One of the great things about surf fishing in San Diego County is that you’ll likely have the beach to yourself. That sounds crazy in a place that has nearly 4 million people and more in the summer months, but if you plan it right, you’ll have the beach to yourself as you try to fool a long list of ocean fish prowling near shore.
I like to fish an incoming tide early in the morning or late in the day toward sundown if I can time that right. Fewer people, more fish. Check the tides and go from there. It’s also a good idea to scan the beach you intend to fish at low tide to see where the holes or any structure are and where fish might hold when the tide rolls in.
What’s great about fishing the surf is you never know what you’ll catch. The list includes barred surfperch, walleye surfperch, yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker, corbina, halibut, bat rays, leopard sharks and shovelnose guitarfish.
Surf Fishing Spots
My first experience surf fishing in San Diego was years ago when I was talked into venturing to Black’s Beach. It was a nude beach then, still is, but the fishing down there has always been exceptional. Yes, there are distractions, but remember, the fishing is good. We used heavy gear and shucked mussels that we pried away from the nearby rocks for bait. We caught barred surfperch and corbina. I hooked my first California halibut, but it got off my line just as I was about to beach it. Halibut must be 22 inches long to be kept, and this one qualified by the looks of it. That’s my story, anyway.
Some of my favorite beaches include Coronado, the Silver Strand and Imperial Beach, Mission Beach (south at the Jetty or near the Roller Coaster early in the morning), Torrey Pines State Park and the Oceanside area.
Surf Fishing Gear
There are many ways to go about surf fishing, but I’ve narrowed it to three.
You can use heavier, conventional gear and go with a rod holder and just kick back and wait for something to bite and get your reel screaming. Heavier gear like a 9-foot rod and Abu 5000 reel will allow you to make a cast far enough beyond the breakers to catch some really big beach dwellers like a halibut, shark or white seabass.
A second way, and this is really the most fun, is to take the equivalent of light gear for freshwater bass and walk the shoreline looking for finning or darting corbina in the shadows. I prefer that way, more of a stalk and find and then cast. You don’t need much to fish the surf this way. I like to use a 7- to 10-foot rod, a good, solid saltwater resistant spinning reel with 6- to 10-pound test and a small bait hook to hold a sand crab that I dig out of the surf, or mussels, squid, ghost shrimp or blood worms. Artificial baits like Berkley Gulp baits work well, too. The motor oil with red flake grub is the standard. And hard lures like Kastmasters or Krocadiles can land some bigger fish like a halibut, striped bass or even a cruising shark or two.
Fly Fishing Gear
A third way it to use fly fishing gear, a method that has gained in popularity in recent years. One group sponsored a One Fly Tournament in which all the fly fishermen entered in the tournament picked one fly, but as soon as that fly broke off or was lost, the angler had to quit fishing.
A 5- or 6-weight rod is all you need in the surf here, and I’ve known some fly fishermen who drop down to a 4-weight. You’ll need a good, anodized reel with a sealed drag to prevent saltwater damage to the reel. The reel should be able to hold 100 yards of backing. A fast-sinking, integrated shooting head such as a Rio Striper 26DC will get the fly down in the rough surf line. Use 6- to 8-pound test monofilament with three, to four feet of fluorocarbon line, of similar pound-test, for leader. Any fly with red or orange will work, but some of the best include a red Clouser, a Rootbeer Surf Rat or a Solis Foxy Crab, Piconi Power Red or Piconi Power Orange, Corbina Candy, Darter Perch and a Swimming Sand Crab. Be sure and include a stripping basket for the line to make things easier walking the beach. Polarized glasses, a good beach hat, waders (in the winter) and some good sunscreen will complete the outfitting.
Surf Fishing Resources
Recent ocean closures ordered by the Marine Life Protection Act have shut off some beach areas to fishing, so be sure and check the regulations. Also, you need a fishing license and an Ocean Enhancement Stamp to fish Southern California waters.
Where’s your favorite place for surf fishing in San Diego?
As little ghosts and goblins come out to play and traipse from house to house in their sugar-fueled quest on October 31, it’s hard for the grown-ups not to feel just a little bit envious. Just because we’ve grown older doesn’t mean we have outgrown our sweet tooths (well, some of us, anyway)!
If you’re looking for a little sweet indulgence this Halloween, fear not – San Diego offers some diabolically delicious holiday treats sure to delight those too old for trick or treating.
No trick here: Halloween cocktails have seized San Diego. This Halloween, adults can do some drink-or-treating around downtown by hopping between hot spots offering spooktacular cocktails.
At Whisky Girl, ghouls and guests can choose from the Wolfman, a chocolate martini with vanilla vodka, the Frankenstein with Malibu, melon, blue Curacao, pineapple juice and whipped cream, and the Dracula served with a single shot of rumplemintz, a splash of cream and grenadine.
At the Grant Grill in the US Grant Hotel, the Smashing Pumpkin martini is a delicious mix of pumpkin and star anise infused rum, Grand Marnier, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and fresh meyer lemon.
If you’re not too squeamish, try the Femur Shot at Searsucker, a concoction of coconut, lime and vodka served in steer femur bones and designed to be sucked out, bone marrow style.
Crazy for Candy
If liquid treats just won’t cut it and only the real thing will do, die-hard candy loving adults won’t be disappointed this Halloween.
Chocolate aficionados should head straight to Eclipse Chocolat in North Park. Exotic flavor combinations are offered daily, but seasonal specials include the Pumpkin Muscavado truffle and Spiced Pumpkin cupcake, a decadent chocolate cake filled with pumpkin butter and topped in a dark chocolate ganache and grains of paradise (said to taste like a mix between pepper, ginger and cardamom).
If waiting for Halloween to roll around each year is simply too long to wait to get your candy fix, at Alchemy of the Hearth in San Marcos, candy lovers can learn to make sweet treats at home with classes that teach the secrets to creating toffees, caramels, lollipops and even candy apples.
How will you indulge your sweet tooth this Halloween?
October is a great month for families to visit San Diego County museums and attractions – because at many of them, kids under 12 get in free all month-long. About two dozen museums and attractions are participating. It’s a great opportunity for families to learn about art, history or science in a fun and interactive environment. Up to two children get in free with each paying adult. The freebie is for general admission and doesn’t apply to field trips or special events and exhibitions. Make sure to print the require coupon!
Did you want to try second restaurant or did procrastinate for too long and now can’t get a reservation for the last night of restaurant week? Well fear not, San Diego Restaurant Week has been extended for a second week running from September 25th to the 30th, 2011. Now you have no excuse.
The birthplace of California Cuisine may be attributed to Berkeley, but San Diego chefs are pushing the envelope of culinary innovation, fusing the freshest local ingredients with unexpected influences, and creating dishes that are as unique as the destination itself. Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to take in some of the freshest and most inventive flavors that San Diego has to offer.
George’s California Modern
If you look up “California” or “seasonal” cuisine, there should be a photo of Trey Foshee. For over a decade, the award-winning chef of George’s California Modern has been reinventing California Cuisine season after season, creating dishes that you just can’t find anywhere else. Using ingredients that are only at the peak of season, the menu changes as offerings at local markets do.
From the Restaurant Week menu, I would recommend starting with the Chino Farms Tomato Salad. What is likely the highest honor for a tomato, perfectly vine ripe picks from Chino Farms are presented with fresh basil and artfully prepared eggplant romanesco. For the main course, go with the Local White Seabass served with artichokes, baby leeks, fennel, pan con tomato, all finished in black olive oil and preserved lemon, this dish will have you savoring the last bit of San Diego’s summer. End with the Souffle Cheesecake that’ll make you want to lick the plate (but please don’t). The combination of rich cream cheese ice cream with the deep flavor of matcha streusel, all balanced with the sprite fragrance of yuzu curd and sweet Chino Farms strawberries, this fresh take on the classic soufflé will make your taste buds soar.
FLAVOR Del Mar
This is the perfect occasion to try Del Mar’s hottest new restaurant. Nestled atop Del Mar Plaza with a pitch perfect ocean view, dining at FLAVOR is a full sensory experience. Acclaimed chef Jason Maitland offers a youthful and inspired approach to California Cuisine, creating a simple, yet unique blend of flavors and fragrances that are as fresh as the Pacific breeze.
Kick off your meal with the Tiger Prawn Ceviche, done up FLAVOR style with a confetti of cherry tomatoes, capers, cucumber, feta cheese. For the main course, try the Slow Cooked Scottish King Salmon, served with an immaculate ginger-soy sauce that perfectly complements the sweet and tender salmon. For dessert, go for the sweet and creamy Corn Panna Cotta, served with crème Anglaise, macadamia nut brittle, and white peach sorbet.
Before acquiring my deep knowledge of California Cuisine (last week when I got this assignment), my impression of it was the classic Surf-n-Turf: succulent seafood and savory steaks, complemented with the finest California wines, enjoyed over sweeping ocean views in a pair of flip-flops. It turns out I wasn’t too far off. If you’re looking for the best Surf-n-Turf experience, seek no further than Cohn Restaurant Group’s inspired pier-front establishment in Oceanside, 333 Pacific.
After a walk on the Oceanside pier, warm up with the Sweet Potato Bisque with peppar vodka cream that’ll have you glowing like the sunset view from their patio. For the main course, go for 12-ounce Boneless Ribeye, an immaculate cut grilled to perfection, served with fried leeks and horseradish mashed potatoes. If you’re in the mood for a fresh catch from the surf, try the Pecan Encrusted Sea Bass with edamame bean succotash and roasted fingerling potatoes. And for dessert, what could be more classic than a Cinnamon Apple Tart, à la mode?
San Diego Restaurant Week ends Friday, September 23, so get out there treat your senses to San Diego’s best California Cuisine!
Saturday, September 24 is National Museum Day, an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors for Free to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. You must register on the Smithsonian magazine website in order to receive the Museum Day ticket.
It’s a great opportunity to visit a museum you’ve never been to, or visit your favorite. I’ll be trying the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas…where will you go?
Below is a list of participating museums and be sure to bring your Museum Day ticket with you for your free admission.
- Barona Cultural Center & Museum – Lakeside
- Lux Art Institute – Encinitas
- Marston House Museum – San Diego
- Mingei International Museum – San Diego
- Museum of Making Music – Carlsbad
- Museum of Photographic Arts – San Diego
- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center – San Diego
- San Diego Air and Space Museum – San Diego
- San Diego Archaeological Center – San Diego
- San Diego Botanic Garden – Encinitas
- San Diego Chinese Historical Museum – San Diego
- San Dieguito Heritage Museum – Encinitas
- The Adobe Chapel Museum – San Diego
- The Whaley House Museum – San Diego
In celebration of San Diego Arts Month, let’s trek into San Diego’s backcountry where the art scene is as diverse as the topography. From pop art to pioneer museums, there’s a plethora of fascinating art finds. Following are some of my favorites:
- The Galleta Meadows Sculpture Installations in Borrego Springs (along Borrego Springs Rd.) are TV’s “Land of the Lost” come to life! Dozens of metallic dino-type creatures and other wild animals roam freely through the desert landscape. Artist Ricardo Breceda’s newest, largest and most wondrous creation: A 350-foot long Chinese dragon!
- Two more roadside pop art wonders that are definitely worth the drive: Rancheti Big Foot sculpture in Ranchita (on the way to Borrego Springs) and the World’s Largest Lemonsculpture in Lemon Grove.
- Tucked away in the Julian hillsides is San Diego’s own Barcelona of the backcountry: James Hubbell House and Studios, a 40-acre arts complex showcasing the fantastical designs of artist/sculptor/architect extraordinaire James Hubbell, considered “San Diego’s Gaudi.” Group tours are available by appointment.
- Speaking of Julian, their popular annual apple harvest is just around the corner (mid-Sept. through mid-Nov.). Head to Raven Hill Orchard to not only pick apples from an orchard of 8,000 trees with seven varieties of apples(!), but also stroll through a marvelous outdoor gallery of sculptures by accomplished artist Patrick Brady.
- East County’s Wild West culture of cowboys, pioneers and prospectors who set their sights on this vast inviting frontier comes alive at the Julian Pioneer Museum, features gold mining equipment, Native-American artifacts, animal and bird mountings, an original “Julian City” buggy and sleigh, Victorian clothing and one of the finest collections of lace in California.
- Giddyup to the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Centerin downtown El Cajon to view dozens of paintings by nationally renowned artist Olaf Wieghorst, portraying the 19th century American West, including cowboys, Native Americans and pioneer settlers.
- For the Native American perspective, the Barona Cultural Center & Museumis a must-see; San Diego’s only museum on an Indian reservation dedicated to the perpetuation and presentation of local Native-American culture, including handmade pottery, reed baskets, paintings, arrowheads and other artifacts dating as far back as 10,000 years!
- Modern art aficionados will want to check out El Cajon’s burgeoning Art Gallery Walk on Main Street downtown (between 120 and 140 E. Main), including the fabulous new Studio C Contemporary, Silver Creek Fine Art, Main Street 5 Gallery, The Rich Artist Studio, White Sage Gallery and Merkabah Gallery.
LEGOLAND California announced yesterday that plans for a three-story LEGOLAND Hotel are underway. Slated to open Summer 2013 on the site of the current LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad, the LEGOLAND Hotel will be the first of its kind in North America.
Like LEGOLAND California and the SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium, the hotel will be designed for families with young children and will feature rooms and suites themed after the most popular LEGOLAND areas. The 250-room LEGO-themed hotel will feature brightly colored LEGO décor, a pool, and restaurant.
The Museum of Contemporary Art takes a breath this summer with the exhibition High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s and you can, too, through September 5. Presenting mostly formalist selections from the museum’s permanent collection, the survey’s consistency emits minimal distortion, contrasted with the intensity of its predecessors Mexico: Expected/Unexpected and Here Not There: San Diego Art Now.
Centered on the time, the show is as much about a reconfiguration of space. The galleries seem airier with their two-dimensional focus. Even selected work by Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Robert Cornell Modification, Rabbit), is framed, not shadowboxed, and Martin’s Untitled progressively disappears in patches in characteristic Martin fashion. Time’s passage, or timelessness, becomes most apparent, however, peering at the horizon through Robert Irwin’s punctured window, 1°2°3°4°, 10 years since its last installation.
High Fidelity portrays the era as a thoughtful one, with a definite counterpoint to abstract expressionism. John Altoon, Robert Irwin, and John McLaughlin explore surface tension, positive and negative space, and limits or edge of painting, while Sol Lewitt, Alfred Jensen, and Donald Judd employ systems to determine their compositions. In the company of their art, the work of Vija Celmins, Bruce Connor, Edward Keinholz and John Baldessari, defined as “grittier and more informal,” become almost polite.
Previews of the must-see fall exhibition Phenomenal: California Light, Space and Surface will be available at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Kettner location until its official opening at both venues on September 25. Irwin’s work returns for this show, with the perceptual experiments of Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Bruce Nauman, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler. Phenomenal is part of “Pacific Standard Time”, a major region-wide initiative funded and spearheaded by the Getty Foundation; more than 50 cultural institutions across Southern California will tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.