Jerry May of Paso Robles finished atop the San Luis Obispo County Bass Ambushers’ Angler of the Year standings. May has been a member for three years.
No member has won more than one competition, and a mere 11 points separated the top four fishermen.
May, a transplant from Bakersfield, edged out veteran angler Burt Lund from Atascadero by three points, 812 to 809.
The two lowest tournament placings were eliminated, tournament director Al Rush said.
May, 73, retired from a 30 1/2 -year career as a signal maintenance employee for BNSF Railway.
May’s wife, Barbara, achieved her dream of settling on the coast after a number of years in Bakersfield.
While a resident of the San Joaquin Valley, Jerry May was a member of several fishing clubs. When he lived in Oklahoma, May competed in FLW Tournament events.
May’s daughter, Michelle, 47, has frequently journeyed to the coast from Bakersfield to fish Ambusher tournaments with her dad.
Top 10 anglers who logged one win during the season included May, Jim Keeney, Ken Meeks, Jesse Wilson, Tom White and Al Rush.
SLO County Bass Ambushers AOY Top 10
Angler, home town, points — 1. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 812; 2. Burt Lund, Atascadero, 809; 3. Jim Keeney, Paso Robles, 803; 4. Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 802; 5. Jesse Wilson, Atascadero, 801; 6. Tom White, King City, 797; 7. Paul Bailey, Creston, 769; 8. Ron Christian, Santa Maria, 677; 9. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 590; 10. Darren Ashford, Paso Robles, 586.
Back Seater Rush Wins Final 2-Day Event
AOY champion Jerry May practiced the day before the two-day tournament that wrapped up the Ambushers’ season last month.
“He put me on fish, and I beat him out from the back seat in his boat,” joked tournament director Rush.
“I squeezed in a half pound ahead of Jerry,” Rush said. His 10 fish weighed 16.08 pounds. Included was the big fish on day two from Lake Nacimiento at 1.91 pounds.
No. Fish, Wt., Winnings — 1. Al Rush, Paso Robles, 10, 16.08 pounds, $175; 2. Jerry May, Paso Robles, 10, 15.58 pounds, $105; 3. *Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 10, 14.40 pounds, $70; 4. Tom White, King City, 10, 14.40 pounds; 5. Burt Lund, Atascadero, 10, 13.58 pounds; 6. Mike Garza, King City, 9, 12.04 pounds; 7. Paul Bailey, Creston, 8, 11.97 pounds; 8. Ron Christian, Santa Maria, 8, 11.01 pounds; 9. Creighton Lauchland, Bakersfield, 5, 7.02 pounds; 10. Jesse Wilson, Atascadero, 5, 6.25 pounds
1st Big Fish, Rush, 1.91 pounds, $65.
*Meeks and White had same weight, but Meeks had a bigger fish to place higher.
The angler who caught the largest jackpot fish last week (29.4 pounds) was not identified by the crew.
That being the case, a 19.2-pound ling caught by Bakersfield’s Aiden Lomeli led the way. Other jackpot winners were: Freddie Cardenas of Visalia and Earl Sounhein of San Dimas, both with 12.0-pound lings, Mark Gilruth of Paso Rbles and Mia Salas of Clovis, both 11.0 lings, and Tod Mucrip of Paso Robles with a 9.0-pound ling.
The catch by 224 passengers included: 201 lingcod, 353 red rockcod, 1,405 assorted rockfish, 90 bolina, 55 copper rockish, 11 cabezon and 15 bocaccio.
Morro Bay Landing
Hefty lingcod weighing 17 and 16 pounds topped last week’s catch. Jose Teraguez from Fresno had the 17-pounder and Coalinga’s Jim Rees had the 16.
Bob Reed of Atascadero claimed jackpot honors with a 12.0 ling.
Ninety-two patrons caught 983 fish. There were 63 lings, 122 red rockcod and 798 assorted rockfish.
Only two weeks remain to qualify for the end-of-the-year John Rowley Lingcod Challenge on Dec. 12. Nov. 29 is the final day to qualify.
Bakersfield’s Kris McKinney became qualifier No. 33 by catching a 14.5-pound ling on a trip to San Simeon waters on a private charter aboard the Princess. The charter was registered by Bob’s Bait Bucket, a Bakersfield business.
Twenty-nine anglers on the charter reeled in 76 lings, along with 116 red rockcod, 174 assorted rockfish, one ocean whitefish and one rock sole.
Others winning jackpots were: Eric Hedger of Los Osos with a 12.8-pound ling, William Saechao of Visalia with an 8.0-pound ling, and Marcelo Andrade of Santa Ynez with a 7.0-pound ling.
Only five trips were offered last week. Large swells of 9 to 12 feet and heavy rain created difficult conditions for leaving and entering the harbor, prompting the cancellation of two Sunday trips.
Last week, 114 anglers caught 1,235 fish, including 145 lingcod.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Although 54 boats were launched last week and the catch included four skipjack, 29 lingcod and 26 bonito, no fish were weighed, so there was no Whopper of the Week.
Forty boats were dispatched Saturday but no boats on Tuesday and Wednesday. No fish were caught by anglers aboard the two boats launched Sunday.
Trout season is over for 2015 and it was like no other. One-hundred-ninety-four anglers and just one fish tell the story. Jeremy Harkins was the lone angler identified as a successful fisherman. He caught a 16-inch trout with PowerBait on May 6.
An unidentified angler left a report card claiming the catch of 6- and 8-inch fish during the week of July 15 to 19.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer said, “Not much has changed from the previous week. Most bass are suspended about 20 feet down the water column. Crappie are at the same depth. Catfish are providing some action on chicken livers and cut mackerel in the swimming pool cove and White Oak.”