Trying to Up My Game, Seeking Advice
This forum has been a fount of knowledge for me since I got back into fishing a few years ago. I've gravitated mostly toward surf fishing for the fun, the challenge and the free-ness of it :)
For the last couple years I've been pretty successful with LCs and spoons for pretty much every species that frequents the surf zone, but I'm looking to change it up and have more presentations to offer in my arsenal, I just don't know exactly what I'm doing. I've been lazy and loving the slow retrieve, zero finesse approach to presenting an LC.
Could anybody offer up some advice on different baits that work well in other parts of the water column? I've got a lot of interest in using soft plastics (like Big Hammer swimbaits, flukes, etc.), but I have no idea on how I should be presenting them, or threading the hook through the bodies of the baits. The hooking part, I'll just have to learn through experience, trial and error. I always wind up with a funky, unnatural bend in the body, I presume by threading it too deep before I pierce the hook back out of the top.
As far as presentations and rigs go, any advice to offer up? I feel like in the colder water for the next month or so that my LC won't be as effective for the lazier fish. All I've been pulling up are the desperately hungry shorties that are still willing to work for a meal, and I want to get back into those big legal toads that I know are hanging down in those kelp beds at my usual AO.
Thanks guys :)
My 2 cents...When it comes to swimbaits, I prefer the softer baits like Keitech over the firmer Big Hammers, but to each his own. They don't last as long, but they catch more fish for me. As for hooking them, there are tons of videos on YouTube of how to do it properly. I prefer jig heads with natural looking eyes.
Personally, I prefer to hold the jig steady and thread the bait onto it. If your bait isn't sitting naturally on the jig, start over.
I always wind up with a funky, unnatural bend in the body... This will seriously diminish the effectiveness of the bait. Keep practicing until you get it right.
We tend to think of the predatory nature of fish when presenting them with something to bite, but all fish are also prey and halibut hide from their predators by covering themselves with sand, so you're unlikely to find them in places where there is no sand. That being said, they like to be in the sand as close as possible to beds of kelp and eel grass, so dealing with vegetation snags can be an issue. If that ends up being a issue, you can go to weedless jig heads or Texas rig with weighted worm hooks (they work fine on swimbaits if the hook is not too long).
As for presentation, I let the bait hit the bottom, and then I give it a quick small jerk, reel in the slack and then repeat. I try to NOT let the bait sit on the bottom, as soon as I see the line go slack from hitting bottom, I immediately jerk once or twice and take up slack. The point is to make it look like an injured baitfish that tries to swim again when it feels itself hitting the bottom. Expect to get hit on the drop, or when you first pick the bait off the bottom. If the line stops moving or looks funny in any way on the drop, set the hook!
Last edited by Ornery Bob; 03-16-2017 at 03:29 PM.
drop shot 4" white fluke kills just about anything that swims. steady retrieve with pauses works most of the time, but experiment and adjust distance to sinker according to conditions and you'll find joy.
Thanks for the tips, guys. As far as hooking the fluke on a dropshot, do you go with a Texas rig style with a big extra wide gap worm hook?
Also, how much weight would you recommend? Where I fish is about 20 feet to bottom. I stand right on a rock structure with some tide pools, casting out near (sometimes into when I miss lol) big kelp forests. The current comes in pretty strong on the tide changes.
Good advise above. I've backed off drop shot lately because it's a Lil slow paced and have been throwing zoom swiming Super fluke jrs on 1/4 oz lead head. It's a relatively small bait compared to the Super fluke and for me, gets bit alot more because it better matches the size of the bait near shore and has better action with the boot tail. Cut a 1/4 inch off the nose of the fluke so the jig head sits flush with the bait or T rig with a 1/4-3/16 bullet weight. I use the white ice color on clear sunny days and smoking shad color during low light conditions. Try a 2ft, 10lb flouro leader to hide ur line from the bottom dwellers. Angle ur cast so ur retrieve folows the current flow so it looks more natural to the fish. Let it hit bottom and slow roll it with frequent pops, twitches and pauses. A bit of calico cocktail won't hurt either. Go get em!