Fishing Report:

Spotted Bay Bass From Land In South San Diego Bay

Author: Colby Uva

Night Fishing For Spotties From Land In San Diego

Spotted Bay Bass From Land
Thrilled with my second legal spotty.

This past week I have met Dave Chavez, CCA California SD chapter president for south San Diego spotty session twice. Dave is an avid spottie fisherman who fishes at least a few times a week for spotties after work. He always has at least a few rods in his car and a plano box full of Hookup baits.  He has taught me a thing or two about how to work hookup baits for the best success rate with spotted bay bass. 

Legal Spotted Bass
This spotted bay bass just hit the legal limit of 14 inches but we let it go.

Dave and I spent about 4 hours fishing one of his spotted bay bass spots in two trips to  one of his landbased spots. Between the two of us we have landed close to 40 spotties. It's been a lot of fun and almost nonstop action. Even if it is a "DINK" or a small spottie, its a blast on light tackle. 

Spotted bay bass from land
This Dink was not intimidated by the hookup baits size.

Hookup Baits Are Expensive But They Work!

Dave taught me to work the hookup bait slow and along the bottom. As a younger fishermen I always worked my baits super fast for a reaction strike, but Dave has taught me how to slow the bait down and finesse a bite.  It works!

After meeting fishing with the founder Chad offshore at the first annual Hookup Bait tournament which we sponsored and Dave inshore I have to say I am sold on these baits. That being said I am  I am relieved that they have the replacement bodies out. Because watching that soft plastic tear on a bad cast is heart wrenching otherwise.

Spotted bay bass from land
Somewhere between a dink and a fatty

What Other Fish Can You Catch While Fishing For Spotties?

I'm originally from Florida so I am used to catching a bunch of different species.  I started asking Dave what other type of fish swam by this area.  He let me know that he has seen Corvina, barracuda, and the occasional bonita its way through.  We did see a number of anchovies working through the area one of the nights. Also Dave caught this croaker in between spotty bites. 

I've also caught Halibut while fishing for spotted bay bass, but Dave says he doesn't see too many in this area. Can't say the exact spot as it's not mine to tell.

San Diego Bay Croaker
Dave's croaker. We were amazed it was able to get hooked on the hookup bait because its mouth was so small.

What Tackle Were We Using?

We have been fishing spinning tackle, Dave has a light spinning reel with I think 10Lb braid (we don't go that light) on a light carrot stick rod. I brought a spinner that had 30Lb braid on it I use back home for snook. Next time I think I'll be scaling down to 20Lb braid for better casting distance.

We both used  20Lb fluorocarbon leaders.  I went with a 3 foot leader, Dave went a bit longer with a 5 foot leader section. Personally I like it shorter so that the leader is always outside of the guides when you cast. To me no matter how smooth your knot is, no knot is the best knot to go through your guides.

Looking forward to our next spotted bay bass slay session. Because it is just the way I am, I kind of want to have a shark rod out while we play with the spotties next time. I've been here two years now but I've been so busy moving the company from Miami that I haven't had as much time fishing as I would have liked. Believe me it has hurt on a deep level, and I am extremely excited to be getting out on the water again more often.

Once again thank you Dave Chavez for getting me out fishing. 

Little More Background On Spotted Bay Bass

Coming from Florida I have pretty much started out from scratch out here. So all the random facts I had memorized about all the fish in Florida almost like they had absorbed into my subconscious over the years don't exist here. So below is a bit more research I did on the spotted bay bass.

How Old Is A Legal Spotted Bay Bass?

I did some further research on spotted bay bass and it seems like these suckers get pretty old. That 14 inch spotty was from earlier in the article was close to ten years old. Pretty wild. These are a slow growing fish, so they make sense to be part of a mostly catch and release fishery.

*According to as of Feb 2020 the legal limit on Spotted Bass is 14 inches total length and 10 inches "alternate length".

Below Are A Few More Of My Trips And Experiences That Have Introduced Me To Southern California Fishing

My First Impression Of SOCAL Fishing In January - When I first got to Southern California I really didn't know what to expect. My mobility was limited without a car, so I joined fishing clubs and got tips from local anglers and friends that had fished in San Diego. I spent the first few months Airbnbing and that allowed me to be near the action to see what was going on without having to p as a fortune for ubers. (Also see ubering as a fishermen).

Learning About All The Long Range Boats -

Coming from Florida I had always seen pictures of Cow Tuna lining the rails of big long range boats. It seemed so far, and so expensive for a young fisherman, actually out of reach. Before coming over here I did all of my research to learn about all the boats. It still astounds me the scale of the operation at H&M Landing & Fisherman's Landing. It's the most impressive fishing fleet I've ever seen.

Each boat is there own full on hospitallity business. They are basically floating hotels who compete on amenities,  "restaurants" as most have their own chefs and of course the most important "fish counts" which are regularly updated on the landings websites.

Fishing From A Center Console In San Diego

When I first came to San Diego I fell in the love with the marlin club building. It was fricking awesome. There is nothing like it that I ca  think of in Miami. It's a piece of history. Fishing history that is actually preserved, and that's something to speak of especially in 2020.

Anyways I went down there so often that eventually the weighmaster Roger asked me if I wanted to come speak at the club. So I did I gave a speech about the concept of Spend More Time Fishing which after much research I have found is responsible for most of the major innovations of the world from the conquest of much of The Roman Empire to the fricking lightbulb. As a matter of fact I found this out later but one of Andrew Carnegie's biggest scandals was when a fishing club that he was a member of "didn't keep up with" a damn they had bought and it killed thousands of people.

Oh back to fishing on a center console in San Diego. Yea I met Will at the club and he invited me to go fishing on his 18 foot Boston whaler out to the canyons for tuna and that was my first offshore experience in a private boat. Click the link up top to see that report.

First Mexican Rockfish Trip -

Every year from January to February rockfish season in US waters closes for them suckers to spawn. You can still target them, but you will need to head south down into Mexican waters. By getting on a 3/4 day trip out of San Diego you should have plenty of time to get down there. What is nice about the trip is since it's a little specific, most people on the trip are decent fishermen and so you will have a pretty good crew to fish with. My first trip for Mexican rockfish was with JD on the Fisherman III , check it out at the link above.

First Full Day Trip Out Of San Diego

My first full day trip I actually drove down. From Dana Point with my fiance Fiona to fish on the Liberty. We saw a ton of tuna but only one was caught, lucky for Fiona the crew hooked it and handed it to her because she was the only girl on the boat. While it was tough for me to watch her catch a bluefin before me after I cleaned the 40Lber at the house we had Sashimi for us and a ton of family members who visited. I hooked one on and iron on the surface but he pulled the hook.

First Overnight Trip In Southern California

After months of moving , tradeshows, setting up a new warehouse etc, I finally made it out on my first over night trip in Southern California aboard the Fury (I highly recommend this boat and Cpt. Marcus it's new owner). It was some of the most insane fishing I have ever experienced. While I had hoped for bluefin the quantity of yellowfin we caught more than made up for it. It was so wild in fact that at one point I switched to a 12Lb set up just to have fun with the yellowfin. We ended up leaving them biting because our boat full of 30 people had limited out. Take a look at the link above to read about that trip.

Join A Fishing Club In San Diego

Fishing clubs are probably one of the best inventions in the fishing world. Fishing clubs are a great way to warn about a local fishery and its ins and outs. By joining a fishing club, not only will you learn more about that type of fishing, but you also meet new fishing buddies to go fish with, and learn of exclusive deals on tackle, trips and more. The link above is list of all of the fishing clubs in Southern California. If you want to fish out here. Join these clubs and get involved.

Drive South From San Diego To Fish  In Ensenada

In March to take a break from moving Fiona from DC and busting our asses in the warehouse we took a trip down to Ensenada to fish and relax. Click the link above to learn more about that trip.

My article is mostly about the fishing aspect but the goal of Bullbuster is to help you spend more time fishing. If you have a family a lot of time that means getting them involved. Fiona wrote a great article covering this perspective with a Things To Do In Ensenada Mexico article.

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