Posted by: socalsalty | July 18, 2012

Trip Report: Twilight Cuda Madness On The Tradition

Below is a guest post from fellow salty, “Jackpot” Jimmy Bass of Tradition Sportfishing.  Jimmy is a recent graduate from high school who will be pursuing his journalism degree.  He also grew up fishing SoCal, so it’s been great to connect and fish with him.  The Tradition is the 3/4 day boat operating out of King Harbor in Redondo.  They’re also running Friday and Saturday twilight trips for the summer.  Here’s his report from last Saturday, July 14th.

3/4 Day Trip

Nice goat Sean!

Some great surface action has been had aboard the Tradition with her first yellowtail last weekend, along with some wide open barracuda action. Calico bass fishing has been relatively unstable, but good in other areas. On Saturday we would dedicate the day to calico bass fishing, seeing that the barracuda pulled a disappearing act in the couple days prior. Unfortunately, we were plagued by the lack of condition throughout the day, but we were able to pull up some nice calico bass on fresh dead squid, as well as some nice sheephead and rockfish.

Two of our regular anglers, who previously only experienced rockfishing trips on the Tradition, fared well in the semi-surface action of the day’s fishing. Both of them each caught a very nice sheephead, and Mike ended up winning jackpot with his.

Mike’s jackpot sheepie


Then it was time for a Tradition twilight trip with Captain Alan Ferguson. Twilights with Alan over the Tradition’s time in Redondo have always been a blast and he’s always put us on the fish. Not to mention, he’s very personable with the anglers on board.

The night before held some fair potential for bass along with some good action on shallow water rockfish, so we were looking forward to doing more of the same Saturday evening. There were also more people on this trip, with some great sticks like Tony Mayo. Tony and I had a competition three years ago to see who would catch the most bass, and I beat him 8-7. Since then he’s wanted a rematch.

The bass fishing from the night before was not easy fishing. We were directly over plenty of structure, but you had to “cast and drag” your bait for the most part to elicit a bass bite. Alan and I shared this tip with the anglers on board as well as giving them a tip on the hot bait from the night before – a small plastic with squid. Everyone was just about rigged up when we pulled away from the dock and headed to the fishing grounds.

On the way, Alan spotted a ton of birds working. “If you guys have a jig, you might want to tie one on,” said Ferguson. As we charged to that area, he came over the P.A. again to say, “It’s definitely barracuda, guys. Get ready!”

We slid into the area, threw a few baits, and the response was epically instantaneous. Tony Mayo was the first to hook up on a big iron and quickly landed the first big gar of the evening. Soon, pretty much everybody was hooked up and it was pure pandemonium. They bit virtually everything you threw at them. Everyone was fishing a barracuda jig or flylining a sardine, but I bet you could have caught one on a Jax Jig (a non-shiny rockfish jig), it was so wide-open.

Sean’s 1st Cuda

There was a nice haul of barracuda on the boat by the time things petered out, but there were bird schools as far as you could see, so Alan quickly jumped on one of them, and the bite was back on, and the whole boat was pretty much bendo. Everyone had caught a barracuda by this point. Sean, who came back out with us on twilight after fishing ¾ day, caught his very first barracuda and then some – it was a day of firsts for him on the Tradition! Fishing remained epic for a while right until dark when it finally shut off, but we were just about at limits anyway, so Alan announced his next game plan. We would head to a reef to try for some bass while Scotty, the deck boss for the evening, would get started on cleaning the barracuda. On the way, I snapped a handful of pictures.

Everyone switched gears and rigged up with leadhead, leadheads and plastics, or dropper loops. We had to reposition one time but when Alan did, he positioned us perfectly. The fillet board is on the starboard side, and the spot was off the stern and port side.

The fish gave an immediate response and some nice calicos, sculpin, and rockfish started coming over the rail. Tony Mayo was on fire with the calicos, catching four nice calicos up to two pounds on leadhead and squid. We were over some nasty structure, so heavier line was in definite order. Tony was ruined several times using 20 pound test but he was getting more bites. He was tired of losing leadheads so he switched to 30 pound, and while the bites weren’t as frequent, he was able to muscle what felt like a big calico out of the structure, and, sure enough, that’s exactly what it was.

Tony’s big calico. Way to go on the release!

After the “CP” of “CPR”, Tony put the “R” into effect. It’s great to see these big calicos being released so we can hopefully see more calicos in the future. We had about a dozen bass for our efforts when the fish cleaning was just about complete, and with that, we headed in.

I wish I had a video camera, because the barracuda action Saturday night was about as good as it gets. There were constant spots of three barracuda at a time going airborne for a while. If you didn’t get bit with a jig (which was rare), you always had a follower, which sometimes would swipe at your jig ten feet from the boat. Full-speed, epic fishing is the best way to describe the action, which continued Sunday morning as the Tradition had full limits of barracuda by 8:30am on her ¾ day trip! Things are looking up, so get on this while it lasts – now is the time to go fishing on the Tradition. Great times, great fishing!

Epic surface cuda action



  1. […] day while fishing the kelp (disclaimer – 16 bass caught but not all kept), and got into some really good barracuda bites. It was a very good […]

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