The magic number with respect to Central Coast saltwater fishing circles is 23 — as in 23 pounds. During the week just closed, the number came up twice.
The number first surfaced last Friday. The venue was correct (Patriot Sportfishing Avila) but the species — a 23-pound sheephead — was as irrelevant as Mr. Irrelevant, the last player selected in the annual NFL Draft.
The second reference was the correct species — a 23-pound lingcod — but the wrong venue, Patriot’s other operation, namely, Morro Bay Landing.
No lingcod competition is being contested out of that site.
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So, the man who has held the lead in the 11th Annual event for 161 days, Abdul Samaan of San Luis Obispo, needs to hold on for just seven more days to claim the championship and the $1,000 gift certificate.
No trips were scheduled Wednesday, and Patriot will be closed Christmas Day.
Samaan caught his 23-pound ling way back on July 16. The prize for winning segment No. 2, July and August, was a $300 gift certificate.
Whew! That was a stretch!
Weather permitting, general manager Bruce Harwood is planning an action-packed fishing schedule for the final day of the 2015 season on December 31.
Highlighting the schedule is a 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. trek to Cape San Martin aboard the Princess. The Fiesta is slated for a 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. trip, while the Rita G is down for a three-quarter day fishing experience.
Thus far this season, Virg’s customers have caught a record 7,767 lingcod.
Jackpot victors last week were: Chris Rydgrin of Los Angeles with a 24-pound ling on Sunday of the overnight trip; Quyen Quich of Monterey with a 22-pound ling on day one; Kelly Chircop of Diggs, Ind.., with a 14.5 ling; Jeanette Berrigan of Bakersfield with a 12.0 ling; and Will Roberts of Clovis with a 8.8 ling.
Last week, 115 customers caught 196 lingcod, 515 red rockcod, 741 assorted rockfish, four cabezon, three bonito, two rock sole and one sheephead.
For reservations and trip schedules, go online to www.virgslanding.com, or call 772-1222.
Morro Bay Landing
Who was that angler who may have given Mr. Samaan some anxious moments?
That would be Bernardo Salcido from Bakersfield. He cranked up the 23-pound ling on a 12-hour long range trip aboard the Endeavor at Cape San Martin.
Sixty-five lings were brought aboard by the 25 fishermen on the Sunday trip.
On two other Endeavor trips last week, the jackpots were won by Greg Veach of Visalia and Donald Kellogg of Fresno with 14 and 15-pound lingcod, respectively.
The 81 passengers harvested 172 lingcod, 175 red rockcod and 399 assorted rockfish.
Morro Bay Landing will be closed Christmas Day but will resume operations on Saturday, weather permitting.
For reservations and trip schedules, go online to www.morrobaylanding.com, or call 771-5500.
Only three trips were offered last week. Arroyo Grande’s Johnny Wyatt landed the 23-pound sheephead mentioned earlier. The other two trips were made from the landing’s other boat, Avenger.
Lompoc’s Wendell Chen and Visalia’s Kevin Rhea were jackpot winners with 10 and 6-pound lingcod, respectively.
Seventy-two anglers harvested 44 lingcod, 32 red rockcod, 319 assorted rockfish, 15 copper rockfish, 10 bolina, seven cabezon, one sheephead and one kelp greenling.
For reservations and trip schedules, go online to: www.patriotsportfishing.co, or call 595-7200.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Arroyo Grande’s Randy Carr earned Whopper of the Week honors with the catch of a 13-pound lingcod on Dec. 18.
No boats were launched Monday through Wednesday, and 23 of the 36 dispatched for the week were accomodated Friday. Fifty-nine lingcod were registered.
Santa Margarita Lake
Ken Hemer, marina manager, reported: “There was little activity last week due to the cold weather. Catfish up to eight pounds were taken on cut baits primarily in the White Oak area. A few bass were taken with rip baits and jigs.”