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Oh A-rig…How do I love thee!!! Let me count the times!


So, WOW!!! Back in 2011 when the “A-rig” or Alabama rig or umbrella rig came to the market, I didn’t even know about it.

I actually took an unintentional break from fishing for quite a few years – actually, maybe like 5 or 6 years. I didn’t really miss it because I was so focused on other stuff…like getting married, a mortgage, kids etc. Basically life got in the way and priorities changed without even realizing it.

I fast forward to the last 3 years, I have only focused on saltwater – be it offshore inshore (jetty and surf fishing). The day that has changed my fishing life forever was April 8 of this year, 2021. I was fishing at one of the local jetties and this guy (Peter) shows up with this 5 lure setup and my first thought to myself was “Umm, what is that?”. I didn’t ask what it was or even talk to Peter during the time I was there. I was fishing with one of my purple swimbait that has caught a couple halibut and spotted bay bass when I saw Peter hook up on a small halibut. Naturally, my attention spiked. All I could think of was that I was so glad I didn’t make some stupid comment out loud to Peter about how ridiculous that thing looked and good luck. LOL.

I left after that as I had to get to work. About a week had passed and I was fishing in the morning at the jetty and here comes the same guy again with the silly looking HUGE rig. This time it only took him about 3 casts before hooking into a halibut. That was the halibut that changed it all for me. My interest was now peaked and it was time to get some answers.

https://youtu.be/gVgu6xM9Uu0

After a brief conversation with Peter, I was convinced that I needed to get one. After 2 or 3 weeks of procrastination, I went onto Amazon (of course) and saw the 100’s of different ones available. 3 arms, 5 arms, 6 arms. 5 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch arms. OMG!!! There are tooooo many options for these rigs I thought. After texting Peter back and forth, I settled on 1  and bought it. After researching for hours on end what colors halibut like, I went to a local tackle shop and got some various colors of 3″ swimbaits – smelt colors, sardine colors, etc. and some 1/4oz leadheads.

May 22, 2021 was when I caught my first fish (halibut) on the A-rig. It was such an amazing feeling – I mean heavy. The thing weighs a few ounces, so casting it is MUCH harder than just throwing a single swimbait that weighs 3/8oz.

Now, most of the articles you read on the internet about the A-rig will say that it is not the end all or it’s not the “perfect bait for ALL situations. They are mostly correct in saying this. However, after using this almost non-stop for the past 5 months (1,000s of casts), it is a life-changer for sure. I have caught well over 100 halibut and bass – mostly halibut if you’ve been following on YouTube and Instagram.

A single swimbait does have it’s place, but nothing can beat the appeal of a small school of bait fish swimming right in front (or above) a predatory fish, like halibut and bass.

https://youtu.be/p2xjI4tcU14

Now, there is a downside to fishing with the A-rig. ROCKS! When you’re fishing at a jetty or around structure (even kelp/seaweed), you are bound to get the rig stuck and lose the rig. Peter did prep me for this, but it was simply going to happen. I was very cautious at first, starting my fast retrieve the moment the rig hit the water surface because I did NOT want to lose it. But, after using it for a while, you start to get somewhat overly confident in your abilities. You start testing various speeds and technique with your retrieve. Everything is going great until you get to the point where you are ready to give it one last cast. Well, you (for some weird reason) decide on that one last cast to let the rig drop a little deeper or retrieve a little slower in case that fish that is staring at it needs just a little more convincing in order to go after it…DANGIT!!!!! That rock fish just attacked your rig and you’re now stuck!!!

Well, that my friends is why you need to use 50# braided line directly to the rig and thin gauge hooks. No fluorocarbon or mono or thick metal hooks. When the rig gets stuck, the majority of the time it’s the hook that is stuck either on a barnacle, mussel, kelp or the backend of a rock. If you are using fluoro or mono line, chances are you’re going to break the rig off and be out plenty of money. Yes, the rig does break with the 50# braid, but it’s a very rare happening. When the braid breaks, it’s usually because the head of the rig is what is stuck, not the hook or arms.

After losing a couple rigs, I decided that it was too expensive to keep buying these things, so if I was going to continue to use the A-rig, I was going to have to either find them cheaper or make my own for a fraction of the cost. Long story short, I did find a way to make my own rig. So now my rig, leadheads and lures are made for about 1/4 the cost of retail.

However, just like anything, the more practice and work you put in, the better you get at it. Ever since I made my own, I have not lost my rig. Don’t get me wrong though, I still get the rig stuck, almost daily. How have I not lost it you ask. Great question! When you’re using 50# braid, you subconsciously think “hey, I’m using 50# braid, I don’t have to worry about any of these small fish spooling me, so I’m going to tighten it down so I can get the fish in faster!” Well, yes, that is true.

https://youtu.be/12rGdJNmUrg

But, what you are not thinking about is that when your drag is set tight and you think a rock or structure is a fish biting and you set the hook hard, guess what? You just pulled that hook deep into that barnacle, kelp or rock crevice. Good luck getting that out. Even 50# braid is not holding up to that. It is most likely going to break and your rig is gone forever!

So, what I have found works best is loosening the drag quite a bit. Loosen it down closer to where you would have it if you were using 15# fluoro or mono. What this will do is when you set the hook on what you think is a fish that turns out to be a rock or hard structure, your hook or rig will not set in nearly as hard as your drag will give. You’ll probably still be hooked, but you’ll be able to more easily get it out.

Remember how I mentioned earlier to use thinner gauge hooks? This is why. When you’re applying that steady pressure, pulling on the line, that hook is slowly straightening out. Most time, eventually that hook that is stuck will straighten and release. Then you simply reel in the rig, take off the swimbait, put it on a new leadhead and go back to fishing.

If it’s still not releasing, you may simply need to make a small move to change your angle and he rig will free up on it’s own.

https://youtu.be/GXwHR_8hahE

In summary, the A-rig [Alabama rig or umbrella rig] may not be for everyone, but for those of you that can dedicate the time towards practice, it may turn out to be your game-changer.

Again, the biggest “THANK YOU” ever goes out to Peter – for simply showing up 2 weeks in a row and allowing me to bug him with too many questions at the beginning. You’re the man PETER!!!



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Halibut in hand

Finally I catch a legal halibut from the surf/jetty in crystal clear water.


Halibut teeth

A free-swimming halibut at my feet. A missed bite and a few casts later…



Fishing Summary

Let’s start this report off by saying “Wow!!! What a week!”

It’s really hard to find the time to sit down to write a fishing report when you’re using nearly every opportunity to fish. It is spring and the fish spawn turned on. OMG did it turn on!

Last week was tough (leading into Thursday April 29th). I was using every fishing style I could think of, Lucky Craft, Jigpara, dropshot, Carolina rig with Gulp! Sandworms and grubs, Fishbites…The list goes on. I was getting bites here and there, but nothing was wanting to play along.

Then, on Thursday, April 29, everything changed – quickly. I was walking back to my vehicle after waiving the white flag early when I decided to take a look at a jetty opening. I was really surprised to see that there was nobody fishing (this was a morning and the tide was just right). Water was moving very slow, so I figured this would be a great opportunity for a quick 15 minute stop – maybe get a bite on a  halibut or something. At least a bat ray to give me a fight.

So, I put on a dropshot rig with a 5” Super Fluke in a Smokin’ Shad color and threw it out a couple times. With the water moving slow, it allows the angler to give the bait real subtle movements and allows the fish to see the bait for a longer period of time. In a very short time, I had a hookup! Finally! After a little fight, I reeled in a short halibut, somewhere in the 18” range. The daily skunking was over.

Now, instead of having you read a lengthy report, I’m simply going to fill this with a bunch of pictures and videos with a short description and let you simply enjoy the last 10 days of halibut and spotted bay bass catches. Enjoy!!!

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https://youtu.be/avqUFb0a1OE

Small California Halibut caught on a dropshot rig with a Smokin’ Shad fluke.


Halibut next to rod

https://youtu.be/YjZlrWcVAvU

Repeat of the above. Short Halibut on dropshot.


Halibut in hand
https://youtu.be/H6Y_MNxTCho

Finally I catch a legal halibut from the surf/jetty in crystal clear water.


Halibut teeth
https://youtu.be/we1TFGbVxk4

A free-swimming halibut at my feet. A missed bite and a few casts later…


Overall Conditions – Morning

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 63 degrees

Ocean Surface: Relatively Smooth

Water Temp: 62 degrees

Surf: 3-5′ faces

Bait used: ZOOM Super Fluke in Smokin’ Shad color on Tokyo Rig

Fishing Summary

Today’s trip was nearly a duplicate of yesterday, just a faster incoming tide. So, just like yesterday, I go to the beach at 6am and walked straight to my spot. The water was moving much quicker than yesterday as there is a new south swell in the water with much bigger surf. With faster moving water, it was nearly impossible to keep my jig on the bottom. I was only using a 3/8oz sinker in an effort to not get stuck in the rock structure that is present on the bottom in a few spots. Though, I did manage to get stuck once. 

Here is a little tip that I figured out when there are rocks and you are using a dropshot or any type of rig where the weight hangs down past where your bait is connected to your main line. Use a smaller pound test line. For my main line, I have 30lb PowerPro braid with a 12″ – 18″ leader of 25lb or 30lb fluoro. When fishing these rigs, especially near rock or standing structure, I want heavier pound test in case get stuck or get a big halibut hooked. In these types of conditions, I don’t believe these fish are line shy. They are hungry and attach. It is a reactionary bite, not a finesse bite. For the line that the weight hangs on, I use 12lb or 15lb mono. The reason for this is that if the weight gets stuck in the rocks or on some type of structure, that line will be the weakest point and that’s what will break. You’ll keep your bait and hook. Then, I just have spare lines ready to tie or hook back onto my rig and cast right back out. Saves a lot of time this way. 

Anyways, back to the story. After about 45 minutes or so, the water had slowed down drastically to where my bait was able to nicely glide along the bottom at a fairly slow speed. I was able to jig the fluke much better now. Just like yesterday, I cast out, jigged up 2 or 3 times, and the rod just bent as I pulled up. At first, I thought it was just seaweed, just like the post from 2 weeks ago when I caught the halibut on my Lucky Craft, but then I go a couple head shakes and some pulling. It really felt like something small, like maybe an under 15 inch fish. no real fight at all until it got to the rocks (as you’ll see in the video below). I really thought that it may have been a ray or something. Sure enough though, I got it close enough and could see that it was a small halibut. 

I got it onto the rocks and it definitely looked short. I didn’t think there was any way that it would be close to 22 inches. Well, as you will see in the video, it was a heck of a lot bigger than i thought. Was it a keeper? Check out the pics below. The tape makes it look like 22 inch, but if you look at the other end of the tape, you can see that it is not quite at the end of the tail. It’s actually about half an inch past the tail. If you account for that 1/2 inch, the total length came out to 21 7/8 inches long!!! Just short again!

Until my next post, have fun and stay healthy!



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https://youtu.be/gOx6-BbIFic
StartFishingToday BC Halibut 042321-1

StartFishingToday BC Halibut 042321-3
StartFishingToday BC Halibut 042321-2

Fishing Summary

I want to start off by saying that the last week or so has definitely seen a drastic increase in “fishy” water. I am seeing TONS of anchovies and topsmelt in surf and jetty water.

With TONS of bait in the area, I am seeing corbina (this means sandcrabs are here), spotfin croaker, hundreds of stingrays, bat rays, butterfly rays, and, of course, the great flat fish – HALIBUT!!!

Now for my experiences the past week. On Saturday, I started the morning with a surf session early am. It only lasted about an hour as conditions weren’t all that great and I had to get home by 9am. So I stopped surfing and grabbed the fishing gear. There were other anglers all over the place. I managed to find a nice little area near the jetty at Bolsa Chica. Tide was quite low, so I was able to walk out quite far and fish in the outer surf zone. Weather and overall conditions were decent and a few birds were diving around me for the little anchovies.

The session only lasted about an hour and I was only able to snag this butterfly ray. It took me about 8 minutes or so to get in and was the biggest butterfly ray I have brough in. It probably weighed in at about 5 or 6 pounds. I thought it was a halibut at first, but after hooking into a few of these (and bat rays) over the last year, I quickly realized it was just a ray. I have noticed that nearly as soon as you hook into either a bat ray or butterfly ray, they either swim against the drift (parallel to the beach) or don’t fight at all and let you pull them right in. This was a beast of a ray and swam north against the drift for a while.

I was only using 6-pound test and a 15g Jigpara Micro, so I couldn’t pull hard to get it in. I had it to the shore 3 or 4 times and it would just keep running. I didn’t want to lose the jig of course, so I had to let it do it’s thing. I eventually got it in. That was it for that session.



StartFishingToday Butterfly Ray

Monday was my next fishing session. After 2 hours, the only positive news was that I saw halibut breach the surface 6 times!!! How many did I hook???? NONE ☹. I used everything – Lucky Craft FM 110 in all colors, Jigpara Micro, ZOOM Super Flukes, Kalins grubs. Nothing! Skunked!

Tuesday was had a little more success. I tried using a dropshot rig with a ZOOM Super Fluke in a Smokin’ Shad color. The water was moving quite fast and my 3/8 ounce weight was being pulled quickly. I got bit one or two times and had 1 on for a couple seconds, but they were poor hook sets. That was it…for me. However, an angler that I had met last week (only able to fish on Tuesday mornings after his evening work shift) arrived about an hour before I had to leave. He walked up near me before he started fishing and told me about what happened last week after I left.

To quickly explained what happened last week – As I was leaving, I looked back just in time to see a halibut breach about 30 yards from where he was fishing. He hadn’t seen it, so I told him where it was and to just keep casting. So, he asked me if I remembered what happened and I nodded. He then told me that 3 casts after I was gone, he caught that halibut. He said it measured in at 27 inches!!! Nice! Great catch Peter!

Back to this Tuesday. Peter was only about 5 or 6 casts in before his hooks into a nice halibut. Fortunately, I had my GoPro running and was able to capture the bite, hook set, and landing of his flattie. It turned out to be slightly longer than we though and measured in at about 21 inches he said. It’s only 9 seconds long, but here it is:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7AuHf8DKeE

That wasn’t the end of it though. Just as it happened last week, it happened again this week. The only difference is I saw it this time. As I was leaving, my back was turned to Peter for no more than 15 seconds. As I turned to take one last look, I see his rod it completely bent! I see him pull up yet another halibut!!! This one absolutely looked like a keeper. I had to go, but he texted me later that it too was just shy of legal and also measured in at 21 inches.

Wednesday was about the same as Tuesday. I mostly used a dropshot rig with flukes, grubs, swimbaits and Lucky Crafts. I did have 1 fish on for about 5 or 6 seconds, but again, poor hook set and it got off. That was it for the session.

Before I get into what happened today (Thursday), I want to note something that I was noticing about my dropshot rig that I did not like. With a dropshot rig, the hook (and therefore the bait) is tied into the fishing line. While the tail of the bait may move a bit with the water movement the lure as a whole appears very stiff and fixed in place. There is not much movement allowed. With no natural movement, I would be hard-pressed to believe a fish would like the look of it. I’ve seen a lot of YT videos with anglers having success with the standard dropshot, but I just don’t like presentation. There needs to be more movement.

As I was swiping through fishing post on IG, I came across an image for a Tokyo Rig. Go ahead and search on the internet for “Tokyo rig”. What you will see is basically a rig with 2 barrel swivels connected to a split ring at the hook. One barrel is connecting the main line to the hook and the other is hooked to a line hanging down for the weight. What this does is allow the lure to freely move in a much more natural way.

I decided to order some split rings and size 2 barrel swivels. I didn’t want to wait until they got delivered to test the rig out. I tied a line clip on my main line and clipped it to the eye of the hook and tied the line with the weight onto the hook itself. They eye of the hook is plenty big to where the lure on the hook is able to move freely. It’s not pretty, but the same concept is there to match the Tokyo Rig.

Now, to today’s session. It didn’t take but 2 casts for my theory to prove correct. I cast out, wait for the weight to hit the ground. It only took a couple of jogs before BOOM!!! FISH ON!!! Finally! This was the first fish I have had on that has actually pulled drag on me in over 6 months. I did have a couple more bites with one lasting about 3 seconds before coming off.

Instead of explaining the whole catch, I figured it would be best and more enjoyable to watch it. After all, this is exactly why we invested in a GoPro. Enjoy the video (2 still images of the catch are below the video player).

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https://youtu.be/GT-WcUMvOUk
StartFishingToday BC Halibut 042221-2

StartFishingToday BC Halibut 042221-1

Overall Conditions – Morning

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 63 degrees

Ocean Surface: Relatively Smooth

Water Temp: 61.3 degrees

Surf: 2-3′ faces

Bait used: Lucky Craft FM 115 and Jigpara Micro

Fishing Summary

First off, I’m sorry it’s been nearly 3 months since the last post. It’s been VERY SLOW in north OC to start the year. I’ll try my best to not go that long again.

Before I get into this morning’s action, I’m going to go off on a little tangent, then circle back to the report.

If you have read any of my previous reports, the one there is one thing in the Overall Conditions above that should jump out at you….the Water Temp!!!! After many months of patiently waiting, the ocean surface temperature at the beach has made it up past 60 degrees. That is a HUGE difference maker. With that increase in temperature, we should now start seeing an sharp increase in fish bites and catches. We should also start seeing the return of sand crabs (sand fleas) to our local beaches. Grunion runs are now in the monthly calendar. With both sand crabs and grunion numbers on the increase, we surf anglers should know what that means…more and more species of fish will start to populate our shores in numbers for us to happily catch. We’re talking perch, yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker, and corbina. Wait, I think I’m forgetting one REALLY important one. Hmmmmm…. Oh yeah. Duh. HALIBUT of course!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, back to today’s morning action. Okay, I know the title of the post kind of gives it away as to what I may or may not have caught, but I have to be honest. It has been something like 5 or 6 months since I last caught a halibut. But, that is completely intentional. Knowing how ocean water temperatures affect and dictate (for the most part) what fish are going to be available to catch, once the water dropped below 59 degrees, I stopped targeting halibut and focused on honing in my skills on the more abundant fish, like perch and yellowfin croaker. So, when I say it’s been 5 or 6 months since landing a halibut, it is purely for the fact that I didn’t target them. 

When I go to the parking lot this morning, I walked across the jetty overpass to fish between the jetty and Seapoint. I like to fish on the other side where there are typically fewer surfers and other anglers – less fishing pressure. When I do this, I always with my Jigpara Micro and throw a few casts near the end of the jetty when it’s higher tide. There have been numerous trips where my first cast lands a little perch or yellowfin croaker. Unfortunately, nothing bit today. I spent the next 1.5 hours throwing the Jigpara, but nothing. 

I then walked back to the jetty and saw that there were no other anglers fishing where I wanted to fish. It amazes me to see how many anglers are finishing or walking away from a spot at just the wrong time. What I mean by wrong time is that halibut like very little tidal movement when they feed and I completely agree with how they feel. Think about how much more energy you have to use when swimming if the water is moving really fast around you. You’re constantly having to fight and swim just to stay in the same spot. Halibut [mostly] feed at slack tide. So up to 30 minutes before and after a high or low tide is prime time to target this flat fish. Today, high tide was at 9:45am. I started casting my Lucky Craft Surf Pointer 115 in Metallic Sardine pattern at about 9:20am. I spent the next 45 minutes casting in a fan motion to cover as much surface area as possible. I looked at my watch and it was 9:59am. I told myself I had another 5 casts and then it was time to go.

Before I get into the actual catch, there 2 things I would like to note about using a Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 110 and a Lucky Craft Surf Pointer 115. First, these hard lures are measured in millimeters, so the 115 is slightly longer than the 110. The other MAJOR difference is the size of the spoon in the front that causes the diving action. The Surf Pointer 115 dives to 2 – 4 feet. The Flash Minnow 110 is for surface fishing of 0 – 2 feet. So, when it’s high tide as it was this morning, especially from standing on a jetty, I decided that it would be best to use the Surf Pointer 115 as it doves deeper and closer to the ocean floor where the halibut live and wait to ambush their prey. 

Now, to the catch. I am a deep sea angler at heart. I grew up with a boat and have always fished. There are 2 main keys to fishing with a sardine: they don’t ever just swim straight and they don’t swim 100% of the time. They dart left, then right, then go straight, then stop, then left, then dive down. So on and so forth. Knowing this, I do not like to simply reel any lure or jig straight in. It is not a natural presentation.  When I retrieve my lures (swim baits, hard lures, jigs, etc), I vary my actions the whole time. I reel straight in, then pull it left, stop for a second or 2, pull right, then straight, then pull hard to make it dive hard (and variations of this on every cast). This varied action mimics real bait moving. Again, this is what works for me. Other anglers swear that a constant straight retrieve works for them. Do what you find works best for you. It can take MANY years of experience to find the right technique. 

On what was going to be my last cast, I cast out to the middle of the jetty and started my retrieve. In no more than 3 seconds, my rod just pulled down. No hard bite, not pulling drag, nothing. I really thought I had just simply snagged some kelp and was dragging it. Over the course of the next 2 or 3 minutes, still, no drag pull, not head shakes, just constant rod bend. The only thing that made me realize it was a fish was that with kelp or seaweed, when you hook it, it will pull up to the surface with your lure and you’ll reel it in. I wasn’t seeing anything on the surface. It wasn’t until I reeled it in close enough to where whatever was attached to the lure shook a little after hitting the rocks of the jetty. Then I pulled up a little more and it was a site for sore eyes. FINALLYYYYYYYY. The first halibut in nearly half a year! 

The best part is that I know it’s not [just] luck. When you are constantly watching swell patterns and water temperatures (I have also been surfing for nearly as long as I have been fishing) and you know what triggers certain fish species to start biting, it’s just a matter of patience. I picked the right day and time to start targeting the great flat fish (aka California Halibut)!!!

Until my next post, have fun and stay healthy!



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Bolsa Chica Halibut img1
Bolsa Chica Halibut img2

Bolsa Chica Halibut img3

Overall Conditions – Morning


Weather: Mostly cloudy and 55 degrees


Ocean Surface: Relatively Smooth


Water Temp: About 58 degrees


Surf: 2-3′ faces


Bait used: Lucky Craft FM 110


Fishing Summary


When I got my YFC yesterday am, I saw a halibut jump out of the water. So, I changed it up today and brought the hard baits. This 13″ corbina was hungry! Was it the target species? Of course! It’s a fin fish that took my bait. 

I really love it when you go the the beach with no expectations of catching anything – just doing it for the experience and enjoy the fresh air. Watching the dolphins jump and surf the waves while almost unknowingly continuously casting away. Then, out of nowhere, you get the bite. It’s startling at first and you’re not sure whether you have a fish, debris of some sort, or whatever. Then you get some headshakes and remember that you’re using a LC with a total of 9 hooks – this fish isn’t getting away. So, you enjoy the little fight, hoping that it’s a halibut. But, even when the corbina made it to the shore, I was still super stoked even though it wasn’t the hali I was hoping for. I always lean back on my surf fishing philosophy – any fish I catch in the surf is a great fish and my target species. Unlike fishing on a boat, I don’t have a digital fish finder, sonar, or anything like that. So, it’s makes it that much more special and gratifying when I do catch something.

I tried using so other patterns as well as some Jigpara Micro, but no other bites. 

NOTE: Sorry for the combination of 1st and 3rd person in this post. Oh well. 


Until my next post, have fun and stay healthy!



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Corbina on Lucky Craft 110

Overall Conditions – Morning


Weather: Sunny and 55 degrees


Ocean Surface: Smooth


Water Temp: About 58 degrees


Surf: 3-5′ faces


Bait used: C-rig with 3/4oz slider and fresh mussel meat…with Fishbites!


Fishing Summary


So I tried a little something different this morning. I gone with the kids and got some fresh mussels earlier in the week to use as bait of course. The only bad part about using mussels – as anyone who uses mussels knows – it is not an easy task to keep it secured to the hook. After some time, or during your first cast, it flies off or comes off in the surf. Or, the little buggers pick and pick at it without biting and it’s gone. I was going through too many mussels too fast. Now, I know there is that elastic string that most use where you wrap it around the mussel (or clam, or ghost shrimp, etc) and the hook to keep it there longer. That works, but there is no other advantage to using that string than just to keep the mussel on. 


I am a huge proponent of constantly learning. I don’t care whether you’re fishing West Coast, East Coast, in the south, freshwater or saltwater, there will always be something to learn. I was searching for great winter time baits to use (alternatives to mussels of course) and came across a youtube video of a guy using Fishbites for preventing his live bait (sardine) from coming off his hook when he casts. The Fishbites have a mesh center, allowing it to stay “stuck” on your hook (assuming you are using barbed hooks). So when he cast, the sardine could not fly off his hook and was able to keep bait in the water longer, ultimately catching more fish. If you are not familiar with Fishbites, they are artificially scented strips that come in a variety of “flavors”. 


I thought that was a great idea. So, it gave me the idea of using the Fishbites the same way he did, but for mussels – as a way to prevent the mussels from slipping off. But, there is another, maybe more important reason I decided to use Fishbites versus the elastic plastic – the Fishbites are built to create a feeding frenzy and establish a long-lasting scent trail. So not only do I keep my mussel meat on longer, I’m basically chumming as I’m fishing with the Fishbites. How awesome is that! 


I’m using the EZ Flea (sand crab) and Bag-O-Worms (bloodworm) flavors. The bags are only like $8 and come with two (2) 12-inch long strands and you can choose your width too. I cut them in squares – so about 1/3″ x 1/3″ pieces. This morning was my first try using this method and only fished for about 45 min. Got this little perch this am.


Until my next post, have fun and stay healthy!



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mussel with fishbites
fishbites ez flea and bag o worms
surf perch on mussel and fishbites

Overall Conditions – Morning

Weather: Sunny and 44 degrees

Ocean Surface: Smooth

Water Temp: About 57 degrees

Surf: 6-9′ faces

Bait used: C-rig with 1oz slider and thawed salted mussel meat.

Fishing Summary

Mussels are proving to be the way to go. Got this little surf perch this morning. Waves were pounding the shore with 5-8 foot faces. Just happened to let my slider sit in the near-shore trough for a little longer than normal. A wave slammed down and my rod tip kept bouncing. I felt a small tug, but as you can see by the size of the fish, I really didn’t think there was anything there. Low an below, a palm-size surf perch on the hook. Solid hook placement in the upper corner of the jaw. Sometimes I definitely would rather be lucky than good.



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Barred Surf Perch on mussel meat

Overall Conditions – Morning

Weather: Sunny and 42 degrees

Ocean Surface: Smooth

Water Temp: About 57 degrees

Surf: 6-9′ faces

Bait used: C-rig with 1oz slider and thawed salted mussel meat.

Fishing Summary

I had to prove myself wrong. In a previous post, I was discouraged about the lack of fish I was catching during the current period of larger surf and said that the fish probably just stay in deeper water until the swell declines. Well, the surf has been up for nearly 2 straight weeks and fish gotta eat, right?

I read articles on winter time surf fishing up and down the CA coast. Most common bait – mussels or ghost shrimp on c-rig. So, this am was max high tide at 6:30am, 13ft swell from 295 degrees (9 foot face surf on the sets) and I fished. I used a 1oz egg slider to keep on the bottom, but, of course, it was getting swept down the beach. I also read that in winter, timing your cast with bigger waves is probably the most crucial aspect for best chances of catching anything. Cast after a set of waves rolls through – when you can see flat ocean for a ways. I did. Woohoo! Got this little Corbina on my 8th cast. Not big, but still a fin fish in large surf nonetheless. 



corbina eating mussel

Overall Conditions – Afternoon

Weather: Sunny and 65 degrees

Ocean Surface: Slightly textured

Water Temp: About 57 degrees

Surf: 6-9′ faces

Bait used: C-rig with 1oz slider and thawed salted mussel meat.

Fishing Summary

AWESOME!!! I went back to the same spot as this morning’s success and got this nice little surf perch on mussel. Same everything as this morning. I saw the rip current about 50 feet wide by about 100 yards long and figured there had to be fish in there. it took 2 casts and I was on almost immediately. I actually loosened my drag a little as the surf was still big – I had time, so no need to force it in quickly. It’s a good thing I did as the hook was barely in it’s lower lip and the hole was pencil eraser size (so it was ready to come out if I pulled hard. Believe it or not, I think this was the first day that I have actually caught fish on 2 separate trips in the same day. WHAT A DAY!!!

Until next post, have fun and stay healthy…

 

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surf perch 01121

Overall Conditions – Morning


Weather: Sunny and 54 degrees


Ocean Surface: Smooth


Water Temp: About 57 degrees


Surf: 4-6′ faces


Bait used: Carolina Rig with Gulp! Sandworm and Big Hammer Motor Oil grub.


Fishing Summary


The surf was down about half of what it was yesterday and he tide was super high this morning – a little over 6ft. I walked up and down the beach, looking for a spot with less current and finally found a great spot after about an hour. Conditions definitely improved as the morning went on, but…no fish. I’ve gone fishing now 8-10 days straight now and have not seen a single bird dive or fish jump out of the water. 

Venting Section…

I’ll be honest, it’s getting very frustrating to go out every day (some days only for an hour and other days for multiple hours and multiple trips) to get 1 or no fish. I am really looking forward to the next day where I actually get 2+ fish in 1 trip. I don’t care if the fish is only a couple inches long (like my last perch a couple days ago). But, Since I live so close to the beach and can surf pretty much every day, I still consider myself very fortunate. I suppose that is the best part of fishing – any given day can bring you your personal best catch and that keeps me going back as often as possible…


 
Until my next post, have fun and stay healthy!

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