Back in the BEN days (Before El Nino), the sportboat year basically rolled out as follows. January and February were all about sculpin and sand bass. You might break that routine up going on some Halibut Derby trips. You looked forward to the rockfish opener. We might get lucky in the Spring with some yo-yo yellows popping up somewhere, or the white seabass hitting at the islands or up north. The fishing was mostly bottom oriented.
Then around Mother’s Day, the cuda would arrive
Their arrival signaled it was time to dust off your jig stick and get out to enjoy the first topwater action of the year. It marked the kickoff to summer fishing.
With bluefin having been in play now for months, you’d think the barracuda moving in would have lost some of it’s luster. The crews of the 1/2 and 3/4-day boats fishing in front of San Pedro and Long Beach say differently. Interest in the midweek local boats has definitely perked up this week with the cuda making their 2017 appearance. An added benefit is there are some big local holdover yellows in the mix, and the competition for food has them starting to bite like these bigger models did for these 3 lucky anglers yesterday on Native Sun Sportfishing. Marc Belmonte (right) took jackpot with a fish that tipped the scales at around 27 lbs.!
Barracuda come in at #9 on my Top 10 Southern California Gamefish list. In my book, even though rockfish are superior table fare, cuda gets that 9 spot based on the fun factor of catching them on surface iron.
You never know how long the bite will last, so you may want to brave the crowds this weekend and just be a part of the elbow-to-elbow action at the rail.
Here’s what you’ll need to succeed…
Surface Iron setup – any shiny jig is good. I used a Tady 45 in metallic scrambled egg to good effect yesterday (right). Contrasting color patterns are good too, like black and white (top). When it’s going, if you throw something small like a Tady A1, you’ll get bit every time, but go full size to discourage the shorts. Legal size is 28 inches.
Heavy Jig setup – If it’s not hitting on top, you’ll want something a little heavier to get down. There’s a lot of anchovy in the water and it’s what the boats are using for chum. Something like a Colt Sniper or Megabait is the right size/shape profile.
Mono Flyline setup – Saw a lot of boiling fish under birds working. If you couldn’t get there with a jig, a flylined sardine was the only option to get in the game. Also, 2 of the 3 yellows caught yesterday were on a flylined sardine. You might want to consider using this rig as a change up to drag a bait along the bottom in a dropper loop setup. We did some drifts yesterday and that would be the time to employ the dropper as there are halibut in play too.
Be patient, watch your backcast area and call your shot (Going out!). Good luck if you get out there.