Balboa Pier - Tu/Th 9/29 & 10/1

#1
Sooooo FRUSTRATING! Great water conditions, tons of smelt and fair numbers of Bonito breezing through the smelt, lots of feather strikes but no fish. They are so timid, all hookups were temporary. Lots of mini-macs but that's not my thing. The Bonito were boiling through the smelt packing into the pier on west side from end all the way past the sinks.

Fishing ~10a - 3p, WINDY on Tue, nearly Dead calm today.

Attack vectors: Splasher/feather, small Kroc, 15g jigpara, 20g coltsniper w/fearher, only interest on splasher

Interesting note, on Tue there were some MASSIVE mullet swimming cruising around the pier end
 

Rusty

Well-known member
#2
Sometimes only live bait will work, but first you have to find them. Sardines usually work best, though occasionally i have had luck with smelt, and chovies or grunion when/if you can fine those. Fish em near the surface and you should get a few bites when the school flies through. I would try the calmer side of the pier.

As for jigs, try the lures with faster action and retrieve fast, very very fast- remember, those bonitos are still way faster than you can reel even on the fastest reels. Repeat until success or give up lol. But again, ive had more luck with live bait, though i would always prefer a lure.
 
#3
Thanks for the advice. Always looking for new ways to catch fish. Picked up coltsniper/jigpara slow jigging this season.

Actually 2 observations this year:
Live Bait: Though I don't like the added work of live bait fishing (extra rod for sabiki, water changes to keep bait alive) and usually the fish accumulate on the windward side making fly-lining difficult to impossible, and the Cormorants have been very PRESENT at the pier this year, and THU there were also 2 large sealions hanging in the bait line feasting on the constant flow of mini macs. I have been monitoring the few guys using live bait on slider and flyline and it has been non-productive on days/times I have been fishing.

Jigs: Slow jigs are the the rule. My go-to for over 40 years is high-speed Krocs, but this year they don't want it. I've tried for hours in the active bait lines and got only a few fish, the sabikis, Coltsniper and and similar slow jigging has been way more productive. 95% of the Bonito I landed this year were on slow jigged metal/feather and splasher/feather.

But starting last week and into this week it's been getting bad and worse on lure fishing. A few strikes before mid-day but after that totally ignoring any artificials. This is normal late season when the water gets hot, but the water seems to be holding 66-69.

The schools were breezing near the surface around the sink area back and forth, you could see the whole school just cruising! Then ATTACK, exploding into the smelt. Great theater
 
#4
Thanks for the advice. Always looking for new ways to catch fish. Picked up coltsniper/jigpara slow jigging this season.

Actually 2 observations this year:
Live Bait: Though I don't like the added work of live bait fishing (extra rod for sabiki, water changes to keep bait alive) and usually the fish accumulate on the windward side making fly-lining difficult to impossible, and the Cormorants have been very PRESENT at the pier this year, and THU there were also 2 large sealions hanging in the bait line feasting on the constant flow of mini macs. I have been monitoring the few guys using live bait on slider and flyline and it has been non-productive on days/times I have been fishing.

Jigs: Slow jigs are the the rule. My go-to for over 40 years is high-speed Krocs, but this year they don't want it. I've tried for hours in the active bait lines and got only a few fish, the sabikis, Coltsniper and and similar slow jigging has been way more productive. 95% of the Bonito I landed this year were on slow jigged metal/feather and splasher/feather.

But starting last week and into this week it's been getting bad and worse on lure fishing. A few strikes before mid-day but after that totally ignoring any artificials. This is normal late season when the water gets hot, but the water seems to be holding 66-69.

The schools were breezing near the surface around the sink area back and forth, you could see the whole school just cruising! Then ATTACK, exploding into the smelt. Great theater
This late in the season I have had success with the splasher/feather rig by mixing up my retrieval speed and splash cadence. If a bonito misses my feather after the first swipe at it, I’ll stop retrieving and pause for a moment. Then I resume at a slower retrieve and often get a hook set on the next swipe at the feather.
 

EgoNonBaptizo

Well-known member
#5
When it comes to throwing iron, they've really been keyed in on the micro bait; I haven't gotten bites on anything bigger than the 21 g coltsniper, with most fish on the 15 g jigpara. I get a lot of my bites casting into the boil and letting the lure sink freely.