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Written By: Henry Ortega (from http://www.swimbait.com/)

 

Introduction:

Rock jetties provide an abundance of forage for species such as calico bass, sand bass, halibut, white seabass, and the occasional spotted bay bass. These species feed on forage such as herring, tomcod, perch, and mussel, all of which live near and around rock jetties. One of the most commonly fished rock jetties in the South Bay is known as "The Wall". It's a three-part jetty that runs from San Pedro to Long Beach, but just about all harbors have a rock jetty that is fishable. The most important thing to successfully fishing rock jetties is to have the proper gear. A 6 to 8 foot graphite rod in the 15 to 30 pound line class matched with a Shimano Calcutta 400 or equivalent reel is best. There will be situations where you need to step up to the heavier line to avoid getting rocked, especially when fishing at night. When fishing the inside of the jetties, a 4 inch Big Hammer swimbait on a ½ oz. Hammerhead jig head seems to work the best. On the outside, I prefer to fish the 5 inch swimbaits with ¾ oz. jig head because the water is deeper. Don't hesitate to throw a 5 inch on the inside and if you don't get bit then go down to the 4 inch. Some of the best colors for the jetties are browns, greens and oranges. When the grunion are running, try fishing colors that mimic them, particularly when targeting halibut. Fish the darker colors in the morning and night and the brighter colors during the day.

There are two methods that seem to work best when fishing rock jetties. The first method, is to pull up along side the rocks about 10 yards away and cast directly into the rocks, allowing the swimbait to bounce off the rock and sink down along side them. If you don't get a bite on the sink, reel in slowly then recast. The calico bass will literally come out of the holes in the rocks and "pounce on your lure". Because of this, be sure to keep your drag buttoned down. This is the only way to pull these fish off the rocks. If there is any slack in the line they will quickly turn and run back into their holes - using the rocks to break you off. As soon as you get bit, wind them on and then and set the hook. You can either anchor up or use a trolling motor to keep you on the spot. Because you will lose some lures to the rocks with this method, try not to let the bait sink too low. This is a very good method when targeting calico bass, particularly at night.

The second method, and my personal favorite method, is to drift with the current parallel to the rocks about 10 yards out. Simply position your boat sideways with the motor facing the rocks, so that you can pull out quickly if needed. It's a good idea to leave your engine running. Be sure that the wind is in your face. By drifting with the current this allows you to literally troll your swimbait across the bottom where most of the bigger fish hang out. When using this method simply cast out and allow your lure to sink to the bottom slowly. Once you hit the bottom bounce the lure off the bottom a few times by lifting your rod up and then down slowly while reeling in the slack. If you don't get bit reel in slowly to about the middle of the water column then free spool back down to the bottom. Repeat this method until the lure is directly under you, then recast. About 75% of the time you will get bit on the sink.

I have found this method very effective in catching anything from bass to halibut. Most people don't think of targeting Halibut by rock jetties, but halibut fishing near them can be very productive. The halibut like to lay in the sand at the bottom of the rocks and feed on forage as it either falls off or swims away from the rocks. If you're targeting halibut, the best time to fish is just after the grunion run.

Both methods are effective on either the inside or outside of the rock line however, you may find that the bigger fish are found on the outside portion due to the deeper water. Depending on the current and swells, the outside can become very difficult to fish comfortably. That's when I move to the inside of the rock line. This is also the best time to fish the inside. Waves crashing on the outside forces forage through the rocks. This causes the fish to be very aggressive. Remember the best time to fish the rock jetties is two hours before or after the incoming high tide. Good water movement can be a key factor in most fishing situations.

Good luck and please practice catch and release. "Remember, if we kill it today we can't catch it tomorrow."

Clipped and used with Permission by Pete Wolf.Visit Sunrise Tackle at www.sunrizetackle.com

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