October 13, 2016
Calicos or spotties . . .
After a grueling tournament season that started back in February, the Saltwater Bass Series Championship was held Saturday October first. The format was a bit confusing for some, challenging to others, and an easy decision for the rest. This one day tournament was held out of Dana Landing in Mission Bay, CA , where qualifying teams had the option of fishing for any species of saltwater bass (calico, sand, or spotted bay). The catch; spotted bay bass weight's would be multiplied by 2.5x. This meant that a 10lb bag of spotties would be equal to a 25lb limit of calico or sand bass. With a new 4-stroke Mercury outboard up for grabs for the winning team, a solid game plan would be crucial.
I was able to fish La Jolla the weekend before for a couple decent fish on the 25 Light, but overall the fishing was tough. Skylar Crane and I decided our best chance at winning would be to fish spotted bay bass. We had a feeling that we weren't the only ones with this plan, but that most of the others would be staying in Mission Bay. We decided to get away from the rest of the field and make the run down south, around Point Loma, and into San Diego Bay.
5:00am came, and twenty two skiffs were off! As suspected, almost the entire field raced (in a 5mph no wake zone) towards the mouth of Mission Bay. Fifteen or so boats made a quick left into Quivira Basin where they would try their luck fishing spotties in the dark. We putted out of the harbor and made the wide left turn towards the south east, dodging sparse kelp and lobster buoys in the dark. We slid into our starting point in San Diego Bay and began pitching docks. Skylar slowly started putting fish in the boat. We'd get a legal, go an hour or two, and get another barely legal fish. We did this until 1pm or so with what we thought was a five fish limit for about 6-7lbs.
We raced back to Mission Bay, which was much easier in the daytime, and pulled into the harbor. We had twenty minutes to try to cull, but it never happened. We figured we had a top ten finish, but not much better. Launch ramp stories told of tough fishing and small bags. The awards ceremony started and they paid down to the top ten. Several teams got checks and they weren't that close to our weight. Maybe we did better than we though. Jerry got to the 3rd place finishers and it wasn't us. WTF, we have a shot at winning this thing!
We did better than we though, but not good enough. We came within a quarter pound or so, but in the end it was Bobby Martinez and Kenny Bobo who took home the win and a new Mercury 115hp outboard. Overall, a super fun day on the water competing against great anglers and great friends.