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Hot Baits for Fresh and Salt

By Rob BelloniJuly 25, 2001


Sitting here thinking about what to write this time around I decided it's time to talk techniques. When I surf the net looking for good fishing info what I'm often hoping to find are new techniques. A new bait, a new style of rigging, or an old technique that's becoming popular again.

So the first thing I should mention is the jig article I wrote a few weeks ago. Jig fishing is nothing new, but I hope to give some good specific info on what jigs, when and where. Take a second to check it out.

Summer time makes me think about topwater so let's talk topwater techniques. On calm evenings and especially around weed beds I like to fish pop-r type baits. You can tell when it's topwater time because the water will start to look black and sullen. Two current favorites topwaters are the Rio Rico and the Skitter Pop. I put the links so you can check out the pictures. The Rio Rico casts very well for a pop-r but isn't so large that it puts the fish off. It's great when there's a little chop on the water. I like to make 2 or 3 short pops and pause. The Skitter Pop is a more subtle bait that I like to use in calm conditions. The secret to the skitter pop is the small halo of water that it spits out when you work it correctly. Practice with it and you'll get an almost perfect round halo of water splashing out with each twitch of the rod. Fish dig it! Same retrieve as the Rio Rico.

Summer also means cranking to me. Some baits that work well are the 1/4oz speed trap, the 1/2oz rattle trap, and the Lucky Craft Max LV-500. I like to work my crankbaits steadily. Regardless of what crank you are throwing you need to get in touch with your bait. Each lure has a speed at which it performs the best. Yes, sometimes the fish are just stupid and hit it, but through experimentation you will get a feel for the speed at which your bait gets hit the best. Keep this always in your mind and eventually it will become second nature.

Another thing to keep in the back of your mind is the swimbait. Don't forget it was August two years ago at Margarita when I caught my first saltwater swimbait bass. Mid-day can be tough this time of year, but the swimbait can really shine as a deeper water tool. Again, feel the cadence of the bait, gauge the ideal speeds when you get a bite. And read the article again for motivation right =)

If you have a new technique, a new lure, a new color, or just a new philosophy, drop us a line in the Freshwater Message Boards. We can all benefit.


I recently took a trip with Brian #1, Mr Tree and his buddies on the Stardust 1/2 day and was reminded of a few saltwater techniques.

First and foremost, if you have live squid, you need to be using it! It isn't called candy bait for nothing. There are 4 main ways of rigging a live squid. On a slider with a 1/2 to 2oz sliding sinker and a 3/0 to 7/0 hook. On a leadhead, usually white or red. On a dropper loop, 2.5 to 5 foot leader from the weight to the hook. And on a jig like a Tady 4/0 or Tady 45 depending on current. I've had good success with a larger 7/0 hook than the smaller hooks especially for bigger fish. Stuff to keep in mind.

The other technique I was reminded of last weekend was using light line in the ocean. I've been on a heavy line thing lately in freshwater but after watching Brian use 10lb test to catch three barracuda in a row while the rest of the boat caught 1, I suddenly remembered the value of light line. This mostly applies to fly lining but can also be a good tool for live bait halibut fishing. So don't forget a 10 or 12lb stick this summer like I did.

I hate to admit it but I'm not much of a tuna fisherman. With that in mind I had a long chat with Jason Diamond skipper of the Stardust about fishing albacore. Jason drove boats out of San Diego for a long time and knows a thing or two about this subject. The main point he made was to keep it simple. His "money" rig is a 1.5oz rubbercore 3 to 4 feet up the line with a #1 or #2 live bait hook. He likes 20lb line but will go to 15 or 25 depending on the bite. A good tip he gave is to have a fishtrap swimbait ready on the slide. Get it in the water quick on the slide and let it back a good distance. Then wind it all the way back. When you get it in, rack it and throw out a bait. Like I said I'm a tuna novice but this seemed like sound advice.

Last but certainly not least, the inshore halibut season is heating up. Goleta Beach and the other bays and coves should be good through September at least. It might be time to re-read the halibut artilce and get motivated for some shallow water swimbaiting. And don't forget your fastrac minnow. I don't even own one but I hear they work!

See you on the water.




Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written consent.
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