Friday, July 1, 2016

Mission Bay night and day

You can probably see a pattern with my California fishing excursions.  I was working full time during the weekdays and spending most of my free time with Ruoxi, so fishing was kept to short sessions every few days.  Ruoxi joined me for some; others I did by myself.

On the first of July we drove down to Mission Bay to enjoy the nice weather and soak a few baits.  I used two rods, one with a larger hook and bait for sharks or rays, and a smaller one for whatever else might be around.  Other than a few juvenile bass, the bite was pretty slow.  It was several hours before my larger bait got picked up.  It turned out to be a small but surprisingly strong bat ray.

Bat Ray (Myliobatis californica)
Either I didn't pick a good spot or it was just a slow night, because my only other catch was a round stingray.  You can't tell from this photo, but it was really whipping it's tail around!  I was careful with both of the rays, because I really didn't want to add a stingray sting to my much longer than it should be list of fishing injuries.

Round Stingray (Urobatis halleri)
The next morning I woke up early and went back to Mission Bay while Ruoxi slept in.  Tom wanted to fish for bass, and he invited me to join him at one of his productive spots.  I arrived a half hour before he did and began casting a silver spoon.  It wasn't getting hit, but when Tom showed up I caught one small bass with it.  Tom suggested I switch to one of his swimbaits, and right away I began hooking up with more fish.

Spotted Sand Bass (Paralabrax maculatofasciatus) - new hook & line species #340
It was amazing how many fish we caught from what looked like a featureless beach.  The patches of sea grass were full of bass waiting to ambush unsuspecting bait fish.  Tom's swimbaits were perfect for getting them to come out and strike.

The bass fishing was great, but of course I was itching to see some diversity.  Eventually Tom caught something else, a small California halibut.  It hit a swimbait that seemed much too large for it!  I was hoping for one as well, but didn't get lucky this time.

California Halibut (Paralichthys californicus)

As the morning continued, more and more people began to show up, both on the beach and on the water.  Anglers and non-anglers don't mix very well in southern California for some reason.  It seems a lot of people don't understand the idea that anglers would like a bit of space.  We were also pulling in more and more "salad", so we decided it was a good time to pack up and call it a day.

But first I had to catch one more bass.  Thanks for inviting me out again Tom!

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