpots were: Ron Keck, Cambria, 12-12 ling, Jim Webb, Cambria, 9-3 ling, Carl White, Guadalupe, 7-5 ling, Natalie Locato, San Luis Obispo, 5-5 ling and Jim Fedrow, Cambria, 5-1 ling. The catch by 146 passengers included: 48 lingcod, 295 red rockcod, 245 assorted rockfish, 14 cabezon and two kelp greenling.

Morro Bay Landing

Because of problems, no trips were made last week.

For updates call 771-5500 or go to www.morrobaylanding.com.

Santa Margarita Lake

Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports: “The lake’s big catfish were on the chew last week. Jim Tharp of Santa Margarita caught and released a 20-pound catfish. The next day he bagged a 13-pounder. Both fish bit on nightcrawlers. Bass fishing was very good early in the week. Nearly all types of shad imitations got bit. Catching crappie slowed down.”

Cachuma Lake

Marina manager Cody Uhrig noted that a 6,000-pound rainbow trout plant prior to last weekend’s Trout Derby figured positively in the 20th edition. How? “A lot of trout were caught with gold and chrome-colored Kastmasters and bronze and black Rapalas. Catfish bit on bloddy shad dough while crappie and bluegill were partial to mealworms and chartreuse jigs.’’