How To:

Dock Hopping Spotted Bay Bass

Author: Malibu Jack

Fishing For Spotted Bay Bass In Southern California

Why Should I learn how to Fish for Spotties?

Spotted bay bass fishing is almost every fisherman in SoCal's great back up plan. It's the perfect way to still get an opportunity to fish when it's rough offshore, the waves or big, or the sport boats aren't running anything but sand dab trips. While the fish may not be huge, and the fight not long, the freight train like a hit of a spotty is enough to get any angler excited. It’s what keeps anglers tossing lures throughout the night, waking up at odd hours to fish the right tides, and trying to keep their “honey hole” spots a secret. 

Let’s Talk Tackle….

Fishing for spotties is something that is done in so many different ways, but the majority of the time the concept is the same: Light tackle, and a smaller lure presented as close to structure as possible without getting snagged. The tackle recommendations do change a little bit based on how you are targeting spotties. Kayak, float tube and skiff fisherman can oftentimes get away with lighter ultralight gear, but those who fish from the dock usually are surrounded by heavy structures. Fishing ultralight gear for spotties is definitely possible from the docks, but you must be willing to sacrifice a good deal of your precious tackle due to snags.

My go-to spotty fishing outfit is a 7ft 4-10lb rated rod with a lure rating of 1/8 - 3/8 oz. The reel is 2500 size and is spooled with Bullbuster 20lb braid with a leader of 12-15lb mono. For spotties, almost any lighter gear will do. It’s less about the rod and reel for these species and more about picking the right lure and working it effectively.

Spinning rods, and bait casters both work great, but when using really lightweight lures spinning rods are always a bit nicer.

What Lures do Spotties Like?

Spotties are able to be caught on such a wide variety of lures, but sometimes prefer other lures over others. It’s worth trying different lures out while fishing for them, and seeing what is working at that moment. It’s all predicated on their feeding patterns, and the conditions and this kind of thing are constantly changing.

The most productive ways to target them are with small swimbaits, flukes, spinnerbaits, and ned rigs. For colors, it's better to use light-colored lures in clear water and to use darker ones in murky water. I have provided a couple of photos below to give an idea of what I bring to my local docks, but this is by no means an extensive list, and almost every spotty fisherman has a secret lure that they fish. There are some larger lures for halibut in there as well, and a frog for some reason.

Ned rigged coffee grub

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