Captain’s Log: A Reel Shame — Kids Go Back to School Just When Fishing Heats Up

Bass, barracuda, bonito just waiting to take the bait

With school starting, weekends are time for family fishing.

With school starting, weekends are time for family fishing. (Capt. David Bacon)

By Capt. David Bacon, Noozhawk Columnist | August 30, 2018 | 4:00 p.m.

Showing off a calico bass.

Showing off a calico bass. (Capt. David Bacon)

It seems like school starts back up earlier and earlier in recent years, and that makes me sad for youngsters who are missing out on the most exciting saltwater fishing of the entire year.

Just as fishing is busting loose, kids are holed up in classrooms. Maybe it’s just that I prefer that giant classroom we call nature.

At risk of dating myself, there was a popular song when I was a kid titled “See You in September,” because that is when the school season started.

Those of us kids who were avid anglers felt like we’d rather school started in October and ran through July because we wanted our summer off to match the best fishing season.

Out on the Santa Barbara Channel, water temps are up, bass are biting like there is no tomorrow, barracuda just showed up to slash-attack surface lures, bonito will be chasing baitballs and providing topwater fun any day now.

Yellowtail are at the islands and will soon be around our offshore oil rigs. Squid spawns are begging to gather up white seabass. Halibut are biting aggressively in the shallows for boaters, kayakers and surf fishers.

Goleta Pier is hosting some great fishing moments.

With all that going on and fishing on track to get nothing but better through much of September, I’m feeling sorry for kids going back to school. Not all is lost, though, because some kids can get to the pier or beaches after school to wet a line and hook a fish.

It is kind of tough for fishing parents, too, because their vacation time was probably used liberally during the summer, so it is hard to get a day off, call in absent for the kid and go spend that day in nature, fishing, experiencing and learning. 

Weekends now become the best bet.

The upside is, many parents have weekends off and since the kids do, too, it’s the perfect time to fish. The downside is, most folks share the same situation, so weekends can be crowded out on the water.

Still, crowded fishing is way better than no fishing.

My advice to parents of pre-teen and teenagers is to give your kids plenty of outdoor experiences — fishing, hiking, camping, shooting, hunting, beachcombing, boating, sailing, flying …

It all beats seeing the kids with their noses glued to the screens of their electronics games. September is a fabulous time to fish the saltwater, so take some weekend time and give them some outdoor education.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.


« »