San Clemente 1/7 Bite on the Reef Comes Alive

evanluck

Well-known member
#1
When I look back on my last few trips to San Clemente, I realized that the bite on the reef that addicted me to this pier has been slow.

Today it came alive. Of course after sizing up the last few trips with better sized fish like the spotfin croakers these fish seem a bit small. But bites are bites and catching fish is always better than not catching fish.

Started fishing at 5:30AM. Bite was slow before the sun rose. When I think back this is typically the case here. Haven't had good action in the dark from 4:30AM to sunrise so far.

I fished a larger fish finder setup with a whole squid. Not alot of action of this pole today but my bait did go missing a couple times. The action on my smaller rod was much better today so perhaps I just wasn't paying enough attention to this bigger rod. I've decided that I want this rod to be a bit like the shark rods I see the shark crew fish. They just send a huge bait out there and wait for their drag to start screaming. I've decided this is the role I want for my bigger setup except I want to target a larger sheephead, kelp bass, sand bass, white sea bass or even a halibut.

At around 7:30AM the bite on the reef came alive. Schools of black sea perch were biting aggressively on blood worms and market shrimp. These fish fight well for their size. A bit like opal eye and halfmoon perch who both have earned reputations for fighting well. The medium sized ones I caught put a decent bend in my light setup and accented the fight with aggressive head shakes. I also caught a Senorita Wrasse. I'm not sure if this is the first time I've caught one because I was mistakenly thinking that this was a female coloration for a rock wrasse. Throw in some small croakers, small wall eye surf perch, and the three smelt I hooked up on trying to see if mackerel were around and that was my morning. Stopped fishing at 8:30.

Final fish count:
7 Black perch
3 Walleye surf perch
3 Jack Smelt
2 Yellowfin Croaker
1 Black Croaker
1 Senorita Wrasse

I took some pictures of the fish I caught and will update the post later.

The annoying red kelp is back a bit stronger than it has been on the two previous trips but only affected the fishing in a minor way. All fish were successfully released with the exception of the smallest walleye surf perch which was stolen by a seagull while I was releasing the medium sized black perch that was hooked at the same time. That bird somehow got the fish off the hook.

Had a good time. Definitely not keeping any fish and focusing my efforts on the lighter pole made the short session more enjoyable.
 

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MisterT

Active member
#2
Smart bird. It took the fish without getting hooked.

Great variety of fish to keep things interesting.

You mentioned about going with a lighter set up. What are your rod & reel set ups?
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#3
Smart bird. It took the fish without getting hooked.

Great variety of fish to keep things interesting.

You mentioned about going with a lighter set up. What are your rod & reel set ups?
The two I'm using most often are as follows:

Light Setup:
Okuma Shadow Stalker 7', Medium Power, Moderate Fast Action
KastKing Sharky III 3000 Reel, 15lb Braid

Medium Setp
Okuma SST 8'6", Medium Power, Moderate Action
KastKing Sharky III Baitfeeder 6000 Reel, 30lb Braid
 

MisterT

Active member
#4
The two I'm using most often are as follows:

Light Setup:
Okuma Shadow Stalker 7', Medium Power, Moderate Fast Action
KastKing Sharky III 3000 Reel, 15lb Braid

Medium Setp
Okuma SST 8'6", Medium Power, Moderate Action
KastKing Sharky III Baitfeeder 6000 Reel, 30lb Braid
I definitely understand how the lighter set up is more fun. The baitfeeder reels can be a bit heavy especially if you are doing multiple casts. Both are good set ups and provide great coverage.
 

evanluck

Well-known member
#5
I definitely understand how the lighter set up is more fun. The baitfeeder reels can be a bit heavy especially if you are doing multiple casts. Both are good set ups and provide great coverage.
yeah. I have a 4000 reel that I can stick on there but I’ve decided to stick the bigger baitfeeder on there and use that pole to soak a big piece bait so I don’t have to keep as close eye on it.

I was pretty lost when I was buying my gear but each piece I got, filled in some blanks and eventually and had three setups that I’m pretty happy with.

All my setups are cheaper. I’m ready to buy a nice rig. Just need to fish a little more to see what size I want to upgrade first.