Sunday, March 16, 2014


To all new and returning visitors, 

SoCal Fish N Tips will no longer be updated. However, I have started a new blog called
 N8 OUTDOORS. The new blog will have very similar content such as fishing, products reviews and fishing reports. I will also be including some firearms and shooting content. Please focus your attention to the new blog and feel free to spread the word. I'm looking forward to sharing my outdoor experiences with all of you!


Nate Herrera

Monday, August 26, 2013

SoCal Jetty Fishing Basics

I just finished up writing a guest post for my bud Joe Sarmiento aka Socal Salty. He runs a great site called  Socal Salty that's filled with great info such as deep sea fishing, recipes, products reviews and fishing reports. If you want some information on offshore angling or you just want to know what they've been catching stop by his site. You won't be disappointed. 

Here is the link to my guest post on Southern California Jetty Fishing Basics

You can also follow Joe Sarmiento (SocalSalty) on social media

Twitter: @Socalsalty
Instagram: @Socalsalty

Friday, June 7, 2013

How To Pump For Ghost Shrimp

If you didn't know, ghost shrimp is one of the most effective live baits for a wide variety of species in Southern California. Buying live ghost shrimp at local tackle stores isn't an option to me because they are expensive in my opinion. Therefore, pumping for your own ghost shrimp is the way to go. In this blog post I will cover everything you need to know about pumping for ghost shrimp.

First off, you'll need to get a ghost shrimp pump. You can either build your own pump, or buy one at your local tackle shop. Tackle shops usually charge around thirty dollars and is well worth it if you like fishing.

Finding The Ghost Shrimp

My go to pumping location (channel)
A small group of burrows
There are areas all over Southern California that hold ghost shrimp. Most of the time, ghost shrimp can be found in muddy areas located in bays and channels that lead into harbors. At negative or low tide, you want to walk the shoreline and look for those muddy areas. Once you've located possible ghost shrimp locations, you'll want to take a closer look and try to identify ghost shrimp burrows. Ghost shrimp burrows are small holes in the mud that look very similar to ant holes. If you see thousands of burrows along the shore line you will know you're in the right spot. 

Four Easy Steps

  1. Place the bottom of the pump directly over the burrow
  2. Push down on the pump. Approximately 1" down
  3. Quickly pull up on the handle while pushing down on the pump
  4. Lift the pump out of the sand and push down on the handle, releasing sand and hopefully ghost shrimp
Helpful Hints

  • I like to pump near areas with vegetation (small patches of eel grass) I find these areas to be most productive.
  • Pump burrows that are moist or slightly covered with water. You don't want to pump out a dry clump of sand
  • Pumping at negative tide is ideal, but low tide is fine too
  • If you hear a slurp from the pump, it's a good pump 
  • You must have a fishing license to pump for ghost shrimp
  • The limit is 50 ghost shrimp per fishing license 

A quick clip of pumping ghost shrimp

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Plastic Bait Storage: Plano Liqua-Bait Locker Bottle

If you're anything like me, you've probably had one of those times when you fail to close your Berkley Gulp packages all the way, or you leave it out in the sun too long resulting in rock hard, shriveled up baits. These "failure to close" instances can also create a mess and leave unwanted odors in tackle storage devices. Thankfully, Plano has developed the Liqua-Bait Locker Bottle that solves these problems, and will have you more organized and mess free.
Plano Liqua-Bait Locker with a bottle of Gulp! Recharge
Design - The Plano Liqua-Bait Locker has a small, slim and sleek design.  It's big enough to hold a good amount of soft plastics, but small enough to put in small compartments. You can throw it in your tackle bags or boat compartments and forget about it. The bait locker is made of a hard durable plastic that can stand up to a beating. I've dropped it on concrete and even stepped on it without any issues. The main feature of this product is the o-ring inside the lid that makes the Liqua-Bait locker air tight and leak proof, ensuring your plastic baits remain fresh. The lid has ridges on it which make it easier for you to open and close with wet or slippery hands.

Applying Gulp Recharge
Add scent - The great think about the Liqua-Bait locker is that you can add scents to your plastics without having to worry about them drying up. It allows the baits to absorb and hold scents for a longer period of time. I strongly recommend buying a small bottle, or two, of Berkley Gulp recharge. Simply throw in your plastics and apply the Gulp recharge. If your'e going to fully stock the bait locker I would recommend filling it half way with scent to ensure there's enough juice to go around. The Gulp recharge does great with Gulp products. However, from my experiences, some soft plastics do not absorb the Gulp scent very well. Depending on the plastic, they will either shrink or become disfigured so keep an eye out. You can also use any scent of your choice. It doesn't necessarily have to be in liquid form. If you like to use a paste like scent, apply it to the plastics before putting it in the bait locker. Think of it as marinating meat before a bbq. The longer it marinates, the better.

Finished product

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Study Your Target Species

Whether your targeting saltwater or freshwater species, it's always helpful to have some knowledge of what your catching. Studying your target species is a simple, but effective solution to becoming better angler. In order to be a complete angler, it is important to not only know how to catch fish, but to know what they're about. In my opinion, fish knowledge goes much further than knowing what baits work the best. Other areas to consider when studying your target species are: diet, habitat, migration, spawning season, and of course regulations regarding that particular species.

There are many resources that are available for this type of information, but the two websites that have been most helpful to me are the California Department of Fish and Wildlife site and FishBase.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (formerly Department of Fish and Game) website has a lot of information for California native species, both fresh and saltwater. The site also gives you all the information you need regarding rules and regulations for specific species. You can either browse through the site or search directly on the top right corner.

Fish Base has some good, to the point, information for a wide variety of species. However, from my experiences Fish Base loads very slow so you'll have to be patient.

New 2013 Saltwater Bass Regulations 

Effective March 1, 2013, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has changed saltwater bass regulations for conservation reasons. The following species are under these new regulations: Spotted Bay Bass, Calico Bass, and Barred Sand Bass. The new regulations are the following:

  •  14 inch minimum length with a legal filet length of 7 1/2 inches on all saltwater bass species (previously 12 inch minimum length)
  • 5 fish limit in any combination (previously 10 fish limit)

These new regulations are good for conservation so future generations will be able to enjoy these amazing species. However, they will have an effect on sport-fishing charters and tournament series. For example, these regulations are going to make it harder for sport-fishing charters to reach their bag limit. For tournament anglers the regulations make it harder to pull in legal sized bass to weigh in. From my standpoint, I'm okay with these new regulations because it will be conserving our fishery and making saltwater bass fishing that much more challenging.

For a full article on this topic CLICK HERE

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cabo San Lucas Surf Fishing Trip

This past week I had the pleasure of traveling to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico via Carnival cruise lines. With Cabo San Lucas being such a big fishing city, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get some fishing time in. I met up with a local surf fishing guide by the name of Wesley Brough. Wesley has lived in Cabo a majority of his life and fishes the surf just about everyday. He's a very cool guy that sure knows where the fish are. 

The scenery
I met up with Wesley around 9:30am local time and headed straight to the water. He took me to a beach nearby because I was limited on time. The conditions were hot and humid, which Wesley said was "cooler" weather from what they've been having. We were using at least 9 foot rods, 50 pound braid, 100 pound mono leaders and topwater hard baits. It was a lot different than my usual 7 foot bass rods. We were hitting various rock structures and Wesley began hooking up with sea bass and Jack Crevalle. He told me to cast in between two rock structures and I was soon rewarded with my first sea bass in international waters. After that, we walked north where he said we can catch a certain kind of Jack he doesn't catch anywhere else. I casted out first but nothing took the bait. Wesley then casted out and on his retrieve you could see about 6 Jacks following the bait. It was an amazing sight to see. One Jack ended up going for it and Wesley hooked him. He passed the rod to me and I was in for the fight of my life. Just when I thought the fish was done it would take off again. After a couple tiring minutes I finally landed the biggest fish I've ever caught. I was shocked to see that you could catch fish of that size from surf. Words couldn't describe the excitement I felt. 

Having the opportunity to fish in Cabo San Lucas was truly a blessing. I was able to meet a fellow angler and catch some fish in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. It was a great experience and I was able to leave with some great memories. I can't say when I'll be back, but I can say I WILL be back with rod and reel in hand. 
If you're ever in the Cabo San Lucas area be sure to contact Wesley Brough. He's a real nice guy with a lot of experience, and he'll give you everything you need to get on some fish.
Twitter: @cabosurfcaster

Friday, August 24, 2012

VMC Spinshot Drop Shot Hooks

If you're the type of angler that enjoys drop-shotting for bass like me, you might want to check out this product that can increase your hook sets and decrease your headaches. I'm talking about the VMC spinshot dropshot hooks. The VMC spinshot hook was introduced at the 2011 ICAST and has recently hit the shelves in tackle stores. Whether you fish the drop-shot in saltwater or freshwater this is a great product to have in your arsenal. 
Pictured are sized 1 and 1/0

These hooks help eliminate the problems that we experience while drop-shotting such as, snags, line twists, hook displacement, and missed hook sets. The spinshot has a swivel that runs through the eye of the hook that allows it to spin freely, while always staying in the upright position. You can fish the same rig all day and still have it looking like it did when you first put it together. This simple yet effective design gives me more confidence when throwing my line out because, I always know my hook is in the position it should be. 

 (Size 1) Notice the integrated swivel that
prevents line twist
Eighty percent of the time I fish the drop-shot rig. I can't count the number of times where I get snagged on some type of structure and my hook comes back upside down, or on its side. Even after catching a fish the same problem occurs. With the spinshot hook all those problems go away.

These hooks come in a variety of sizes from 8 to 1/0 for different sized baits. When rigging the spinshot hook I like to use a palomar knot on the top and a clinch knot on the bottom. That brings me to the one disadvantage of this product which is rigging it. It takes a little longer because you have to tie on a second piece of line that attaches the bottom of the hook to the sinker. The advantages definitely out weigh the disadvantages for this product. Overall, it's a great product to have if you like drop-shotting. I'm certainly happy to have them in my tackle box. 
Nose hooked on a Berkley Powerbait Twitchtail Minnow

*Note* I am not affiliated with VMC. I like to recommend products that work well for me, so they can work well for you.