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Fishing MB: My perspective

Discussion in 'Bay fishing' started by dj thrillz, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. dj thrillz

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    This will take a while to read....

    In another thread, Kellen asked if anyone was up to the task at making an article about fishing MB. I started replying to it, not once but three different times, and deleted what I typed. I figured answering him on Lawman's(Bill) fish report wasn't the best place to do it, and I'm not into thread jacking. So I started to send Kellen a pm, not once but twice and then deleted what I typed again. I basically started to state why I wouldnt take on the task before I realized I had typed up a couple paragraphs lol. I know I'm weird ehh? So, after erasing my last pm, I decided to just make this post. Not really a "fishing MB" article, but more or less my perspective on things. I say that because my perspective is quite different than most. But I know what I've experienced, and so do those who I've fished with.

    I've pretty much logged just about every outing I have had since 2005, and wish I would have started way sooner when I really got into fishing in the early 90's. I was into pier fishing back in the days because I didnt need a license to fish from the piers I would frequent. I would see people fish from the shore and do pretty good from time to time, I wanted to do it too but didnt want to purchase a license just to do it. Once I started deep sea fishing I purchased the license, and when I wasnt on a boat I was trotting along the shorelines of both bays. For a while I had a friend who had a boat, and was able to fish all over the bays until he got stationed somewhere else. Back to being on foot(2005).

    Once reality kicked in and it became obvious that I wouldnt be on too many boats anylonger, I figured I would try and get better at shore fishing. I used to just go anywhere, anytime, and use any bait. I did my share of internet searching for all the clues to catching fish in our bays, and started collecting info. I watched videos, I joined forums, I asked people their opinions, but the best answers were the ones I found myself.

    The majority of people fishing our waters can't stress enough how you need moving water to find feeding fish. They also stress that fishing the incoming high tides where there is 4'-5' of tidal swing is key to having better success. From the first article I ever read about bay fishing, to even the videos I have watched, those are the two main keys to having successful outings according to the pros. Of course, I planned every outing that I could to fish during these windows.... and I have been successful in achieving the days goal, to catch fish. I have also had my share of skunks during the "proper" fishing times. I will touch more on this in a minute...

    I also learned about something else. The solunar theory. I'm not going to explain the theory, you can google it. After having just as many bad sessions during the "proper" fishing times as I did good ones, I figured I would put this theory to the test. At first I fished during the theory's minor and major periods. I did ok, nothing spectacular. I followed it for a while but then gave up on it once I saw no relation to the theory and fishing our bays.

    When I was no longer able to fish the "proper" tides or during the solunar periods, I was forced to fish when I can. It seemed that for a while the only times I was able to fish were outside all of these windows. Even though I was not confident, it was either fish or dont fish. Being a fisherman, I did the right thing and walked out the door with the attitude of just happy to get out there. To my surprise, I received a decent amount of action during the first few times. It would slack off and then get hot again. This is when I started keeping a log.

    For about a year, most my logging was during the daytime. After meeting who would become my wife, all my fishing was almost entirely at night with her. The action at night was good, much better than the daytime... I couldnt believe it. It got even better when I started using dark baits during night time. I used to walk into Dana Landing to buy more black widow Big Hammers, and was normally called Mr. Black Widow by one of the employees there. They were my go to bait at night back then, still is today.
    The night fishing became a ritual for me and some friends, we'd meet up, and pound some shoreline. I was still fishing during the daytime, but only shorter sessions after work or on weekends. Daytime fishing was always best when I started once it got light out, and would usually die off after 9am. My favorite patterns during that time were spotty special, city shrimp, and brown grunion. When it was slow I would use any pattern, but when it picked up it was usually something with green, brown, or orange in it. I dont remember what year it was, but I remember going to a seminar at the Bahia right before the big bay tournament hosted by the SD Anglers Club and Dennis Burlason, Ed Howerton, and Corey Sanden all took turns on speaking and giving tips on catching more fish. Although they spoke of long lining and using huge baits(which gave me no help as a shore angler), I was really shocked when they mentioned their favorite colors to use. Any ideas? Greens, browns, and oranges. To this day, this has been the only thing I have found in common between me and any reputable anglers at all.

    Here is something I'd like to touch on... The curltail. When I started using 3" AA single tail shrimp plastics during the daytime, I was getting blasted by fish, especially in MB. If I had the money, I would have kept using the curltails over the swimbaits, but AA plastics were so soft that sometimes they would break in half just by casting them, right out of the package. It became expensive always buying plastics. When I started making my own plastics, I tried to get the best of both worlds by trying to create a bait with a swimbait body and a curltail. My partner did one better and cut me a mold with all that plus a ribbed body. Most of you on here know I ran T&C Lures, and several of you were customers. I can honestly say I have had more success with those baits than any other, even the AA's. Lots of you felt the same way. My point, is I believe in the curltail more than the swimbaits. I had much better results in MB with the curltail than swimbaits wether it was night or day, and in SD Bay, Harbor Island and the south bay were the only real consistent areas when I used the curltail, but all areas would nail a swimbait all the time.

    I'm probably boring the hell out of you guys...

    I will just move onto the good stuff now. Due to all the logging, I have preffered areas at certain tides, times of day, and times of year. When I find a window to fish, I look at the tide chart because that determines where my try will more than likely be. In the afternoons its 99% chance it will be somewhere in MB since I pick up my wife down off Friars Rd when she gets off.

    MB:
    First and foremost, if you are used to fishing in SD Bay, and enjoy catching good numbers of smaller fish, then MB is going to give you mixed feelings. I'm throwing this unofficial ratio of 8:1 in favor of SD Bay/MB spotty catching. I think thats a fair ratio. However, on average, the quality of the fish you catch in MB are much better than in SD Bay. MB is way more tough to fish than SD Bay. If you find double digits in MB, you had a stellar session. Sometimes I'm happy with just a handful or even less.
    MB holds more female spotties, SD Bay holds more males. Why? I have no clue. You be the judge, keep track next time and tell me if your findings are consistent with my opinion(or personal fact).
    Want some MB pointers? These pertain mainly to shore fishing... Fish the weedbeds at a 45 degree angle during minus tides and see if you dont start getting rocked. Every year between November and early to mid February the minus tides are around 1pm-4:30pm. From May-August they are really early in the mornings.
    When the tide is over 5' I prefer fishing off the rocks or docks. When its 2'-4' I'll do whatever I'm feeling at the moment, unless I'm on my tube. Then I fish just outside the weedline parallel to the shoreline. A lot depends on the time of year too... So far everything I have mentioned is about fishing for spotties. Certain times of the year I do not target spotties, and new sets of personal facts determine when/where I'll be fishing. I wont touch on that though, most of you who message me are asking for help targeting bass so this is what I'll stick to.
    I'm not going to get specific with good spots to fish either, that's one of the main reasons why I wasnt going to write this. MB is my preference between the two bays. It's not a secret that I like keeping my favorite fishing spots on the hush to the internet world. Not because I think anyone is going to fish out the spotties, but because:
    A. Some of my favorite bass grounds are also my favorite vina grounds(I share very little info about vinas to anyone)
    B. I really like the fact that I can go hit productive spots without anyone else being there. MB is very small, when a spot turns on it usually doesnt go without someone noticing. Some of you may remember back in the late 90's and early 2000's what happened to the spotfin fishing in east MB.... It's dead. Been dead for a while now. When 3 out of 5 of your rods go off at the same time, and then the guy down the sands does too it doesnt take long before the entire shoreline is full of people. Those guys made it impossible to fish for bass, they literally took up 200 yards of what used to be my go to area for bass way back when. I didnt care that they were going for spotfins, I was just bummed I couldn't fish my favorite spot for a while.

    OK enough of that, here is what info I am willing to give up... I'll start with the jetty on the riverbed side. IMO, the best of the two because the riverbed holds a ton of fish. Ghost shrimp and mussel get a lot of attention on the riverbed side, and skirted jigs with plastic trailers on the channel side will get the attention of bass, especially calicos. I dont really care for the South Mission Beach jetty but you got the channel on one side and the surf on the other. In the summer, if you walk up on the rocks you will be able to see a bunch of corbina in the water on the surf side, and there are a ton of bigger opaleye as well. Down towards Hospitality Point there are a ton of fish to be caught, but mostly smallish fish. Definitely the variety though if you use ghost shrimp. If you use ghost shrimp there you have an opportunity to see pretty much every type of fish thats down there. With all of my shore stompin, the only good place to fish for spotties south of the West Mission Bay Dr. bridge, is in Quivira Basin around all the docks. That doesnt mean they arent in Mariners Basin or Bonita Cove, but you wont catch me wasting my time in there unless I had ghost shrimp for bait. If you are facing north, and you travel through the bridge I just mentioned, you have Ventura Point to your left and Sunset Point to your right. At the tip of VP the current really moves right there and heads south, you wanna fish here when its early and more calm. On the other side at SP, the bass get playful here during the summer but are usually 10"-11" models with the occassional hog in the mix, but they will nail spinnerbaits all day long. On the west side of MB, there are 6 points and 5 coves, 6 if you wanna call Sail Bay a cove. These coves and points hold tons of bass, again I wont get too specific but just know these spots are definitely worth a try, especially during winter. Throughout the main channels you can find fish, but you will be in the zone where the water moves the fastest. I dont like fishing these areas for a couple reasons... First, plenty of junk is down there moving with the water. Trash, kelp, loose eel grass, you name it, it's going to effect you some way or another. Doesnt mean anything bad, but I prefer fishing more calm conditions. To each his own.. I used this map in another post.
    mbcurrent_zps92311fe7.jpg
    This is the where the most water movement is in MB, and 8 out of 10 times its almost always going outward. Even on strong incoming tides the current can still rush outward. Dont ask, I dont know... When I first started trying to learn all the "why's" this was one of the questions I had asked more knowledegable people. I always thought the current moved whatever way the tide was going. Nope not the case. A few things effect the current, but I'll leave that for you to search up on google if it interests you. In the middle of the bay is a Vacation Island. If you fish the west side of VI, there is a dock that holds all sorts of critters. All small, but fun. A while back that area would be visited by some pretty huge white seabass, and between that dock and Ventura Pt, they we being caught quite a bit. I havent seen or heard of any around there in a while but that doesnt mean they arent there. On the south of VI is South Cove, good for bass. On the north is North Cove, so-so for bass. And on the east side is Ski Beach, another good place for a try at spotties. It is technically a no fishing zone since its a launch/landing area, but you know... ;)
    Let's go back a tad south for a minute, right next to Sunset Pt. is Dana Landing. The docks there hold quite a few fish, but to this day I have yet to pull a bass over 14" there. Just before Spring you will see quite a bit of surface activity there too, as well as other parts of MB. Just to the east of Dana is Perez Cove. Normally good for smallish bass, but you will need a float tube/yak/boat to reach the good spots. Straight north of that cove is part of the main channel, Fiesta Bay. This is where all the action of all sorts takes place. This area probably holds the best fishing for spotties in MB from a boat/yak. From the Hubbs facility all the way past the bowling pin, there are tons of bass, halibut, corvina, cudas, sharks, and rays that are normally willing to tug on your line. When I rent skifs, this is where I head to first. Just to the east of Perez Cove is the south Pacific Passage that goes through South Shores and all the way to the entrance/exit of Fiesta Island. This entire channel is most productive in the winter and spring. Not even kidding, bass galore. Now I'll skip to the channel just north of Vacation Island, it runs east and west and is called Fishermans Channel. I used to fish this channel all the time for halis. Bass, halibut, croaker, sharks, and rays can all be found here pretty much year round, but spring seems to produce better numbers. Just northeast of Fishermans Channel is Crown Pt. This area was quite the hotspot in the early 2000's for spotfins and giant bay rays. When I say giant, I'm talking about 100# and bigger. I dont see too many people fishing from that stretch of shoreline anymore, I was actually over there recently to check things out, and wasted 45 minutes of my life lol. Not even a nibble. That area seems so much more flatter than it used to, could just be me though. The northeast of MB is another cove, De Anza Cove. It used to be really productive for bass and halis, but the sharks and rays rule the area now. This area is better fished from an incoming high, so are any other areas that hold plenty of sharks and rays. From DAC all the way down to Tecolote Shores along the east side of MB, this area was dubbed "Croaker Channel" in the late 90's and early 2000's. There were spotfin all over the place, and like I mentioned earlier in the article, it was hard trying to fish for bass(or anything else)when everyone and their brothers(literally) was tending to 4-8 fishing rods each, spread out 20' apart all the way down the shoreline. Irritating... And, it wasnt only on the east side shoreline of MB, they were all over the east shoreline of Fiesta Island also. BUT, the epic spotfin fishery we once has in MB is pretty much long gone now, so there is plenty of room to fish lol. If you guys have trouble finding fish in the coves or the channels, dont bother fishing the east side, the east side is really tough to fish. I mean go ahead, but don't say I didnt warn you ;)
    Last but not least is Fiesta Island, everyone knows where this is, and if you dedicate a few hours of time during minus tides there are tons of chunky willing bass. I never use anything other than 3" plastics around the island while fishing for bass. If I was on the water, I might use a medium diving crank, 6'-10'. Capt. Bill Schaefer shared with me how he likes to cast towards the shoreline with a floating crank, give it a few turns and let it wobble back to the surface, and keep repeating back to the boat. I will say that I did try this and have caught a few this way, but I am not on the water much so I dont really get to use this method much. Now, the wind usually blows to the east so fishing from the west shore on FI is a bit tough. But I do like the west shore early in the morning during higher tides.

    Lets go back to the moving water thing. Everytime I hear someone say that you must have moving water to find feeding fish I just wanna laugh at them so hard. Rude? Maybe, maybe not. I am not a professional fisherman, I only know what I have experienced. One of the things is that the fish do not simply stop feeding just because this tidal exchange is different than that one. Most of my epic sessions are during first and last quarter moon phases. Take a peek at a tide chart and you wont see much happening during first and last quarters compared to those heavy moving water periods that the new and full moons bring. Just because the fish may not be feeding in the normal areas during neap tides or slack water or whenever the water does nothing doesnt mean they are not feeding, it means they are doing it elsewhere. If they werent, then I guess all of my sessions during those times are all just lies, oh and so are a bunch of my friends. I've heard them say, just stay home, don't even bother, have a bbq....all while I'm out pulling on the fish they left alone. To each his own. If you want to stay home because the tide looks like crap, stay home. More for me. There are only two times where I would prefer incoming highs over my other preferences, and bass have nothing to do with them. Shark/ray fishing, and corvina/cuda fishing. Bass will eat anything anytime. Vinas and cudas stalk bait, and they attack it viciously on the surface mostly during high tides. Sharks and rays dont really follow bait around, but when using chum to attrack them closer, the more the water moves the better. Having a nice long chum slick increases your odds of getting some action big time. Whoops, this is supposed to be about bass. How many of you are asleep?

    OK, no more blabbin. You wanna know the ultimate key in successful outings in MB? I've said it over and over in numerous topic replies. STAY MOBILE. The fish will not come to you, well maybe in SD Bay, but not in MB. You have to work at finding them. Thats why catching 5 fish in MB would sometimes be just like catching 40-50 in SD Bay. Night time fishing in MB in December and January is going to be your best bet at huge numbers. I use an all black bait, and an open jighead unless the fish are close to the shore, then I'll go weedless. In the daytime, during the winter, Minus tides are my favorite times to get on the bass. I use a bullet style weedless jighead made by Owner, and either a 3" curltail or swimbait. Most the time the fish are just at the end of the weedline right before the drop off, so the more angle you get on your cast, the better your chances at a strike since your bait is in the strike zone longer. As you know greens, browns, and oranges are normal producers for me, but I'll throw any color when I feel like it, and it will still get some attention. In the spring and summer, my attention is not on bass it's on corvina, and corbina. But for those of you who still want to target bass during those times, this is when you want to use other baits along with your plastics. The cranks and spinnerblades, bolt throwers, skirted jigheads, and anything like that. From my experience, bass fishing is slower during the warmer months most the time. There are those times where it's still pretty active, and its normally close to structure. Docks and similar structure are your friends during this time. They are underneath them, and some will even be hugging the dock supports. Don't be afraid to throw craw type baits down there too, they'll hit them. You wanna know where the super thick spotties are during the summer? Only clue, they are not inside the bays. There may be a few, but not one after another, after another like in some of the lagoons to the north of the bays. Those who are in the know of exact whereabouts know what I'm talking about. But...Different subject for a different day lol.

    Another question was asked on Bill's thread about hook setting, to swing or keep winding through. Personally, I do both. When I'm fishing minus tides, there's only a fraction of a second to act, even with bait scent. I swing immediately. You either get him or you dont. Anytime my hook is not exposed, I'm swinging. When I'm not fishing in the junk I wind tight and lift the rod while winding. During topwater strikes I wind fast and tug sideways.

    Bait scent, another personal preference. I do not care to use it, I can catch plenty of fish without it, and I have never had epic sessions while using it. I've used them all, and if I had to pick one that made the slightest bit of difference it would be Hot Sauce. If the fishing is slow, I will try anything to get something going, even bait scent... I don't believe that it attracts fish, nor do I believe they hold onto it a little longer to give you the edge, otherwise I would have more fish to add to my logs from all the times I did use it.

    I mainly use Izorline XXX 8# green mono for bay fishing. When the chunky bass show up I will bump it up to 10#. I dont like braid or floro. I like simple things that work, like my old *** Citica's and cheap Shimano rod. For those of you who havent made the transition to baitcasting reels, it's time to grow a pair and do it, they are not hard to use at all. I just showed a fellow member here how to use one last week, he had it down in 10 minutes... You will catch more fish with baitcasters, you will be able to feel everything your bait is doing, and every strike. After some time of using it, you will be able to detect pressure bites also, good for halibut fishing.

    Technique.... I cast, let it sink, then reel it back slowly. This is what I do almost all the time. Only time I give the bait life is to see if I get a different reaction, or if its slow. When I do give it life, the strike usually happens during the fall after hopping the bait. But for the most part I use a straight retrieve, nothing fancy about it.

    Those who know me personally know I let go of more detailed information, especially when it comes to bass fishing. I've done this for people I dont even know too, when they catch me in the right mood lol. I've made maps, I've shared intel, and the feedback I have gotten from everyone has been positive. I get pm's all the time asking if I could point them in the right direction or if I can wet a line with them. If I can help someone who is struggling to catch bass, then I'll do it. Chances are I can, and will. Meeting for fishing is the hard part since my schedule is always unpredictable, but I do try.

    Sorry for this extremely long post, you guys feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them.
     
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  2. InRodWeTrust

    InRodWeTrust Well-Known Member

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    "...For those of you who havent made the transition to baitcasting reels, it's time to grow a pair..."
    Dj thrillz, you're my hero!
     
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  3. buddha

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    Why haven't you bought a kayak and fished the bays with it.

    It will make you much more mobile and you will catch a lot more fish.
     
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  4. skrilla

    skrilla Well-Known Member

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    Logging in just to say good write-up Kevin. Very worth the read. Ok back to lurker status. :p
     
  5. dj thrillz

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    When I said stay mobile I didnt mean have the ability to travel every inch of the bay within half a day. I meant if it's dead, do not stay in one spot and expect the fish to magically start biting. Shore based anglers should move down the shoreline 25'-50' every few casts until they find holding fish. Those fishing from boats or yaks should be drifting, so you are sort of automatically staying mobile.

    As far as a yak goes, if I had money for one, and a place to store it after I bought it, I would have one for sure. I miss roaming around certain areas of the big bay.
     
  6. dj thrillz

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    Here is a map of MB with most of their area names, some names of course are unofficial ones.
    MBzones_zpsffe88809.jpg

    1. MB Channel
    2. Hospitality Point
    3. Quivira Basin
    4. Mission Point
    5. Mariners Basin
    6. Mariners Point
    7. Bonita Cove
    8. Ventura Point
    9. Ventura Cove
    10. Bahia Point
    11. Santa Barbara Cove
    12. El Carmel Point
    13. San Juan Cove
    14. Santa Clara Point
    15. Santa Clara Cove
    16. Sail Bay
    17. Fishermans Channel
    18. North Cove
    19. South Cove
    20. Sunset Point
    21. Dana Landing
    22. Perez Cove
    23. Stoney Point
    24. Ski Beach
    25. Fiesta Bay
    26. Bowling Pin
    27. Crown Point
    28. De Anza Cove
    29. De Anza Point
    30. Croaker Channel
    31. Playa Pacifica
    32. Enchanted Cove
    33. Tecolote Shores
    34. Hidden Anchorage
    35. South Shores
     
    #6 dj thrillz, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
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  7. pagzzz

    pagzzz Well-Known Member

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    Damn fine write up. Since this bay is my primary haunt as I get back into fishing, I really appreciate this.
     
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  8. Nute

    Nute Researcher...
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    Yup. X2. You're the man DJ. Not very many fellas on here willing to take the time, and doing it strictly for the benefit of others says a lot about your character. Great write up.
     
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  9. barryf

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    Thanks for that. Very informative. I'll for sure be hitting MB this week.
     
  10. Kellen

    Kellen Owner
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    Awesome job on this! Im going to sticky it for the time being, and with your permission, break it down for maybe a series of articles on the home page.
     
  11. Ytown25

    Ytown25 Well-Known Member

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    awesome thread! thanks for taking the time to write this up much appreciated!
     
  12. dj thrillz

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    Kellen, sure thing. Do whatever you need to with it.

    If any of this has helped any of you in any way at all, you're welcome. Even though it's based on my outings, thoughts, and findings, if you're into targeting spotties, then wether you agree with my post or not, you have to agree that our passion of targeting these fish is identical.
     
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  13. kauaiboy04

    kauaiboy04 Well-Known Member

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    awesome writeup kev! you're tips are the main reason i've evolved and gained much more experience (and fish) for fishing the bays. being mobile is the number 1 thing, can't stress that enough. my minus tide in the jungle sesh recently wasn't all to spectacular, but am waiting for the night bite to pick up soon!
     
  14. dj thrillz

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    You are not alone there... I am catching plenty of fish during minus tides but the quality is surprisingly lacking for this time of year. The chunkers have started to show up in SD Bay, so it shouldn't be long before we start getting bass thumb in MB.
    I pay close attention to the night bite, so when I know, you will know ;)
     
  15. Rude Baits

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    Insane post Thrillz! Listen up guys, this man speaks the truth!
     
  16. CantSetTheHook

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    That was a great read, you made this cold and cloudy day at work better. I used to fish MB all the time. Now you have kindled my interest to return. Hope I see you out there some time so I can give you a high 5.
     
  17. dj thrillz

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    Excellent! Come on out!
     
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  18. STiCKY

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    True fisherman's bible of knowledge here DJ. We may not see eye to eye but we definitely share the same passion and quest for bigger and better sessions. I believe any body here following this should find success in either bay. Maps, tactics and a bag of chips here fellas, take notes and fish wisely not blindly.
     
  19. thehalibutboys

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    Im new to this forum but I've been fishing for spotties since 1979. Mainly in Newport and long beach harbors but I do make quite a few trips to San Diego to indulge in the great fishing thats found there. When I do make it down there MB is usually where I fish. The only exception was during 2006 - 2008 I stayed at a friends house on Pt Loma and fished SD bay daily and nightly. That being said DJ thank you for an outstanding article ive read it more than once already. I concur with alot of that info especially the AA curl tails. And your opinion regarding night fishing which I do a majority of the time. My preferred times regardless of which bay I fish is from 3am till about 8ish. I just recently had the privilege of experiencing the best bite for big spotties ever in my 30 + years of fishing and it just happened to be in MB. Last Friday my buddy and I got into a one hour bite in Quivera from 530am Till 630am that produced 8 spots over 2 pounds. But at 11 am my buddy caught back to back 3 pound spotties using an A Rig. And even though people have questioned my integrity regarding those weights. I just have to let them know and hope they understand my feelings about that. And that is this. I GAIN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BY LYING OR EXAGGERATING ABOUT WHAT I CATCH. That being said its a pleasure to be here.
     
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  20. dj thrillz

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    Welcome to SD Fish! There are no doubts in my mind that you ran into chunkers, this is the only time of year they are caught(3#ers) on a consistent basis, day or night. 2 years ago I lost what would have been my pb spotty, I have never had a spotty take 6 runs and then straighten my sturdy mustad hook on the unexpected final bolt for the bottom. 6 feet away and easily 20"+...
    I'm determined to battle her again someday.
     
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