Posted by: socalsalty | March 7, 2013

Book Review: Brandon Hayward’s – The Local Angler

IMG_6225The Local Angler is the 3rd of Brandon Hayward’s books focused on fishing in Southern Callifornia.  Where the first 2 books, The Southern California Angler, and Getting Bit centered around broader topics…the basics, putting together an arsenal, honing your skills, how-to’s for various fish/fishing styles…The Local Angler is primarily focused on coastal fishing for big tanker white seabass.

The book starts with the premise that the current cycle of fishing conditions began around 2010, and is characterized by an abundance of squid, mostly year round.  The abundance of squid in this cycle changed the nature of coastal fish and fishing.  As a result, a change in thinking was necessary.  The author is quick to point out that the old ways are not obsolete, the cycle will eventually change and come back around, but for now at least, the information in the book will be helpful in understanding how to successfully target these fish today.

One theme of the book is that coastal seabass are different than island seabass.  They’re bigger and spook more easily.  Because of this difference, successfully catching a big, coastal tanker is best done from a private skiff vs. a sportboat.  As such, subjects like finding spots, setting up on spots, making squid, strategies once you get there are major topics.  However, as a primarily a local sportboat fisherman myself, I still found the information contained in the private boating chapters useful.  For example, in talking about setting up on spots, it helped me understand the mindset of the sportboat captain.  Some reading between the lines has implications for where and how to fish when I’m on a sportboat.

Despite the primary focus on coastal seabass and private boating, there are other chapters having major relevance for sportboat fishermen like myself…different ways to fish squid, when to employ each, tips on gear and the why behind them.  Another major theme of the book (as it was with the others) is to not get too enamored with any one spot, rig, or style of fishing.  What’s “best” is dictated by the conditions on the water.  Brandon helps you understand what to look for, and what adjustments may be appropriate based on what you see.  He doesn’t make you feel stupid.  He even encourages you to ask the crew, “Your last trip probably wasn’t yesterday, but theirs was.”

On cue, Brandon got a client on some tankers just prior to the book release

On cue, Brandon got John Keeler on some tankers just prior to the book release

There are a couple of “off topic” chapters in the book too.  One that I particularly liked was a breakdown of all the coastal zones from Pt. Conception to San Diego.  For each, he details the big topographical features and the primary fishing to be done there.  For someone like myself, who likes to fish from the different landings, it gave me some new ideas of places to go and when might be the best times to fish them.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. If you are new to fishing in Southern California, I’d recommend you read The Southern California Angler first.  That’s not to say you wouldn’t find a lot of great information in The Local Angler, but much of it requires some background knowledge to better understand it.  If you aren’t new to the scene, this book is a must have addition to your SoCal fishing library.  Highly recommended.  Tight lines!


Meet Brandon and pickup a copy of the book in the Western Outdoors News booth at the Fred Hall Show.  Coming soon to a tackle shop near you, and available online.  You can fish with Brandon as well.  Check out his site, One Man Charters.


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