Seabass seminars, seabass articles, buddies catching seabass at Catalina and almost endless conversations around the office about, you guessed it, seabass, meant that there was only one way to spend yesterday getting over seabass: try for seabass.
The alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. and I grabbed a few too many rods while Fritz looked at me with two-year-old puppy dog eyes. Scorn took over as the door was shut in his face.
The gear was loaded along with the fishing buddy for the day, my boat partner John Keeler. Next thing we knew the hunt for bait was on. The bottom of the low was early in the morning and there was still plenty of time for mackerel, but time kept ticking closer as we searched around for bait.
Eventually a move to a little knuckle in the kelp that can hold both mackerel and seabass ended the search, as the greenbacks and Spanish climbed on the bait rigs. The ones that hit the deck turned into chunks and chum, and soon a nice little river of life was around the boat to go with a full bait tank.
Then Keeler saw a yellowtail behind a big band of sardines. I put a flylined mackerel down and another on a dropper loop while Keeler kept making bait.
“Put one of these things down,” I said, outreaching my arms to grab the bait rod. He grabbed an old school Krocodile, pinned the mackerel on and dropped it right under the boat, into the current that was pulling towards the beach.
I was thinking about how strange it is that all the bait bailed, and then the mid shifted to money and time and bills and Alaska and PLO and fatherhood and …. “Oh, I’m on!” came from Keeler.
“Seabass! That’s definitely a seabass.”
It had been a while since huge headshakes and up high runs were seen, and a few minutes after pulling perfectly with heavy Spectra and fluorocarbon the gaff came out to stick this huge seabass that was coming right for us.
Then, somehow, there was a tackle failure--the fluoro shot out of the connection.
The water is 63 to 67 degrees along the coast and the conditions are really coming together. As in saying “look at this water” over and over while fishing.
Everyone out today (Saturday) has told me it’s a zoo at place like Yellowtail Kelp and La Jolla. But there’s plenty of kelp and structure in between where you can get away from the packs and try for the fish of the season.
But then again, jumping on a sportboat and fishing for local barracuda or yellowtail at the Coronados is sounding pretty okay too…
Either way, make it a great weekend whether you're on the beach or the boat.