Anglers Anonymous expands, giving veterans a golden opportunity

Back in 2011, when Greg Birkholz and a group of other saltwater aficionados formed Anglers Anonymous Central Coast, they had a vision of expanding their mission of sponsoring annual ocean-fishing trips for veterans.

And that vision has come true this year. Anglers Anonymous Ventura Coast is up and running, and on Nov. 10 the club is sponsoring a fully paid fishing trip to the Channel Islands for 20 veterans. Birkholz plans on being on that trip.

Five years ago, when the Central Coast club was being formed, Birkholz and a core group of members envisioned the formation of numerous organizations up and down the California Coast and elsewhere. Their mission would be to honor veterans for their service to our great country.

Birkholz and fellow Arroyo Grande residents Tom Heller and Mike Andrews were at the forefront of the club. They were joined by John Somics, a Vietnam vet from Los Osos, Will Hawks of Templeton, Steve Winters of Morro Bay and Ed Coleman of Bakersfield.

A post on the Ventura Coast Club’s Facebook page summed up the benefits of fishing to wit: 1. Decrease in stress, anxiety; 2. Creates social bonds; 3. Burns calories; 4. Improves self-esteem; 5. Boosts the economy; 6. Contributes to conservation; 7. Improves balance and coordination; 8. Teaches patience, appreciation; 9. Makes memories; 10. Trains your mind to focus.

Anglers Anonymous 4th Trip

My server’s blockage of Birkholz’s report about the Oct. 3 event translated into missed coverage. More about that next week, perhaps.

PSL Boatyard Whopper Highlights

When it comes to honoring Whopper of the Week winners, variety is the name of the game. Thus far in 2015 there have been 27 anglers honored for catching the heaviest fish of the week. Seven species have ruled the sea off the Central Coast with fish ranging in weight from heaviest (a 62-pound white seabass), to last week’s ruler (an 11-6-pound lingcod).

Arroyo Grande’s Dave Portwood reeled in the heaviest whopper of 2015, a 62-pound sea bass caught Oct. 4.

There have been five other sea bass winners: 36-0, 38-0, 42-4, 53-2 and 53-15.

Lingcod have ruled for three weeks, with the most recent honoree, Mike Clark of Arroyo Grande, catching the season’s smallest whopper (11-6 pounds) on Halloween. Nipomo’s Mark Baker’s 22-1 ling caught Oct. 4 is the heaviest of the three lingcod winners.

The 10 salmon winners back in April, May and June were led by the 34-4-pound winner caught by Oceano’s Homer Flores on June 18.

The quartet of winning halibut range from the 39-11 flattie that won for Randy Pharr of Templeton on July 5 to a 22-0 fish that 14-year-old Caden Nagy of Grover Beach caught from his kayak Sept. 26.

Bonito have earned the honor twice, led by the 16-pounder boated by Jed Hasay of Arroyo Grande on Sept. 19.

Two other species have earned Whopper awards once — Rosco Rickard of Grover Beach with a 24-9 yellowtail on Sept. 13, and Mike Enos of Paso Robles with a 45-6 bluefin tuna Oct. 25.

Port San Luis Boatyard

No boats were launched last Wednesday and Thursday and the same was true Monday and Tuesday of this week.

There were 60 boats dispatched last week. Bonito dominated the catch with 97 of them logged. Lingcod totaled 53. Twice three quarter rockcod limits were registered as well as half-limits twice. Three boats were launched Oct. 30, but no fish were brought back.

Virg’s Landing

Qualifier No. 30 for the Dec. 12 John Rowley Lingcod Derby is Abel Herrera of Albany, Calif., with a 15-7 ling.

Other jackpot winners included Cambria’s Jim Webb, who previously qualified, this time with a 12-0 ling, Stephanie Carter of Bakersfield, 10-2 ling, and Ronald Godfrey of Atascadero, 6-7 ling.

The catch by 221 anglers on nine trips last week was 2,331 fish, including 182 lingcod, 48 bonito and an 80-pound Mako shark.

For trip schedules and reservations, call: 772-1222.

Patriot Sportfishing

A Buellton angler, Chrus Duncan, had the big fish last week, a 20-pound ling. Other jackpot winers included: Bill Gould of Madison, Wis., 18-5 ling, Jose Uribe of Santa Maria, 18-4 ling, Alex Adona of Bakersfield, 13-0 ling, George Suchand of San Luis Obispo, 12-0 ling, Fernando Villagas of San Luis Obispo, 10-0 ling, and Richard Huffman of San Miguel, 9-0 ling.

Last week’s catch by 208 anglers included: 110 lingcod, 240 bolina, 165 red rockcod, 1,299 assorted rockfish, 53 copper rockfish, eight cabezon, six bocaccio, 15 bonito, and eight kelp greenling.

For trip schedules and reservations, call: 595-7200.

Morro Bay Landing

With the San Pedro Special being unavailable while having repairs done, only two trips were run on the Endeavor. Both were private charters and no jackpots were offered.

Forty-one passengers caught 16 lingcod, 190 red rockcod and 170 assorted rockfish.

For trip schedules and reservations, call: 771-5500.

Lake Nacimiento

Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said, “Resident John Knopke last week caught a 6-pound catfish near shore and later a two-pound spotted bass from his boat.”

Whale Rock

Fishing last week was strange in that there were no anglers, so the fishless streak continues.

Santa Margarita Lake

Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports: “Catfish provided the bulk of the activity last week, with swimming pool cove and the White Oak area being the prime locations. The No. 1 offering was fly lining cut mackerel as well as chicken livers. The bass bite was tough and few crappie were reported.”

Cachuma Lake

Marina Manager Cody Uhrig says, “Fishing for catfish continues to improve, with a few seven- and eight-pounders landed over the weekend using cut mackerel and chicken livers. Bass have been active primarily in the mornings due to heavy afternoon winds. Rat-L-Traps and deep-diving cranks are getting hit often.”