Sharpe & Rose Top Confused Lake Cachuma Field

SANTA YNEZ – Anyone who has been bass fishing in Southern California for any period of time certainly knows that April is usually the best month of year to fish. It is the time of year when our largemouth and smallmouth bass are at the peak of their annual spawning ritual. However, with a seemingly endless series of winter cold fronts passing through the area during the past eight weeks, the “major spawn” (as we call it) has still yet to occur, in spite of water temperatures at or above the 62 degree mark. And while bass tournaments at Santa Barbara’s beautiful Lake Cachuma are usually won with 22 pounds or more during the month of April, WON BASS Southern California Region team tournament anglers found out yet again that Mother Nature still holds all of the cards when it comes to our beloved sport.

Regardless of how tough fishing is on any given day, somebody always finds them, and on Saturday, April 16th at the WON BASS Southern California Region Lake Cachuma team tournament, that somebody was the team of Tim Sharpe and Jeff Rose of Arroyo Grande, whose five fish limit tipped the scales at 16.40 pounds. “I was able to pre-fish (on Friday) and located several bed fish, but we got a late draw and there were boats already on these fish when we got there,” said Sharpe to the awards ceremony audience. I had a 3 1/2 pounder located on a bed which we were able to catch first thing in the morning and we caught three quick dropshot fish. We spent the rest of the day flipping and ended up catching ten total fish all day. It was a great day of fishing for us,” he added. Great indeed, as the pair earned a very impressive $4,625 in winnings, including $1,000 for the Anglers Marine “Winner’s Circle” contingency award for winning the tournament while fishing out of a Ranger Boat equipped with a Mercury outboard purchased from Anglers Marine.

Runners-up at the April 16th Lake Cachuma contest was the father/son team of Larry and Eric Elshere of Ojai with a limit weighing 15.45 pounds. Included in their limit was a healthy 6.09 pounder, the largest bass of the contest. “We haven’t been up here for a while, so we came into this tournament with no plans,” Larry told listeners. “We caught three fish on spinnerbaits, one on a crankbait, and one fish flipping,” the elder Elshere added. “With about twenty minutes to go, I spotted the big fish on a bed,” said the younger Elshere. “I got her to eat a dropshot and it was our biggest fish. My Dad was really nervous because I was using 5-pound (Maxima) line”, added Eric jokingly. For their efforts, the Elsheres won a total of $1,835. Eric also received a brand new Phenix fishing rod for catching the biggest bass of the tournament.

Third place at Lake Cachuma went to the husband/wife team of Rich and Julie Smith of Santa Clarita with a limit weighing 14.39 pounds. “This is our first Top-3 finish in WON BASS,” said an excited Julie Smith to the audience. “When you consider how good the competition is in this region, we are honored to do this well,” she added. “Because of my busy pro tournament schedule, I didn’t get to spend any time pre-fishing for this tournament,” Rich told the crowd. “Fortunately my friends Jim Tatum and Doug Eklund gave me a few ideas and we ended up catching one fish on a spinnerbait and the rest of them flipping in the heavy brush. The key for us was to target dead wood and to use a heavy sinker. We couldn’t get bit in the green stuff and they wouldn’t bite when we used a 1/4 or a 1/2 ounce sinker. We started using a 3/4 ounce sinker, which caused the bait to fall fast and created a reaction bite,” he added. The couple walked away with $1,410 in winnings for their third place finish. Rich also won an additional $100 from Save Phace for being the highest placing angler owning a Fish Hedz protective face mask as part of their “Cash Hedz” contingency award program, exclusive to the WON BASS Southern California Region.

Finishing in fourth place at Lake Cachuma were Shaun Bailey and Doug Riha of Thousand Oaks with a limit weighing 14.28 pounds earning them $530, and fifth place went to brothers Stan and Ken Vanderburg of Simi Valley and Chatsworth respectively with a limit weighing 13.43 pounds, good for $390.

Of the 49 teams entered in the April 16th WON BASS Southern California Region Lake Cachuma team tournament, 44 teams brought fish to the scales. There were 152 fish weighed in for a total weight of 309.65 pounds. This represents a per fish average weight of 2.04 pounds. Of the 152 fish, 46 were smallmouth bass, or 30.26% of the total catch. There were fourteen 5-fish limits posted in the contest and all but one of the 152 fish weighed in were released alive; a 99.34% survival rate.

Maintaining their lead in the 2004-2005 WON BASS Southern California Region Anglers of the Year points race are Matt Newman of Agoura Hills and Brett Davies of Bakersfield with 464 points. Making a huge jump from sixth place into second place are Jim Olivarez of Anaheim Hills and Frank King of La Habra with 457 points, and making an equally huge jump from eighth place into third place are Shaun Bailey and Doug Riha with 454 points. With only two events remaining, there are eight teams within 25 points of the leaders.

The WON BASS Southern California Region staff again extends a big thank you to its great regional supporters for donating their fine products and services to our anglers. They are: Phenix Rods, Roboworm, Bill’s Custom Lures, Hart Lures, Bonzai Lures, Osprey Lures, Taylor Tackle, CAST Wireless Lanyards, Fish Hedz, and Extreme Shine-All. Thanks also to Senior Ranger Brian Billings and the rest of the great staff at Lake Cachuma for their assistance with our event.

The next WON BASS Southern California Region team tournament will be at Castaic Lake on Sunday, May 22, 2005. On-site registration will begin at the West Ramp on Saturday evening, May 21st from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will continue on Sunday morning from 3:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. Anglers are reminded that they must check in prior to the 5 a.m. deadline or they will go out last and be due in with the first flight. For more information, check out the WON BASS website at