The Perfect Bait From Jimm H.
by Johnny Ceiveche vise John F. Pawlak
j ceviche's second White Sea Bass for the day; this one weighed 27 lbs.
Working the swing shift puts me at a disadvantage in getting up early and getting out on the water before first light when the first fish bites occur.
One Saturday some time in the middle of June was no different. I got off work at midnight and when I got home I loaded my fishing gear and the kayak on to my car so as I would be ready to just take off when I awoke in the morning.
I planned to take off as early as 4:30 AM to be able to launch no later than 5:30 AM. It was only 1:30 AM when I finished packing so I decided to get a couple of hours of badly needed rest. When I awoke in the morning to my surprise it was passed 5:30 am.
Hurriedly I got in the car and took off for the boat launch. Along the way I was busy listing off in my head the gear that I had loaded in the car and tried to recall if I had forgotten something.
I arrived at the boat launch in La Jolla at 6:00 AM (very late despite all that speeding that I had done). I saw Jim Sammons a local fishing guide and a company of two others were just about to hit the water and most of other yakers some twenty five or more were either catching bait by now or at the fishing grounds already fishing.
Again wasting no time unloading my gear, I parked my car some two blocks away, a price you pay when you get here so late. While setting up my kayak I finally remembered what I had forgotten. My bait tank was missing, a very crucial mistake but this did not slowed me down. I launched at 6:20 AM. Now I had to paddle at an Olympic pace to catch up with the other yakers already fishing.
Upon arriving outside the reserve boundary, a dozen or so yakers were still catching bait and I could see from a distance other yakers and PBers (Power Boaters) were now fishing (just as I had thought earlier). Having seen the area full of people, I kept paddling to get past the crowd. In the middle I saw Jimm H. busy catching some bait. We spoke momentarily, but without stopping my kayak I asked Jimm if he had some bait. He replied yes. I told him then he was ready to go fishing. He said he wanted to get just a few more bait and I suggested to him that he was ready to go fishing (a hint that he quickly picked up on). I stopped to catch bait just ahead of the crowd.
Jimm H. followed me and immediately had noticed that my bait tank was missing. When he ask me about it, I gave him some excuse that I was going to do some shark fishing and that I did not need the bait tank. But then I changed my mind about shark fishing. Jimm H. said he had enough bait that his willing to share with me. He had in his bait tank about a dozen of Pacific Jack Mackerel which are about 8 inches long. I told Jimm H. that the last time I received bait from someone, I caught a big fish so I accepted his offer.
I explained to Jimm H. about my fishing plan, that the inside fishing grounds were very crowded and that I would like to work the outside part of the fishing ground. Jimm H. agreed with the plan and he'd follow my lead. So after zig-zagging our way past some Yakers and PBers, we passed by some familiar faces: Mark and his son, Tom B., Eagle Eye, Fishinmagician, Vito and others. We settled our selves some three hundred yards from the nearest boat around us and began slow trolling.
Jimm H. constantly got updates on fishing action through the marine VHF and so far fishing had been uneventful.
It was about 7:30 AM as I monitored my fish finder I saw some good signs I'd been looking for. Big meter marks and scattered bait that formed mushroom- like clouds, and on the water surface lots of red crabs wiggling almost out of the water. About twenty meters from me, speed bait were jumping. Immediately and without disturbing the water, I paddled carefully towards the area where I saw the jumping speed baits. Not long after, my line started peeling off the reel. I grabbed my fishing pole and the fight was on. Both legs are dangling on each side of the kayak acting as drags in the water as the fish gives me a sleigh ride. Jimm H. ask me why I wasn't yelling YeeeeeHowww!!! I did not respond to him but in my mind, I was trying hard not to attract attention.
The first WSB caught for the day was landed in no time as the fish turned out to be less that twenty pounds. Even before I landed the fish, Jimm H. had called in the radio that Ceviche landed a WSB, and in no time we were no longer alone. Jokingly I told Jimm H that I had to go home now that I had caught my limit for the day on WSB. Jimm H. informed me that the limit had been raised to three per-day and that I could stay, and once again he offered me bait. I commented to him that I'd rather not take it because if I caught another big fish that he'd get mad at me. He said he wouldn't mind at all so I accepted his offer.
As the number of Yakers working the area where I caught the first WSB had increased, I hesitantly paddled away from it, with Jimm H. following just off to my side. Later on Jimm H. hooked up on something big and the ensuing fight was very rough. His fishing rod doubled over with the heavy weight on the other end of the line. Jimm H. fought the fish for nearly a minute before breaking off his line. I believed he had his drag set too tight. Some 500 feet or so from where I got my first WSB I had another strike. This one fought harder than the first. After a good tow for ten minutes I landed the second WSB for the day. I estimated it to be around 30 lbs. As it turned out, it was 27 lbs.
Like before, more yakers were drawn in as Jimm H. announced that Ceviche landed a second WSB. After tying the fish the to the kayak, I looked up to find Jimm H and I were surrounded by a big group of yakers all hoping to land that elusive WSB. Jim H. offered me bait a third time, with which I got a big strike, but the hook missed the mark. Tom B., Jim S. and Vito each landed a WSB and Mark landed a nice Yellow Tail (about twenty pounds class).
By 9:30 AM I was done fishing. Jimm H. got lost in the sea of yakers that rushed into that area when others started landing the big catches. This was a very happy Fathers Day weekend indeed.
If you need a perfect bait, you know who to get it from.
A Daily Double of White Sea Bass for j ceviche
Mark with a nice Yellow Tail
Action shot of Tom very calm while fighting a White Sea Bass
Tom's photo above speaks for itself "skunk no more"
Tom and his catch of the day
Jim S. with his 30 lb White Sea Bass