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Thread: Twilight fishing on the Freelance (Sand Bass)

  1. #1

    Default Twilight fishing on the Freelance (Sand Bass)

    I have a soft spot in my heart for catching Sand Bass. It's not a very glamorous fish or even a great eating fish. But me and Sand Bass go way back, all the way to 1973. It was the one fish you could always count on for the next 30 years to show up in numbers by the 4th of July!!! The limit was 10 (12 inches or larger) and they showed up in numbers at 5 different spawning area's. You could catch Sand Bass all year on some structure, but the real fun was catching them in the mud spawning. Catching 30 or more per day (per person) was a very common catch on a 3/4 day boat. They literally caught 10's of thousands of these fish during their spawn. Then about 10 years ago they started disappearing. Some say it was over fishing, the giant squid or the currents changed to put them off of their 5 traditional spawning area's in the USA. In a panic the DFG reduced the limit to 5 and increased the size limit to 14 inches. "TOO LITTLE TOO LATE!!!!" For all intense of purposes there gone forever from their great "Heyday." That doesn't mean you still can't catch a few, but the days of catching 10,000 or more a day for the sport fishing fleet each day for weeks. Is only alive in the memory's of the old timers like me!!!!

    So when I noticed there was a burgeoning Sand Bass bite starting on the twilight trips, I thought I would give it a go. To further "Seal the Deal" Davey's Locker had a coupon special going for the trip good for the next few weeks. With the coupon it costs $25 dollars per person with a prepaid reservation. Just mention WON 20 special in making your phone reservation and they will give you the $25 dollar price. (normal price $41) To add further icing on this delicious opportunity, after 6 pm parking is Free on the streets of Newport Beach where there is a parking meter. (boat leaves at 7 pm) Yea I know, "mommy didn't raise no fool!!!" lol

    On to the fishing!!!

    We were suppose to go Monday night July 17 but Glenn got the message screwed up. So guess what happens Monday night??? The Best Bass fishing the captain has seen in 5 years and 50 Barracuda to boot. (limits for everyone on the boat) Now I know we are screwed!!! After fish go suicidal one day they need time to recover!! (they just lost a bunch of their friends) So I wasn't expecting wide open fishing on Tuesday July 18 just a nice steady pick. That's exactly what we got!!!! I was armed with #12 pound test on my Curado Bass set up and a "Wham" plastic lure. I added a strip of squid to it for flavor and I was good to go. Glenn opted with a lead head and strip of squid or Sardine added to it. Even though the captain said the night before the fish were high up in the water column and don't use a dropper loop set up. I saw plenty of people doing this technique and doing very well!!! (every day is different) That was my biggest complaint about the captain. He didn't say a word the whole time while we were fishing. (I think he did a great job of putting us on fish) I'm just use to Captain Bruce's attitude on the Sport King, he's yelling, encouraging and giving tips all day on what's going on with the fish.

    The bait was a little on the suspect side. Large Sardines and frozen squid which they ran out of before the night was over. (squid) If they would have had anchovy's to at least chum with, they could have rounded up a big wad of Sand Bass under the boat. (I know the bait situation is out of their control) There is a lot of shorts they don't count. So when the fish count was 100 Sand Bass kept, it's really 250 Sand Bass landed which is what the boat caught last night. I caught 11 Sand Bass and about half were legal and Glenn caught about the same. Nothing like it was the night before. I talked to a kid who was on the boat Monday night, he said he caught a 100 Bass and only kept 20 inchers for his limit. (I'm sure he exaggerated a little bit) lol But that doesn't mean it's over yet. These fish were in the right spot, just off of the Northern most inside oil derrick off of Huntington Beach. (traditionally spawning grounds for Sand Bass)

    If someone want's to go, watch the counts and go when 100 Sand Bass or more are caught and kept. The boat get's back late 12-1 am, so don't think you can get up at 5 am and go to work!!!! lol
    Last edited by etucker1959; 07-19-2017 at 11:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Whittier
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    2,041

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    Very detailed report,thanks etucker.

    Cya Tuna Vic

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Diamond Bar
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    535

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    Good report Etucker

  4. #4

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    SKUNK SKUNK!! Good reports but was lucky night for them. Following nights
    �� no Bueno. Both boats maxxed out Thursday (last night). I think 15 caught
    At Daveys; Agresssor did twilight for total 30min fish time max!
    3 stops with maybe 5 barely legals for 35 guys. Calicos on
    Last stop but all shorts. Special $25 + 3 surchArge = $28

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BALLERONBUDGET View Post
    SKUNK SKUNK!! Good reports but was lucky night for them. Following nights
    �� no Bueno. Both boats maxxed out Thursday (last night). I think 15 caught
    At Daveys; Agresssor did twilight for total 30min fish time max!
    3 stops with maybe 5 barely legals for 35 guys. Calicos on
    Last stop but all shorts. Special $25 + 3 surchArge = $28
    That's fishing!!! However, historical these things spawn through the middle of August. I took all of my Sand Bass stuff that I took with me Monday night and put it all in a bag. I'm going to keep watching the fish counts and if it takes off again, I'll definitely going to give them another try. Fortunately it's a small investment, it's only $25 dollars and free parking. (I have an electric car so fuel is almost irrelevant.)

    To put that in prospective, my friend Shaun took his wife and himself on a 2.5 day trip over the 4th of July Holiday. Boat fare was $1,500 for the two of them and all the tackle and the new fishing pole he bought for the trip cost him over $2,000 dollars. The fish count for the trip was 0 fish!!!! Let me spell that out a different way, Skunk, Nada, Zip, Goose egg, a big waste of money!!!!! In comparision the $25 dollar investment doesn't seem so risky any more does it??? lol lol lol
    Last edited by etucker1959; 07-21-2017 at 12:55 PM.

  6. #6

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    YUP $25 night cruise it seemed. Arrive
    Almost 9pm to bolsa chica oil rigs. Drop anchor
    And fish for a handful throwbacks.
    Do a couple cirles and drop again. Head back to
    Huntington smoke stacks for final drop. leave 1130 and dump 5
    Scoops of life sardines untouched.

    I'm sure Weekend will be madhouse with harder to find parking spots

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Burbank
    Posts
    587

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    thank you for the report.
    i remember those days...i'm 43 so not an old timer just yet, well maybe, lol....but i do remember the days we would land tons of fish.
    i'm glad they change the counts and size limit. i saw way too many sandies thrown over board by the deckhands in the harbor...nothing you can do when you have limits.

    I too like fishing for sandies, especially when using plastics or bouncing leadheads with frozen squid, so much fun. one of my favorite fish to target, especially when the big grumps come out to play. glad you had a good outing...makes me want to grab my stuff now and head down for a twilight run :) you got me all worked up.

    thanks again for sharing your report.

  8. #8

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    I'm pulling a Hook trick on this thread too. (I follow the fish counts every day.) So I heard the Enterprise out of Pierpoint landing on Friday had a decent twilight trip on Sand Bass & Barracuda. I couldn't get any more information or cross reference it with the Freelance or the Monte Carlo. (those are the only 2 other boats that are doing twilight trips in the LA/Orange county area.) Well my friend Glenn's friend didn't come to town that day any way, so we didn't have the need to do something fun so we didn't go. Low and behold on the Enterprise Saturday night they caught "Full limits" of Sand Bass!!!! (It ain't over folks) Watch the fish counts, this thing "MAY" flare up again!!!!
    Last edited by etucker1959; 07-31-2017 at 07:09 AM.

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