San Diego’s San Vicente Lake was closed to fishing and all other uses for eight years, to raise the height of the dam. In the meantime, the lake’s bass grew wild and uneducated in the ways of the angler. As the reopening date approached, excitement mounted. The city used Ticketmaster to handle the huge demand. Like the hottest of concerts, the opening weekend sold out in five minutes. For those who got in, it was nirvana. The bass bit heavily and frequently.
This is the story of the second weekend, the first chance a group of bass anglers from Hobie HQ had the chance to fish the lake known locally as San V aboard their Mirage Outbacks and Pro Anglers.
The trip came together pretty fast as we were all working up to the days ahead. We gathered our gear and kayaks and camping equipment pretty fast. We drove out to nearby Lake Jennings and rented two camp spots for the two days we would be fishing San Vicente.
After setting up camp, rigging gear and staying up late around the campfire we only slept for about two and one-half hours. We were all amped, dreaming of the fish we’d catch. We drove our vehicles and kayaks down to San Vicente to get in line. The anticipation built. Around sunrise they let us in and we launched with plenty of excitement pumping through our veins in hopes of a great topwater bite in the morning followed by moving out and fishing deeper structure in the afternoon.
The lake has been rising constantly so there is a lot of brush in the water: sagebrush and small trees that inhabit the hillsides around the lake had become sunken structure up to 60 feet deep. The water was so clear, we could see the brush piles 30 feet down.
I moved quietly into a little cut backed by tules, where I threw a topwater rat right up against the brush. I was walking the dog when – thunk! It would get pulled underwater. It was awesome.
I thought that the topwater fishing would be on fire for the day, but it dried up pretty quickly. We switched over to Carolina rigs, Texas rigs and drop shot to fish for the rest of the day. It got hot pretty fast, making me wish I’d brought more water.
We also did pretty well on a shallow water bite in in certain areas in about 10 feet of water throwing weightless seven-inch Senkos. That’s where the stealth of the kayaks came in handy. We’d ease on in. They fish never knew we were there until they were on the hook.
It seems like a lot of the fish were sitting in 20 to 50 feet of water on those brush piles and feeding heavily on crawfish and bluegills. We didn’t see any shad, only some micro bait in certain areas. They were wary from the pounding they’d taken the prior week.
On day one Kevin Nakada was the top angler with about 35 fish, although all of us did pretty well and we all caught about a dozen fish with many fish in the 4- to 5-pound range.
Once we got off the water we spoke to several anglers who fished the first week. They said that the day was very slow compared to the first few days when some people caught over 100 bass. Go figure, there were probably a lot of bass with sore lips the day that we were trying to catch them. Good thing we had our stealthy Hobie MirageDrive kayaks.
Day two came quickly, and my father Trevor Promnitz drove out to join us for a second day of fishing. Again we didn’t sleep very much. We spent our time prepping our gear and woke up early to get in line and stage to get onto the lake. The second day we had honed in our patterns a little bit more and were able to focus on the most productive styles of fishing. Between the four of us we probably ended with around 80 bass collectively with many fish in the 4- to 5-pound range and a 6 and a half pounder caught by Kevin Nakada as the biggest fish of the day on a drop shot rig.
For all the complaints that the second week was much slower, I think we did great. For quality, this is the best bass fishing I’ve ever had in Southern California.