Bucky Poncia wins Al’s Ark Striper Derby
ROBIN FERNANDEZ with one of several German brown trout she caught that exceed 20 inches in length.
Bill Fernandez/Special to the Index-Tribune
Rich Garcia and Bucky Poncia were the top winners in last weekend’s 28th annual Al's Ark Striper Derby. Rich weighed in a 21.5-pound striped bass to take home the $650 first price purse. Bucky's 51-inch sturgeon was the closest to the 55-inch “target size,” which earned him the $500 cash prize for the biggest sturgeon. A total of $4,550 in prize money was awarded to top-finishing participants who weighed-in fish.
Juliet Steiner won the women's prize with a 6.75-pound striper, and Kyle Davis earned the kid's prize with a 13.75-pound striper.
Others who placed and earned prize money in the derby include: STRIPED BASS – Dallas Barrett, 18.5 lbs.; Bill Gonzales, 17 lbs.; Bill Wilcoxson, 17 lbs.; Richard White, 16.75 lbs.; Gary Moore, 16.75 lbs.; John Hayes, 15.5 lbs.; Dan Giovannoni, 14.5 lbs.; Saretha Hayes, 13.25 lbs.; Jason Chapdelian, 11.25 lbs.; and Jason Madelain, 8 lbs. STURGEON – Mark Marden, 50.75 inches, and Richard White, 48 inches.
Striped bass fishing has really picked up this week in the Bay and in local waterways, including Sonoma Creek, Napa River and Petaluma River. Bob Molinari, at Leonard's Bait Shop at Port Sonoma, caught two nice stripers right from the shop's dock this week, and he has seen lots of keeper stripers caught off the bank from the Petaluma River this week. He got a report of a 36-pound striper caught near the mouth of Sonoma Creek and there are lots of striped bass being caught up and down the Napa River. Over at China Camp near Rat Rock, anglers are using pile worms with good results.
Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael, also reports excellent striped bass bites all over the Bay, including trolling at the top of the tide along the shoreline. He is also seeing a few sturgeon and some halibut being caught.
Bill Fernandez and his wife, Robin, had a great weekend's worth of trout fishing on the East Walker River near Bridgeport last week. Between the two of them, they caught and released lots of big German brown trout from 14-to-26 inches.
Fishing in the stretch that starts just below the Bridgeport Reservoir outflow, they used flies and Rapala CD 9 lures to hook their fish. Bill said the weather during the day was comfortable, although nighttime temps dropped into the 20s. He really likes that river and the reservoir itself (during the season), and said he can make the drive in about five hours from Sonoma.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council has adopted recommendations that include a sport salmon season that will probably start off the Sonoma Coast on April 2. It isn't finalized yet, but expect an announcement soon.