I am sorry some of you are upset... However, I never once "started a rumor" to help participation. Had I done that maybe the so cal lakes would be a little more full. When people asked - I mentioned 4 lakes Isabella, Lopez, Piru and Santa Margarita - and always said.... we HAVE NOT decided yet.
Bakersfield to Arroyo Grande (2 Hours 31 minutes)
No offense to many of the anglers - but, Isabella would be owned by the at least 7 guys from Bakersfield making it a great choice for them - but, not a "neutral" choice. Lopez on the other hand has no group of favorites by any means. Isabella can be a very dangerous lake - and yes there are donkeys in that lake but, no matter how you slice it that lake is owned by a select few. It would be a great place for HBC 7!!! So with "neutrality and safety our #1 and #1A concerns Isabella didn't make as much sense as Lopez - sorry.
Tell me who the favorites are at Lopez? In my best guestimate it would be Lintner (not qualified yet) and McAbee and guess what - they'd be favorites on any lake we go to. Lopez may not be neutral in location - but, as for the fishing it is as neutral as I could find in the area. I wish the area had a big bear - where nobody fishes - that we could have used for the regional.... I searched and searched and couldn't find anything big enough - good enough fishing with that sort of neutrality.
Lastly - and this was the least important thing for making this choice but, it was a small factor. Our two highest drawing events in the 2 southern regions are Cachuma and Nacimiento - so it appears there are more anglers from that area in our event. I never checked the zip codes to get an accurate count - but, as I mentioned before this was a super small factor in our choice.
Hope to see you all there - the best 10 anglers will move on to the Championship and be guaranteed $1000.
So Anarchy (and yes I know who you are) - there are paybacks. Imagine this - Pay $118 - Get top 10 of 18 at Castaic - then get 10th out of 40 at the regionals and you get $1000 (that is 8+ times your entry for getting 10th twice in small fields! Plus you have a shot at over $20,000 more in payback again with only 40 anglers - show me those odds anywhere!!