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Family trip to California

August 22, 2012

San Diego

Ken’s friend Tombo808, Thomas, had generously offered to take us out on his friend’s boat. This was my first time fishing in the salt!

A plume of greedy pelicans trailed our boat.

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We went kelp paddy hoping and they showed me jellyfish, dolphins, and whales. I was in my childhood dream land – no kidding. I saw my first whale up close… I’ve waited all of my 23 years for that day to come. Thank-you Thomas!

After passing over a few paddies without luck, we switched to bottom fishing and I ended up with a few new life-list catches:

Calico rockfish:
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Pacific jack mackerel:
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Another calico rockfish:IMG 1435 1024x768 Family trip to California

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That evening, after a quick nap, Ken and I headed out for some shore fishing. A handful of solid rips on Ken’s long rod, but no hookups! Ken caught his first lifer Thornback ray and I caught my first barred sand bass.

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After nightfall Ken suggested we switch from sand crabs to squid bait, and it worked to get us a few bat rays!

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Fireworks rounded off an exciting night of fishing!

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The next morning we met up with a group of guys from SC Surf fishing including Bigminnowfisher and kaipo. Bigminnowfisher caught his first corbina! We were all very excited for his lifer corbina!

I caught my first barred sand perch on one of Ken’s plastic grubs:

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Ken also caught a baby leopard shark! I was jealous…

We relocated to another beach and it was crawling with corbinas riding the waves in the surf! What a spectacle! We had a blast trying to sight fish the corbinas with sandcrabs, but no more catches.

After a nice lunch break during slack tide we headed to another spot to keep on fishing. Ken and I both got our first round stingrays, nasty little buggers with a stinger they like to whip around!

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KenT caught his first Eastern Pacific Bonefish Cortez Bonefish!  (Edit May 11, 2016:  Bonefish in this area have been recognized as Cortez Bonefish) Then Bigminnowfisher proceeded to catch 3 more bonefish! All the while I was waiting nervously for my rod to go off with the distinctive fast run. Had the school moved on? Had I missed my chance?

Luck was on my side after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I managed to hook and land one. For their size, these fish put up an immense fight. I am impressed by the strength of all saltwater fish, they all just pull harder than their freshwater equivalents.

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I had a handful or solid bait takes after this, but I missed my hooksets on almost all of them. I have worked on my hooksetting technique since then, which had previously involved running backwards and flailing around in excitement.

I finally hooked another fish and it was my first spotted sand bass!

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It was finally time to leave KenT and Bigminnowfisher as my family had relocated to Point Loma. Bigminnowfisher generously offered to give me a lift to my family’s location. Thank you!!

Ken’s report for the two days we fished in San Diego: http://ontarioshorefishing.com/forum/Thread-California-Road-Trip-2012-Part-4-of-4-SD-to-Toronto

Our hotel in Point Loma was close to the beach. The next morning I woke up early to fish the surf on my lonesome. Fishing in Point Loma is heavily regulated and I double checked to make sure I was fishing a permitted location. I caught a lot of kelp and lost a lot of line, bummer.

Then a big wave caused a surge much higher than I had anticipated. It dunked two of my reels and all of my gear. I ran back to the hotel to super-soak my stuff. I am happy to report that I was able to save the better of the two reels.

On our drive towards Los Angeles, we stopped off at Hunting beach. It was a bit too crowded for surf fishing….

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… so I tried my luck off of the nearby pier while my family enjoyed the beach.

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I was fishing the very end of the pier looking for a shark or something big. I also dropped my sabiki rig near the pilings and didn’t find anything. Eventually, my squid was swallowed by a cormorant that thankfully regurgitated the hook without setting it. Made me re-think my rigging strategy LOL. After that we decided to move along.

I asked a few locals where I could find a less crowded stretch of beach towards LA. We settled on checking out Sunset beach where I would have room to fish.

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The washed-up kelp situation wasn’t as bad as my horrifying experience at Point Loma, but I still lost quite a bit of line. It was all worth it though for my first two Shovelnose guitarfish!

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Great fun on 8lb gear in the strong surf.

Happy to finally get my first fish on my own, we packed it up and finished our drive to LA.

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