St. Croix


Feature Article: Open Bass Tourney

Smashing 10.43-pound sand bass score wins SD Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 30, 2020

SAN DIEGO — The big winter sand bass are back in the Bay!

These fish, largely absent for several years, made their presence felt at the 23rd Annual Tow Boat U.S. San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament (OBB) on Saturday, where the top two teams exceeded 10 pounds for their 3-fish competition limits, and third place fell just short of hitting double digits.

THE BIG WINTER BASS are back! Bryan Davis of Goleta with the 5-pound kicker that secured the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament win for his team. WHITNEY UYEDA PHOTO

The team of Bryan Davis of Goleta and Whitney Uyeda of Buelton outdid 116 other Boat Division competitors to capture the contest with 10.43 pounds of sandies, backstopped by an impressive 5.0-pound kicker.

The two didn’t have much opportunity to pre-fish but located a spot of big sand bass during a tournament two weeks earlier. Those fish didn’t help them in Round One of the 2020 Saltwater Bass Series – it was a spotted bay bass event – but ultimately the bite they’d found held up until it was time for San Diego Bay’s biggest bass contest of the year.

“I had a 5 and a 4 (then) so we knew where they lived,” Davis said. Yet, during the OBB the fish didn’t bite until late in the afternoon, when the tide was finally right, and many other competitors had left the formerly crowded zone.

“We really needed a kicker so we went back to the deep stuff and finally they decided to bite and we got that 5 pounder,” Davis said.

His tournament partner Uyeda added that the big bass climbed onto an A-rig that already had a smaller cousin aboard. Almost everything the pair caught came on Ring Hammer swimbaits in Pearl Flash or Glow Shad sweetened with Pro-Cure Krill Super Gel scent.

THE CALICO STRATEGY paid off with a 7.71-pound in-the-money finish for past Open Bay Bass Tournament winners Tony and Barbie Souza of San Diego. They used bait and spinnerbaits on the jetty rocks. WON PHOTO PAUL LEBOWITZ

The result was much better than the most recent OBB three years ago – the 2019 event was a weather cancellation twice over, and the 2018 tournament was lost to the reconstruction of the Shelter Island Launch Ramp. Back then, Uyeda and Davis finished in the money with a trio of spotties. “The fishing obviously was better today,” Davis quipped.

The pair earned $1,500 sponsored by Fisherman’s Landing Tackle for their first-place finish, plus a Daiwa Lexa combo apiece, but one could tell it was as much about the bragging rights. They added $250 sponsored by Seaforth Boat Rentals for Largest Bass of the tournament.

“It’s super awesome to win,” Davis said. “We’ve tournament fished for a long time. I’ve learned through the years to enjoy it when you get it. It’s nice to add this one to the resume.”

Uyeda added, “The greatest thing is these are some of the best bay fishermen around. It’s kind of humbling. They’re all a bunch of great guys. A really big thank you to the club that organized this.”

The team of Michael and Andrew Hill of San Marcos finished second with 10.16 pounds of sand bass with a 4.6-pound kicker. “It was pure luck,” said Mike Hill. “We didn’t prefish.”

He was selling his team short. It wasn’t Hill’s first time near the top of the OBB leaderboard. “My old partner Tony was looking out for me,” he added of his late, long-time tournament partner. “We fished the secret baits he carved.” The Hills were long lining. For second place they earned $750 sponsored by Costa Del Mar, a couple pairs of sunglasses, and Daiwa combos.

MATT AND MADDOX MOYER of San Diego show off their 3-fish limit of sand bass at the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament. It was Maddox’s first time competing in the long-running tradition. WON PHOTO PAUL LEBOWITZ

Third place fell to Dean Jamieson and Brandon Buono, who finished just shy of double digits with 9.93 pounds of sand bass backstopped by a 4.59. They won $500 sponsored by Hookup Baits plus a pair of Daiwa combos.

The flurry of big sand bass had everyone talking. “It’s awesome,” said Tournament Director Dwayne Patenude. “I predicted the winner would come in with around 8½ pounds. The Bay is back! This is the best one-two finish since we went to the 3-fish limit.”

The team of Stanley Hendrix and Gabe Diaz brought a hefty 20.03-pound halibut to the scale, easily winning the Halibut Jackpot, and added another $150 sponsored by Capt. Bill Shaefer’s Guide Service for heaviest spotted bay bass, a 2.15 pounder. Kayak Division results were not available by press time.

It took more than 60 San Diego Anglers volunteers to run the show. The money raised pays for the general operation of the club that has more than 400 members and funds a slew of charitable community service causes. Those include taking wounded warriors fishing, the annual Crystal Pier Kids Classic, a variety of other pier fishing events, and a fishing outing for the Big Brothers and Sisters of America. “We’re busy,” Patenude quipped.

THE WINNING TEAM of Bryan Davis of Goleta and Whitney Uyeada of Buellton celebrate their impressive 3-fish 10.43-pound victory. WON PHOTO PAUL LEBOWITZ

assistantweighmasterASSISTANT WEIGHMASTER MEGAN DEMPEWOLF hard at work weighing fish at the 23rd Annual San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament. WON PHOTO PAUL LEBOWITZ

• • • • •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Luna Sea Sports Ad
Advertise with Western Outdoor News