Mission Bay in San Diego, CA offers a large variety of access for shore fisherman. I say a large variety because there is easy access to sandy flats, rock embankments, docks, jetties and pier fishing. There are a huge variety of fish here which include, Spotted Bay Bass, Stingrays, Shovel nose guitar fish, Halibut, and Leopard Sharks.
There are two major downfalls to the area though. One being that the productivity in the whole bay is heavily influenced by tidal fluctuation. Low tide will prove difficult to find fish that will bite. The second major downfall is that on many days, especially during the summer, there are a lot of boats in the water and people on the beaches. The most aggravating of them all are the jet skiers which seem to show no sign of consideration for fisherman as they zip by sending a knee-high wake mere feet from where your line is set. My recommendation is that you choose a place that sees less traffic or go during a weekday when most people are at work.
Many fishermen use artificial lures to fish the larger area more quickly. For our trip, I chose to relax with some friends on the beach so I didn’t want to have to cast repeatedly into the water. For bait, I originally wanted to catch some ghost shrimp but the tide wasn’t idea for ghost shrimp pumping. I chose frozen sardines as an alternative. Using a Carolina rig and 2/0 hook, I set the 12lbs test leader at about 18 inches from the base of the swivel and used a lead egg sinker with a green bead between the sinker and the swivel.
We moved around a couple of times during the day to avoid the jet skiers and to test different areas. The bites were consistent with the tide. We arrived early morning with the beginning of the incoming tide and were catching fish about every hour. The most fish were caught when the tide was at the peak, around noon. As the tide subsided so did the fishing. At low tide, no fish were caught and so we receded from the beach.
During our time there, we were able to catch some spotted bay bass which were large enough to keep so we fired up the grill, broke out the filet knife, and rubbed the filets down with seasoning for a tasty lunch. All in all, we caught about 17 fish of a variety of species. Oh yeah, don’t forget the sunscreen…