Advice from Grandpa: Offer a smorgasbord

Always have more than one kind of bait when you go fishing

This is not exactly how grandpa said it since he was a “little Irishman from Minnesota” as he’d always told everyone and big words were not part of his plain spoken vocabulary, but I understood what he meant when he told me that not all fish eat the same things.  So, he regularly cautioned me to take more than one type of bait when I go fishing.   In his case, he’d have night crawlers, Salmon eggs, corn, and often sweetened bread dough for catfish.

This, of course, made sense to me and over the course of the decades has always played true. 

When I fish in the Pacific Ocean I have, at a minimum, three kinds of bait: Anchovies, Mackerel, and Squid.  Sometimes I will take Blood Worms although I don’t like using live bait but I am always willing to change bait on any pole at any time.  This is what grandpa really meant.

Flexibility is a key element in fishing since there are factors that could interrupt your well laid plans for an outing which could limit your fishing options so don’t limit yourself.  The fish you want to catch may not be around so if you have only the bait they like, then you should just go home.  However, if you have a selection, you can change bait, maybe catch some other type of fish, and have a successful day.  A few weeks ago, I was fishing off the deep end of the Ventura Pier using Squid as bait and nothing was hitting on it.  So, I changed to Mackerel and I started getting hits right away.  Eventually, I hooked into a Bat Ray about two feet wide.  I didn’t land it do to faulty fishing line but it was close enough for me to gauge its width. 

If I had not switched bait, I know I would not have had a chance to even look at it.

Weekend fishing on the pier

A small Bat Ray that got away…

I normally don’t fish on weekends due to the crowds on the pier but I bought a brand-new outfit (rod & reel) and I wanted to try it out. The new set replaced a rod & reel that I had for over 35 years.  This new setup is fantastic. My Shakespeare ATS30 combined with my 9-foot Shimano Saguaro rod made casting and reeling-in effortless. There was only one problem. When I caught a 2-foot wide Bat Ray, I decided to not gaff it because that would have killed it, so I hand lined it up and since I caught a 4-foot wide Bat Ray on the same line–35 years or so ago–I thought I was okay. The little ray put up a great fight but when it got within arm’s length of the top of the pier railing, that old line broke. I just ordered new line, 80-pound test Dacron so this won’t happen again.

Again, I was the only one catching fish today, my total today was 14 fish but 7 of those were Mackerel so I had a lot of fun and now I have a lot of bait.