I’m on a nice roll. It’s lucky to experience this sort of fishing success at all, but to be on that first big yellowtail hit in US waters a couple weeks ago, then next trip out have the day I had on Monday is pretty remarkable. Up top you see the results of our day and a half trip aboard Fortune Sportfishing that returned early Tuesday morning…full boat + crew limits on the seabass.
When it comes to white seabass, I’ve come to a conclusion. Last year’s miniscule bite window only reaffirmed my belief.
When the bite is on, drop what you’re doing and go fishing!
Vacation days, sick days, whatever you’ve got to do. DO IT! When they started hitting a week ago, I immediately went into planning mode. Reaching out in my network to get dope. Balancing where I could fit in a trip given work and family obligations. Upon weighing out the various options, I decided that a Thursday or Monday fishing day was what I could do. My boss approved Monday.
At this point, I’m not going to get into the trip details. I may write a trip report on SoCal Salty. For here, I’d like to focus on maximizing your chances for success on your upcoming trip.
After the trip, people asked me all the usual sort of questions I get – Where did you go? What were they biting? etc.
“Everything you need to know is in the last two articles I wrote.”
Having had time to reflect and Monday Morning Quarterback the trip, I realized just how true me saying that was. Sure we got lucky and found some fish ready to die. That said, there were people who were wildly successful and others who skunked. I was on the right side of the ledger. I realized there were some good decisions over the course of the trip that helped deliver a successful outcome for me.
Switching Up Rigs
Capt. Bob Vierregger ran our trip. Bob said we’d be visiting some of the “outer islands.” During the trip briefing, he told us we’d spend the morning at one island fishing yellows and then make a move and target white seabass at another island. Since we were on a 1.5, he said we’d fish seabass from the afternoon “Til around 3am.” OMG
Upon arriving on the seabass grounds, we fished a couple spots yielding one fish each. It was good to see the target species. We dropped anchor and settled into a 3rd spot, tight to the beach, very kelpy. Bob mentioned he was marking a couple fish below the boat, so I opted to go with the high dropper. With the prospect of waiting out these fish until 3am, I found a spot up on the bow by myself, got cozy and waited. In the waning light, one angler got bit and they boated the fish next to me on the starboard side (right).
That fish kicked off what would prove to be our hot bite.
Immediately, another fish got boated on the stern and Bob called me to get a picture. Picture taken, he needed to attend to another angler’s fish and gave me his rod to fish. Regarding setups, I wrote in the Chasing Ghosts article, “The easy answer is use whatever the captain or crew is telling you to use.” Capt. Bob was fishing the slider. I took the hint. After catching a ‘cuda on Bob’s setup, I switched out and fished my own slider setup.
How Much Weight To Use
I wrote in the Fishing Squid article “You’ll need more weight the stronger the current.” “It’s a trial and error thing and this is where it really helps to pay attention to who is getting bit and noting what they are using.”
At this point in the trip, the current was ripping. Monday was a full moon and the water really got moving as the moon rose. When we started, the kelp was up…almost zero current. In order to not be dragging on the bottom, I used only a 1/4 oz. slider. The bite got going once the current started moving. Instinctively, I should’ve adjusted to a heavier slider, but sometimes you forget in the heat of battle.
In contrast, my new friend Sam (left) was having success. After landing a fish (his second ever), Sam told me, “Use my sinker, it’s lucky.” Now I didn’t believe the sinker itself was lucky, but the light bulb turned on when I saw it. He was fishing a 3/4 oz. glow sinker. I re-tied with his “lucky sinker” and shortly after got bit.
I think seabass are lazy. So figuring out what depth they are hanging out in, is key to getting bit. For that time and place on Monday, the 3/4 oz. slider was the ticket. Glow or not glow? It probably helps at night to go glow, but I think the depth was the more important factor.
Setting The Hook
Last thing, there was probably a bite or two where I got excited or impatient and tried to set the hook as I was feeling the beginnings of a bite. I wrote in Chasing Ghosts, “If you try to really set upon initial interest, you’re going to lose more than win. Let them eat it and run.”
Guess what? I didn’t convert those opportunities. Please keep this last point in mind when you get out there. Be patient. When you feel that bite start to happen, wait. Slowly wind into it and let the rod load up based on what the fish wants to do.
I got one more bite to end my night. I really waited and was patient on it. Thank goodness I did, it turned out to be my new personal best seabass. It was a nice fish, but I was surprised when the crew told me later it was 62-pounds and won jackpot!
I know a lot of folks are headed out this weekend. Please keep these points in mind when you are on the water. Good luck when you get out there.