My husband Orvis Boy...  I bought him a pair of Cathcarts and he lives in the goddamn things.  I can't take him anywhere and I don't.
California Dreaming: On Such a Winter’s Day

While the love of my life was struggling with the rain soaked Puget Sound winter; streams swollen from another storm and warm weather, our daughter’s dirty diapers, and few hatchery steelhead, I was in sunny Southern California.  San Diego to be exact.

I had come down early for a business conference to hook up with San Diego’s favorite son, Bill Schaeffer.  Bill is a tournament bass angler, both fresh and salt water who now guides exclusively in the San Diego area.  Bill’s real forte is salt water bass fishing.  He has put his expertise to the test in the last Six San Diego Open Salt Water Bass Tournaments and has placed in the top 5 every year.  Well, he placed 2nd a lot, always a bridesmaid aye Bill??
Bill Schaefer's awesome boat versus the Pelican that shit all over Bill Schaefer's awesome boat...  Do you think the boyz fed it Alka Seltzer afterwards?  Inquiring minds want to know...
He showed promptly in the wee hours of the morning, maintaining that the high tide and the winds were better met in these hours.  His 22 foot Skeeter armed with a 200 hp Yamaha looked like a  morph between a fresh water bass boat and an open water console craft.  When Bill explained the genesis of the craft it turned out to be just that.

We hit San Diego Bay and proceeded to go to the open water to an artificial reef south of San Diego.  Bill had rigged up Daiwa 7’6” flippin’ sticks with Daiwa Millionaire Reels and 10 lb test line.  We were going for large bass and he did not want anything to go awry.  The lure of choice was a lead head jig with a large brown grub inserted on it.  The key was to read the current, read the wind and get the perfect drift over the “Opportunity Area”.  Once Bill had set it up it was all up to me to produce.  Which was quite simple: Cast over the “Opportunity Area”, let the jig settle to the bottom, let some line spool out to get a rounded retrieve and then start the retrieve.  The retrieve was a steady retrieve that pulled the lure slowly across the bottom.  The jig tail enticed the fish to strike.

Of course that is the theory.  What really happened is I spewed line for ever, had the nastiest bird’s nests known to human kind, grabbed the bottom, jerked off fish and had my grub’s tail bitten off more times than I’ve had a Big Mac (I’m 40 and love McDonalds)  Through it all Bill remained cool and led me back to basics:

“Cast out.  Far. Put your thumb on the spool idiot.
Next time you get the spinning reel.  You’re lucky this time.
Now, let it settle to the bottom.  Slowly retrieve along the bottom.

You’ll know when you hook one!!”

And I did.

Calico Bass and Sand Bass ranging from 2 to 6 pounds attacked the grubs.  Even with my poor technique Bill guided me into some Ling Cods that had to be upwards of 6 pounds.
My thumb was bleeding from lipping them.  Bill must have calluses on his thumb.
Why is Orvis Boy smiling so much?

Could it be because he has finally seen the sun and his body has soaked up so many rays that they are making his teeth glow?

Could it be because this is his first aquatic being he caught on his fly rod?

I know!

Could it be because he's spent a glorious week away from Angie? 

I bet that's what it is...
Now For The Next Day.

The next day we went out to the bay  rather than the ocean.  Bill had assured me of action on the flats and the action, unlike the Oakland Raider’s offence, was not wanting.

We spooled up with Daiwa rods and reels spun with Scientific Anglers Floating line (why again, is it because bill is sponsored by Daiwa???  I use GLOOMIS and ORVIS products… oh yeah! Bill is sponsored by Daiwa!!).  Being a snob I first cast the rod with disdain.  After all, I am ORVIS BOY.  After a few casts I felt in synch (no not like some gay boy band) with the rod and started to punch out some casts.

It wasn’t long until a small sea bass found my lime green weighted clouser.  He hit like a ton of bricks and started to dig into the bottom.  I masterfully played the fish and brought him to bear so as not to exhaust him.  Of course Bill has another opinion but luckily it is I writing this and not him.

We spent the morning catching 1 – 2 pound Sea Bass in shallow water ( 3 – 8 feet deep) well within the city limits of San Diego and had a blast.  On a fly rod these fish are FUN!  Of course that may just be my affinity for fly fishing showing through…. But Bill did remind me that at any time we could have caught a Cordido, a Corbindo, a Halibut (albeit a small one) or…..   a 1 – 3 lb breathtaking bonefish.

Bill catches a few a year up in  the Oh! So! Cold! San Diego waters.
Needless to say, Bill and I will hook up again in the future.  I’m thinkin’ albacore with flies…  I hope Bill is too…
March/April 2003 Issue
About the Cover
Photo by Dennis Burlason
Western Staff Writer Bill Schaefer shows what Southern California salt water bassin' is all about - scenic settings and monster Calico bass. Schaefer's eight-pounder munched a live sardine off Mexico's Coronado Islands, just south of San Diego
Finding yourself stuck in San Diego for a few days?  Go hook up with Bill Schaefer he'll take you out for a heck of a time.  Just check out his web site and find out what's going on for the season...
Click here to go check