Targeting Sargo


Since my last post, I have had quite a few people ask me how to target Sargo along the coast. Some people believe that Sargo cannot be a targeted species. I thought it would be appropriate to give a little information on how to target them. With all the squid we have locally, and at the islands, I would suggest using squid for bait if you wanted to target them in the near future (the reason why I say squid is because there are several different bait options throughout the year). The first thing to do is target Sargo on a large rockpile or artificial reef. There are a lot of artificial reefs from San Diego to Palos Verdes (Pendleton, San Clemente, Oceanside, Newport, Izors, and any others I may have left out.) Being a diver, I’ve dove most of these spot along the coast. Most reef that I’ve dive, I’ve seen massive schools of Sargo. They’re not on the bottom or on the surface but in middle water column. When fishing or targeting Sargo, I will chop up a bunch of squid for chum before I get to where I’m fishing and put it in a 5 gallon bucket for easy access. I’ll go out to my favorite area and look for downhill current (water’s flowing from north to south). I’ll then find the highest part of the rock with my fishfinder and position the boat with the anchor down. This way, my line will drift back to the area or the highest part of the rock. Once established, I start chumming. The key to chumming is to make sure to throw the chum towards the front of your boat. Why towards the front of the boat? If you’re throwing your chum off of the back of the boat, by the time it drifts down to the zone where the fish are, it will be way too far behind the boat to even cast let alone be in the zone where the fish are. If you throw the chum towards the bow, by the time it drifts down to where the fish and rock are, it should be right behind your boat. Once I’ve started chumming, it’s time to rig up and start catching. I like to use some where between 6 – 10 lbs mono (Vicious), 1/8 – 1/4 sliding sinker (depending on the strength of the current) and a #2 Mustad bronze, thin wire hook all connected to some sort of spinning reel outfit. I like to use the Okuma ABF 30 because it is a bait feeder and allowing me to know exactly what’s going on. I don’t cast my bait out. I drop it straight down off the corner of the boat. This way my bait goes down with the rest of the chum making my bait look more natural. I let it sink down 30-40 ft and put the reel in gear. If equipt with a bait feeder, turn it on. When you get bit, more than likely, you’ll get a lot of little taps which will be Blacksmith and Senorita fish. When you feel a slow steady pull put the reel in gear and set the hook and that will be your Sargo. Make sure to keep your drag light and enjoy the battle. These fish put up a hell of a fight on light line. Sargo are, in my opinion, one of the best table fare to catch along the coast. They’re a Croaker and related to the White Sea Bass. When fillet, the meat resembles that of a White Sea Bass. If anyone has any questions or would like help on where to find or catch Sargo, feel free to give me a call. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.
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Captain Dave Hansen

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