Lately, Patriot Sportfishing’s annual lingcod contest has evolved into a waiting game for the leader.
That’s where San Luis Obispo angler Abdul Samaan finds himself. He took over first place in the 11th annual competition July 17 with the catch of a 23-pounder. Through Monday, he has held onto the lead for 129 days, but he must hold serve for another 38 days.
It’s 2014 and 2013 all over again.
In Patriot’s annual contest, it’s catch the biggest ling and then wait.
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Freddie Cardenas of Visalia knows all about the waiting game. A year ago he accomplished something he found hard to believe.
Prior to Oct. 9, 2014, he had never caught a lingcod heavier than 11 or 12 pounds. He’s a regular Patriot customer fishing seven or eight times a season.
A dramatic change occurred that October day while fishing aboard the Patriot at Point Sal.
Last year, he related details of his catch during a phone interview.
“I had a brown swimbait on in about 80 or 90 feet of water. The fish that attacked my offering surprised me,” Cardenas said.
The clinical lab scientist at Tulare Regional Hospital cranked up a 27-pound, 12-ounce lingcod. It catapulted him into first place in the 10th annual event. He replaced Dan Barrios of San Luis Obispo, the previous leader with a 25-10 fish.
And then the waiting period began.
Patriot’s contests begin May 1 and close Dec. 31. They are divided into four segments: May and June, July and August, September and October, and November and December.
Anglers who place first, second or third in each segment receive $300, $200 and $100 gift certificates
Cardenas had to wait 83 days before he was crowned the champion and awarded a $1,000 gift certificate.
Arroyo Grande’s Casey Lintner came within five days of winning the 2013 lingcod derby. On Oct. 27 he caught a 28-pound, 5-ounce ling, which was a tournament record catch up to that time. He was in the catbird seat for 62 days.
That all changed Dec. 27. Twenty-seven fishermen boarded the Patriot that day, and 51 fished from the Sea Angler.
Max McGraw, an 8-year-old, was on his sixth saltwater fishing experience with his father, Shane, on the Sea Angler.
Max hooked up early on. It appeared he was in the rocks, and his dad took over.
“Once I detected movement I thought it was a halibut,” Shane said. “The fish ran off some line before I gained control. Before we saw color, Captain Rocha (Sal) told me I had hooked a big ling and not a halibut.”
The fish weighed 29 pounds, 7 ounces. It ranks as the heaviest ling caught in the 11 years of the tournament.
Only one berth is yet to be filled this weekend for the Dec. 12 John Rowley Lingcod Tournament. Hanford’s Ernie Costamagne secured spot No. 34 with the catch of 19.9-pound lingcod.
Other jackpot winners last week were: Shawn Mark of Woodlake, 18.2 ling; Kris Pettitt and Taylor Posey, both of Sacramento, 15.8 sheephead; Jason Webb of Lindsay, 14.5 ling; and Brenden Matoba of Fresno, 14.5 ling.
The catch by 187 anglers last week was 2,181 fish.
Virg’s will be closed Thanksgiving but open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. There are a few spots open for Saturday and Sunday trips.
Port San Luis Boatyard
The second white seabass caught during the month of November captured Whopper of the Week honors last week. Grover Beach’s Tom Grossini earned the honor with the catch of a 48-pound, 12-ounce seabass Saturday.
No boats were launched Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Fifty-six boats were dispatched, 32 of them on Sunday. The catch included 70 lingcod, 67 of them on Sunday. Thirty-three bonito were counted, 26 of them Sunday.
Winning jackpots out of Patriot last week were: Sambo Sop of West Covina, 21.0 lingcod; Ted Costello of Bakersfield, 18.6 ling; Ron York of Atascadero, 14.0 ling; Arnold Luisi of Arroyo Grande, Don Juan of San Luis Obispo and Lisa Griffith of Orcutt, all 10.0 lings; Raleigh Guice of Orcutt, 9.0 ling; and Bill Nicks, 8.0 ling.
Two hundred thirty-three anglers on nine trips caught 183 lingcod, 331 red rockcod, 1,328 assorted rockfish, 258 bolina, 176 copper rockfish, seven cabezon, one bocaccio, one kelp greenling and one bonito.
The business will be closed Thanksgiving.
Morro Bay Landing
Three trips were made aboard the Endeavor last week. Jackpot winners were:
James Davis of Los Angeles, 31.0 lingcod; Herb Conner of Cambria and Dave Patague of Arroyo Grande, both 18.0 lings.
Ninety-six passengers caught 191 lingcod, 297 red rockcod and 655 assorted rockfish.
The landing will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports: “Bass are slowly starting to come around. Fish to 4 1/2 pounds were reported. Largmouth are being caught with drop-shotted shad imitations in 15 to 25 feet of water. The crappie bite has been fair. They are not willing to bite until mid morning or early afternoon. Red and chartreuse tubes are working in conjunction with crappie nibbles. A few catfish are being taken with cut mackerel while mealworms are working for redear.”
Cody Uhrig, Marina Manager said: “ Now is a good time to target holdover trout from last season. A few 12- to 15-inch rainbows were caught near the dam by trolling Countdown Rapalas and drifting nightcrawlers. The afternoon bite was the best. Anglers seeking catfish sink mackerel to the bottom of any small cove to catch one- to two-pound fish.”.