Adios San Diego Lakes - After 53 years

Discussion in 'Freshwater' started by jrkbait, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. jrkbait

    jrkbait Well-Known Member

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    Time to say goodbye to San Diego and the lakes that I loved my entire life. I have now moved and retired to Flamingo Costa Rica, where I am writing this post from.....more on that later.


    I grew up a short bike ride from Lake Murray and started fishing when I was 9. Those were the days when the San Diego city lakes stocked trout, 5000 lbs for the opener in November and 1000 pounds each week. Padre bay was lined with kids elbow to elbow…..and of course there was the kids pond reserved for anyone under 16. The fishing was great. Same for Miramar, San Vicente and Jennings - all heavily stocked. It was a great place to learn. Boats back then were limited to motors of 10hp or less so most of us rented a boat, dropped a few lawn chairs that straddled the bench seat, clamped on the Lowrance flasher and my Sears 7.5hp Gamefisher air cooled motor and boom, bass boat. Large bass boats and motors were not allowed, and compared to today, waters were calm and quiet. Some people modified the water intake port plate of their 20hp Mercury engines to look just like the 10hp version, otherwise the motors were identical...those were the days.

    Then I got into bass fishing starting at Lake Murray. I remember fishing alongside Dennis Kolender when he was really little......he was an awesome bass fisherman even at age 8. His dad, ex San Diego police chief, Bill would drop and pick him up near the concession start and he would often though large plastic worms larger than him from Alvarado point.

    My first large bass was 6 lbs 9 oz from Murray's Cowles Cove. That fish started the bass fever

    In 1982, after Morena went to full capacity, it turned into the premier So Cal bass lake. 100 bass days were common and in late May 1982, I nailed a 12 lb 6 oz bass from shore.

    Jim Brown managed the city lakes and Larry Bottroff and Mike Lembeck looked after the fishery to make sure all was well. Big bass legend Bill Murphy would frequent the lakes, usually on weekdays, and I had the pleasure of speaking with him several times. Bill would set up a structure and not move for the entire day. He waited for the fish to come to him. The guy was amazing.

    The good days are gone, and despite bass fishing still be very good at times, I have become disenchanted with the lack of sportsmanship, courtesy and several really bad encounters that I have experienced with the wake boarding crowd. Combine this with what is happening to California, taxes, housing cost and packed freeways led my wife and I to explore areas outside the US that are uncrowded and affordable.

    After several trips to Costa Rica, In December of 2017, we found it…Playa Flamingo Costa Rica. Average high is 91 and average low is 71 with 65 inches of rain a year that happens between May and October while the other six months are very dry. Yes, water is not an issue here. There is no May gray nor June gloom :)

    We sold our Rancho San Diego house, the Ranger bass boat, three cars and all of our furniture. It took a full 18 months to pull this off. The only things that we took was our home electronics and my Hobie PA12 on a converted jet ski trailer that are currently on their way via ship from Long Beach. Fishing in this part of Costa Rica is phenomenal both from the shore, 10 to 30 miles offshore and also inshore and easily accessible by Kayak. Dorado, Roosterfish, Red Snapper and several large fish in the Jack family along with snook are plentiful with the best fishing being between May and October during the rainy or "green" season.

    I started documenting my move at https://www.goingpuravida.com

    This website in just evolving and will grow over time as I document my adventures and what I learn…and yes, there will be a fishing section.

    San Diego was a good gig while it lasted, and as a San Diego native, it was tough to leave. To be adventurous, you need to do something out of your comfort zone and this was it. Everyday that goes by reassures us that we did the right thing.

    I enjoyed my time and conversation with Vinnybass and Linebig as these guys are the real deal and will give you honest info.

    Pics of some of my nice bass over the years are attached although there was a bunch that I didn't get pics of. My last SD fish was a nice 6 pounder about a month ago from Murray...so fitting that I would end how I started.

    Pura Vida

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    7lb drop shot 2.JPG
     
  2. Capt Ray

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    Pura Vida.
     
  3. fisheromen

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    I fished off the kid's pond dock as a youngster! Sorry I never met you! Looking forward to future reports!
     
  4. 5-20

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    Cool write up. Wishing you the best with the move!

    Costa Rica has giant roosters in the surf. That should be amazing!!!
     
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  5. Kahuna bass

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    Thanks JRKBait! Great bit of history!! Enjoy your new life and journey in Costa Rica, sounds the like the fishing is going to be awesome.

    Mel - Kahuna bass
     
  6. ColdEye

    ColdEye Well-Known Member

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    Good luck on your new adventures.
     
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  7. salt water guy

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    I remember reading in Nat'l Geographic awhile back about so-called "happiest countries" on earth. Costa Rica was one of 'em. (Not even a honorable mention for the U.S.!) Love to visit some day. Couldn't agree more with your observation about lack of sportsmanship, courtesy, etc. A few weeks ago I was in La Paz and struck up a conversation with an ex-pat from the Midwest somewhere. He and his wife had moved to Loreto over a year ago -- and are loving it. Shared sentiments very similar to yours. Good luck to the two of you and thanks for sharing.
     
  8. mcfish

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    Sad to lose another Murray guy from the old days...but you might be the smart one out of all of us! Mr. Vinnybass and I will try to hold down the fort! Happy fishing in paradise!
     
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  9. jrkbait

    jrkbait Well-Known Member

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    We may have fished next to each other and never knew it....
     
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  10. Craig T

    Craig T Member

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    jrkbait, Great write up. Brings back many great memories of growing up and being a San Diego native. Mid 60's getting dropped off at Miramar (sunrise to sunset) for trout fishing. No tules yet, you could still walk the bank or fish off the old wooden docks. We used to lay on the docks and look under them with amazement at all the 5 and 6lb bass stacked up in the shade. I'm sure these were part of the original Florida plant from Otay. Bitten by the bass bug there was no looking back. Many nights spent in line waiting for the gates to open at Otay, San V and others. All the great mom and pop tackle stores. The lakes program was one of the finest in the country. Good luck to you and your wife and thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories. Craig
     
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  11. Bigshooter51

    Bigshooter51 Well-Known Member

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    Great story and write up good job . Enjoy your new adventures I don't blame you for leaving this pop stand one bit . By the way are you Chuck that used to fish with Southland Bass Club with the Jerkbait License plates on your vehicle buddy

    Floyd Jones
     
  12. mcfish

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    I mid-sixties were special on S.D. lakes! I grew up a mile from Murray, so after school we would hike over there and fish til dark. All my buddies would trout fish while I was bass fishing...back then I felt like a second class citizen for chasing the green fish! I ran into very few people back then that even knew there were bass in Murray! I also waited in the long lines with my boat at San V and Otay as soon as I got my license! I think city lake permits back then were $1.75...bummed when it went to $2.00. I used to buy $3.00 worth of gas each week..that was plenty! I'm thinking times have changed! I'm sure we all talked to each other back then..we just didn't know we would be on the same website 50 years later!
     
  13. jrkbait

    jrkbait Well-Known Member

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    That’s me buddy....great to hear from you.
     
  14. Bigshooter51

    Bigshooter51 Well-Known Member

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    Well I'm still fishing the club along with Bill Gurner and Chris Patek same old thing Chuck call me 619-971-2982
     
  15. Bobber

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    Great read. There are so many of us that grew up here - paradise. Although I didn't fish I spent nearly everyday growing up in the beaches and bay in Pacific Beach. Time rolls on. And this isn't the little big town we grew up in. It bears little resemblance. So leaving, while difficult, makes sense. We have our priceless memories of a privileged childhood.

    Wishing you all the happiness!
     
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  16. Slater

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    thanks for sharing your next chapter in the book of your life, always intrigued about people plans to make life during retirement easier & more enjoyable.....
     
  17. Bigshooter51

    Bigshooter51 Well-Known Member

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  18. flyfishinsteve64

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    Good luck to you Sir and enjoy. Costa Rica is a neat place. I think you saw the best of San Diego. It really was a great place to grow up. I and many others to follow you out of this crazy state. Now go catch some exotic's.
     
  19. jrkbait

    jrkbait Well-Known Member

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    Hey Floyd....sent you email.
     
  20. jrkbait

    jrkbait Well-Known Member

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    crazy huh....I remember the $1.75 permit, and once I turned 16, the state license that was in the $10-15 range. There was no such thing as a saltwater, trout, colorado river or second rod stamp....one did it all.
     
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