If your bucket list includes watching the best bass fishermen in the world up close and personal, you have a golden opportunity this week and next.
For only the third time in the 10-year history of the Bassmaster Elite Series, the competition will be in the West.
Arroyo Grande’s Jared Lintner and 111 Elite anglers will battle on the Sacramento River today through Sunday. Then, the Elite anglers will duel at Lake Havasu from May 7-10.
Lintner has some catching up to do. After finishing eighth in the 2014 Angler of the Year standings, Lintner hasn’t gotten off to a good start. He placed 98th in the opener on the Sabine River in Texas with two fish for a total weight of 4 pounds, 1 ounce. It was a difficult beginning for numerous anglers.
Lintner also placed 53rd at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. It was the last placing that qualified for a $10,000 check.
Because one of the original 113 entrants has dropped out, it will take a 52nd-place finish or better to earn a check this week.
At Guntersville, Lintner had a series of mechanical problems on day 3, causing him to be four minutes late for the weigh-in. The penalty (1 pound per minute) prompted him to decline weighing his three fish which did not weigh four pounds.
Reggio, Nawrocki widen lead
San Luis Obispo’s Joey Reggio and Atascadero’s Brian Nawrocki are making a serious bid for Anglers of the Year in Tri Valley Club competition.
Reggio guessed his team caught between 60 and 70 fish Saturday at Nacimiento Lake.
The 9.96-pound, six-fish limit the pair brought to the scales earned the team its first Tri Valley win in the fourth test of the year.
Add in a pair of second-place finishes and a sixth place in the January opener, the pair has opened up a 14-point advantage over Lompoc’s Robert Gardiner and Dale Litwiler in the AOY standings.
“It was a fun day,” Reggio said. “I caught our big fish (1.82 pounds) on a big swim bait. Most of our others came via the drop shot or Senko rout.”
Tri Valley Top 10 (All 6 fish team limits), 1. Joey Reggio, San Luis Obispo, Brian Nawrocki, Atascadero, 9.96 pounds, 2. Bill & Pat Twomey, Lompoc, 9.70 pounds; 3. Greg & Mike Higgins, Santa Margarita, 9.54 pounds; 4. Danny Knotts, Skeeter Moore, Santa Maria, 9.43 pounds; 5. Ken Whalen, Pete Manrina, Lompoc, 9.40 pounds; 6. Robert Gardiner, Dale Litwiler, Lompoc, 9.12 pounds; 7 Dustin & Ted McAllister, San Luis Obispo, 8.84 pounds; 8. Erik Zillig, Jason Buchanan, 8.68 pounds; 9. Grant Koontz, Tyler Dossen, 8.53 pounds; 10. Frank Fernandes, Santa Maria, Janet Ross, Santa Margarita, 8.34 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 1.82 pounds, Reggio & Nawrocki.
Bakersfield father, son win open
A father and son from Bakersfield who don’t often compete in tournaments together were winners of the Best Bass Open held at Lopez Lake on Saturday.
Chris Gilikison, tournament director for the Best Bass Coastal Region which draws 40 or more teams, was somewhat disappointed by the 18-team turnout. Jim Dobbs, 45, and his 16-year-old son, Henry, weighed an 18.82-pound limit to earn a $1,040 check.
“We had two limits. All the fish we weighed were caught on crankbaits by 9 o’clock. Then the bite stopped so we went worming but all we caught were smallies, none big enough to help us,” Jim Dobbs said.
Best Bass Open (All 5-Fish Limits), Weight, Winnings 1. Jim & Henry Dobbs, Bakersfield, 18,82 pounds, $1,040; 2. Glenn Wolfgang, Buellton, Larry Zepeda, Nipomo, 17.40 pounds, $650; 3. Andrew Levy, Grover Beach, Bryan Vogt, Paso Robles, 16.74 pounds, $375; 4. Matt Clausen, Troy Tidwell, Prunedale, 16.33 pounds, $415; 5. Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 14.26 pounds, $75; 6. Patrick Touey, Carlos Ceceita, Nipomo, 14.05 pounds; 7. Kenny McMurrey, Mike Foreman, Bakersfield, 13.93 pounds; 8. Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, Whitney Uyeda, Buellton, 13.79 pounds; 9. Jason Martin, Jeremy Gearhart, Atascadero, 12.93 pounds; 10. Jensen Wrona, Paso Robles, Andy Bowlin, 11.31 pounds.
1st Big Fish, 5.86 pounds, Wolfgang & Zepeda; 2nd Big Fish, 5.28 pounds, Levy & Vogt; 3rd Big Fish, 5.11 pounds, Dobbs & Dobbs.
For the first time in several years, no trout were caught opening weekend of the trout fishing season at Whale Rock Reservoir. Twenty-nine anglers were blanked Saturday and Sunday.
The facility is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays and holidays.
The opening weekend scoreboard recently looks like this: Anglers and fish caught: 2014 — 44 and 13; 2013 — 48 and 9; 2012 — 36 and 7; 2011 — 23 and 1; 2010 — 31 and 2; 2009 — 40 and 3; 2008 — 25 and 8; 2007 — 35 and 10; 2006 — 22 and 2; 2005 —stats missing; 2004 — 42 and 5; 2003 — 72 and 10; 2002 —31 and 26.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Only five salmon were caught last week by anglers aboard 63 launched vessels. But the 12-pound, 13-ounce salmon Greg Birkholz of Arroyo Grande reeled in on April 23 earned a free launch as the Whopper of the Week.
Ninety-five lingcod were checked in. Full rockcod limits were recorded four days and three-quarter limits three days.
Anthony Barajas of Lompoc had last week’s biggest jackpot fish, a 9-pound, 7-ounce lingcod. For trip schedules, reservations go to www.virgslanding.com or call 772-1222.
Other jackpot winners included: Jack Childs, Bakersfield, 9-3 ling, Daniel Uwanawich, Morro Bay, 8-4 ling, Demon Loring, Hanford, 5-9 ling, Andreas Rodriguez, San Jose, 5-4 ling, Mike Western, Clovis, 4-7 copper rockfish, Eddie Alvarez, Orosi, 4-10 cabezon, and David Meyer, Coarse Gold, 3-0 red rockcod.
Fifty-five lingcod highlighted the catch by 173 rockcod passengers last week.
Sixty-two lingcod were landed by 120 passengers on four trips last week.
Sixty-two lingcod were landed by 120 passengers on four trips last week. Jackpot winners were Tracy Kaul, Atascadero, 12-0 ling, Kirby Lewis, Santa Maria, 10-0 ling, and Adam Wren, Bakersfield, 9-0 ling.
The catch included 143 red rockcod, 500 assorted rockfish, 37 coppers, 43 bolina, 71 Dungeness crab and one rock crab.
Spots are open for the Friday 7 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. trips and Sunday’s 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. trip to Pt. Purisima for $82.
For reservations and more information, call 595-7200 or go to www.patriotsportfising.com
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said: “Fifty to 60 white bass as well as spots are being caught by a number of different anglers, including Martin Rowley, Bunky Giles, Jack and Brad Foster and others.”
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports: “The lake’s shad population is up all over driving a hot bass bite. Largemouth schools are chasing bait on secondary and main lake points. Most fish are in the 2 to 3-pound range. Bank fisherman Steve Clark of Santa Margarita reeled in a 10.75 brute. The shad also have fueled a crappie and bluegill bite and awakened blue catfish. Ed Conway celebrated his 70th birthday by catching a 17.5 catfish.”