|Put the paper out today with Pat, Brad and a nine-month-old yellow lab named Sebastian, who gets to meet the wrath of my dog Fritz tomorrow at D Dock in Dana Point Harbor during our lunch breaks. Sebastian was pretty pumped that Ben Babbitt's 60-pound seabass won the cover instead of a grip-and-grin of a deader-than-a-doornail 10-plus-pound trout. Brad stayed neutral on the subject.
Post work I headed down to D Dock to check on the what was live squid in the trashcan receiver and to make sure the bilge was pumping out. The squid met the wrath of fresh water. The bilge pump conspired.
The weather was shittier than it was Saturday when I pulled the boat back into the slip after a little local trip that stretched over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but for some reason I like going down to the boat in weather like this. I think it's because in this day and age when everything is so crowded (said this one before) it's pretty cool to be able to get in those quite winter moments, even if it's just to tighten the lines, check on the bait and think about that next and the last trip. Flags off masts, boats in slips, no paddle boarders or booze cruisers, Monday around happy hour was definitely one of them.
Even with a cow trip to Puerto Vallarta with friends and soon-to-be-friends coming up come this Thursday, I still felt hooks in my shoulders pulling me back down the beach, where I literally combed the entire coast looking for conditions and signs of squid outside of what I consider my backyard from Dana Point to San Clemente, where a Wednesday night run turned up all the squid needed for the trip. I've got my seabass' over 60, so it was great to see Babbitt, who lives in Oceanside, get his. He deserved it.
Now it's time to switch gears to this feature on the swath of coast from Dana Point to the Barn Kelp that I've always wanted to write up, sans GPS numbers and go here-catch-this isms; rather just a piece that shows the respect for this unique chunk of coast with no civilians or multi-million dollar homes.
The Pendleton Coast is a sacred chunk of coast; anyone who cruises from San Onofre to the Barn Kelp knows what I mean. If you don't, fish a kelp called the Patterson's sometime. It's actually a pretty shitty fishing spot--chalk it up to the kelp being in sand and little bit of stone versus actual hard bottom--but it sits almost 50/50 between Dana Point and Oceanside harbors. It's one of the few spots on the coast where there are no houses, not stoplights, no hoots from those inside and outside the surfline. All it takes is a look up the bluff to realize that, any other day, that could be you shlepping through traffic.
I'm looking forward to getting into the office Tuesday and writing up a piece on fishing a chunk of our sacred coast. The piece will actually probably get its wings where all features and books pieces start: the laptop on the right arm of the couch. And I'm looking forward to reading the piece where my buddy Greg Trompas has his say about the chunk of coast from the border to Swamis, where we have solidified our fishing respect for each other over Pacificos, stupid one liners and fishing on seabass so big that a Catalina fish will never look the same and local yellows so big and bitchin' that you'd think they came from 'lupe.
Not everyone gives the potential of our coast the respect it deserves, but here's an example, a 50/40 fall double I took two casts apart in the dark at Swamis before we lost the kelpy nugget of coast to hook-and-line fishing; neither were the biggest taken out of the October bite.
(Photo by Greg Trompas)
I'll never forget fishing Swamis, not so much because the fishing was that much better, or the fact that we, or I, actually, only told one person and he spilled the beans. Again. It'd be great to tell all the buds and readers about local bites on seabass so big they make trips, seasons and fishing careers all in one shot. But they are fragile. And to put it out there is actually a disservice. It just can't handle the pressure. Big local seabass--if there is one thing to take away from fishing for them--are a different animal from Catalina fish, or fish from any island for that matter. There's no comparison to West or Pyramid cove bites with line ups and light boats and generators taking away from what it's all about.
But there are opportunities galore along our coast and islands. It all gets back to trying. Sadly, Swamis is off the list thanks to the MLPA, although jumping in the water with a gun is allowed.
Put a gun to my head and say pick five spots to fish the rest of your life from Salt Creek to Ensenada. Swamis would never make the list. The five that would are all open post South Coast MLPA. The next three, maybe four, issues of WON will focus on on our sacred coast.
If you ask the questions, there's so much amazing coastline along the bight and at the islands to enjoy and find the answers to, from how to flyline a bait back in the kelp at the Barn for calico bass from a sportboat out of Helgren's to how to escape the mob mentality that hits private boaters when reports hit the internet.
I think I'll start with the calico bass part at the Barn with a call to Joey Helgren at Helgren's Sportfishing in the morning....