TIP OF THE WEEK – BAIT by Capt. Dave Hansen

Bait! In this latest Tip of the Week I’d like to talk to you about bait.

When you call me and tell me you would like to go fishing with you, the very first thing I do is ask if you have a bait tank. The reason is because Southern California is a live bait fishery. That being said let’s talk about why I believe you need to have as big a bait tank as you can get.

Let’s say that if there are 4 of you on your boat and you’re fishing bass at Catalina Island. You have a half scoop of anchovies, and you four are catching bass and a few bones. You are using a bait every thirty seconds, maybe every minute if I am not there (definitely more when I am). OK, it’s been an hour you have used 200 baits and its only 8 am. You fish for another hour you’re out of bait.

If you are not changing your bait every 60 seconds you are using weak or dead bait. If you notice when you cast a super lively bait in the water, 99.9% of the time you get bit in seconds. If you don’t you need to wind it in and get a new bait. It’s my opinion that you need to have the biggest bait tank that your deck and your wallet can afford – so you can bring the maximum amount of live bait (I almost always prefer anchovies when available) needed for a trip.

When guys call me, they frequently tell me they had bait left over when they get back. I usually say it’s because you did not catch anything, and when they stop and think they usually tell me that’s correct. OK, now I can help.

So now you’ve called Mark at PE, and he got you all dialed in with the right bait tank set up for your budget and boat. Now we need to find out who has the bait….. did I mention I prefer anchovies? The best way I know to get the intel on bait is to go through Fishdope. This, like the right bait tank, is a good investment for a lot of reasons – bait being one of them. I use Fishdope every day I fish or plan to fish to tell me where the chovies are.

If your boat is on a trailer you’re good; just launch at that harbor where the bait is. If your boat is in the water, you need to do it a little different . For example, if your boat is in Dana Point and the anchovies are in Newport, its not bad. We just need to plan around it and leave an hour earlier and go to Newport. I know, we could get giant sardines in the harbor where your boat is. And I know your sister’s brother’s mother’s cousin caught one on a big sardine…… but we don’t go fishing for one. I like to get at least a bite every time I cast. When using anchovies you will!

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Captain Dave Hansen

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