Central CA Freshwater

Central Coast Roundup: San Antonio fishing decently enough

Lake Nacimiento is a zoo with boat traffic

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 17, 2019

Lopez, Santa Margarita giving up some nice bags, big bass

BRADLEY — Summer has settled upon the Central Coast in earnest, with triple-digit daytime temperatures and lots of boats hitting the water in attempts to beat the heat. Of the two sister lakes San Antonio and Nacimiento, San Antone is by far the path of least resistance for area anglers, with recreational boaters galore churning up Naci’s waters on a regular basis, especially so on the weekends.

BIG FISH AT this past Saturday's BBT tournament at Santa Margarita was a long, spawned-out female weighing 6.47 pounds with a second-best largemouth going 5.89 to help Garrett Manion and father-in-law Travis Woolf to a total weight of 17.89 pounds. “We caught mostly 1 and 2 pounders, and then the two bigger fish as the bite was a little tougher than usual. Frogs, cranks and jigs were getting most of the bites for us, but we didn't hook many of the frog fish,” Garrett said.

The bass bite is just fair at San Antonio but there are more biters being found now than there were a couple months back for the most part. Most of them, however, are running on the smaller side and mostly averaging 10- to 15-inch largemouth. “There are massive shad schools and bluegill everywhere right now,” said area WON source Rich Lingor, who fished the lake on Saturday. “I caught about a dozen on cranks, spinnerbaits and the drop-shot, but you’re also out there competing with all that live bait.” Lingor also said that there are carp “everywhere” in the shallows right now, and that catfish guys are doing pretty well with mackerel dipped in Bite-On scent and shrimp. In fact, he also said that he hooked a 7.5-pound blue catfish while working a crappie jig on 4-pound test this past weekend.

It’s hot at Nacimiento too, with water temps peaking as high as 84 degrees and tons of boats out. “It’s a washing machine on the weekends,” Lingor said of Naci. “Best bet is slipping into the coves with 5mph zones to get away from the chaos and catch a few fish, or better yet, just fishing on weekdays. Right now it’s been a little topwater, some on cranks and a few chatterbait fish. Drop-shotted and shaky head worms in green colors and pumpkin pepper have been good and tubes are also working.” Area guide Darren Graham of Atomic Custom Baits & Guide Services hit Naci on Saturday and said he and his client fought through the heat and the traffic to catch solid numbers of spotted bass in the river and off bluff walls in 25 to 40 feet of water on 4-inch Electric Shad hand-pour worms that he makes. White bass have been sporadic and just showing here and there in isolated boils around the lake.

lakelopezLOPEZ LAKE HAS been giving up some nice quality bass as of late, as shown here with a couple of dandies for Andy White. “Twenty-five fish, 10 over 3 pounds and no rats,” White said of an outing last week.

It’s a bit of a different story down the road at the more coastal, cooler lakes Lopez and Santa Margarita, where quality has been the name of the game in recent days. Neither watershed is giving up any sort of big numbers, but big bass? Well, that’s another story.

“They’re whacking some nice largemouth at Lopez,” Lingor said. “It’s a grind but guys are putting together some big bags, 20- to 25-pound limits. A variety of reaction baits are working well and it’s sort of an ‘anything you want to throw’ situation right now.” Angler Andy White hit Lopez late last week and despite some serious wind, he reported “25 fish with 10 going over 3 pounds, and no rats.”

At Santa Margarita it’s a similar deal in terms of quality over quantity. Garrett Manion fished a BBT tournament on Saturday at the lake with father-in-law Travis Wooff and got into some good ones, capped by a 24-inch post-spawn female going 6.47 pounds and second-best bass going 5.89 for an 18-pound total limit. “We caught mostly 1 and 2 pounders, then the two bigger fish,” Manion said. “The bite was a little tougher than usual. Frogs, cranks and jigs were getting most of the bites for us, but we didn’t hook a lot of the frog fish.”

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