Brown Bait

jer dog

Fishing is life
Jun 22, 2006
7,373
3,668
113
Garden Grove
Name
Gerry
Boat
One that floats
Good yellowtail bite out on the Horseshoe back in the summer, very early 70's cant remember exactly which year. Nothing but anchovy for bait back then. The boats that did the best had the brown bait.

Very few Macs available locally back then, don't know why. But we did have some queenfish, tom cod, 7-11 perch as mentioned above, and some sort of pompano. Some fish we caught with the chovies, but the limited number of alternative bait was much better on touch bite days. Best days they hit the yo-yo and surface iron. That was fun.
in the late 70tys early 80tys ,
I used to do like 2 1/2 day trips A week,
sometimes, my Friend and I would Jump on
the afternoon turn around too,
and a lot of time's I would hang by the Bait tank,
to grab one if it came up to the top of the Tank,
if not the Regulars got most of them from the Deck hand on the tank,
but the chance of catching A bigger bass, was worth it.
 
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sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
3,120
1,141
113
63
LA
Name
Kerry
Boat
Yellow spot
Thanks for the walk down memory lane gentlemen!

In LA harbor you can make your own around the receivers with a #6 or #8 bait rig. Right on the bottom.
 
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4Bigeye2na

Member
Jan 7, 2015
201
85
28
64
Name
Ed
Boat
Searay
Used to fish herring and TC off the Malibu pier, before going on the Lembrooke. Put them in a live well and guarded them with my life. Instant Big Calicoand if it made it to the bottom good shot at a halibut if it was around.
 
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T.O.T.W.

Time On The Water
Dec 23, 2005
934
1,121
93
San Diego
Name
Chris L
Boat
Leo's
Anyone have a pic?
I'm adjusting to the new format and picture inept at this time. Google white croaker and queenfish to see the typical two that were referred to as brown bait. I always liked the white croaker (aka tomcod) over the weaker queenfish.
 

SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
6,521
6,268
113
38
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
It's pretty cool to think that the concept of brown bait came and basically died pre-internet so that if you try and look up some photos for this thread almost nothing comes up. Crap I feel old...
 
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ZZZZZ

natural born jig slingers
Dec 11, 2003
6,791
6,681
545
Costa Rica. SD, Old Del Mar
Name
.
Boat
Jet Ski Yamaha FX Show. ZZZZZ
Some of the most productive swimbait calico colors imo are brown bait colors

Like the great flood before the internet. Lost ancient highly advanced fishing techniques that did not get recorded:rofl:just bits and pieces left. Like the art of the brown bait
 
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plj46

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 7, 2008
6,125
5,389
113
Socal
Name
jim
Boat
24 ft grady white
My opinion is we've somehow destroyed that fishery.Kind of like 2 lb. Mackerel,Barracuda and Sand Bass.What happened ?
 
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SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
6,521
6,268
113
38
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
My opinion is we've somehow destroyed that fishery.Kind of like 2 lb. Mackerel,Barracuda and Sand Bass.What happened ?
Not sure if it’s destroyed or just cyclical, but pretty sure everyone can agree it’s changing. There are people who 30 now that have never seen a tank of just anchovies. I’m barely old enough to remember that. Im not sure if the cycles are on time scales that are slow moving and too big for people to comprehend or if there are massive permanent changes happening. Either way, I’m fortunate to be alive and active during a good cycle if that is what is going on and yet be old enough to not take it for granted.
 
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yellowfish26

Totally Nude 24/7
Aug 21, 2008
767
1,059
93
Chula Vista/Ca/USA
Name
Jeff
Boat
26ft Seaswirl. The Big Chorizo
We still make them occasionally in San Diego bay. It can be a litrle time consuming though, but can be worth it. Generally we wont mess with this unless its the right time of the year. For years now when the the Calico Bass cheeks start to change color we'll go look around on the INSIDE of Point Loma (mind the MLPA around the tip) pretty close to shore. You'll find a row of weeds along the shore and along the outer edge of them out to 25 ft of water or so from there to where Ballast Point starts to extend out into the bay you'll mark small clouds or individual marks ( Gotta turn the gain up). Guess who they are? For some reason most of the time they dont bite very well so they need a little incentive. When we mark em we've found the thing to do is to anchor just up current of them slightly and chum them up. What we do is take a couple of cans of tuna or seafood cat food, pop them open and put them in a chum bag or an old pantyhose with a weight inside attached to a rope an s drop it to the bottom and shake the shit out of it. Another pro tip is that the old Lucky Joe bait maker rigs with the Red and Yellow yarn work about 10x better than a more expensive Sabiki'. Tip the hooks with a. SMALL piece of frozen Anchovy (best) or Squid (next best) and drop it to the bottom close to where your chum bag is. Dont need to move it much and they'll find you. If its mostly Queenfish you don't want to mix them with Sardines because as mentioned before they are weak as shit and the Sardines will beat the hell out of them in your tank. And dont overcrowd them either.

I wont give up where I would fish them once I've made them but I will give up the best way we've found to use them (at least for Calicos). You have to anchor wherever it is you want to fish. Edge of kelp, hard bottom spots, pipe risers etc.. The key is to NOT USE THEM RIGHT AWAY. Start chumming them for a while with whatever you have. God forbid you have live chovies which are hard to come by consistently, but chunking small chunks of whatever you have (not the brown bait) works . The idea is to let the life build up behind your boat for a while. You can fish smaller plastics or hardbaits (or live anchovies if possible) and just do that for a good hour or so. If you start fiahing your brown bait right away the smaller, more aggressive Bass will get keyed in on them and will out race the older, bigger, wiser Bass to them and you probably wouldn't ever know how big the Bass actually were around you that day... So catch a few of the smaller guys and let the big girls come check out what all the commotion is and they will gather below where the young whipper snappers are zipping around. Since the Queenfish are weak I''ll try to use that to my advantage. I uae a 1/8 or 1/4 oz sliding sinker to a smaller bait hook and butt hook the brown bait. Toss it gently SHORT of where the life has built up and let it slowly sink down in the water column while drifting back in the current to where the fish are. When you get bit, you gotta let them eat it for a while. They will mouth it for a while before they swallow it.

I know it sounds like a pain in the ass for some of you but it is worth it. Over the years we've had phenomenal days. I had a 5 fish limit just last season that went 44 lbs off Point Loma (which is picked over) all released and some days over the years down the beach (all you'll get out of me)10 fish days in the upper 80 ib. range.

All I can ask is you keep the smaller fish (better tasting anyway) and let the big girls go. They are really slow growers and will be the Mom's of the future generations.
 
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swami 805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 9, 2016
2,775
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805
Name
Bill
Boat
sunk it
The guy who ran the bait boat here (Joe?) quit wrapping them thinking the stocks were getting hammered but we’d still get some mixed with the rest of the bait. No more straight queen fish
The trick to fishing them was butt hooked flyline and when picked up let them run with it until they’d stop, swallow it and take off again. Then a good swing to get the hook out of the bait .
I’d bet there’s still some up here but likely the bait boats don’t want to hassle with wrapping stuff shallow. Also only a few real dedicated calico bass cattle boats up here, mostly rockfish or game fish if they’re around
 

sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
3,120
1,141
113
63
LA
Name
Kerry
Boat
Yellow spot
Not sure if it’s destroyed or just cyclical, but pretty sure everyone can agree it’s changing. There are people who 30 now that have never seen a tank of just anchovies. I’m barely old enough to remember that. Im not sure if the cycles are on time scales that are slow moving and too big for people to comprehend or if there are massive permanent changes happening. Either way, I’m fortunate to be alive and active during a good cycle if that is what is going on and yet be old enough to not take it for granted.
IMO I think its both part natural cycles and not so natural changes. The natural cycle part of it alone is so complex that the big picture isn't clear at all. Add the not so natural changes and it only gets that much more complex.

The eastern Pacific Sardine boom/bust cycle is centuries long with smaller/shorter cycles within that. That is one of the few fish that we have a very good read on over millennia as far as population is concerned.

I'm old enough to remember the chovy/brown bait/mackerel or nothing days well. These last 4-5 years in SoCal are definitely the best of my lifetime. I really hope that continues. Time will tell...
 

fishkilr

on the water
Aug 27, 2012
2,715
3,226
113
long beach,ca.u.s.a.
Name
alby
Boat
None
I’d bet there’s still some up here but likely the bait boats don’t want to hassle with wrapping stuff shallow
I can only speak for our operation but the herring disappeared about the same time the halibut fishery collapsed in sm bay..
We were wrapping shallow all the time up until recently but the stuff is just gone from there..
 
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makairaa

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 1, 2005
4,102
3,073
113
Tustin CA
Name
Philip Hunkins
Boat
17 starcraft
Forgot to mention what we called 7-11 perch that were in the mix...never knew their true name but they were colored like bolinas but smaller and more perch shaped..they deserve mentioning because bass could not refuse em...when we had just a few u could use em over and over til they were completely destroyed ,dead or alive didn't matter..
Haven't seen em mixed in the bait for many years.
Apparently they were also the secret to the yellows at the bubble hole...
7-11 perch are shiner perch. You can still catch them in the bays, but they are not as numerous as they used to be
 

CommanderPinhead

“You merely adopted the bilge, I was born in it”
Apr 9, 2019
191
122
43
24
La Jolla
Name
Pinhead
Boat
Sporties
In San Diego... I’ve never seen a herring. When the Sardines are shallow off the IB you will we some brown baits mixed in. Butterfish and queenfish but in particular the yellowfin croaker. These past couple years the half day boats have been able to get full tanks of anchovies. Most of Early July we scooped almost straight chovies at one point with big dunes mixed in. Multidays we had our pick of cured baits.
 
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plj46

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 7, 2008
6,125
5,389
113
Socal
Name
jim
Boat
24 ft grady white
Not sure if it’s destroyed or just cyclical, but pretty sure everyone can agree it’s changing. There are people who 30 now that have never seen a tank of just anchovies. I’m barely old enough to remember that. Im not sure if the cycles are on time scales that are slow moving and too big for people to comprehend or if there are massive permanent changes happening. Either way, I’m fortunate to be alive and active during a good cycle if that is what is going on and yet be old enough to not take it for granted.
Maybe destroyed was a little harsh,how about altered ? something weird's going on.
 
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T.O.T.W.

Time On The Water
Dec 23, 2005
934
1,121
93
San Diego
Name
Chris L
Boat
Leo's
In San Diego... I’ve never seen a herring. When the Sardines are shallow off the IB you will we some brown baits mixed in. Butterfish and queenfish they favored the yellowfin croaker. These past couple years the half day boats have been able to get full tanks of anchovies. Most of Early we scooped almost straight chovies at one point with big dunes mixed in. Multidays we had our pick of cured baits.
We do get the odd round herring down here. Occasionally, they can be jigged up with sabikis. They don’t seem anywhere near as hardy as a sardine.
 
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