Brent Bernasconi

5 Ways to Beat the Heat in Sunny San Diego

Beat the Heat at the Beach in San Diego
Beat the Heat at the Beach in San Diego

Beat the Heat at the Beach in San Diego

The best remedy to beat the heat? An escape to sunny San Diego! Here are five great ways to cool off while still enjoying the sunshine:

1. Get Wet!

What’s a quick way of cooling down? Jumping into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean! With over 70 miles of beaches, there is certainly enough room for everyone to spread out their towels, put up an umbrella and run into the water catch some waves.

Speaking of catching waves, kids of all ages love trying to surf or boogie board on the Flowbarrel and Flowrider at the Wave House in Belmont Park.

Add some excitement to your water adventures by cooling off in a lazy river or on a humongous water slide at one of San Diego’s waterparks including LEGOLAND Water Park and The Wave in North County and the brand new SeaWorld Aquatica in South Bay.

2. Get Under the Water

Dive under the surface and explore the world underneath the water. La Jolla Cove offers some of the best snorkeling in San Diego with an abundance of marine life. During the summer, the waters of the cove become home to leopard sharks, but don’t worry they are not aggressive and are amazing to watch as they swim along the cove’s floor.

You can really beat the heat by scuba diving along the La Jolla Canyon, an area under the water rich with life and plenty of places to explore. To get the most out of La Jolla Canyon, it’s best to dive with a seasoned tour company like OEX Dive & Kayak Center.

3. Get Over the Water

Cool off with ocean breezes and explore the waters of San Diego on a surfboard, kayak or standup paddleboard. And who cares if you get splashed or fall in, the water will just help you beat the heat.

Really feel the refreshing ocean air while taking plenty of pictures of the San Diego coastline on a cruise over the bay and Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of options for any group including leisure cruises, speedboats and jet skis.

4. Get Air-Conditioned Entertainment

Sometimes you just need to stay out of the sun for a while and enjoy the luxury of air-conditioning! But instead of just sitting in a large room staring at the wall, why not cool off inside with entertaining live theatre, amazing exhibits and educational fun at local museums, aliens and explosions at a movie theater, or just relaxing at one of the San Diego County cool zones.

5. Get an Ice Cream and/or Beer

Nothing says summer like ice cream, popsicles and other chilly treats. Let everyone pick out their favorite flavors and then find a nice shaded spot to relax and beat the heat.

For those over 21, spend the afternoon sampling San Diego’s amazing and cold craft beer. Stay safe and visit a few breweries on a beer tour. Best part…the tour busses and vans are air-conditioned!

Tips to Beat the Heat

Please remember to stay safe while you are out enjoying San Diego’s warm weather. Always drink plenty of water, regularly apply sunscreen, wear a hat and lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to protect your skin, and take regular breaks from the sun by relaxing in the shade or indoors.

What’s your favorite way to beat the heat in San Diego?

Martin

Surf Fishing San Diego County’s Beaches

Man with his catch after surf fishing
Man with his catch after surf fishing

Catch dinner right on the shores of San Diego

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.

Heavy Gear

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.

Light Gear

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.

A couple of resources include www.scsurfishing.com or check Peter Piconi’s shop, SoCal Fly Fishing Outfitters in Liberty Station in Point Loma.

> Discover more great fishing spots in San Diego

Where’s your favorite place for surf fishing in San Diego?

Chris

Dive Along the Underwater Canyon Walls of San Diego’s La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Canyon School of Fish

An Abundance of Marine Life in the La Jolla Canyon. Photo Courtesy of OEX Dive & Kayak

Head to La Jolla Shores for a dive along the wall of La Jolla Canyon and witness the abundance of sea life unlike any other place in California. Add to that the constant reshaping of the canyon wall by the ocean and you have a fascinating area to dive whether you dive it once or several thousand times.

Below are a few highlights under the water of La Jolla Shores.

The Amphitheater

Depending on where you enter the water, you can dive a site known locally as the Amphitheatre, where you’ll find a sheer, semi-circle wall that descends from approximately 60 feet down to a depth of 110 feet or thereabouts.

South Wall

At the South Wall, you’ll find tiny Red Octopus, holes filled with lobsters so thick they’re stacked on top of one another, and yellow and white Gorgonian Sea Fans.

Vallecitos Point

Vallecitos Point, a popular destination directly out from the entry point at the foot of Vallecitos Street, teams with marine life including San Diego Dorids, Salted Dorids and other Nudibranchs, Sarcastic Fringeheads, Blue Banded and Black Eyed Gobies, Barred Sand Bass, Painted Greenlings and the occasional Sheephead.

The Secret Garden

For those possessing an Advanced Open Water diver certification or higher, there is the not so ‘Secret Garden‘ rich with Red Gorgonians.

> Explore More Diving Areas at SanDiego.org

Have you been down the wall in La Jolla Canyon? If not, where is your favorite place to dive in San Diego?

Martin

Sportfishing in San Diego: Hoop-Netting California Spiny Lobsters

Jim White Hoop-Netts California Spiny Lobsters

I pulled a unique double recently, and the two activities can only be done in the winter in San Diego. I mean, where else can you play 18 holes at Torrey Pines Golf Course, and then go hoop-netting for spiny lobsters in the evening?

The golf was predictably average for the 10-handicaper I am. But we did have an early tee time, hitting off the first tee as the moon set over the glistening Pacific Ocean. As day broke, we enjoyed incredible weather with the temperature eventually reaching into the 70’s by mid-morning. This is February in San Diego.

Much less predictable than my score on the green is the fishing. And despite a challenging tide that night, the conditions were very good for what some call “red gold,” California’s spiny lobsters. “We depend on Mother Nature out here, folks,” said Capt. Chuck Taft as he steered his sport boat, the Alicia, to the lobster grounds in San Diego Bay. “We depend on the tide and the lobsters. Tonight, we have a very tough tide, a King tide, the highest of the season. There’s a nearly full moon, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

The process of catching these sea critters is simple, thanks to the way Taft and Caslin have the boat set up. They do the bulk of the work, setting the baited hoop nets in a line as the night begins. That nearly full moon I saw over Torrey Pines earlier in the day now was rising in the east over the San Diego skyline. That’s the bonus of these evening trips, it’s a San Diego you don’t see anywhere else but right there in the Big Bay.

But the real bonus is the catch, tasty lobsters that you can take with you and either tail them and freeze to take home in a small cooler, or make a deal with the hotel where you’re staying to get them cooked up. Hooping for lobsters is about as much fun as you can have on the water off of San Diego.

Our group kept 22 lobsters for the night, but we caught and released four to five times that many because they were undersized after Caslin measured them. It takes lobsters six to seven years to grow to legal size, so the 80 to 100 or so that we released will live to grow bigger.

Tell us in the comments below, where is your favorite place to go fishing in San Diego…

Cost and Other Information

  • What: Hoop-netting California spiny lobsters aboard a sport boat out of Point Loma. Lobsters average around 1¼ pounds, but 5- to 9-pounders have been caught.
  • Location: San Diego Bay, Zuniga Jetty, usually flat-calm water.
  • Cost: $55 per hoop, but boats are limited to 10 hoops. A California fishing license is required. Cost is $14.40 for a one-day license and $9.21 for a Lobster Report Card that is good until December 31. Food and drinks – hamburgers, soda, beer, water and chips and candy bars – on the boat are extra. Trips leave at 7:00 pm and return around 1:00 am, depending on the fishing.
  • What to bring: Small cooler for lobsters. Good pair of waterproof gloves. Warm clothes for the cooler temperatures over the water at night. Camera to take shots of the San Diego Skyline from the Big Bay and of the lobsters.
Benjamin Eastman

Beach Nightlife in San Diego

Club Tremors

As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, the beauty of San Diego’s nightlife scene is that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re wearing your best Sean John outfit or would rather party it up in your boardshorts and a t-shirt, San Diego has a place for you to wile the night away. Looking specifically at the more relaxed, beach nightlife of Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, there are a number of great options.

Pacific Beach

Referred to by locals as PB, Pacific Beach is known as the premier hangout region for the under 25-crowd. PB is full of bars, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, bars….did I mention bars?

Club Tremors

Club Tremors

Probably the most well-known venue in PB is the PB Bar & Grill/Club Tremors. Part bar/restaurant, part nightclub, PB Bar & Grill caters to all aspects of a great nightlife experience – food, drinks and dancing. With an incredibly active weekly lineup, you can go to PBB&G any night of the week for a good time (Monday Karaoke, Taco Tuesday, Thirsty Thursdays, etc.)

JRDN

For those looking for a more upscale option in PB, head over to the Tower 23 Hotel and their JRDN restaurant/bar. Located along the PB boardwalk, JRDN has an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean with a relaxed but upbeat atmosphere.  On a warm, beautiful evening (and let’s be honest, that describes most evenings in San Diego) you’ll find locals and tourists alike lounging on JRDN’s outdoor patio enjoying the restaurant’s upbeat music, fantastic decor (think color changing wall wave-like mosaic) and amazing sunset views.

Mission Beach

More of a residential area, Mission Beach does have a few great spots for those seeking a more relaxed night of entertainment including the notable Belmont Park. The historic wooden roller coaster, easily seen from afar, is Belmont Park’s iconic centerpiece, however the fun carnival-style games and rides are really what make the night a blast (think bumper cars, rides that flip you around/upside down, mirror mazes and big pretzels). Scream your lungs out as you ride the Giant Dipper roller coaster or my personal favorites – the Octotron and Beach Blaster.

Concert at the Wavehouse

After bringing out your inner child at Belmont Park, pop on over to the Wavehouse right next door to find several flowboarding areas – including Bruticus Maximus, which produces 10-foot waves via 100,000 gallons of water being pumped into the ride per minute. Try your hand out at flowboarding or just watch some of the local pros flip, twist and amaze the audience. With an awesome music scene, firepits, hammocks, picnic tables and awesome views of the Mission Beach boardwalk and the Pacific Ocean, Wavehouse has a great casual vibe, especially enjoyable during the summer months.

Ocean Beach

Referred to by locals as OB, Ocean Beach is known for its hippy culture. OB prides itself on not taking itself too seriously and the nightlife definitely maintains a cool, relaxed state at a handful of dive bars, restaurants and hole-in-the-wall music venues.

Winston's OB

Winston's OB

Personal favorites for a night of fun dining are OB Noodle House, Bo-beau Kitchen + Bar (great french fusion cuisine), the fish tacos at South Beach (which is just steps from the beach) and the beer lover’s favorite, Pizza Port. For those craving some tunes, head over to Winston’s – a dive bar/club featuring live music, DJs or comedy just about every night of the week.

Brent Bernasconi

Exploring San Diego Bay in a Speed Boat

Yesterday, San Diego Speed Boat Adventures invited a few ConVis folks to spend the afternoon jetting around and exploring San Diego bay in a speed boat. How can you say no to that?

After our guide Tommy gave us the safety speech and showed us the route, we boarded our speedboats (which can hold 2 comfortably and up to 3 if needed) and pushed off from Harbor Island. Once out in the open water, Tommy gave the signal and I threw the throttle forward to speed across the open waters.

Tommy led us throughout the bay all while telling us interesting tidbits as we sped by. We stop by a dock to check out the sunning and lazy sealions, explored the coasts of Coronado and Downtown, went under the front of the USS Midway (which looks even bigger when seen at water level), saw the Maritime Museum’s collection of ships and as a special bonus, went past the visiting Chilean tall-ship, the Esmeralda.

Of course one of the best parts was just being out on the water with the sun shining, the wind in my face and the occasional mist (hence not much footage of the boat at full speed, iPhones and water do not mix) from the boat settling on the water to cool me off. My hair was definitely wind-blown by the time we docked back on Harbor Island.

These speed boats are a great way to see San Diego’s waterfront from a whole different perspective. During the summer, San Diego Speed Boat Adventures offers tours starting at 9:00 am with the last one leaving at 5:00 pm. During the winter, the last tour leaves at 3:00 pm.

So what are you waiting for, book your speed boat adventure now at www.speedboatadventures.com or call 619-294-5852.

Let me know in the comments your favorite way to get around on the water? Are you a sailboat, water ski, speed boat, kayak or other person?

Brent Bernasconi

OB’s Dog Beach Has National Recognition

DSC_6863

Dog Beach in Ocean Beach. Photo courtesy of SneakyMoose.

I know my dog loves going to the dog beach in Ocean beach. The area is huge allowing him to run in the sand and the water while my wife and I can keep our eyes on him. MSN recently highlighted dog parks and beaches throughout the country and of course ocean beach made the list:

San Diego, Calif.
Sometimes a dog just has to go to the beach. Soak in some rays, get in a swim, dig in the sand. At gorgeous Ocean Beach, there’s a strip of sand and water set aside especially for dogs and people to play together, off leash and loving it, 24 hours a day.

When the waves are up, you’ll see surfers out at Dog Beach Break, where the famous Rocky the Surfing Dog once rode the waves (as recounted in the 1994 film “Endless Summer II”). Dogs have been frolicking there since at least 1972, when the town council formally recognized it, making Dog Beach one of the oldest leash-free dog parks in the nation.

You can read the actual article here.

Where is your favorite dog friendly area in San Diego?