Thirty-six anglers have qualified for next weekend’s Second Annual John Rowley Lingcod Derby out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay.
At stake Dec. 12 will be $10,000 in prize money.
Bruce Harwood, Virg’s general manager, said that the $10,000 bounty was amassed by taking $1 from every 2015 fare.
The winner will receive $5,000, runner-up $3,000 and third place $2,000.
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Last year’s tournament wasn’t determined until the final 30 minutes of competition on waters off the North Coast. That’s when Jessie Spencer of Nipomo landed a 14-pound ling to nose out Ron Keck of Hanford. Keck, who also owns a residence in Cambria, had taken the lead in the first 30 minutes of the event with a 13.5 ling.
Paso Robles anglers Micha White and Brian Ivie had fish of near-identical weight, and they agreed to split the $2,000 award rather than one of them being disappointed weighing their catch on a certified scale back in Morro Bay.
Three women are among this year’s qualifiers. Lisa Tham of Los Angeles, the Week 29 qualifier, had the heaviest fish of the year at 25.5 pounds.
The other female contestants are: Candice O’Dell from Woodlake, who qualified with a 17.6-pound ling in Week 18, and Week 33 qualifier Kris McKinney of Bakersfield, who had that week’s heaviest ling at 14.5 pounds.
Eight anglers from San Luis Obispo County have qualified: Tim Stover of Morro Bay, Ron Keck of Cambria, Harry Brown of Los Osos, Manuel Lemos of Pismo Beach, James Corcoran of Atascadero, Eric Hedger of Los Osos, Garrett Morton of Atascadero and John Dornellas of Templeton.
Five qualifiers are from Bakersfield, and a trio are from out of state: Andrew Bartlik of North Salem, N.Y., John McConnell of Elmira, N.Y., and Seth King of Dunlap, Ill.
Harwood said he was not sure whether any of the trio will make the trip back to Morro Bay.
There are 36 qualifiers during the 35-week season because there was a tie Week 26 between King and Mark Sangil of Azusa. Both had 14-pound lings.
With a month left in the 2015 saltwater fishing season, Patriot Sportfishing is within striking distance of equaling or surpassing last season’s lingcod harvest.
Thus far this season, anglers aboard Patriot boats have landed 5,068 lingcod. Last year’s total was 5,668 lings.
Jackpot winners last week were led by the 14.4-pound ling caught by Wasco’s Michael Dobbs. He was a double winner, with a 12-pound ling caught earlier in the week.
Also winning jackpots were: Alberto Cordenos of Pomona, 14.0 ling; Tom Muscio of Santa Maria, 13.10 ling; Bill Schmidt of Atascadero, 12.0 ling, Lawrece Li of Arcadia, Howard Berryman of Redding and Chris Wheeler of Ridgecrest, all 10.0 lings; and Joe Difronzo of Pismo Beach, 8.0 ling.
The catch by 251 anglers last week was 153 lingcod, 286 red rockcod, 1,675 assorted rockfish, 48 bolina, 154 copper rockfish, 1,675 assorted rockfish, 154 copper rockfish, four cabezon, two kelp greenling and one bonito.
For reservations and trip schedules, call 595-7200, or go online to www.patriotsportfishing.com.
Port San Luis Boatyard
No boats were launched Tuesday through Thursday last week, but that didn’t rain on the lingcod harvest. Ninety-seven were counted, but no Whopper of the Week prize was awarded. Two halibut, three skipjack, 36 bonito and one white seabass were brought in, but no fish were weighed, hence no Whopper of the Week. Full rockcod limits were registered twice and three quarter limits once.
Ernie Costamagna from Hanfod and Jason Cantrell from Bakersfield were the final two qualifiers for the John Rowley competition, with lings weiging 19.9 and 12.8 pounds, respectively.
Virg’s had nine trips last week. The landing was closed for Thanksgiving. The 207 anglers on those trips caught 2,023 fish, including 168 lingcod.
Through Nov. 29, Virg’s customers have caught 7,519 lingcod.
On a two-day trip on the Princess to Point Lopez and Cape San Martin, 27 anglers caught 702 fish including 158 lings, 421 reds, 108 assorted rockfish, 10 cabezon, one Mako shark, as well as two 16-pound sheephead by Sacramento’s Kris Ptitt and Taylor Posey.
Cantrell caught his qualifying lingcod (12.8 pounds) Nov. 24 aboard the Fiesta, skippered by Charlie Lanini to the Domes area. The 35 anglers on board caught 376 fish including 26 lings, 105 reds, 244 assorted rockcod and one cabezon.
Other jackpot winners were: Shawn Mark of Woodlake, 18.0 ling, and Raphael Sanchez of Oakhurst, 10.3 ling.
For reservations and trip schedules, call: 772-1222 or go online to www.virgslanding.com.
Morro Bay Landing
The Landing was closed Thanksgiving and Friday. Three trips aboard the Endeavor were offered last week.
Jackpot winners were: Yee Vang of Stockton, 13.0 ling; Jeff Spoelder of Rancho Mirage, 12.0 ling; and Jordan McIlroy of Palm Desert, 7.0 ling.
Ninety-four anglers caught 109 lingcod, 145 red rockcod, 654 assorted rockfish, five cabezon, one soupfin shark, one white fish and one sand perch.
For trip schedules and reservations, call 771-5500 or go online to www.morrobaylanding.com.
Heritage Ranch reporter Dave Rymal said, “Dean and Sandy Shupp trolled Shad Raps to catch several spotted bass and a smallmouth. Last Friday, John Knopke caught an 8-pound catfish in Heritage Cove using a hot dog for bait.”
TJ Bright reported from the marina that “cold weather has diminished the catching of fish.”
Santa Margarita Lake
Ken Hemer, Marina Manager, reported: “Creston’s Ted Ratcliff and Dave Widger caught a dozen crappie weighing a total of 10 pounds, using a combination of a tube bait with crappie nibbles. Their biggest fish weighed two pounds. Cold weather kept most fishermen away from the lake, but those who braved the elements caught bass with slow presentation of jigs and drop shotting.
Marina Manager Cody Uhrig reported: “Holdover trout are becoming easier to catch as temperatures drop. Several two pounders were caught at the mouth of Johnson Bay. A mix of trout, smallmouth bass and crappie were caught last week. Mackerel was the bait of choice for those seeking catfish.”