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White Sea Bass Deep Sea Fishing Tips

Here are some tips to use while deep sea fishing for White Seabass. Southern California anglers know when Spring rolls around as the White Seabass start to feed heavily at local islands and along the Southern California coast. White Sea Bass can be found from Point Conception at Santa Barbara to the Mexico Border at San Diego and around the Coronado Islands in Mexican Water. Typically these elusive croaker's seem to lose all caution during their spawning cycle starting some time around March and continues through June (approx.). As with most fish species White Seabass become easy targets for anglers.  It is for this reason the California Department of Fish and Game has placed a "1-fish per angler" rule for all sportfishing anglers. White Seabass must be 28 inches or greater in length to be legally kept. As a result of strict CA DFG regulation, commercial gill net ban and successful hatchery programs, the white seabass has made an incredible recovery and is now a popular game fish for Southern California anglers. Here are some important tips for a successful deep sea fishing trip targeting White Seabass - When (what time to fish), Where (top productive locations) and How (lure and live bait presentation).

When to Target White Seabass

Most productive fishing times for White Seabass is during their spawning period between Mid-March and June. During this period White Seabass exert a ton of energy producing eggs and looking for a place to spawn (bed). All this work comes a relentless appetite that drives them to be viracious feeders attacking just about any bait, artificial or live. White Seabass are sporadic feeders where some days they will only feed a few hours a day or at night. Predicting when White Seabass will feed can be the most difficult part of catching these fish. Often as with most fish species a good tide change with a strong current can make for good timing when fishing for White Seabass.

Where to Fish When Deep Sea Fishing for White Seabass

I have caught my best White Seabass while throwing plastics or bait along the Kelp Line. White Seabass seem to like the Kelp environment although they can be caught in open water as well. Most boat captain's who fish these waters every day for years know the popular spots and when to fish. The most popular areas in Southern California are the Channel Islands, the backside of Catalina Island from the West End to Ben Westin Pt., San Clemente Island at Pyramid Cove and coastal areas or La Jolla and around the Coronado Islands just across the USA/Mexico Border from San Diego. These are popular spots that can get fished hard on any given day during the season. Boat pressure can turn any fish species bite off. During a White Seabass spawn, fish are usually found in water from 40 ft to as shallow as 8 ft.   A good White Seabass angler is patient and confident. When a bite turns on it may be the only time all day and all at once every boat in the area will limit.

Live Bait and Lure Presentation

I am a huge plastic's (plastic swimbait) enthusiast. For live bait White Seabass love live squid! Live squid to White Seabass is like a kid in a candy store. Don't leave the dock without live squid or plans to make bait or transfer some direct from squid boats offshore. It's no coincidence that some of the most popular WSB areas are also some of the most popular squid-catching areas. Use a size 2/0 hook with 20-30 pound test line and a small 1/2 to 3/4 ounce egg sinker that is allowed to slide right down to the hook sometimes called a carolina rig for fishermen visiting from outside California.  This is a typical White Seabass live squid rig. White iron jigs with a whole squid or two attached to the hook can work great and is my favorite way of getting the drop on a lunker. Some days may call for more finesse on lighter gear to trigger a strike. Frozen squid, live sardines, anchovies, small mackerel and "brown bait" are alternative baits I suggest only use when squid sin't available or the fish are being line shy or finniky. I caught my personal best White Seabass off Carlsbad one great day while targeting Yellowtail. I had been "throwing" (casting) white iron "lights" (light weight surface iron jig) with my Cal Star Graphighter 800M (excellent graphite 8 foot long "M" for medium jig stick with heavy back bone for turning bigger game fish like White Seabass and Yellowtail). Serious White Sea Bass captains and anglers never leave the dock without a tank full of live squid or plans on leaving the night before to make bait.



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Carlsbad, CA