Swim Bait Techniques for Spotted Bay Bass

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June through August is prime time for spotted bay bass fishing here in southern California and there’s no better way to catch large numbers of spotted bay bass than throwing swim baits. In addition, you’ll normally catch the larger fish throwing swim baits versus fishing live or cut bait.
What’s nice about the spotted bay bass fishery in San Diego Bay, Mission Bay and farther north is the fishery is pretty much year round and some of the best fishing can be in the “winter” months when sand bass and Calicos are hard to find. January and February are months where Calicos are tough to find but these can be great months to fish the “spotties”, particularly in the evenings and at night.
Another great aspect of fishing spotted bay bass is being able to fish them from shore, and fish for them at night.
Swim baits and jig heads: When it comes to what jig head to use, it is really up to the angler to use whatever brand jig heads they prefer. We suggest using jig heads with a weed guard when targeting the eel grass areas. You’ll also find spotted bay bass along docks and rock structure in any of the Southern California bays and harbors. As far as size and weight, you want to use a jig head that allows for maximum cast ability according to the rod, reel and line you’re using. As a general rule, jig heads in the 1/4 oz. to 3/8 oz. range will be needed for the 3” and 4” Rude Baits swim baits when targeting spotted bay bass as they inhabit shallow water areas. No sense in fishing the 5” baits when targeting spotted bay bass. They definitely prefer the smaller size swim baits. I personally like to fish the 3” baits when solely targeting spotted bay bass. Try different sizes until you find the best size for your particular rod and reel, and fishing situation.
When fishing the 3” and 4” swim baits, make sure you’re using a jig head with a short hook shank length. You don’t want the hook to interfere with the swim bait action. When fishing for sand bass or Calicos, I don’t necessarily think painted or jig head eyes make much of a difference but when targeting spotted bay bass in the day light hours, I do believe matching the jig head to as close as your swim bait helps, including using painted jig heads with eyes.
Rods and reels: Break out your freshwater bass tackle as that is what you need to use for targeting spotted bay bass. Most of the bass you’ll catch will be in the 1 to 3 lb range so there is no need to go heavy.
Line: Always use quality line of the recommended test suited for the reel you’re using. If you’re fishing primarily open water around boat docks and pilings, use good quality monofilament line 10 to 20 lb test. For fishing the eel grass and rock structure areas, I use Power Pro Spectra 30 lb or 50 lb test with a short 20 lb Seaguar fluorocarbon leader of 18” to 24”. I usually join the two lines with a uni to uni knot connection. The Spectra will cut through the eel grass if you get hung up or have a big fish on. A lot of anglers are now using straight Spectra and if you’re fishing at night, no need for a fluorocarbon leader, just use the straight Spectra.
Techniques for throwing swim baits for spotted bay bass: When it comes to fishing for spotted bay bass, you need to fish where there’s eel grass, rocky structure, boat docks, pilings and bridge supports. These are the areas you’ll find spotted bay bass. Whether fishing from a boat, or from shore, cast your swim bait between boat docks, near pilings or bridge supports and let it sink all the way to the bottom. If not bit on the sink, then lift your rod tip to get the swim bait off the bottom and start your retrieve. If you’re using Rude Baits swim baits, a slow to medium, steady retrieve is best. When fishing eel grass areas from shore, cast to the far side of the eel into open water and retrieve the swim bait to the edge of the eel grass at which point you need to get the swim bait to or near the surface and retrieve the baits fast enough to swim the bait over the top of the eel grass. Also target the outside edges of the eel grass by casting parallel to the eel grass. Fishing from a boat gives you a huge advantage not only in getting to far more areas, but being able to target those areas from different angles. The technique is basically the same.
Swim bait size and color: I’m a firm believer that bigger baits catch bigger fish when targeting sand bass and Calicos. However, when targeting spotted bay bass, I’m a firm believer that using smaller swim baits is best. I recommend the 3” and 4” Rude Baits swim baits when fishing spotted bay bass. When it comes to color, we’ve had tremendous success on all of the colors we offer. As I say with any soft plastic bait, fish the color you have confidence in. My favorites for day fishing the spotted bay bass are the Salty Sardine, Mean Sardine, Kelp Krusher and Purple Passion. For night fishing, I like to fish the Aztec, Smoke Dawg and Cherry Bomb.
When it comes to swim baits, there are many manufacturers to choose from. We at Rude Baits of course believe our swim baits are the best. All of our baits are injected laminates so you’ll never have the bait split at the color transition point because both colors are injected together. Most other swim bait manufacturers use open pour techniques that allow cooling of one color before the second color is poured on top. This doesn’t always allow the two colors to fuse solidly together, thereby sometimes having the bait split, particularly when you insert the jig head hook into the bait. You’ll never have that problem with Rude Baits! Rude Baits swim baits also have extremely vivid colors and are made with a softer plastic than any other swim bait manufacturer. Rude Baits swim baits are designed to be fished slower than other swim baits. This allows the bait to remain in the fish “zone” longer, thereby increasing the number of strikes! Order some today online at www.rudebaits.com and you’ll see the incredible action they have retrieved at slower speeds.

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