The San Diego Anglers Club once again put on another great Open Bay Bass Tournament! This tournament is the largest Saltwater Bass tournament on the West coast! So with 150 teams with 2 anglers per team, there were a total of 300 anglers competing in this tournament in San Diego Bay. By far this is the best tournament out there due to so many reasons from free food and beer, to hanging with good friends, to the fun of having a fishing challenge for the day. Overall it was a great day of friends and food. Catching fish is just icing on the cake!
Once again, a year later, the day started at 2am. A shower, some breakfast burritos for the road, a stop at 7-11 for coffee and ice and off to Shelter Island launch ramp. We arrived around 4am and pulled into the normal line of boats that was forming and chatted with some of our friends. Ironically our great friend, sponser and owner of Reebs Lures pulled in right next to us, so the joking around started very early! It made a great start to the day!
In line and waiting for the boat check process to start.
Mike “Reebs” Ryba with his rig.
San Diego Fishing Adventures boat in line next to Reebs Lures.
Around 4:30am they start inspecting boats for “hidden” fish, give you a bag of goodies and let you launch your boat. Once on the water, you are floating in the dark among a growing flotilla of other boats. They try to keep everyone corralled until the shot gun start at “safe light”. We decided to kill the time by “tying” up our boat with Reebs boat so we could float around and continue the joking.
Mike “Reebs” Ryba and his tournament partner Matt Moyer.
Downtown San Diego city lights off in the distance.
The tournament started around 6:20am with the boats blasting off towards there various fishing spots. Terry and I decided to head towards the back of the bay while the other 130 boats headed to the front of the bay. Man, it must have been crowded up that way! Immediately we started to pick away at fish, with the biggest fish of the day being caught by Terry on his first cast of the morning. We boated him and did some high fives and started back up again. After that fish, we were releasing quite a few fish that just weren’t big enough to fill our 5 fish bag. Every once in a while a nice fish was rotated into our live well. What was weird about the bite was that it was completely different than the past few weeks. During our prefishing we were catching all nice Sand Bass right in the 2lb range, with some bigger boys and a few break offs. This time it was lot’s of Spotted Bay Bass mixed in with smaller Sand Bass more so than the 2lb class Sand Bass. I thought for sure we would boat one more real nice Sand Bass to fatten up our bag since we had done it every day prior. But of course, every day is different when your on the water. With a decent looking bag by about 9am we really wanted to try and rotate out a few more fish to help get our weight up even more. It got very challenging as the morning went on to even get fish to the boat. We talked to a few friends who either didn’t have a Sand Bass yet, or only had one or two in there tank. So our thought was that maybe others were having a tough day and we got lucky with the first spot we picked to start at. Even by the end of the day some teams couldn’t even bring in 5 fish to weigh in, or some of their fish were Spotted Bay Bass which tend to run smaller than the Sand Bass. So overall it was a very tough day of fishing despite the beautiful weather.
Luckily we started in a good spot and got into a bite early in the morning, which slowly died as the tide swung out. After weighing the smallest fish (2lbs), and then the biggest fish (3lbs 4oz), we felt pretty good that we got into the top 25 spot to win our money back.
Terry with his nice 3lb+ Sand Bass caught on his first cast using a Reebs Lure coated in Uni-Goop Fish Attractant.
Some decent Sand Bass that once again fell for the Reebs Lure and Uni-Goop combo punch!
Once we got the boat out of the water, put the gear away and had a cold beer to celebrate we headed into the tournament area. The crowd was at it’s usual pace with hundreds of people showing up for the free food, beer, raffle and checking the fish out. And once again we not only got our names on the top 25 board, but again placed in the top 10. Our names on the board!
Terry and I getting our winning check.
As always it was a great fishing tournament that could have never happened with out all of the volunteers that help out and the businesses that sponsor the raffle, food and beer! Every year I am sad to see it end and ready for next years great tournament! We also have to put out a special thanks to UniButter Fish Attractant which always proves to us over and over again that it is a great product that always produces results!! Also a big thanks to Reebs Lures who poured some last minute plastics for us! Another product that produces for us again and again! Reebs Lures that have either Red, Brown or Green in it seems to work the best for us.
Now it is time to focus on Spotted Bay Bass since our next tournament is this Saturday, February 5th with the SWBA circuit starting out in San Diego Bay.
Until my next tournament update, take care and tight lines!
Captain Peter Hamann
San Diego Fishing Guide and Charter Service