Yesterday, Jacob, Juliana and I fished the morning half day down at Dana Wharf.  The boat was the Sum Fun with Captain Chris Pica and crew.  This was the same boat that I busted my halibut cherry on last December.  Jake’s been dying to throw plastic at bass since the Fred Hall Show in March.  Every time he has wanted to do it, I told him it wasn’t a good time for various reasons.  The last couple weeks though, amidst the excitement over yellowtail and white seabass, I’ve watched the counts steadily rise on the calicos all up and down the coast.  The hotspots have been off Point Loma and Dana Point.  Time is ripe to get some bassin’ in.

Juj’s first calico

The boat got off the dock just after 6:30am and we picked up live anchovies at the bait receiver.  Coming out of the harbor, we headed north and setup shop in the kelp grounds off Laguna Niguel, at the southern edge of the MPA.  The 3 of us posted up just ahead of the bait tank on the port side of the boat.  Initially, I setup both the kids with a small sliding sinker in front of size four bait hooks.  Because we weren’t in the meat of the kelp though like the stern, the baits weren’t getting down into the zone.  Also, Juj isn’t ready yet to mind a live bait in this way.  Her bait kept straying toward the stern and she kept getting hung up with other anglers.  I changed her up to a dropper loop setup to keep her within a more manageable area.  I also switched her hook to a light wire circle hook, figuring it would help keep her bait on better, and allow the fish to hook themselves.  That decision proved to be a good one and she immediately hooked into her first calico bass.

Typically, after Juj catches a fish, she’s done for the day.  Yesterday though, she was into it, so I rebaited her and dropped her line in.  Before the weight hit the bottom, I got a fish on and handed it off to her.  She reeled up and it was another calico.  After this scenario played out 3 or 4 times, Jake asked to be setup like his little sister.  I changed up his rig, but made him use a normal bait hook.  For whatever reason, he was still waiting for a hookup.  He left to get a new bait and returned with a live squid.  Where’d you find that?  “Had to dig around, but I found it.”  He baited the hook and dropped it down.  Shortly after, he was rewarded with his first ever sand bass!  Nice Jake!

Jake’s hot jig

Juj continued her hot streak.  Meanwhile, with no more live squid to be found, Jake struggled.  “Why don’t you throw your plastic?”  I helped him rig up and he threw one of Corey’s 5 inch swimbaits.  He got one hit, but that was it.  On his own, he decided to switch up to a Waxwing.  Once he did, Jake really got into a rhythm, nailing a big calico and a short cuda.  It looked like so much fun, I copied him and watched a big calico explode topwater on my jig about 20 yds. away.  That was cool!

It was a great day on the water for everyone.  Here’s the official count.  Juj caught her first bass and said it was her best day ever on the water.  She ended up with 13 calicos and 1 sand bass.  Jake got his first sandy, then had a ball throwing the waxwing.  I learned a new trick from my son and can’t wait to try it again.  Winning day all around.  Thanks to Capt. Chris and his crew on the Sum Fun.  Tight lines!

Juj’s first legal calico

Jake’s big calico on the waxwing

Capt. Chris admires Jake’s waxwing cuda

Old dawg learns a new trick

The kids had a ball


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