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ArticlesFeatured Columnist : Georges Corner

A FRENZY BITE!

 My son Cal and I took a fishing trip with Dennis Treffry across to Catalina in his 22 foot center console Chris Craft. We started out under extreme duress because we couldn't find live squid anywhere in LA Harbor. It was the day after Christmas, Sunday and the bait boats hadn't been working. So we took our 3 bags of frozen squid left over from previous trips and flew across the channel in about one hour. We were sure to find somebody with live squid at the island. Wrong! Not only was there anybody with live squid, there wasn't any boats anywhere around the Isthmus and west end. So we were stuck without live bait.

 Under normal circumstances you can usually pick away at the bass with dead bait which was our plan but a sea bass attack wasn't out of the question either. In fact they are sometimes caught easier with dead bait. We went backside to one of my sons' favorite sea bass spots, anchored into an up island current where I lost my first three jig and squid set-ups to the bottom. The guys also lost tackle, so Cal moved the boat 30 yards towards the beach. With my jigs gone I tied up a dropper loop setup with both droppers about 3 feet long which is the usual set-up for sea bass. A 2 ounce sinker was on one end of the dropper and a 6/0 bait hook on the other. Cal and Dennis were using heavy 4/0 TADY jigs, all white, with a single squid hooked on. We were each using 30 pound test . Cals' reel was a Daiwa SG50 H. I used a Shimano TLD 20/40 Star and Dennis used a Daiwa SL30. We used 8' 6" Loomis rods. When we didn't lose any more tackle to the bottom, this indicated to Cal that we were "on the spot".

With both of these set-ups the perch were unmerciful so you have to persevere, because the difference between a perch bite and a sea bass bite is almost exactly none...most of the time. The first bait I dropped down was immediately pounded on by perch. I set the hook to nothing about 4 times. On the fifth hook-set a seabass almost pulled the rod out of my hands. Instantly, in unison, both Dennis and Cal hooked up. So there we were running into each other with three charging fish running in all directions. All were landed and all three were 20 pounders. 

My dropper loop set-up won the battle that day as I caught a sea bass virtually every single drop down until they quit. I caught the biggest fish at 40 pounds. Cal and Dennis both got their limits (3) but didn't get near the number of fish that I got. The bite lasted about one hour from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. We released about 20 fish, all legals. The 40 pounder bit like a bottom hang-up. When I lifted the rod tip up it seemed stuck to the bottom, then it swam off to tell me it wasn't the bottom.

Two large calicos were landed in the salvo but except for those two, no more were caught the rest of the day. In fact the rest of the day was a real bust as we caught nothing until our departure at 3:00 pm. We didn't care, the hour long sea bass frenzy was the most memorable of all.

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