NSF_rentrod

Rent rod setup in the Point Loma kelp

It was interesting last week, over the weekend I fished in the Point Loma kelp and enjoyed some incredible inshore bass fishing.  Midweek, I went offshore tuna fishing on the same boat.  I couldn’t help but think that a lot of the people that rode offshore could have really benefitted from having spent some time inshore first.  Let me explain…

One of the keys to success fishing offshore is the ability to flyline a sardine.  If you aren’t familiar, what that means is pinning on a sardine and being able to cast it out without additional weight.  I see a lot of people “cheat” by adding a sliding sinker to make it easier to cast.  Sometimes that works, but mostly  it’s a deterrent to the bait swimming naturally which (while it may seem counterintuitive) is a deterrent to getting bit.  This same skill of flylining a bait is essential to summer bass fishing.

Sunday – Sum Fun (Dana Wharf)

IMG_5122

Without these 2, there is no SoCal Salty

Early Sunday morning, the kids and I made the trek down to Dana Wharf to ride 3/4 day on the Sum Fun.  We were enticed to come down by reports during the week of offshore success on yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, dorado and even a local wahoo!  Neither of the kids have ever caught any of these pelagic species, so anticipation was high that something very cool was about to happen this day.

Once we got to the landing, we ran into our buddy, Brandon Hayward, and had some time to chat while we were waiting to board.  I asked him about that wahoo and he said it is completely legit.  More on that later…

We boarded the boat and proceeded to rig our gear when Capt. Shane Mansur spoke to us over the intercom…”We’re going to be fishing down the beach today for bass and hopefully some yellowtail.”  Wait, what?!?!?  I was told the load of 50 anglers was too big to drift offshore.  Damn.  From the grumbling amongst the other passengers, we weren’t the only ones expecting an offshore trip.  The kids and I gave ourselves 2 minutes to bitch about it (just between us) and then promised to make the best of it and not mention it again.

We made a long drive down the beach and made our first stop along the outer edge of the kelp line past the San Onofre domes.  I’d never fished this part of the coastline.  I’ve seen the kelp beds from the freeway several times though and wondered about it.  I’d get to find out firsthand today.

SanOnofre

San Onofre

We had live sardines and macks for bait.  Out of the gate, a guy hooks up with what looked to be a yellow off the stern on a flylined mack.  He fought it for about 2 minutes before it broke him off.  He had a good setup, Calstar 800M with a Torium 14…only problem he was fishing 15.  Just because we’re “only” fishing bass, it’s a good reminder that you want to be prepared for success should something bigger like a yellow or white seabass decide to take your offering.

Jake and I chose to go flyline as well.  I rigged Juj with a dropper loop setup and a 2/0 circle hook.  This is what I always do for her.  I figured along with the bass, she might get lucky and hook into a halibut.  It wasn’t working for her though and she went inside and napped.  Meanwhile, Jake and I enjoyed a wide open bass bite.  The fish were mostly “last year legals”, but still fun to catch.  I managed 1 legal in the morning session.  A kid next to me fishing a Lucky Craft anchovy color stuck a pig calico.  There were no other yellowtail bites.

Jake's 1st legal bass in almost 2 years!

Jake’s 1st legal bass in almost 2 years!

We moved a little further down the beach, straight out from Camp Pendleton.  Same gameplan.  Mostly the same results, except notably another angler hooked into a yellow and managed to bring it in.  We ended up staying at this spot into the afternoon.  It was pretty good.  Along with with the yellow that was landed, 2 more were hooked and lost.  There were also a just legal seabass and halibut that were lost as well…given the talent level onboard, maybe it was a good thing we didn’t go outside.

After lunchtime, Juj woke up and came out to watch us.  At this point, Jake and I had rotated around to the bow.  One thing I noticed that was different from last week’s calico trip in SD was this ride wasn’t so stern-centric.  The fish were biting all around the boat which was really nice.  After catching into the double digits of short bass, Jake finally broke an almost 2 year drought and scored a legal calico!  Then he followed it up and caught another one.  Spurred by her brother’s success, Juj decided she wanted to fish again…but she wanted to do what me and Jake were doing.  Really?  OK, why not?  I re-rigged her, got her a bait, and flipped it out for her.  She didn’t catch any legals, but she caught 5 fish!

I was happy for both of them.  Even though we didn’t get to go offshore, something pretty cool did happen.  Jake can now handle the entire process of finding a good bait, casting it, and getting bit.  In doing so, he broke his legal bass drought.  Juj knows how to fish a flylined bait, thumbing the spool to maintain contact with the bait, recognizing when it was done and slowly reeling it back (and sometimes getting bit in the process).  I have the confidence now that they could handle themselves offshore…probably better than a lot of the anglers I observed this week.  Now they just need an opportunity.  Stay tuned.  Thanks to Capt. Shane and his crew for a good day on the water.  Tight lines!

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