Santee doesn’t break bass records


A very happy Santee Braeden Steveson with his record 15.12 lbs Largemouth Bass.

Dock totals 12/12 – 12/18: 540 anglers aboard 37 half-to-three-day trips departing from the San Diego landings last week caught 172 bluefin tuna, 18 calico, 8 lingcod, 25 lobsters (34 released), 24 perch, 1666 rockfish, 16 bass, 68 sanddab, 90 sculpins, 14 sheep and 468 whitefish.

Salt water: Winter has set in here in the San Diego saltwater fishery with a wet and windy midweek storm punctuating the onset of Southern California’s low season. That said, the bluefin tuna did not retreat from the windy cold front and left the outer banks as some expected. Although so far caught in the 18-30 pound range since the storm passed, boats venturing beyond San Clemente Island to the Tanner and Cortez shores towards the end of the week reported a wide open limit fishery on the smaller bluefin tuna. . There are still bigger fish being measured, but so far only the smallest units bite.

The fact that fish bites are smaller on average than in previous weeks could be due to the phase of the moon and the time boats have to fish the area overnight. So far this year, more larger models weighing over 300 pounds have been captured between sunset and the wee hours of the morning than during daylight hours. We should know soon if the big bluefin tuna will light up with a few boats scheduling trips to the area for up to four days, which should provide plenty of opportunities to test the nocturnal bite.

Closer to shore, La Jolla’s border hotspots teem with rockfish, sheep’s heads, whitefish and sculpins for anglers on half-day trips to ¾. From the southern border past Ensenada to Colonet, yellowtail flounder has cleared up and it’s all about rockfish and lingcod right now. Yellowtail flounder gets caught in the area during the winter, but, like in San Diego, is seen as an off-season bonus when going over the rail. Northern Baja, on the Pacific side of the peninsula, closely resembles the fishery from San Diego to the southern Vizcaino Peninsula, with prolific kelp beds containing calico bar, sheep’s head and halibut in the apartments in between. When yellowtail flounder does not migrate, white bass, barracuda, and bonito are the primary catches in the upper water column.

Although the fishing is similar, once south of San Quintin the seasons begin to bow to the next. By the time you get to the last remnants of Guerrero Negro kelp beds in Punta Abreojos about 700 miles south of San Diego, it’s like our summer season right now. Yellowtail flounder is thick in coastal areas, while yellowfin and sea bream can be found on offshore schools within 10 miles of a launch point. Long-haul boats report excellent yellowtail and grouper fishing along this stretch, which they will usually check out on the way back from the ridge or south on trips targeting yellowfin tuna and wahoo.

Back home in the tap, the people of San Diego have much to celebrate. Not exactly known for camping and freshwater fishing, San Diego County stands out in both categories. Eleven of the 25 best largemouth bass caught in the world were fished in San Diego County, and Santee Lakes received the Park of the Year and Plan-It Green Park of the Year award in 2021 by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. .

Although the largemouth bass is not native to California, it appears to do well once introduced to lakes and reservoirs in the Golden State. In San Diego, Dixon, Miramar, Hodges, Wohlford and Morena lakes brought out the biggest fish in the county. With around 11 million anglers targeting them nationwide, largemouth bass are the most sought after game fish in the United States. According to studies by federal fisheries and wildlife officials, these 11 million bass anglers spend 176 million collective days each year trying to catch a bass.

Since San Diego has some of the largest largemouth bass in the world, the region’s lakes are under little pressure compared to other parts of the country where they are targeted. Of those eleven bass fished in San Diego among the top 25 in the world, Miramar produced 5 fish from 19 pounds an ounce to 20 pounds, 15 ounces. Dixon Lake kicked out 3 fish from 19-8 to 21-11, while Hodges, Wohlford and Morena each recorded one bass over 19 pounds caught which made the top 25 in the world.

Santee Lakes did not record any bass in the top 25 in the world, although the park’s five small shore fishing lakes often provide a decent big mouth for those who work the banks and reeds for them. The official Largemouth Bass record for Santee Lakes is still a whopping 15 pounds, 2 ounces. This fish was caught in March of this year in Lake 3 by Braeden Steveson, 15, of Santee. Braeden was throwing a Rat-L-Trap during the afternoon after baseball practice, and to make the catch even more spectacular, he only used a 6-pound test line. According to lake staff, of the 5 lakes in the park, Lake 3 is best for Largemouth Bass. Other lake records at Santee Lakes include a 39.4 pound river catfish and a 16.9 pound rainbow trout.

So although it is the “off season” there is plenty of fishing action here in America’s most beautiful city. Merry Christmas and tight lines!

Fish plants: December 27 – Lake Jennings, trout (1,500), December 30 – Lake Poway, trout (1,500)


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