SD Bay - Labor Day Weekend

Ever on the hunt for my first legal halibut, I pre-rigged some leader lines for my Sealine after learning some new techniques from the boards as well as personal experience.

Reverse dropper loop type rig

Leader - 36" long, Ringed hook with octopus/mosquito trailer hook 6" below
Weight - 18" long, 2 oz torpedo

Weight line is looped through mainline via swivel, then mainline direct tied to leader line. This seems to allow the weight to move around without tangling and still allows the direct feel of the hook to the mainline. Using an octopus or mosquito trailer hook seems to be better in that it does not snag weeds as much, and it prevents the fish from swallowing the hook.

Many times before, I had tied too short of a trailer hook tag line, resulting in the following:

Raked baits and/or ripped baits. Actually, the 2nd picture happened because the mystery fish bit through my 20lb tag end line...

As far as baits go, I liked using lizard fish or the anchovies/smelt I caught in my bait location. However, these fish were fairly small, 6" or less, so I mostly caught Spotties and short hali's. Plus they were free, using my Sabiki rig, and I would catch incidental fish (5 bass at once, largest sand bass a the time, ray, etc.) However, I knew if I wanted to catch bigger fish, I needed bigger baits. Thus, to the bait barge I go! $10 for a kayak scoop isn't too bad, and if you tip, they sometimes give some intel on where's the hot bite.

Saturday I went out early. OTW by 5:00 AM, and it was hot and muggy already. Got a nice scoop of dines and drifted along North Island side during the incoming tide. Caught some bass, but nothing big. Some raked baits (again with a too short trailer tag end at the time), but that was it. Water was kinda grassy in some areas so it made drifting pretty hard.

Time was around 11:00 AM by then and I had nothing to show for. Went across the way towards SI Pier and marked some fish on my fish finder. Some nice activity along 45'-52', right at the channel drop off. Looks like there's some structure or a decent hole in that area and dropped my Sealine down, as well as dropping in my swimbait.

Hooked up to a short halibut, and I knew if there's one, there's bound to be more! Paddled back to the area and slid right in. My big pole goes bendo! I'm reeling it in then, slack line...Picture 2 above is the resultant. Fish bit right through the 20 lb line at the trailer tag end. Re-rigged quite hastily with another of my pre-rigged leaders and sent another dine down. Again, I get slammed! And again, it comes off. But this time, in my haste, I did not tie a good knot to the swivel and lost that rig. I sulked around for a bit, cussing at myself for tying a bad knot, and wasting my 2 good chances of a legal halibut. Salavaged that area by catching a keeper Sandy which I brought home for dinner for the gf.

After deciding to call it a day (was around 1:30 PM by this time and I'd been on the water for nearly 9 hours) I started paddling back towards the launch. Decided one last cast with my swimbait rod and let her fly. Paddled a bit to get into position and began my retrieve. Tug, tug, hmm, somethings on already! Set the hook and it took off! Peeled a bunch of line, and was pulling strong! Drag was quite buttoned down, but my Calcutta's drags were smooth! I gained some line, then it'd pull more line out. This went on for nearly 15 minutes. My bicep was burning, but I needed to know what was on the other end. Boats were passing by as I held on for dear life, trying to gain more line. It took one last run, and seemed to just sit in one place. I paddled over, and kept trying to reel in more line. Then one last tug, and POP! Bleh, looks like 12lb topshot of flouro wasn't enough to hold. Broke off at the lead head.

All in all, a pretty eventful day and learned a lot.

That night, I retied a bunch more leaders, extending the trailer tag end to 6", to ENSURE no more raked baits. Debated tying on higher pound test on the bass rig, but all I had was 20lb fluoro (seemed a bit too heavy for the bay), so I left it at 12lb.

Went out the next morning, and hit the water at 6:30 AM.  Paddled over to the bait barge and got a kayak scoop of dines. Did my usual incoming tide drift along North Island side, and remembered I still had on my less than 6" trailer hook tag end, so, picture 1 above shows my raked bait. Retied on my other pre-made leaders and shot over to the other side. Had a few hits here and there, all came back raked STILL, even with a longer trailer hook tag end.

Marked some nice fish at around the channel edges and got some hits on the swimbait! Nabbed a couple sculpin early on. Whats the legal size on these? I hear they're good eating!

Also pulled in a nice sandy that went into the fish bag. Then, got a tug on a short halibut. Nice, they're around. Paddled back into position and slid right into my spot. Hooked up onto my swimbait and pulled in a bigger sandy! Quickly put her onto my game clip as my big pole was clicking off! Then, noticed something going down on the fish finder?? Turned around to find that my game clip was not securely fastened to the rope...welp, there goes one fish. But, pulled in one hefty Sand Bass! My biggest thus far! Had a couple more good hits, all sandies, and that was it. Couple more tugs, but no hookups. Seems that the sand bass are moving in, and big ones too!

The aftermath!

Another shot. Big one was nearly 21" and fat!

Still learning the areas, and the rigs. But I'd say it was a pretty successful day. Filleted the sandies and made some delicious fish tacos! Will be taking a break from kayak fishing, as I'm going back home for a friends wedding. But will be back on the hunt soon enough! 

No comments:

Post a Comment