Targeting Sargo

Dave Hansen

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May 26, 2007
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Since my last post, I have had quite a few people ask me how to target Sargo along the coast. Some people believe that Sargo cannot be a targeted species. I thought it would be appropriate to give a little information on how to target them.

With all the squid we have locally, and at the islands, I would suggest using squid for bait if you wanted to target them in the near future (the reason why I say squid is because there are several different bait options throughout the year).

The first thing to do is target Sargo on a large rockpile or artificial reef. There are a lot of artificial reefs from San Diego to Palos Verdes (Pendleton, San Clemente, Oceanside, Newport, Izors, and any others I may have left out.) Being a diver, I've dove most of these spot along the coast. Most reef that I've dive, I've seen massive schools of Sargo. They're not on the bottom or on the surface but in middle water column.

When fishing or targeting Sargo, I will chop up a bunch of squid for chum before I get to where I'm fishing and put it in a 5 gallon bucket for easy access. I'll go out to my favorite area and look for downhill current (water's flowing from north to south). I'll then find the highest part of the rock with my fishfinder and position the boat with the anchor down. This way, my line will drift back to the area or the highest part of the rock. Once established, I start chumming. The key to chumming is to make sure to throw the chum towards the front of your boat. Why towards the front of the boat? If you're throwing your chum off of the back of the boat, by the time it drifts down to the zone where the fish are, it will be way too far behind the boat to even cast let alone be in the zone where the fish are. If you throw the chum towards the bow, by the time it drifts down to where the fish and rock are, it should be right behind your boat. Once I've started chumming, it's time to rig up and start catching. I like to use some where between 6 - 10 lbs mono (Vicious), 1/8 - 1/4 sliding sinker (depending on the strength of the current) and a #2 Mustad bronze, thin wire hook all connected to some sort of spinning reel outfit. I like to use the Okuma ABF 30 because it is a bait feeder and allowing me to know exactly what's going on. I don't cast my bait out. I drop it straight down off the corner of the boat. This way my bait goes down with the rest of the chum making my bait look more natural. I let it sink down 30-40 ft and put the reel in gear. If equipt with a bait feeder, turn it on. When you get bit, more than likely, you'll get a lot of little taps which will be Blacksmith and Senorita fish. When you feel a slow steady pull put the reel in gear and set the hook and that will be your Sargo. Make sure to keep your drag light and enjoy the battle. These fish put up a hell of a fight on light line.

Sargo are, in my opinion, one of the best table fare to catch along the coast. They're a Croaker and related to the White Sea Bass. When fillet, the meat resembles that of a White Sea Bass.

If anyone has any questions or would like help on where to find or catch Sargo, feel free to give me a call.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.
 

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Jan 11, 2009
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Trabuco Canyon
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Glenn
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Very good info Dave!

The only time I was able to catch Sargo was when the harbor patrol didn't really bother you when fishing the rigs out of Long Beach several years ago.

I was targeting sandies and calicos using blams and a 1/2 oz lead head when I hooked into a couple of 4+ lb Sargo. Huge!
 

Maniniboy

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Dec 15, 2010
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David
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Nice informative piece! I'll have to try some of those techniques
 

skrilla

allirks
  • May 26, 2006
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    Len
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    Camo Whammo
    Great info Dave. I remember seeing my first massive school of sargo in the water. Definitely a jaw dropping experience.

    How about targeting sargo from shore in the San Diego area?

    Thanks.

    I've ran into them at north MB jetty last year and in north PB over by the reefs. I've had luck using sand crabs, morf grubs, and gulp shrimp while fishing the surf.
     

    Marcus

    "Oddjob"
    May 21, 2004
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    Sargo are great table fare! When spearfishing I rarely pass up the chance to shoot one.
     

    Corndog

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    Sep 22, 2009
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    Ive only caught one sargo in my life when i was a youngster. It had to have been a state record at the time absolute monster...anywho it was caught off the back of dads boat in Dana Point HARBOR...It was the biggest one ive ever seen...bait of the day...HOT DOGS LOL
     

    flyliner

    @thereelflyliner
    Aug 19, 2007
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    Thanks for the info Dave.

    I love catching sargo, whether its from the surf, along the coast, or at Catalina when nothing else is biting.

    I also think they are very good eating, and like you said, comparable to white seabass.

    And you weren't kidding about them fighting hard on the light gear! They are one tuff little fish!

    One thing I wanted to add is that they LOVE sand crabs. If I know I am going to target sargo, I will get to a local beach and catch sand crabs the day before. The other benefit of using the sand crabs is that the blacksmith and senorita fish are less likely to steal your bait like they do with the squid strips.

    My wife with a Catalina sargo caught on a sand crab.
    as6.jpg



    Jonathan
     
    Last edited:

    BOATSODA

    Team Boat Soda
    Nov 17, 2004
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    good info Dave, its been a while since ive caught one. Used to target them inside Newport Harbor.
     

    TonyH54

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    May 9, 2010
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    Back when the Salton Sea was still alive I would turn the kids loose on the rock jetties with a couple of old Zebco rigs and a can of whole kernal corn. The kids loved it and I was guaranteed a 5 gallon bucket of sargo to fillet.
     

    tsurikichi

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    Apr 25, 2005
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    Hi Dave Hansen,

    Thanks for the great how-to !! Other folks adding their 2 cents to the mix also gives one an idea as to what colors n' critters might be worthy of a bite ! Really want to add one of these guys to my local species caught list this year.

    ATTENTION: THIS IS NOT A HIJACK ATTEMPT !! WARNING OFF-TOPIC OF THREAD !!
    Are you going to be giving a seminar this year at the LB Fred Hall show ?

    NOW: RETURNING TO THREAD'S TOPIC.

    tsurikichi
     

    PacificPredator

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    Dec 9, 2010
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    now i want to try this out. there are way to much things i want to try out but not enough fishing time x)

    x2

    Thanks for the info Dave
     

    Rayhawk

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    Aug 30, 2007
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    Ray
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    I caught Sargo off the rocks(shore) in San Diego. Man they put up a fight on light tackle. I was using GhostShrimp. Fun times on the light tackle.