This post originally appeared on BD Outdoors (edited here)



Jake and my dad, Jose, at Redondo Beach Pier (WA)

Thursday, December 10th was the fifth anniversary since I started the So Cal Salty blog.  About eight years ago, I took my kids, Jacob and Juliana, to visit their grandparents in Seattle.  I grew up fishing a lot back home, but I lost my way during college, and starting a career, and starting a family.  At the time I took the kids home to visit, I was a once a year type fishing guy.  While we were up there, my dad suggested we take Jake to a trout farm.  Great idea.

Jake had a blast at the trout farm.  He was bit by the fishing bug. 

When we got home, it was, “When are we going fishing dad?”  Over the next couple years, we started getting out more.  We worked our way up from the pier (mostly Venice Beach), to half days and occasionally ¾ day trips on the open party sportboats.  We had fun, but we learned that we really didn’t know much about fishing here.  Back then, I didn’t even know what we’d be fishing for when we went out.  We noticed how the deckhands and regulars caught fish with ease.  We marveled at how they cut the fish at the end of the trip.  We gladly accepted fish gifted to us, but longed to be able to catch fish like those guys.

I decided I wanted to go fishing more often and learn how to get better.

So I spent time poking around on the internet, looking for sources of saltwater fishing information here in Southern California.  Ironically, my employer now – BD Outdoors, was still the Bloody Decks forums.  To be honest, it wasn’t a very friendly place to a newb (at the time) like me.  I’d ask stupid questions like, “What’s the best way to catch a yellowtail?”  (Answer: It depends)  If I did get feedback, it would be something snarky like, “Soak squid.”  Great.  Thanks a lot.

socalangler_bhayIt was at this time that two important things happened:

  • I discovered Brandon Hayward’s epic How To book, The Southern California Angler. Find it on eBay or Amazon and get your hands on it.


  • I attended Blogworld in Las Vegas for my work and met some bloggers who encouraged me to start blogging.


At the time I found Brandon’s book, I was buying gear based on the brand, with little thought to the application.  If you want a laugh, find the video of me winning jackpot on a Dan Hernandez trip aboard The Indian with Capt. Chris Randel.  I used a Penn International to catch rockfish!  The biggest takeaway for me about Brandon’s book was organizing in my mind what kind of gear I needed to have in order to fit the various applications of our fishery.  As I started understanding what we were fishing for, and what gear was needed for that application, I started to get better.  It formed a basis of knowledge that I could build upon.

Encouraged to start a blog after Blogworld, I decided to use the blog platform as an on the water diary.  If I did do something right, I could refer back to it later.  I shared my writing with some friends who passed it along to their friends.  Social media became a thing.  I was able to use it to grow the blog audience.  Voila!  Five years later, I have the dream second job, writing here on BD Outdoors.  And I’m a threat to take JP or be high stick on any given trip.

The reason why I tell this tale is to encourage others.  I didn’t grow up here.  I wasn’t a deckhand as a teenager.  My dad isn’t  a sportboat captain.  Over the years, I’ve met people on the boats who share a similar story.  We all found mentors that have taught us things on the water.  The point is, you can learn how to do this sport that we love.  You can be a part of all that we enjoy on the ocean.  One of my mentors told me that he learned much of what he knows from the regulars on the boat that he fished with as a teenager in San Diego.  He would offer to buy their lunch, to gain their favor and learn their knowledge.

They told him, “Just teach what we’ve taught you to someone else.” 



Brandon also mentioned in his book that you’ve come full circle when you start helping others enjoy this sport.  Keep reading.  Keep learning.  Keep fishing and help someone else enjoy their day on the water.  See you at the rail.


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