Targeting Spotted Bay Bass
Swimbaits are the name of the game when it comes to targeting Spotted Bay Bass. Anyone who lives near coastal waters can get these guys! It’s a real pleasure to be able to take even just 2 or three hours out of a day and fish.
Targeting Spotted Bay Bass requires the right equipment, a spot you can find them, a little finesse, and a little power.
Ok, so let’s figure out what we’re going to need to be able to handle Spotted Bay Bass .
I’ve mentioned the gear I like to use to target these fish in earlier articles, but I think it’s worth mentioning it again here.
Shimano Clarus 6’0″ Casting Rod CSC60MC
You’re going to want some variation of an inland/coastal rod. Length can help if your fishing rocks, or a ledge. It should be rated up to 15 lb test at least.
This Clarus is one example, and would work well.
Penn Gold Label 900 Series International Baitcast Reel (340-Yard, 15-Pound)
I mentioned the Penn International 955 before. Perfect for 15 lb test. Anglers who are more comfortable using a spinning reel can check these models.
P-Line CXX-Xtra Strong High Visibility Filler Fishing Spool (300-Yard, 15-Pound, Clear Fluorescent)
I prefer 15 lb P line when fishing saltwater lagoon waters for these bass.
SHAD HEAD JIGS HAND POURED 3/8oz X 2/0 HEAVY GAGE WIRE HOOK (10 per pack)
Here you can be creative. There are so many out there. This works well for me.
Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait (Chartreuse Shad, 3.5-Inch)
That’s it! That’s our equipment. Now, let’s find some fish.
Finding Spotted Bay Bass along the coast isn’t too hard if you know where to look.
One of my favorite and long time holes is in my home town Carlsbad, under Interstate 5. The lagoon here is open to the ocean, with full tidal flow. Learning to read the tides becomes important!
Bays And Harbors
Mission bay, Oceanside harbour, and Point Loma harbour offer tons of spots. Bridges, rocks, pylons, kelp, and other structure can all be found here. Spotties lurking all around these areas.
Piers And Jettys
Piers and jettys offer another solid place to look when targeting Spotted Bay Bass. Oceanside jettys, or the Imperial Beach Pier are prime examples.
If you have access to any saltwater boat slip, fish it! Slips hold good #’s of bass.
Another task complete. We’ve picked our destination, and we’re off to fish. Let’s explore our best techniques.
Bass fishing techniques
Read the tide! When swimbait fishing, it’s better to cast and let the tide help bring your lure back towards you.
First off, casting with a baitcaster is difficult at first. It requires you keep slight pressure with your thumb on the reel as the line and lure fly. You must stop the spool with your thumb when it hits the water. Backlash will result until you get it down. It’s frustrating at first, but is well worth the effort later.
Casting doesn’t have to be far, though it is nice to have a good range. Try different spots. Move yourself around if possible.
Let your swimbait sink to the bottom. Beware of rocks, or other obstacles you can get stuck on. You may have to learn these the hard way until you become familiar with the hole. Be ready for a strike on the sink.
As the lure sinks your line suddenly starts flying out. You must be ready with your thumb to avoid backlash. You must be ready with your reel handle to engage the drag and set the hook. Baitcast reels typically go to free spool by pushing a button, and engage by reeling the handle.
Reel slowly at first, keeping the lure slightly off the bottom. Using intermittent quick jerks can also be effective.
The inclination when we feel a fish bite is to pull back hard, attempting to set the hook. This technique will mostly pull the swimbait out of the fishes mouth, leaving you straight tipped. Instead, slowly increase your reeling speed until you feel the full weight of the fish. This is called reeling through the bite, and will hook you more fish.
The meat and potatoes. This is what we live for. Drag set right, know your surroundings. You can have a looser drag if you’re fishing open area. If above rocks, you better get right on that fish or they will swim into a hole.
No Tom, that’s not a Spotted Bay Bass!
Now at some point in this article you may have wondered why I suggested using 15 lb P-line monofiliment to catch maybe 5-8 lb fish (being generous). That halibut is the reason why. Incidental catches might not be good for commercial net fishermen, but it is for us. White Seabass, giant rays, big calico, and sand bass are all possibilties to name a few.
Spend the time to know where you can and can’t be. It will save you a big fine, loss of license, or both.
Have it! Don’t fish without it because it’s not worth it. On Piers (in California) you don’t need one.
Pack it in, pack it out and pick up a couple extra pieces of trash. We all appreciate it!
Followers, I hoped you enjoyed my latest ramble. Newcomers, I hope you found some good info here.
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I want to hear them all. Geoff@fishtfight.com
All photos on post credit to Tyler Robinson
My best go to baits for spotted bay bass are Warbaits & Hookupbaits . The bass pretty much will hit anything. If you are in the harbor, look for structure such as pilings or possibly even in the shade during a hot day. I would typically fish a 3/8 ounce warbaits with a MC swimbait or a big hammer swimbait. For the hookupbaits, the best bait in the habors are 1/4 ounce black gold and glow green silver. I would use 12lb or 15lb line depending where you are fishing. Hope this helps. Check my instagram for pictures and DM me with questions(@ethanfishphoto)
Hey Ethan. Thanks for adding that info. I totally agree and would fish those swimbaits without a doubt. I usually use the 3/8 ounce lead heads too.
I do lean towards the single tail grubs in the orange color with the red dot on the underside. I usually grab them in the single cases from the tackle store. Pacific Coast Bait and Tackle has them in Oceanside, and I’ve seen them elsewhere.
I like these jigs in areas where you can fish them on the bottom without snagging.
The spotties will kill them, but they also drive Halibut crazy. I think they mimic the go shrimp that live in the lagoons and bays.
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.