Feature Article: SBS Season Opener

Spotty event kicks off Saltwater Bass Series season

Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jan 23, 2019


MISSION BAY — It had been six months since the last regular season Saltwater Bass Series event before kicking off this season over the weekend. With rainy weather the week prior, teams were looking forward to relieving their cabin fever out on San Diego Bay. Anglers got lucky again with great weather along with the opportunity to use the Outboard Boating Club at the first SBS location and the brand new ramp facility at Shelter Island. This would be a “Spotties Only” event with a 5-fish, 14-inch limit. With the new Rookie / Family Division, many new teams jumped into the tournament arena for 2019. With an impressive 56 teams fishing this day, 21 of them were Rookie / Family teams… WOW!

A SAMPLE OF quality spotties shown off by father-and-son team Danny and Conan Craig.

With the event scheduled on some big tide swings, it would provide great fishing for all but the real trick wound up being just to catch legal 14-inch “keepers.” San Diego Bay has a huge population of spotted bay bass and there are dozens of different ways to fish for them. Many teams caught in upwards of 100 fish and still weren’t able to put a keeper in the livewell… crazy! Here’s how it all worked out.

Starting out with the Masters Division where 35 teams were entered. Finishing in 1st place with a limit weighing a solid 8.12 pounds was Brian Sanner and Kerry Peeler. This was the duo’s first SBS win and they could not have been any happier to start the season with the victory. They went home with $2,565 cash! Second place went to Michael and Justin Pritzl, who weighed 7.60 pounds of spots. Following up in 3rd was John Beerling and Ty Ponder, as these two weighed in 7.53. Big Bass honors in the Masters went to Bryan Davis and Whitney Uyeda with their chunky 2.16-pound spotty. This fish was the event’s biggest bass and won this team $1,000 cash, a Daiwa Ballistic Spinning Reel and Rod combo, Costa Sunglasses, Olukai Sandals and a custom carved Spotted Bay Bass from Bob “The Bone Carver” Cox.

firsteversbsFIRST-EVER SBS win for Brian Sanner and Kerry Peeler, who weighed in 8.12 pounds of spotted bay bass for the victory and a cool $2,565 in cash.

In the Rookie / Family Division it was the father-and-son team of Jose and Jeremy Assef taking the top spot, as these two swept the division with 7.39 pounds of spotties along with division’s Big Bass of 1.87 pounds. These guys went home with $850, a Daiwa Ballistic Spinning Reel and Rod combo, Costa Sunglasses and Olukai Sandals. Second place went to Aaron Jeffrey and Justin Acuna, who weighed 7 pounds even. Third place was the Hookup Baits team of Frank Santiago and Richard Jeppesen, who were just edged out for the silver medal with 6.99... just .01 out of 2nd!

Although Masters fish against Masters, and Rookie / Family teams fish only against other Rookie / Family teams, everyone got together during the awards and BBQ to discuss their day catching or losing fish and the specific techniques that either got it done or didn’t get it done. This is where the teams come together as a big SBS family and learn from each other from their day while congratulating the top finishers. There was also some great product up for grabs… product from Daiwa, Big Hammer, Costa, Olukai, Salty Crew, PitBull and Coolbaits.

Special thanks go out to the SBS crew, Wayne Redman from West Coast Trailers, the Sahaguns and the OBC of San Diego and its members for all stepping up to lend a hand. The Shelter Island Launch Ramp is bigger and much better than before. All this made for a great event so… Thank you!

The next Saltwater Bass Series event on the agenda will be Feb. 16 and that tourney will be based at Dana Landing in Mission Bay. This will be the Mission Bay Coastal event, where all 3 species of bass can be weighed.

Boundaries and other information can be found on the website at

Tight lines and hoping to see more new teams jumping in as the season goes on!

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