The Local Bite
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
At one point of our lives we’ve all thought about it, dreamed about it, or even obsessed about it. Whether it was tagging a 1,000 pound marlin, decking a 300 pound bluefin tuna, or taking the jackpot with a 50 pound yellowtail from the local islands. As seasoned fishermen we can’t help but scan the horizon for the next big one. But it wasn’t always like that. We all started somewhere. And almost every fisherman I know can reminisce about their first time their mom, dad, grandparent or friend took them fishing. The anticipation for that first nibble, the thrill of actually hooking and fighting a fish. The excitement and triumph of your glorious first catch. This was all that was needed to fuel a lifelong passion of the sport.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying if fishing was really easy it wouldn’t be called fishing. Do you really catch something every time you go out? If you answered “Yes” to that question you’re definitely going to fit right in as a fisherman. Fishermen are notorious for stretching the truth about our daily catch. But in all honesty, if you really did answer “Yes” to that question then you haven’t tried private boating our local SoCal waters in search of triple digit bluefin tuna. Now don’t be discouraged if you’re fishing, not catching, as it is all part of the hunt. There are many ways to increase your success on the water but one in particular is often so easy it’s overlooked. And that is to fish the “Local Bite”.
The best way to introduce someone to fishing is to have a successful day of actually catching fish. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to fish the local bite. You don’t take someone trout fishing during the hottest day of the summer or plan to catch a 20 pound dorado during the coldest day of February. If you want to increase your odds of catching fish target the fish that are actually biting. I’m a SoCal saltwater fisherman. This means YoYo fishing the Coronado Islands in winter, hunting for white seabass during the transition from winter to spring, and targeting offshore pelagic’s during the summer and fall. And if you’re new to the sport or introducing someone to fishing, then calico bass in the kelp, shallow water rock fish or sand bass on the flats can pretty much be caught year round in our local waters. For those of you land locked don’t worry. The inshore surf zone is filled with barred surf perch. Mackerel can be found at the end of pretty much any pier. And spotted bay bass will slam the plastics any day of the week.
Research. It pays off to do your research before hitting the water. If you want to stay in the know then the internet is your best friend. Websites such as www.976tuna.com, www.bdoutdorrs.com (aka bloody decks), www.bigwatersedge.com or www.sdfish.com are full of information and fishermen helping each other on where the bite is. Best of all a lot of this information is FREE. The best fishermen are not worried about sharing their information. They can take you to the exact spot fish are biting but it doesn’t mean you’ll catch fish. They will even cast a bait into the water standing shoulder to shoulder with you and hook up as soon as their bait hits the water. There are some techniques and tricks every fisherman learns over time. Techniques like reading the water, determining the flow of the chum line and the direction the fish are attacking from can be learned over time. Just like poker the best players will make it to the final table every time. Seasoned anglers will continue to out fish their fellow anglers day after day. So don’t be afraid to talk these guys. Most anglers will share their experience and pass along vital tips that may increase your odds at catching fish. For those of you private boaters I can highly recommend using fishdope. DON’T CHASE DOWN THE COMMERCIAL FLEET OR GO FISHING FOR BOATS. Find your own fish. It’s worth the effort and satisfaction. Plus trial and error will make you a better fisherman and captain in the long run.
Once you’ve done your research and determined your local bite spend time targeting those fish. You will see your catching success rate increase and you will begin to improve yourself as a fellow angler. And for those of you introducing someone knew to the sport just think back to the time you caught your very first fish. Whether it was bluegill, catfish, mackerel or bass the feeling of excitement and happiness was pure. You can help grow the sport by introducing new anglers to target fish from their local bite.