To this day, I still don’t fully comprehend the concept of a nude beach. I’ve fished just about all the beaches in San Diego, and I’ve fished most of them countless times. Of the three nude beaches local to San Diego (yes three), I’ve fished each of them at least a couple times. Nonetheless, some things certainly still surprise me. A few points to talk about when fishing at clothing optional beaches:
It’s not what you think.
You see some things.
There’s usually a hike involved.
It’s Not What You Think
Let’s address the elephant in the room. It really isn’t what you think (at least for the most part). If you’re looking for beautiful people to your left and right, my best advice for you is no advice. That’s not what you’ll see at the nude beaches I’ve fished at. Well, I shouldn’t say that. If your type is middle-aged-to-older men with saggy features and skin that resembles burnt leather, you’re in luck.
You will see nudists, most of which are as depicted above: middle-aged-to-older men who lack no confidence. Sometimes, they’ll even be kind enough to take a photo of your catch for you and carry on some unwanted, lingering conversation as you attempt to get back to fishing.
Occasionally you’ll hear the lifeguards on their megaphones, voicing something to the effect of, “get away from the tanning girls”, they don’t want to talk to you. The girls by the way, usually clothed in typical beach attire. It’s weird… maybe it is what you think.
You See Some Things
Look, I don’t want to get into all of it, but if you fish at a nude beach often enough, you WILL see some things. From too much skin, to too much personality, to “what the heck was that?”. I realize now that I’m really not comfortable writing about this topic, but I need to see it through (no pun intended).
I’ll just list some of the interesting situations you might find yourself in/seeing:
Dehooking your catch as you answer the question of a bystander: “What kind of fish is that?”. Only to look up and see more of the bystander than you would have liked (from an angle you wouldn’t have liked).
Really focusing on making eye-contact when conversing with strangers.
Double-taking, no, triple-taking when unsure of what you might have just seen.
Not being able to help but notice people watching other people.
You: Bundled up in 3 layers to the tune of 50-degree air temp, 56-degree water temp and 12 mph winds | That one nudist: still naked.
Constantly thinking to yourself “why?” “how?” “what!?”.
Passing by normally dressed beach-goers and making perfect telepathic communication with one another as you enjoy a laugh together about something you both just saw.
It’s a Hike
So, if this is all news to you that San Diego has three “nude beaches”, that’s probably a good thing on your part. In case you were wondering, from south to north, the list includes Blacks Beach, Boneyards, and San Onofre Bluffs Beach. Each one of these involves a hike of some sorts.
Boneyards requires only either a relatively long walk down some stairs or a long walk from Moonlight State Beach. It’s also worth noting that I just recently learned that Boneyards was an unofficial clothing optional beach. I’d fished the area numerous times until a recent session when I turned around to see a naked man strolling along the beach among dozens of clothed beachgoers. I went home that evening thinking, “well he was at the wrong beach”… turns out, he wasn’t.
Both Blacks and San Onofre require somewhat “legitimate hikes”, but blacks is certainly the more strenuous of the bunch.
With each of these beaches, the hike and seclusion play a large role in why these beaches have been unofficially designated as “clothing optional beaches”. You definitely have to put some effort in to get to these places, and at least during the winter, the crowds are relatively light. As for summertime, these beaches can be just as packed as any other big name, crowd heavy beach.
Now, this might happen at any beach, but in my experience, angler harassment happens more frequently at clothing optional beaches than normal beaches. Why? Well, I have a theory.
Typically, these clothing optional beaches attract some unique characters and crowds. One specific crowd that I’ve encountered seems to have an ultra-close connection with nature. This is where things get really interesting. Because this connection manifests itself in two polar opposites when it comes to interactions with fishermen.
Basically, there are two types of people in this crowd… well, two main types from my perspective. 1.) The people who are really connected with nature and love the idea of catching fish whether it’s to keep or to release, because you’re out there connecting with nature and what it has to offer. 2.) The people who hate you because you’re unjustly killing and/or torturing fish.
If you hadn’t guessed already, it’s the second portion of the group by which I and other anglers I know have been on the receiving end of angler harassment – which, by the way, is illegal: “A person shall not willfully interfere with the participation of any individual in the lawful activity of shooting, hunting, fishing, falconry, hunting dog field trials, hunting dog training, or trapping at the location where that activity is taking place” (California – Harassment Statutes).
But, again, this is just my own personal experience. Angler harassment can occur along any beach and it has occurred at others, but it’s something worth knowing if you’re going to plan a session.
Summing it All Up
At the end of the day, whether its a clothing optional beach or just another standard beach, it’s a beach and the fishing will always have potential. Fish will follow the bait, and anglers will follow the fish, nude beach or not. Some years, some of these beaches are great fisheries, other years (like this past year), not so much.
The best thing you can do as an angler is to keep fishing and keep trying new spots and learning the best conditions for each of them. I hope the read was enjoyable and not offensive or inappropriate. Tight lines guys!
Surf Fishing Report November 2021
I fished an early morning session beginning on a falling tide until 3.1-feet at 9:16 am and then into a rising tide through around 11:30 am. Surf height was predicted 3-4 and the actual surf fluctuated from 1-foot at times to 4-feet at times. The current was mild and seaweed wasn’t an issue at all. Water temp was up in the 64-degree range coupled with a warm morning/afternoon which allowed me to go no waders on the day.
I put about 75% of my time toward the lure while Kyle, only about 50%. He ended up notching a nice barred surfperch and a yellowfin croaker on the mussel meat while I landed one surfperch. A slow day, but it was nice to have a little more success on the swimbait.
I fished once more last week as I committed another session to figuring out swimbaits and the notion of targeting a larger caliber of fish. You can expect to hear more about that either later this week or sometime next week.