Southern CA Saltwater

Chalk one for the wind and waves

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff Writer Published: Feb 19, 2019

SAN DIEGO — Not a lot of runs ran this past week as the fleet dodged windy weather from all directions. With the wet weather came southeast winds, and after, northwest winds, plus cold showers. That's what finally claimed the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament this past Saturday.

Already postponed due to stormy weather two Saturdays prior, this past Friday morning the arrangements had all been made, the big tent was on its way, porta-potties delivered, the event was a go.

REDS — The Premierout of H&M Landing is running extended half-day trips to Mexican waters during the California groundfish closure, resulting in full Mexican limits most outings. PHOTO COURTESY H&M LANDING

That's when Tournament Director Dewayne Patenaude began to receive calls from concerned contestants. They said NOAA had just posted a small craft advisory for tournament day.

He said, "When we went to bed, Thursday night it was do-able, but it didn't look like it was going to be fun, and when I woke up to phone calls on Friday morning, saying what were we going to do, and I said, "Well, we're having a tournament, why do you ask?" They said, "Well, no, they just called for a small craft advisory from Pt. Conception, to the Mexican border." And I said "No!" and, uh, sure enough, I went to the site and they said small craft advisory."

Well, the tournament rules said the event would be canceled if there were small craft advisories posted. Costco was pulling the food, the event permit had been bought, insurance, t-shirts, entry forms printed — Patenaude estimates it cost the club roughly $30,000 to cancel, but it had to be.

In fact, Saturday's events on the water bore out the wise choice, as rescuers went to work recovering at least one swamped boat and three wet boaters from the choppy waters of the Bay.

The morning had brought winds of 15 to 25 knots, right at the somewhat protected, brand new Shelter Island Launch Ramp and basin. Conditions down the wide open stretches of the Bay were no doubt, even more sporty.

All had been looking forward to the new facility, this writer included. However, the reschedule had already knocked out tournament partner Pat McDonnell and this writer. With entry fees being returned, we opted to donate ours back to the Club, to help defray the costs incurred.

The Club doesn't make much if anything on the event, as profits normally go to support charitable activities like their Warriors on the Water and youth fishing programs.

So, not only did the cancelation cost the Club a chunk of change, but it leaves their charitable works lacking needed financial support.

For us, McDonnell and I get to bask in the glory of our last year's top 5 finish for an extra 12 months now.

On the partyboat scene, not much went on along the entire coast. A few 1/2-day trips ran, lobster hooping trips, and that was it. An absolute highlight of the Bight, the Premier's extended 1/2-day trips just over the border to fish the depths of the lower 9-Mile Bank continued to sack full limits of rockfish.

Tuesday's outing gathered the most participants, 33 in total, resulting in the fattest score of the week, 329 cods and a ling for full limits. Rick Marin at H&M Landing said they were getting done early and had extra time to mill around, taking the long way home.

The grumpy conditions rile lobsters from their lairs, so hooping was pretty good. The Jig Strike crew earned top honors, with 4 hoopers netting up 24 keepers Tuesday evening.

We wish it was the same for the local 1/2-day bass trips, but it was not — not even close. It was almost all about enjoying the company, being out on the water, beers and burgers.

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