In its simplest form, fishing the breakwall is about as basic as inshore techniques get.
Position your boat within casting distance of the wall, pitch a bait up to where the rocks stick out of the water, hop the bait down the rocks and pull like hell when you get a bite so the fish doesn’t get back in a hole and break your line. But simple can be boring and relatively unproductive unless the conditions are just right. As a result, most anglers will bring a quiver of rods and reels to cover the not so simple scenarios that the wall can present.
As I mentioned in my article on breakwall techniques, I’ll usually start out fishing with an indicator bait. This is usually a 5″ MC Viejos Series Swimbait on a 1/2 to 3/4-ounce leadhead, but any small swimbait will work. This smaller bait is best fished on a 7 or 8-foot medium to medium heavy action rod; basically you’re going to want a rod with a light tip but lots of backbone. I fish a Rainshadow Revelation REVC 710MH matched with an Abu/Garcia Revo Inshore full of 40-pound spectra and a short 30-pound fluorocarbon leader.
I’ll fish the bait by casting at a 30 to 45-degree angle towards the wall with the bait landing as close to the exposed rocks as possible. Imagine that the wall is at 12 o’clock and you are the center of the clock; your cast should be angled between 1 and 2 o’clock. This angle will allow you to cover more of the wall with each cast without sacrificing pulling angle if you hook a fish. As you step up to heavier rods, you can increase your casting angle to the point where you can fish tight and parallel to the wall because you’ll be able to pull the fish away from the rocks, but with the lighter rod keep your casts between 12 and 2 o’clock. Retrieves vary by the day. Sometimes the fish will want it burned back and other times they want it hopped down the rocks. That’s going to be up to you to figure out when you’re on the water.
The next rod in your arsenal should be a 7 to 8 foot heavy action rod for fishing bigger swimbaits and creature baits. I fish a Rainshadow Revelation REVC 710H matched with an Abu/Garcia Revo Inshore full of 50-pound spectra and a short 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. This rod has plenty of pulling power and throws the bigger baits on 3/4 to 1-ounce lead heads with no problems. These two rods will cover 95% of the fishing scenarios you’ll encounter at the wall, but there are a couple of other rods you may want to consider bringing along.
Crankbaits are a fun and productive way to catch big fish at the wall but most crankbait rods don’t have the pulling power to get big calicos out of the rocks. I fish a Rainshadow GCB 710MH matched with an Abu/Garcia Revo Winch full of 50-pound spectra and a short 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. This fiberglass 7′ 10″ rod is heavy enough to cast the big cranks, I fish Strike King Series 6 XD, and has enough backbone to pull hard on fish. Graphite rods will work for this application as well, but the stiffer rods tend to cause pulled hooks when fishing the crank, so I’d recommend sticking with a fiberglass rod.
Crankbaits should be fished by casting as parallel to the wall as possible and retrieved quickly enough to get the bait down and banging against the rocks. Since bottom contact is so important, I’ll fish the deepest diving bait I can find (like the Strike King 6XD). The deeper diving the bait, the easier it is to keep it in the bite zone longer.
The final piece to the puzzle is a rod that will properly fish the Alabama Rig. I use a Rainshadow ISWB 946 matched with an Abu/Garcia Toro 50 NaCl full of 65-pound spectra and a short 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. This 8-foot heavy action rod is perfect for throwing the bulky Alabama Rig. Regarding the rig, there are plenty of them on the market but most of them won’t even last a day without breaking. I fish the Bladerunner Tackle 5 arm Alabama Rig that comes with the heavy gauge wire and stainless swivels. You’ll need to contact Bladerunner Tackle at www.bladerunnertackle.com to find out where to order these, but it’s worth the effort as they hold up through hundreds of fish.
The Alabama rig is one of the easiest baits to fish at the wall. I’ll usually make a long cast parallel to the wall, getting as close to the exposed rocks as possible, and slowly retrieve the bait while pausing occasionally. The fish are going to tell you what they want with this bait, so just keep trying different retrieves until you get bit.
As an example, the other day the fish were only biting the bait as it sank down and hit the rocks. So, I’d take about 10 turns of the handle and then stop winding to let the bait sink down to the rocks. The feeling of the bait hitting the bottom was almost always followed by the feeling of the bass hitting the bait. If you hook a small fish on the Alabama rig, wind it in slowly as a lot of times the bigger followers will climb on another bait.