Hiking and fishing are two things I can’t go without! The long 600-mile stretch of coastline highway in California ( Highway 1) and the Eastern foothills are strewn with trails ranging from basic to advance, and some lead to pristine fresh and saltwater angling. I’m talking of course about San Francisco Bay Area, otherwise known as the Bay. If you’re planning a trip here, don’t overlook these special locations cherished by anglers, fitness freaks, and adventure junkies. ( Don’t worry – no secret waterholes will be divulged!)
Mori Point, Pacifica
Mori point offers both intense hiking and prime surf angling on the beach below. Sharp Park Beach is home to a large striper run from June to September. When surf fishing, my setup consists of a 9 – 12 ft medium heavy surf rod with a 30 -65 lb braided line to a 20-30 lb fluorocarbon leader ( Check out Daiwa). Hooks – I like to go with size 2-4 Gamagatsu octopus hooks, and for bait – chunks of squid or herring. If the surf is rough, use a 6-8 oz pyramid weight clipped to a fish-finder rig. Fish the tides as they approach, typically a few hours before the high tide, and you’ll slay em’!
Mori Point trails scale a large bluff overlooking the vast pacific. Along the way, you can enjoy wildflowers, hawks, and rabbits, and beyond her steep drop-offs, from the upper trails, one can spot migrating whales. Conservationists have taken a keen interest in this area due to its sensitive habitat. The area is home to the threatened red-legged frog for which new marshy habitat was constructed alongside the Sharp Park Golf Course.
In terms of fitness, this area is awesome. You’ll get a real workout hiking ( I should say climbing ) the north face stairs that bring you to the top of the Bluff. Here, you’ll have a breathing view of the Pacific Ocean with a view of the Farallon Islands on a clear day.
Contra Loma Regional Park
As far as California beauty goes, this location is hard to match. With her trails and year-round fishing, boating and kayaking, and abundance of wildlife, Contra Loma has become a popular destination in the East Bay Regional Park system. Within the 80-acre reservoir, anglers can hook up on largemouth bass, crappie, blue gill, channel catfish, and striper.
In fact, the record largemouth was just shy of 15 lb. I spoke with some locals to get some insight –
“drop-shot it. You won’t feel the bite as much – it’s pretty faint. But soft plastics and finesse seem to be the way to go, man”
One local claimed, “I got a buddy who catches a few 10 pounders a year out here.”
The bottom is heavy in the grass. It is difficult to say what species of plants are down there except a ton of moss and what I can only describe as pond snot, making it difficult to drag a jig or Texas rigged bait. My advice – use a slim profile bait like a tube craw or worm to minimize what you’ll inevitably snag and retrieve.
A weightless senko works well, as it falls with grace and comes up clean on most retrieves. In my opinion, it is hard to beat a fishery that holds 10 lb. beasts – makes a long day worth the effort!
Vasona Lake County Park
Silicon Valley is known for the bustling tech industry, welcoming entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers – the future of tomorrow. But an overlooked detail of the south bay is the old, natural world still intact and preserved within places like Vasona Lake.
If you’re looking for a good walk in a serene location and a kid-friendly fishing lake, check out this little gem.
- Fishing is fun and easy
- The surrounding area provides picnicking and room for kite flying and frisbee.
The bite here is decent but mostly small. For bluegill and crappie, use a bobber and nightcrawler set-up and throw toward the reed lines.
I was able to speak with some local bass fishermen –
“I’ll throw a crankbait out there,” he pointed to a boat launch and a set of docks.
“Use a red crank or depending on the water clarity, maybe a chartreuse, and slow roll it.”
Vasona holds a light structure and submerged vegetation, so get friendly with a weightless senko in winter. You can find patches of weed lines and reeds as you walk along the lake edge. At the beginning of the lake, you’ll find a nice fishing pier that runs along the shoreline. Here, I found that a drop-shot with a Robo worm is most effective as you can cast into deeper water and work it upward. The docks are perfect for flipping a craw or dark-colored jig. But be prepared to experiment.
These three locations give you the full experience. If you like nature, hiking, and fishing, I recommend you give them all they try. Not up to the drive? Too far out of your way? Do a quick google search! There are plenty of locations that provide fantastic trails and fisheries. You won’t be disappointed.
Bass – Deep Vgitation / stunningly beautiful hike
New lake Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park