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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Saturday Tourney: Fun but serious bay biz

Musings on maps, visas and heading south
A few items,

As I prepare to board a Wednesday flight to Cabo for fishing and meetings for the tuna tourney, I’m jotting down a few notes concerning the visa, the MLPA and the upcoming S.D. Bay Bass tourney….

MEX Visas:

Be aware, that no matter what is decided on the new Mex visas, the DFG is asking for them at the dock and on the water if you have rockfish you say you caught in Mexican waters. After bay fishing last week in prepping for the upcoming bay tourney in SD Bay, we were approached by two wardens. Actually we were chased into the parking lot after we drove the rig past  two  wardens who were checking other boaters who had just pulled their boats. They hopped in their truck and chased us down.  I just wanted to get away from the crowded launch area to the boat squared away. They thought we were “getting away.”

Well, as we always release all bass in the bay and  had no fish, rockfish is what they were looking for. They were very nice, and didn’t ask about our 2012 U.S. licenses. They were all about rockfish.  As they checked the boat for illegal bottomfish, we asked about the visas. If you have rockfish while the closure is in effect, you must have a Mex fishing license, and the new Mex visa to show the wardens.


Tackle shops on the coast now have laminated maps for private boaters to carry to make sure they are not fishing in closure areas. As I found last week while shopping at Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle in Oceanside, the maps, made by Graylight Media ( are sold for about $7 and contain maps and corresponding regs for specific counties. No doubt boat electronics and phones will eventually
 include maps in software and apps. But for now, we have these:
*DFG maps  at
*-Graylight’s laminated MLPA maps for sale
* website links (WON’s maps, printable, are at

You can search a variety of websites, including ours, but asking for MLPA maps.
There is a lot of misinformation frustrating anglers about areas that are affected, especially bays and lagoons and beaches. There are more than 50 marine protected areas on the entire coast with new and expanded areas. But 85 percent of the coast and islands remain open. I listened to a radio show last weekend and was amazed at the questions and assumptions.

It was mentioned all the bays are closed. Well, many have already been closed, but there are additions. Agua Hedionda had a new closure, the inner bay. The outer two bays are still open to fishing. Newport Bay’s inner harbor is closed to fishing. But the entire outer bay is open. San Diego Bay and  Mission bays? All open. Not exactly. Just look at the map for S.D. Bay. The closure area lops off the point, and extends all the way into a small kelp area that has produced calicos that won the Bay Bass Tourney last year for Josh Dunlap and Carl Erbacher.  Again, use the maps.

And there are loopholes.

One reader who did not want his name included, was shocked to hear Zuma Beach is now closed to surf fishing.  “Say it isn’t so,” the reader e-mailed WON. “My son 12-year-old son fishes that beach almost every day.” Sadly, it is so. It is confusing as people are upset, but want to be compliant with the law.

The following is a nice note to the father from the DFG on the Zuma question about surf fishing.  

Wrote DFG Lt. Martin Wall. “I am the enforcement supervisor for an area that includes the Point Dume SMR and SMCA. Your questions were forwarded to me today for clarification. I understand there were some malfunctions with our website but it appears to be working now as I just accessed it to research your questions.

On this page there is a list of all the MPA's. If you click on a name of one, an expanded view of that area's rules appears. A link to a map is also part of that expanded view and it can be enlarged and printed if desired. At the end of the MPA list there is a list of definitions and rules that apply to all MPA's.

To address your specific situation:

The regulations say that only pelagic finfish or spearfished White Seabass may be taken inside the PD (Point Dume)  - SMCA. Since they do not specify whether a fisherman has to be on a boat or if they can be fishing from the beach, surf fishing in general is not prohibited. However- most fishermen and game wardens know that the species defined as pelagic finfish are caught with very specific gear, and that gear is not often used from shore. Keep this in mind to avoid having a warden believe you are targeting a species that is not allowed to be taken. Let me clarify a little further: The Fish and Game Code defines "take" as to "hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill; or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill". One doesn't need to actually catch or keep a fish to "take" a fish. Sorry if this sounds confusing but understanding "take" is important in interpreting many hunting and fishing regulations.

If you have any further questions, send them by email and I will do my best to answer them.”

If the administrative fight is over, at least for now, the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans hasn't thrown in the towel in the court battle. The coalition of angling advocacy groups continues to weigh its options following an October setback.  Donate to the legal fund via the Ocean Access Protection Fund ( <> ).   

Bay Bass tourney seminar Jan. 1 in Lakeside

LAKESIDE — A seminar by Bill Schaefer, one of the top inshore guides and bass competitors, is slated for   Saturday, Jan. 21 will be held at the new Fish’n Marine Center in Lakeside as a precursor the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament, Feb. 4.

Schaefer will concentrate on techniques and tackle in the popular 150-team event that features paydowns to 25th place, and is topped by a $1,500 first place prize.

The tourney registration will remain open until Jan. 15. The entry form erroneously mentioned Jan. 5 as the entry deadline. Not so, said longtime Bay Bass tourney director Dwayne Patenaude.

For details on the seminar, call (619) 443-2100.

For interest on the tourney for two-man teams on one-person kayak teams, go to Many tackle shops in San Diego County have the entry form, as well.

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