The current bass tournament season has been a learning experience for a 20-something duo from Templeton.
The team of Chase Austin and Jeramie Dyer are fresh off a championship in the American Bass Pacific Region series last Saturday at Lake Nacimiento. The ABA season has concluded, but there are two more Best Bass Coastal division tests remaining. Both are at Nacimiento with test No. 5 this Saturday.
In the Best Bass competition, Austin and partner Dyer are the No. 1 team in the Anglers of the Year standings, 11 points in front of their closest competition. In last week’s event, they won by a margin of a fraction of a pound over Lompoc veterans Steve Morris and Walter Kondracki.
Austin, 25, and Dyer, who will reach that age in two weeks, were reluctant to discuss how they did it.
They did reveal that Dyer caught the big fish of the tournament (2.42 pounds) around 1 p.m. with bait that got the attention of a cluster of spotted bass chasing a school of shad.
The 2015-16 ABA Anglers of the Year title went to Todd Reccord and partner Mike Maddux. They were the only team to win two tests on the six-event trail. They earned 629 points.
The mistake made by Austin and Dyer was back in February. They were discouraged by the smallness of their limit that day and dumped it rather than weighing in. That gave them 10 participant points.
There were 27 teams entered that day, and the possibility of adding 80 or more points would have tightened the points race but probably not changed the outcome.
American Bass Pacific Region (all five-fish limits, weight, winnings): 1. Chase Austin, Jeramie Dyer, Templeton, 9.85 pounds, $2,420; 2. Steve Morris, Walter Kondracki, Lompoc, 8.89 pounds, $718; 3. Dustin Selck, Fernando Salazar, Atascadero, 8.87 pounds, $282; 4. Gene Gray, Atascadero, Jay Short, Templeton, 8.54 pounds, $160; 5. Darrin Bishop, Paso Robles, Dean Miller, Tulare, 8.29 pounds; 6. Jerry Waldrip, Bakersfield, Richard Neal, Clovis, 8.29 pounds, $153; 7, Troy Tidwell, Prunedale, Scott Mullins, San Juan Bautista, 7.83 pounds; 8, Damon Meeks, Atascadero, Erik Zillig, Paso Robles, 7.81 pounds, $102; 9. Joey Reggio, Kyle Greenlaw, San Luis Obispo, 7.81 pounds; 10. Todd Reccord, Paso Robles, Mike Maddux, Arroyo Grande, 7.72 pounds.
First Big Fish, Austin and Dyer, 2.42 pounds, $255; Second Big Fish, Waldrip and Neal, 2.40 pounds, $153; Third Big Fish, Meeks and Zillig, 2.23 pounds, $102.
Eleven-year bass pro from Arroyo Grande, Jared Lintner, cashed a check for the second time in the 2016 Bassmaster Elite series at Alabama's Wheeler Lake.
Jared placed 47th in the 108-angler tourney with three limits weighing 31 pounds, 3 ounces, which paid $10,000.
He has earned 251 points in the Angler of the Year standings to rank 44th.
He will be competing at Toledo Bend in Many, Louisiana, May 12-15. It's the fifth stop on the nine-tournament schedule.
Port San Luis Boatyard
Whopper of the Week honors went to Matt Barkoff with his catch of a 19-pound salmon on May 1.
No boats were launched the first three days of last week due to the windy conditions. Fifty-five boats were launched, 45 of them on Sunday. The catch included 59 lingcod and 21 salmon.
The weather looks good for this weekend's fish-off for the 36 qualifiers in the 2015 Lingcod Tournament. John Rowley will pilot the Princess to waters off the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. The forecast is for 5- to 10-knot wind, 4- to 6-foot swells at 10-second intervals.
The event was originally scheduled for last December but wintry weather prompted the postponement.
Seven trips with 106 passengers were offered last week. A lingcod count of 180 swelled the landing's 2016 total to 1,126.
The trio of jackpot winners all had lingcod. Winners and weights were: Anthony Williams, Bellflower, 16.5 pounds; Jason Anderson, Cambria, 14.5 pounds; and Margarita Salazar, Guadalupe, 13.5 pounds.
Beginning this Saturday, Patriot will have three boats operating out of its Avila landing. Wayne Blicka, a relief skipper out of the landing for many years, has his own boat now. It passed Coast Guard inspection last week.
He will begin service piloting his vessel, “Flying Fish,” on Saturday. His first outing will be an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., three-quarter day trip.
Jackpot winners last week included Dave Flores, Bakersfield, 15.0 ling; David Burteck, Grover Beach, Dante Borradori, Bakersfield, Grant Waltz, Grover Beach, and David Pimentel, Arroyo Grande, all 10.0 lings; and Jerry Depew, Lompoc, 9.0 ling.
Morro Bay Landing
On four trips last week, 111 passengers caught 139 lingcod. Winning jackpots were: Richard McConaghay, San Luis Obispo, 24.0 ling; Ron Godfrey, Atascadero, 14.0 ling; Ron Keck, Cambria, 13.0 ling; and Steve Ormande, Tulare, 8.0 ling.
The season opened last weekend with the same results that discouraged anglers a year ago: no fish. The turnout was a mere 16 anglers. The facility is open for fishing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Tri Valley Bass Tournament
No report was filed on last Saturday's competition at Lopez Lake.
Santa Margarita Lake
Marina Manager Ken Hemer reports, “The bass bite is still going strong. Most fish are in the 2- to 4-pound range with occasional 5- and 7-pound largemouths. Best baits are: small swimbaits, jigs, Texas rigs and drop shotting. Trolling small minnow imitations also is productive. Once schools are located add some nibbles. Redear are showing up around marina docks where red worms and mealworms account for most of the action. Anglers targeting catfish are doing well in shallow coves offering cut mackerel.”