Picture courtesy of Spitfire Sportfishing

Picture courtesy of Spitfire Sportfishing

Thursday, July 4th, I stayed local and rode the Spitfire with my buddy Randy.  Randy had never been, and it’d been awhile since I had ridden on this boat.  Aside from not wanting to venture too far afield on the holiday, the first pops of squid had just hit the Bay. The Spitfire had some good calico bass fishing on Wednesday, but the highlight of the day were the exotics…4 halibut and 1 white seabass.  Anytime you have live squid onboard, good things can happen.  The same day, MDR’s half day boat, the New Del Mar, got into the first showing of barracuda in the Bay for 2013.  I didn’t know which way they’d go, but the prospects were high for an exciting day of local fishing.

In the parking lot, Randy and I ran into Kevin, Juan and Ray…former regulars from the Tradition when it was running 3/4 out of Redondo.  When we boarded, the boat was already tanked with both live squid and anchovies.  Capt. Jeremy was driving, Chris was working the deck (with pseudo pinhead Jackson, Jeremy’s son), and Sigi was holding it down in the galley.

We headed north in grey, foggy conditions.  The sea was flat calm.  We were looking for barracuda, making rigging up easy.  I tied a blue/green/white Salas Jpot on my jig stick that Roger from Sav On Tackle had recommended to me.  Done.

Jeremy glassing

Jeremy glassing

Unfortunately, the cuda were a no show.  We looked around for about an hour and a half, but no sign of them.  At one point, I could see a lot of bait in the water standing on the bow.  There were a couple birds diving on it, but apparently there wasn’t anything underneath pushing them up.  At this point, we were pretty far north…past the Malibu pier.  Jeremy decided to go inshore and do some bass fishing.  It started out slow, but as we got the chum going, they got more active.  An anchovy, or one of the brown baits elicited an almost immediate bite, but mostly shorts.

One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to become more proficient with fishing squid.  By that, I mean when you use either a small sliding sinker or small leadhead and you are trying to not only cover the water side-to-side in front of you, but also up and down through the water column.  This tactic is a great way to fish for white seabass, yellowtail (when the dominant bait is squid), and calico bass.

The fin bait was getting bit really good.  Most anglers were playing the numbers game and throwing most of them back.  I just worked my squid on a slider rig.  One notable exception was Ray Messina who fished only plastic and was absolutely killing it.  We counted his bag at the end and Ray had 7 legals, whereas the majority of us had 1-4.  Ray was using a small plastic about the size of a wham to do his work.  It was obvious that the fish were keyed into smaller baits, so for awhile I downsized to smaller squid.  I think I caught about 5 with one legal before I got bored going that way.  I decided to just find the biggest one I could find, fish it and let the chips fall as they may.

I was doing my squid thing when all of a sudden I got whacked pretty hard.  My rod was doubled over and line was actually stripping out.  I thought I was hooked into my personal best calico.  Oh yeah, this sucker is going to be over 5 lbs. easy.  I kept the pressure on, trying to keep him out of the kelp.  I was fishing about a 5 foot leader of 20lb. fluoro-coated mono, with a 40 lb spectra back.  I felt pretty good about my chances and pulled on it hard.  It got to color and I said, “Oh my god, it’s a white seabass!”  He had another run in him and instead of fighting it, I let him do his thing.  He got to color again and this time Chris stuck it.  Woohoo!  No PB calico today, but I will definitely take it 🙂

Surprise biscuit with Chris photobombing

Surprise biscuit with Chris photobombing

We did a little rockfishing to end the day.  Some pretty solid reds and chuckies in that mix, but the bassing was the highlight of the day.  Good things can always happen when live squid is in play.  I weighed the biscuit and she was only 9 lbs, but whatever.  I won my first jackpot of the year and have fresh seabass to eat.  Thanks to Jeremy and his crew for a fun day on the water.  Tight lines!

 

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