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El Capitan Lake


While I was stationed in the Navy, I joined a Bass club and fished this El Capitan Lake often. In fact, one summer I held the record for the largest bass caught that summer.

El Capitan is located 30 miles from Downtown San Diego, Ca. It has 1,562 surface acres and the max water depth is 197 feet. It has 22 miles of shoreline and most of the shore line can be accessed only by water. They do rent small boats and pontoons on a first come first serve. They have grills,but no longer have a concession.

The charge for getting into the park is $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for children 8-15 with children 7 or younger free. They open at sunrise and close at sunset.

This is another lake that is stocked with rainbow trout in the late winter so the Big Bass hogs are use to seeing any swim bait that looks like a rainbow trout. Here I would say the bigger the better.

El Capitan LakeStory time...  I have two different ones here and I have included a map of the lake also to help you get on the fish.

One of the guys I was stationed with liked to bass fish and this is going back a few years. We decided that I would show him how to worm fish. We got to the lake at sunrise and after we got into the water, we proceeded to the very back of the lake here all the stick ups were located.

I was fishing a black worm with a yellow tail. I was catching them like crazy and I mean five and six pounders.

My buddy asked what I was doing that he was not, and I am a joker at heart. I decided to have some fun with him. I got to the next tree and told him that I was not going to cast in there. I would let him have that fish and it was a 6 pounder. Well, he threw in there and nothing, cast after cast. He told me I give up you can have him. The first cast I got the six pounder out of there.

I let this go on for awhile until I thought I was going to get shot then I let the cat out of the bag. I told him at the very next tree instead of casting on the sunny side, try and cast on the shady side...that was all it took and we had a great day.

Second Story: I was by myself on this trip to El Capitan and was again at the back of the lake where all the trees are located. I had caught some nice fish but nothing to brag about. As I was coming out of the trees, I saw the bait fish running along the bank then all of a sudden a explosion on the top of the water.

I sat still for awhile and was just watching the action then decided I had a Rapala minnow tied on and I threw it toward the bank and it stuck in the mud. I just wiggled the tod tip and the minnow fell in the water right at the waters edge. I did not put but two little wiggles on that minnow when the water again exploded and the fight was on.

Another fisherman near by was watching me and came over to help. This was the one when we got the fish in and weighed it, the scales said 13.2 pounds. I knew the fish was a hog but had an idea that this guy's scales were way off. I returned to the launch to the boat house to get it weighed on their scales and it registered 13.2 pounds.

The boat house took a picture and the fish was released. I returned to the same spot and learned a very good lesson. I hooked another fish that I know was even bigger and it broke my line.

The same guy was still in the area. He saw what happened and came over to ask what I was using. I told him. The sad part was I only had one Rapala minnow silver and black and offered the other guy $10.00 if he had one. He told me he did not and so I left.

The lesson I learned was when you buy these lures, do not just get one. Always have a back up, now I always buy two or three.

The only other news I have about El Capitan is on Sundays they only allow 80 boats on the water at a time. I have never seen that many even in the tournaments I fish.

I hope if you ever are in the area check it out and like I have told you go all the way to the back and look for the trees in the water. Worms, Jig and Pig and Rapala Minnows is what I recommend for the Spring and in the summer I used a red and black Crankbait. Good luck

Keep the Hooks Wet!

Steve McGoldrick


Fishing Trip Check List...Things Not To Forget

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