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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

San Diego Bay Bonefish

When I think of Bonefish I think of crystal clear, shallow water somewhere off the east coast. Bonefish are a target species for fly fisherman in locations such as Florida, the Bahamas, and other geographic locations. Who would have known that Bonefish can be found in Southern California?! Well I can tell you one thing, they ARE here and I hope they are here to stay for a very long time. 

I first read about Bonefish being in Southern California on the internet where anglers talked about how such great fighters they are. I soon made it a goal of mine to catch one of these fish and see what they were all about. After catching my first Bonefish I automatically understood what all the hype was about. All I can say is that Bonefish are an amazing fish and if I were to describe them in one word it would be, FUN! In the past year I've had the pleasure of catching a decent amount of bonefish. I now know where to find them and how to catch them. 

In my opinion, Bonefish aren't too hard to catch. You just need to know where to find them because they aren't in every part of the bay. From my experiences in south San Diego Bay, all Bonefish were caught in very shallow water. I'm talking about approximately 5 feet of water. I can literally jump off the boat and my head would still be exposed. The key is to find sandy beaches in the bay and get as close as you can to the shore if fishing from a boat. Try and set up a nice drift so you run right along the shoreline. There you will find them. 
As far as bait goes, I've only caught them on Ghost Shrimp, a very effective bait for all types of saltwater species in California. I like to rig Ghost Shrimp on a drop shot rig with a size 4 bait holder style hook and a 1/2 ounce weight. You can also catch Bonefish on fly fishing outfits just like they do on the east coast. You can also use a carolina rig as well. 

To ensure a good time, I recommend a light spinning outfit with 4 to 8 pound fluorocarbon line so the fish don't see your line. Make sure your drag is set because they WILL pull hard and fast. 

Lastly, make sure you hang on tight! If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Go get em!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Night Fishing 101

Fishing at night is one of my favorite times to catch fish. If you're a night owl like me, you will find that night fishing is just as productive as fishing during the day, or even better. A majority of my fishing is done at night so I have my fair share of experience night fishing. Some of my best outings were at night, catching 15-20 fish in a couple of hours. Here are some tips that will help you that are based on my experiences on the water. 

Artificial Baits - Artificial baits are my go to option for night fishing. Swimbaits, swim grubs, grubs, worms, flukes, spinnerbaits etc. - they all work. One of my favorite go to baits is the Gulp! minnow on a drop shot rig. In my opinion, soft plastics are the way to go for bass, halibut, croakers and other bottom dwellers.

Black widow and midnight phantom
Big Hammer swimbaits
Colors - A general rule of thumb for most anglers is to use dark colored baits such as black for night fishing, because it brings out the silhouette in dark conditions. A lot of anglers swear by the "black widow" color that is common in swimbait and swimgrub products.  The all black color works great and I have caught a good number of fish on it. However, I've personally had better luck with colors such as blue/white and pearl white while fishing from shore. My theory is if your fishing from shore and there is a lot of surrounding light hitting the water, the lighter colors are a good option. If you're fishing deeper water on a boat or kayak I'd go with the darker colors.

Scents - Bait scents are a must at night. Fish are going to have a harder time seeing the presented bait, so scents will help steer the fish in the right direction. They will also leave a scent trail that will definitely attract fish. There are a number of good scents out there that have worked well for me. Check them out here

Techniques - When fishing at night I like to present my baits low and slow. I love using the drop shot rig because you can leave the bait in one place while still giving it action. The vibrations from the drop shot technique will entice fish. If your using swimbaits I like to use the stop and go retrieve. Slowly retrieve your bait three to four cranks, pause, and repeat. You can also slowly hop your bait back to you by lifting the rod top.

Live or cut bait - Ghost shrimp, mackerel, anchovies, squid, sardines etc. are great for a variety of species. Night time is great for sharks, stingrays, and bat rays using whole squid, whole mackerel or cut mackerel.

Safety and essentials - When fishing at night safety is very important. There aren't too many people around so it is important to have a fishing partner(s) with you. If going solo, be sure to have a cell phone or tell someone where you plan on going. Anything can happen.

The most important tool you can have is a flashlight or a headlamp. A headlamp will soon become your best friend at night. There's nothing worse than trying to rig your line or get a hook out of a fishes mouth
blind. I prefer a headlamp because it frees up your hands.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Goals for 2012

2011 was an overall good year of fishing for me. I put in a lot of time on the water and it really paid off. I learned some new things and caught a couple new species such as bonefish, sargo, and pile perch. I caught tons of fish especially over the summer, but I was missing something. QUALITY! Don't get me wrong, I love catching tons of fish in one outing, but I wouldn't mind giving up a fish or two for one really nice quality fish. I'm expecting 2012 to be a great year for me not just with fishing, but life in general. I'm really looking forward to trying new things and continuing to grow as an angler and as a person.

My Fishing Goals for 2012
  • Catch a Spotfin Croaker
  • Catch BIGGER fish
  • Start targeting and catching BIG Leapord Sharks and Bat Rays
  • Catch a topwater Corvina
  • Catch at Halibut bigger than 22"
  • Catch a fish on my Lucky Craft Flash Minnow
  • Find new fishing spots
  • Catch a freshwater Large Mouth Bass
  • Catch a freshwater Striped Bass
  • Keep learning and sharing