Thursday was the day that I've been waiting for since I was a kid. 8 years ago, San Vicente reservoir was officially closed to the public, as they began working on the dam, raising its capacity level by 117 ft from its original size of 220ft. Thursday was the opening day for this jewel that is buried in the hills of Lakeside, CA, and I was blessed to have been there to witness it all unfold.
First and foremost, I want to emphasize how efficiently the lake staff executed and operated, during what I envisioned to be an extremely chaotic opening day. They all contributed immensely to making sure that everybody was happy and that there were minimal issues. All I saw throughout the day were rods doubled over and smiling faces.
We had a group of 5 people in a 16-foot center console. It was Michael Tran, Rolly Talampas, Gino Perez, Manny Timothy, and myself. If you had seen our set up on the water, you would've swore that we were going out to the 9-mile bank, in search of tuna. With 30 plus setups, a determined and optimistic attitude, and a plethora of baits that could last an angler a lifetime, we hit the water, ready to do some serious damage.
The weather was not on our side. The wind was blowing from the moment we launched, which was at about 8:00AM. The launching process obviously took sometime, but it was extremely well organized, and it was executed with essentially no issues. The lake staff directed the boaters accordingly, and walked everyone through the proper routes. The launch ramp is huge, especially in comparison to the rest of our San Diego lakes. They let boats up to the actual ramp in what seemed to be groups of 10 so that it minimized any potential problems.
As the saying goes, "I threw everything except the kitchen sink". This was true for us, except for the fact that we threw the sink, dishwasher and the fridge, all of which the fish gladly ate. The fishing was good. We easily put over a hundred fish in the boat, the majority of the fish being the typical San Vicente 4lb-5lb clone. They ate everything and anything we threw at them. This included swimbaits, frogs, topwater, Alabama rig, jigs, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, dropshot, texas rig, in additional to several more baits. Our biggest bag of 5 fish went 30+, and we had a handful of those exact bags. As I had mentioned, the vast majority of the bass caught were more or less the same size.
We caught fish as shallow as 2 ft. and as deep as 70ft, so there wasn't as much of "finding a pattern" as one may think. While having a decent fish finder can help navigate through the water and potentially find bait and fish, it can especially help on a lake that is relatively new, a lake with the immense amount of structure that San Vicente has. I say that in the sense that, since the closing of the lake 8 years ago, plus the water level going up a tremendous volume, it has allowed remarkable amounts of new structure to appear, giving the fish new areas to congregate around. However, due to the abundance of structure around the lake, you could get away without a fish finder, simply by finding any visible trees, brush, drop offs, or coves, points, and secondary points.
The setups I used varied. For crankbaits, I threw the Cousins GRB 793PT. For jigs, I went with the Cousins GMB 734FT. The vast majority of my plastics, I threw on my Cousins GMB 752FPT. All of my heavier swimbaits, rats, and King Daddy frog, I went with my Cousins RSWB 807PT. In terms of line, these fish were not line sensitive for us. I threw P-Line TCB with a short fluorocarbon leader, depending on the application that I was using.
This was a once in a lifetime experience that I'm extremely blessed to have been a part of. The lake staff did a great job of making this whole process go as smoothly as possible. From the staging to the launch, to the ticket procurement, everything was up to par. There was also some pretty good fishing going on, but I think you guys got the memo on that part of the report.
Get out there while the fishing is world class and get yours in! Good luck!