Once you have cast your fin bait try to let it swim as natural as possible this means letting it take line out and not pulling on it or creating resistance against the bait. If your bait is staying put and not moving much you can give it a twitch to wake it up. If that doesn’t liven your bait, then it is time to change your bait. Change your bait almost every cast. This is very important as strong bait will get the most bites on bass and almost all other game fish. The only time this doesn’t apply if you have limited bait or a limited type of bait in which case try to make the most of each bait.
Along with fly lining a bait on or near the surface for calico bass, coastal fishing for bass during the spring may also be providing this surface action. Spring is the transition period and some weight maybe needed to get to the area where the calico and sand bass are feeding best depending on water temps. Calico bass and sand bass can both be caught in the mid and lower levels of the water column using some weight along with your bait. Two techniques for rigging for this depth are using a sliding sinker and dropper sinker. As a rule the less weight you need to use the better to get your bait into the prime biting zone. Determining what is the prime zone is guided by the water temperature, what type of environment you are fishing, and what has been going on in the day or two before your fishing trip. The magic number for bass to start feeding higher in the water column is 64 degrees, but a drastic change in water temperature may also push bass away from the surface such as a sudden drop from 72 degrees to 67 degrees. So being aware of the above items will help in your selection of what size weight to use. Also watching what other people that are catching bass are using is a really good way to home in on the perfect sized weight. When fishing with a sliding sinker, a small leader maybe 2 ½ feet in length works if fishing on the bottom, otherwise skip the leader and have the sliding sinker just above the hook. Fish the light sliding sinker, the same as the fly line letting your bait swim freely. For the torpedo or heavier sliding sinker you will mostly be fishing the bottom or near bottom areas. This technique is a great technique for those just getting started as it is very user friendly and very effective. When fishing the bottom for bass bumping into rocks and other structure is common and you will lose a number of setups to both snags and to larger fish. That is okay you are fishing the area you should be fishing. By the same token if you are not bumping into rocks, getting snagged, and the captain or crew says you are fishing over a reef, move to a different part of the boat and try a new area as you try to locate the rocky reef. Calico bass and sand bass will stay close to the reef or other structure area so you want to fish in this zone to get the most bites. As a rule the more structure or reef there is the more and larger the bass are. During the spring, fishing for bass will sometimes take place on artificial reefs which have large amounts of structure. Very large bass mainly sand bass can be caught on theses reefs, but you need to fish 25 pound test or more to pull these fish out before they take you into the rocks and break your line. This can be very challenging and frustrating at the same time.
Along with spawning sand bass on the flats or mud, both sand bass and calico bass bite very aggressively over the reefs as well and any structure area during the summer months. Flylining a bait can be very effective during this time as well as any other technique for bass fishing. Remember to change your bait on almost every cast and unlike the spawning sand bass these fish can take you into the reef and break you off so once hooked apply ample tension to keep them away from the rocks. A very effective technique for catching large calico bass during this time is to cast a surface iron over the high spot or shallowest part of the reef. This can usually be determined by seeing signs of the reef or by asking a crew member or the captain approximately where the main part of the reef is located. Take care not to tangle those fly lining a bait and proceed to cast around this high spot letting your surface iron sink briefly before reeling it back at a pretty good clip. Big calico bass will explode on your jig and the challenge then becomes how to get them to the boat before they get you to the rocks. Other species including barracuda, sand bass, and white sea bass can also be caught with this technique. Ideally 25 pound test or heavier is recommended as larger fish and the reef can be challenging. Summer is great time of year for taking those new to sportfishing out as lots of action, big fish, and beautiful weather makes for really fun days.
Fall fishing is a mixture of both spring and summer bass fishing. During September and October bass can still be caught on the surface in good numbers. Often other larger game fish take the spotlight, but this doesn’t mean it is slow for bass. This time of year can be very good for calico bass and sand bass. Sometime in late Oct through November sand bass feed aggressively getting ready for the winter ahead and fishing for trophy specimens is good with summer like action on large fish. When possible fly lining a bait is very effective as well as using a slider or even a lead head for calico bass and sand bass. A lead head with bait pinned on is very popular as it pulls the bait through many different levels of the water column. Calico bass maybe feeding on the surface or part way down and then sand bass feeding in the mid depths, and halibut and white sea bass feeding along the bottom. If pulling into an area and unsure what to use to start with, a lead head is a good first choice. Try using the lightest possible leadhead to get your bait to sink. San Clemente Island is known for giant calico bass at this time of year with good sized large mackerel the bait of choice. Fishing for these giant calico bass is done close to shore sometimes in just a few feet of water. As you can imagine hooking these hard fighting fish in shallow water is very challenging and very rewarding with many 6-8 pound calico bass caught. Many of these trophy sized fish are released to be caught another day. Medium to small calicos are the best eating for those wanting to take fish home. Weather in the fall months is some of the mildest of the year a great time to be out on the ocean.
Accurate Boss Conventional Fishing Reels are one of the most popular Southern California angler fishing reel picks for Tuna and Big Game fish - Search or browse for the new Boss Fury single star best price point reel!
The Accurate Boss Single Speed Boss Series X Single Speed or for turning bigger game fish the BX-2 Series. Both Accurate Boss 400x, 500x or 600x have huge 6:1 ratio great for popular Southern California - San Diego deep "Yo-Yo" technique where dropping deep and cranking in at blazing speeds trigger the Yellowtail bite. Spend the money for an Accurate or Avet one piece aluminum body work horse reels for San Diego game fish like we witnessed in 2015!
A favorite reel for local tuna and Yellowtail is Accurate Boss Valiant, a saltwater fishing reel every Southern California angler needs in their mix of tackle. Help support SportfishSanDiego.com if you buy one of these reels by making purchases from Amazon. I've searched and selected my local favorites for San Diego and SoCal sportfishing where diversity and several rod/reel combos come in handy when on a moments noticed you hook-up a 100#-200# class Bluefin Tuna show up at the side of the boat just five miles off San Diego as visiting and local San Diego, CA anglers have been blessed with this 2016 summer.
Big events happen fast and unforgiving when tuna fishing - the key is to be ready seconds after you hear the angler or deckhand yell hook-up! - If you can have multiple rod/reel fishing combos you can be ready for any change in conditions or fish target when that precious moment hits on troll when an angler yells, "HOOKUUUPPPP!" The boat then does what's called "slide" into nuetral and immediately the Captain calls out to the deckhand how much live bait to pitch to keep the tuna on the surface and biting angler lines who should already have a bait or jig in the water. Timing and teamwork is essential in successfull tuna fishing Southern California stand-up hook and line style. When the Captain calls out on com what size fish are being marked under the boat, the listening angler then picks up and casts the saltwater fishing rod/reel combo right for the bite. Having multiple setups all ready to go is awesome and can mean the difference between that bucket list 150# class Bluefin Tuna I mentioned earlier just five miles from San Diego ending up in proud pics and on the plate that night over a beer telling the story how glad you are you invested in all this top-quality saltwater fishing tackle this guy Rob at SportfishSanDiego.com suggested he get! lol jk of course again I just love helping fellow anglers land those hard to get once in a lifetime fish.
On the same 5am to 5pm offshore trip you can hook up a 20-30# class Yellowtail on the Yo-Yo Iron Jig, a bucket-list San Diego 2016! 150# Bluefin Tuna on a light Tady 45 surface iron, a 50# White Sea Bass or a 50# class Halibut on live squid or a personal favorite of mine (Rob Mailly Owner SportfishSanDiego.com), a old timer slow-growth lunker elusive Calico Bass while flippin' 3-6' plastics using either my Shimano Calcutta 400
or for lower price and unbelievable casting distance my Daiwa Sealine X SLH20! I sell all fishing tackle I mentioned here and truly part of my personal tackle (I chose fishing tackle over a snappy car and wife, lol jk of course) Here's the best deals on Amazon I found for the Boss Valiant BV-300, Daiwa Sealine Series, Avet and Shimano...I haven't left out the first and very best most trusted fishing reel ever made - Penn's Jigmaster 500. My father taught me as a little kid fishing local 3/4 day Coronado Island's trips to learn how to cast a conventional (bait casting) reel using a Penn Jigmaster 500 and a rent rod. He said "son if you can learn to cast a inexpensive old die-hard like a Penn 500, every saltwater fishing reel you cast from now on no matter how expensive and full of features will be a piece of cake and envy of other anglers. It's all about picturing a pendulum and not how hard you cast but proper technique that takes years to perfect for most. Also thumb pressure and controlling backlash which newer high-end saltwater fishing reels like Accurate and Avet have engineered into their respective products. That's another article I will cover.Accurate Boss Valiant BV-300 - Link to Buy Now at Amazon for a great deal at $399 w/free shipping
I love this old school reel! Although demands more frequent cleaning and maintenance, it's well worth the relatively good bang for the buck solid live bait or plastics flippin' reel I personally used my Calcutta 400. If you like throwing the plastics (plastic swim baits) this is a solid reel for the job and smooth as silk drag for burning Yellowtail.