- SWBA – Salt Water Bass Anglers Tournament Series
- SBS – Saltwater Bass Series
OBJECTIVE: Catch 5 Big Bass over the minimum legal length, within the allowed time. All fish must be alive & released after the event.
LOCATIONS: Ventura & Channel Islands, SM Bay, Long Beach, Huntington, SBI Catalina & San Clemente Islands, Newport Harbor, Dana Point, Mission Bay & San Diego Bay.
BOATS: 13’ to 30’ center console type console boats or other that can safely allow you to fish the harbors, bays, Inshore and local islands. Livewell is required to keep fish alive. Life Jackets Required.
SPECIES: Spotted Bay Bass, Sand Bass & Calico Bass
SPOTTED BAY BASS: These are located around structure or open water in our harbors & bays. Target them in pilings on docks, as well as by casting parallel to the docks or along retainer walls or anchor buoys. To fish them in open water, you want to look for grass beds, channel edges; drop offs & close to reefs or some kind of marker buoy. Fish always have their noses pointed directly into current, so find the best angle to allow you to present your lure with the current. Use smaller lures and lighter lines to get your baits in the strike zone. A slow retrieve near the bottom seems to work best, other times dead-sticking jigs near structure works wonders. Bumping into structure or the top of the grass beds will usually entice fish come after the lure and strike it.
SAND BASS: Sand bass are usually located a bit deeper in the water column in our inshore waters, bays and harbors. Look for shallow reefs & stones in less than 120’ and setup up to fish directly over the spot. Sand bass will usually bite lures on the sink & close to structure. Keep your line tight on the drop and be ready to set the hook as sandies are known to suspend off the bottom at times. Use your meter to locate fish hovering over stones & structure fish these first. During their annual migration they are also known to congregate on the mud flats, this another time lures worked on meter marks will produce well.
If there is a strong current you’ll have to compensate with either a heavier lure or try to keep your boat over the spot longer with your engine, trolling motor or by anchoring to keep your lure in the strike zone.
CALICO BASS: Fishing for calicos can be a bit more extreme. The biggest bass are located around boiler rocks, breakwalls, reefs and kelp. The trick is to bump kelp, rocks & make your lure vibrate enough to attract the attention of fish in the zone.
When boiler fishing, cast your bait up against a rock/stone, let it sink to the bottom. If you made it to the bottom without getting bit, start a slow retrieve back to the boat while maintaining contact with the bottom. As you bump against rocks or other structure, give it a couple of fast winds to trigger fish to come out of the structure & strike. If you don’t get any bites after a couple of casts, move on to the next spot and repeat until you find biting fish. Always work spots from multiple angles not just one, fish are not always in the same direction.
Fishing the kelp is a bit easier if you use the weedless heads & lures. Find areas with current which lays the kelp down in the direction of the beach and cast your bait along lanes of kelp. Setup in a direction that will allow you to retrieve your lure with the current. Pay close attention to your lure as it sinks; you’ll get a lot of bites on the drop. If you get bit on the drop & miss, take a couple of cranks of the reel and let it drop again, they’ll usually come back and bite again. Again, if you make it to the bottom without getting bit, start a slow retrieve back to the boat. Calicos usually suspend on kelp stalks, so you’ll be in the zone as your bait comes up through the water column.
Don’t be afraid to throw your bait into the heavy kelp matts, these lures are extremely weedless and won’t get snagged much. If you do, let up on your line and shake the lure until it comes off. 9 out of 10 times it will.
CONDITIONS: The ideal conditions for Big Bass are current, current and more current. Either incoming or outgoing tides are best around boiler rocks, break walls, pilings and docks. Look for kelp laying down the beach, birds working, white wash on the rocks, milky green conditions or muddy water in bays and harbors. Fishing deep looks for bait on your meter over drop offs, underwater stones & local reefs etc.
TACKLE: This can vary depending on your funds and preference, there are many great companies like Shimano, Abu Garcia, Daiwa, Okuma and others that make great products so find something similar that fits your budget and go with it.
- Bay Bass: 10lb mono to 30lb spectra (15-30lb flouro leader) on a low profile reel & MH fact action rod from 7’-8’ in length. I suggest Curado 200 or Abu Garcia Revo Inshore matched to a Cumara or Volatile Rod.
- Lures: Smaller Grubs, Crankbaits, Spinnerbaits, Soft & Hard Swimbaits from 3/8oz to 3/4oz from Savage Gear, Big Hammer and OTS Baits etc.
- Calicos & Sand Bass: 40-80lb Spectra with a short 2’-4’ fluorocarbon leader (20-50lb) on a medium sized low profile reel & MH/H fast action rod from 7’9 to 9’ in length. I suggest Curado 300EJ or Abu Garcia Revo 50HS matched to a Teramar MH 7’11-9’, Phenix 790H, 7’11H or 868H or Volatile rods from Abu Garcia.
- Lures: Berkeley 6” Grubs & 7” Jerk baits, Large Deep Diving Crankbaits, like the Strike King 6XD, Reebs & Bladerunner Spinnerbaits, Soft Swimbaits from 4.5” to 9” from Savage Gear, Big Hammer and OTS Baits. Hard baits from 3/8oz to 1oz from Savage Gear, Lucky Craft, Triple Trout and OTS Baits etc.
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