Dave Hansen On Calico Bass Basics

At Okuma we’ve surrounded ourselves with an incredibly talented staff of field-testers who’s job it is to take the equipment we’ve designed to it’s limits, and beyond.  As a group, these professionals have forgotten more about fishing than most of us will ever know.  In order to capture their knowledge, we’ve asked, and they’ve agreed, to provide ongoing tips and tactics aimed at increasing skills and our collective success on the water.  This first short piece is by Dave Hansen, one of Southern California’s most exceptional saltwater anglers.

When fishing for calico bass, you need to decide whether you’re fishing with live bait or artificial lures. Personally, I prefer to fish with live bait… not that I can’t fish with artificial lures, but with live bait the bite is almost instantanious when it’s cast into the proper spot. Once the fish has bit the bait, it’s important to wait a few seconds before setting the hook. This will allow the fish to swallow the bait. When setting the hook, swing as if you’re trying to break the pole. Giving a “love tap” will only alert the fish that something bad is about to happen which will result in the fish spitting out the bait.

Calico bass are great fish and easy to catch with a little preparation.

When we head out on the water, we figure out where were going to fish. With all the books and videos out today, we have a vast number of spots that we can all fish. One of the most important things to consider are the conditions. What are conditions? Conditions can be weather, water clarity, tidal movement and current. When the wind blows out of the east…fishing is the least. When the wind blows slightly  from the west…fishing is the best. As far as tidal movement, what I’ve found over the years is slack tide on the inner boiler rocks seems to be what sparks the fish. Current; down hill current is the best. What I mean by down hill is the water is flowing from Los Angeles towards San Diego. Up hill is the opposite, water flows from San Diego to LA. If you wait for the perfect conditions, however, you’ll never go fishing.

When I’m fishing for calico bass with live bait, I use 12 lb. Vicious clear mono line. The reason I use 12 lb. line is because it floats, allowing for the most natural presentation whereas 15 lb. line or heavier line has tendency to sink, pulling the bait backwards. I use a bronze Mustaad thin wired hook (size of hook depends on size of bait). In the water, the bronze hook becomes invisible to the fish. Chrome and other colored hooks reflect sunlight allowing the fish to see the hook. The reason I use a thin wired hook, is also to allow a more natural look of the bait. Thick wired hooks add weight making it harder for the bait to swim as it naturally would. I use a medium to heavy 12-20 lbs Okuma Cedros Coastal rod and an Okuma Cedros 250 or 400 bass reel to complete the equipment list.

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