The Fish Sniffer - Jerry Barksdale Wins First Place In San Pablo Trout Anglers Challenge
Jerry Barksdale Wins First Place In San Pablo Trout Anglers Challenge

Written By: Dan Bacher, March 3, 2014
Species: Trout
Location: San Pablo Reservoir,

Jerry Barksdale Wins First Place In San Pablo Trout Anglers Challenge
Jerry Barksdale Wins First Place In San Pablo Trout Anglers Challenge Jerry Barksdale Wins First Place In San Pablo Trout Anglers Challenge
Jerry Barksdale Wins First Place In San Pablo Trout Anglers Challenge

A total of 266 anglers participated in the second Northern California Trout Anglers Challenge at San Pablo Reservoir on February 15, hosted by the Fish Sniffer and brought to you by Anglers Press. They weighed in over 100 rainbow trout.

While the water was a little murky from recent storms, anglers both bait fishing and trolling landed some big fish.

Jerry Barksdale of Hercules won first place in the event by landing a rainbow weighing 6.67 pounds, taking home $500 and a beautiful trophy.

He was fishing chartreuse PowerBait with Captain Chris Velasco, Sara Miller, Sara Miller and Melissa Valencia from shore when he hooked into the big fish.

“We fished in the boat all morning, but we only caught one small trout, so we decided to try off the shore,” said Barksdale. “I was fishing for 10 minutes when I hooked the trout on 10 lb. test line.. It took 10 minutes to get the trout in.”

“It was the only fish I caught, but it was the one that won the derby,” he added.

Ron Burrow of El Sobrante placed second with a 6.17 lb. rainbow, winning $400. “I hooked the fish while trolling a Yo-Zuri lure about halfway down the lake,” said Burrow.

Matt Schmidt captured third place by catching a 4.98 lb. rainbow, winning $300, while Nikki Folan took fourth place by nailing a 4.9 lb. trout, winning $200. Finally, George Duchemin finished fifth by bagging a 4.8 lb. rainbow, taking home $150.

Lazarus Mancheno took first place in the kids division with a 6.05 lb. rainbow, one of two fish he caught on PowerBait at Scow Canyon. He went home with a first place ribbon.

Breanna Clements weighed in her 3.55 lb. rainbow with just seconds to spare before the scale closed, winning second place in the kids division and taking home a second place ribbon.

The third through fifth place kids division winners were (3) Ty Shikasho, 3.08 pounds, with a third place ribbon; (4) Kyle Zalinski 1.62 pounds; and (5) Peter Ruppert, 1.35 pounds.

The top 50 adult finishers in each tournament are eligible for a chance to win the Grand Raffle Prize, a Klamath boat, trailer and Evinrude outboard motor package.

The top 25 youth finishers in each tournament are eligible for a chance to win the Grand Raffle Prize, a Fishermans’ Dream kayak rig.

The complete results are available at

“We were very pleased, but not surprised that this first event in the series went so well,” said Vince Harris, owner of Anglers Press. “That’s because we have received an overwhelming response to a tournament series of this kind from anglers all over northern California. The next event and subsequent events will be even bigger and more exciting.”

He noted that several of the qualifiers caught their fish on River2Sea trout spoons.

Sheldon Bright of the Fish Sniffer, who organized the event with Harris, commented, “I almost got tears in my eyes about the overwhelming response to the tournament. We had a very diverse crowd of people ranging from small children to senior citizens and including many different ethnic groups."

“The fishing was great during the derby,” said Marci Shoemaker of the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. "We just put in 3,000 pounds of trout the day before and people caught a lot of fish. To date, we’ve planted 11,250 pounds of trout between Mount Lassen and Calaveras. The CDFW has also planted another 10,000 pounds of trout.”

Last year, the lake management and CDFW combined to stock over 71,000 pounds of fish, including both trout and catfish. “If everything goes well, we plan on planting trout all season,” she noted.

San Pablo Reservoir, the first stop in the trout tournament series this year, is known for the trophy trout it has produced over the years. Stephen D. caught the lake record rainbow trout of 22 pounds, 12.8 ounces on April 18, 2001 while soaking chartreuse Power Bait off Oak Point.

While trout are the most popular species at San Pablo Reservoir, the lake also has good populations of spotted bass, largemouth bass and sunfish. In the past five years, the hard-fighting spotted bass has become more common in the catches at San Pablo, making the reservoir the only one in the Bay Area with a population of “spots.”

The reservoir’s big Florida-strain largemouths also make it popular target of a hard-core group of big bass devotees. Anglers fish an array of methods, such as tossing spinnerbaits, split shotting with plastic worms, drop shotting with plastics and tossing out rainbow trout pattern swimbaits.

Ironically, it was a trout angler, Victor Barfield, not a bass fisherman, who caught the lake record 18 lb. 11.2 oz., largemouth on March 22, 2001 while fishing a nightcrawler and Power Bait in Scow Canyon when he hooked the monster bass.

Most of the cats taken at San Pablo are in the 1-1/2 to 5 pound range, but monster cats roam the waters of the reservoir. Dave Edwards of Vallejo set the lake catfish record when he nailed a 31 lb. 4.8 oz. channel catfish while using an anchovy off Oak Point on March 23, 1995.

Crappie, redear sunfish, and bluegill offer good fishing in the spring and summer for anglers using an array of small baits and lures. The redear sunfish record is 3 pounds, 6.4 ounces, while the lake crappie record stands at 3 pounds, 3.2 ounces.

The lake also hosts a sleeper population of white sturgeon that are occasionally caught by anglers bait fishing for trout and catfish. Nai Saephan of San Pablo caught the lake record diamondback of 105 pounds on frozen shrimp on June 13, 2003.

San Pablo has 866 surface acres and 14 miles of shoreline that offers anglers their choice of fishing from boats, both private or rentals, or from shore. Since San Pablo is a drinking water reservoir, swimming, wading, and other body-contact activities are prohibited.

The lake is 293 feet above sea level, 26feet from maximum pool. Boat launching facilities are in full operation.

Sponsors of the challenge, besides the Fish Sniffer Magazine, Klamath Boats, and Anglers Press, include Rocky Mountain Recreation Company, Pautzke, Outdoor Pro Shop, Pure Fishing, Walton's Pond, River2Sea, Discount Mart's Bay Tackle, Salinas Valley Marine, Precision Marine, Lip Ripperz Hatchery Dust, Humminbird, Ruckmarine, Torqeedo Electric Outboard Engines, Navionics, Trigger Happy Comfort Grips, Out Of Bounds Speed & Marine, P-Line, C4 Custom Rods, Dick Nite Spoons, Evinrude, Coors Light, Pro Cure, and Uncle Larry's Lures.

For more information about San Pablo, contact: San Pablo Reservoir, 7301 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante, Ca. 94803, (510)-223-1661. For more information on the Bay Area Trout Anglers Challenge, contact: or call 916-768-0938.




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