I had the rare opportunity this week to go fishing with my son Jake…just the two of us, and not on a Dad’s weekend.  He wasn’t able to spend the night with me, so we couldn’t do an overnight, and an all day trip was going to be pushing it, so 3/4 was our best option.  This year has been a slow one for Jake fishing-wise.  Out of the Top 10, he’s only gotten 2 fish, rockfish and sculpin.  So given Jake’s status for the year, and the time constraint, I opted to go ride with Capt. Andy Siratt of the Enterprise out of Long Beach Marina.

The previous day was a good one for the boat…over 100 fish each on barracuda, rockfish and sculpin, with a few bass and even a sheephead in the mix.  We boarded the boat with a nice light load of only 20 anglers and secured spots on the stern for our ride out.  Jeff and Nick were handling deck duty, and David was at his usual spot in the galley.  We motored out to the bait receiver and picked up a load of live anchovies for bait.

Jake and I both used the golden mackerel color

Jake and I both used the golden mackerel color

We started the day immediately on the hunt for barracuda.  Andy recommended flylining or very small sinker with an anchovy.  I chuckle to myself every time someone asks me, ” What’s the best way to catch a (insert fish here)?”  Here’s another example of there isn’t one.  Location, time of year, bait in the water, water conditions etc. are always changing and what’s effective last time, may not be effective this time.  When the cuda first hit Long Beach in May, they would hit just about any jig you threw.  Now they’ve been settled in for awhile.  They’ve been living on a steady diet of anchovies.  They didn’t want to bite the jig.  Being hard-headed though, we started the day throwing Megabaits.  Jake got bit his initial cast (and lost it), but then neither one of us got any love afterwards, so we switched to bait.

Catching cuda with an anchovy on light line was new to me.  It kind of runs counter to everything I’ve ever learned about barracuda fishing so far.  I started out fishing a C-rig on my bass rod using 15# test (on top of the 40# spectra backing) and 1/2 oz. sliding sinker.  Too heavy.  The cuda were up on the surface and there wasn’t enough current to hold it up, but I managed to catch 1 fish using that setup before the dogs came in and killed the bite.

The middle part of the day, we filled sacks with bocaccio and sculpin.  The grouper were found about 20 cranks up using  the anchovies for bait.  The sculpin bit on plastic, flat on the bottom.

Jake again on his butterfly

Jake again on his butterfly

Whenever it’s a salmon grouper scenario, Jake likes to use the orange/red butterfly jig that he won his first jackpot on (VIDEO).  I played it conventional.  Jake and Juj were over for dinner the night before and Juliana ate all the rockfish I had from the previous week.  I wanted to put some in the sack.  So while I did that, Jake did his thing and scored again on his bocach jig.

To end the day, we went back to the cuda area.  Based on the morning’s experience, I rigged both Jake and I with an 1/8 oz. sliding sinker straight to the hook.  It proved to be the hot ticket.  Jake got bit 8 more times!  Poor kid landed none.  I managed to land 2 more, but lost 3 from the line getting cut.  It was definitely challenging, but a lot of fun.  One of my deckhand friends told me later that if I get in a similar scenario, tie the C-rig again, but use 30 or 40 from the swivel to the hook.  You have the light line to cast a chovy, but the abrasion resistance at the hook.  Good to know.  File that away to use in the future.

I felt bad for Jake.  I could tell he was upset losing all those fish.  I pointed out to him though that no one else got bit as many times.  He came around eventually.  “It was fun to fight all those fish.  We gave away all the ones we caught anyway.”  That a boy.  Good day for a father and son.  Solid day for the boat…4 Calico Bass, 12 Sand Bass, 98 Barracuda, 105 Rockfish, 68 Sculpin for 20 anglers.  Thanks to Captain Andy and his crew for the day.  Tight lines!



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