First trip of the year…originally, the plan was to head down to Dana Wharf and get in on some of these giant squid. I find these creatures fascinating and tasty. When they come in though, they eat everything in sight. If my fishing choices are limited the next 2 months, I don’t want the squid eating up all the fish I want to catch later! So as a Southern Californian angler, it’s kind of your civic duty to go out and slay a few. As it turned out though, there was some lousy traffic getting out of town. Rather than scrap fishing all together, I headed to MDR and got on the twilight boat to do some bass fishing.
Now that we’re into the rockfish closure (until March 1st), our target fish are mostly halibut, sculpin, and saltwater bass (yellowtail or wsb on an opportunistic basis). Marina Del Rey has been one of the better bass options since the new year began. For the saltiest of us, the Friday and Saturday twilight rides are a great way to go for bass fishing. Another consideration is that March 1st, the new bass regulations take effect (14″ minimum length, and 5 bag limit of any of the 3 species combined- calico/kelp, sand, spotted bass). Bass is one part of my overall game where I’m not the most proficient…I figured it’d be a good idea to get some work in.
In winter, for saltwater bass, we use a technique called leadhead and squid fishing. Essentially, you take a leadhead (1-2 oz), pin on a whole squid or two (live or dead), cast out and drag slowly back to the boat. Sand bass typically hug the bottom anyway, but they’re even slower and more lazy this time of year with the cold water. You want to try and find where they are holding and then be the pizza delivery guy that gets ‘em off the couch to answer the door. Calico bass tend to act like sand bass this time of year, so you fish them the same way. You’ll typically find them holding to the bottom near structure where bait would tend to congregate and they can pick off an easy meal.
I started out the night using a 1.5 oz torpedo style leadhead in glow color. Fairly quickly I connected on a fish which put up a nice fight. I got it to the surface, only find it was a ling cod. Nice catch, but out of season so he was sent back. Capt. Danny was driving Saturday night and he was hitting various rocky structure north of Santa Monica, in about 70 feet of water. It was a slow but steady pick of bass. For me though, it was a cold exercise in futility as I spent the next couple hours trying to connect on one
With about an hour to go in the night, I lost the glow leadhead in some structure and had to tie on a new one. Deckhand Jordan Davila was looking at my selection and picked a funky green and gold one that Hacker made one day when we were riding the NDM. Nice pick Jordan as I managed 2 sand bass to close out the night
The twilight rides are every Friday and Saturday night leaving Dock 52 at 6pm. If you happen to catch big bass for the month on the twilight ride, you win a free pass (as much as you want to go!) the following month. Tom won December’s tourney with a 6 lb-er. Go down and try your luck. Tight lines!