08 July 2011

California Fishin!

My mate Ronan just got back from a trip to San Diego where he managed to squeeze in some quality fishing targeting Calico Bass and Barracuda, here's his report, enjoy.


I was over visiting some friends in San Diego for the last couple of weeks. Really nice city with loads to do and see and the most amazing climate - 22 to 35 degrees all year round with pretty much no humidity. I could get used to it. I wasn't able to bring the rods but had to get out for a day's fishing anyway. There's quite a lot of big game fishing from July/August on but I'm not a big fan of trolling for hours. There's a few large party boats available for a quick few hours fix but I wanted to get out with a local guide preferably to get a true picture of the local fishing. I ended up making a few inquiries at local tackle shops and decided on local man Kelvin Nettleton from La Jolla Fishing. Kelvin has a boat that heads out wide for the bigger stuff but also goes out in a 16ft boat for one-one-one fishing trips. Can't recommend it enough.

Our targets for the day were Calico Bass and Barracuda. The Calico is like a cross between our Bass and wrasse with a huge big tail that gives it some serious power.


We launched around 6:30am from a local beach and within ten minutes we were at the first fishing grounds surrounded by loads of locals fishing from kayaks with bait all over the place. There's a thick sea mist called the June Gloom that comes in every year but is generally burnt off by midday. Great to have to keep the sun off.

Most of the fishing for the Calico Bass is done around the extensive kelp beds in the area in 50-70ft of water. Our chosen lures were to be swim-tail soft plastics. The day started off pretty well with a few Bass on the plastics up to around 2.5lbs. These guys go to 10lb plus but a good fish is in the region of 5lb. The smaller ones pull like a train so I'd love to try a bigger one.



Things quietened off a bit as the tide turned around low water so we headed a bit further out to try for a barracuda or two. First spot we tried I was hit time and again by barracuda but could not hook up. Bites were quite tentative with loads of follows. Finally I started to get the hang of it and managed to land a couple.

As the day progressed and the sun began to shine a bit more the fishing really came on. We hit the kelp again for a few more Bass again up to around 2-3lb but I'd gotten the barracuda bug and asked to head back out for some more.

 

I lost count of the number of fish landed and lost probably 3 times more than that. At times there were 4 or 5 barracuda lining up to smash the lures until one of them would finally get hooked, often as I was about to lift the lure out. So exciting in the clear water. They go like lightning on the lighter gear - spinning rods rated up to about 2oz and metal jigs to save on soft plastics. Some of the fish didn't know they were hooked until they saw the boat and then hit the turbos taking 30 yards of line in a few seconds, rod tip bent right over into the water. If I lived over there I could happily spend the rest of my days casting lures at shoals of speedsters like this all day long. Best fish of the day went to about 8lb - average fish was 4-6lb.


Even had a seal shoot out from under the boat to take a hooked barracuda and let's just say the seal won.


All in all if you're in San Diego, give Kelvin a call. He was always willing to try to accommodate me in any way and probably thought I was half crazy wanting to fish for the cudas all day when there were so many Bass around! If you're heading over there look him up on http://www.lajollafishing.com