A tip on Catalina bonito from Scooterfish and GDude:
Date: April 24, 2008
To: PFIC Message Board
Subject: Catalina bonito rigging
Some folks at Catalina were interested in details about the bonito rig I was using at Catalina, so here they are, starting with the terminal end…
Lure — ¼ oz. jig head dressed with a 4-inch Saltwater Assassin “Sea Shad” in the “Space Guppy” pattern (Chartreuse with salt + pepper flaked clear). Not the most durable plastic by a long shot (1 per landed fish), but very effective with great action. I like using a ¼ oz. head because it keeps the lure ~6” underwater even when retrieving “bonito fast.” Tail action of the Sea Shad is frantic, even at lower speeds and on the fall.
Leader — 5+ feet of 20-lb P-line CFX fluorocarbon leader. I’ve used this stuff for quite a few years in the 15-30-lb. test and have never had it fail me. Works well with my Uni knots.
Splasher — 3” Magnum (1-1/8 oz.) Flexcoat “Launcher” casting float. There are larger sizes of this float, but this size casts best for me with this rod. The larger sizes seem awkward and have too much wind resistance, and the lighter sizes are too light to get distance… *Distance casting was less important this year as the bonito were cruising primarily just outside the kelp, and inside the harbor. On Sunday I caught a few smaller sized bonito on long casts, but the rest of the week they were close in. Thursday afternoon they were cruising the Green Pleasure Pier and the harbor and technically could have been caught with a handline!
These are different than most floats in how they connect. Both mainline and leader are attached to the same point, giving the splasher erratic action.
I use the one in the middle, 3″ Magnum, weighing 1 1/8oz.
Mainline — ~270 yds 20-lb PowerPro. Old reliable! Casts far, sensitive, strong. Brought a spare spool with 30-lb PP, but never needed it. FWIW I had zero break-offs this year from kelp, fish, or bad casts!
Rod — 11’ G-Loomis SUR1324s (Fast Action ½-3 oz. lure, 15-30-lb. line). Same rod as last year, and same rod I use primarily for Jack Crevalle and Redfish here in Louisiana. Light, strong and fast. Allows me to easily load up under the pier for a pretty effective underhand cast.
Reel — Shimano Sustain 4000fe. The drag on this reel got a pretty good workout this year, and did not disappoint. Spool lip is definitely smoother than the Stradic, although I did not notice any big difference in casting distance.
Posted by gyozadude on Apr-24-08 1:50pm
I need to stockpile some of these at all times for the next trip. My red, size 4W Buzzbomb using a 3/0 Gamakatsu large eye spinnerbait trailer hook (to replace the stock treble) was only marginally consistent, on only on Saturday afternoon. Your rig above seemed like the deadlier and more versatile one on this last trip. It could be fished slow and fast.
Plus, as I mentioned before, these bonito were so fast this year that the hits I did get on the Buzzbomb knocked it out of the way, the hook never even coming close to the mouth of these fish. The softer, lighter grub/shad/swimbait was something they probably could take on the run better.