I’m asked all the time why I choose Hobie for kayak fishing. Well, it’s simple. If you have a paddle in your hands you’re not fishing. Also, I’m not kayak fishing for an extra workout. A
day of fishing alone is workout enough. One of the most asked questions is how stable are they? The answer is they are incredibly stable. Another question I’m frequently asked is how far can you go and do they do well offshore. In my opinion you can utilize any of the Hobie fishing fleet to do almost anything you’d like. I say “almost” because this platform isn’t suited to catching a swordfish, for instance! Aside from that, it’s your preference.
As for going offshore, I’ve taken a Mirage Revolution 13 out and not only is it fast, but it’s very stable. This is because its adaptive design just rolls with the punches of the sea. But the
Mirage Outback and the Pro Anglers are a more suitable platform for fishing that requires carrying more gear such as a Live Well bait tank and it has greater stability. The Mirage models drive and turbo fins are what separate the men from the boys in the kayak world. This is your “engine” and friend. It’s what makes kayak fishing hands-free. You can go greater distances with this mechanism. And now you can go backwards in your kayak by pulling out your drives and turning them around to either get you out of a tough spot, or to keep you where you want to stay when the current keeps moving you.
The rudder system is incredibly easy to figure out as well. Left is left, right is right. There is a slight learning curve on maneuvering your kayak, but it only takes about two minutes to
master. The only reason for this is because anglers are not used to turning left or right in avessel that is greater than ten feet. For those who love to accessorize, I have great news for you! Your Hobie fishing kayak is fully customizable. Anything from rod holders, fish finders, containers, motor mounts, etc. are available.
I refer all my friends and family to head to Dana Point Jet Ski and Kayak Center to speak with Tim about getting into a Hobie kayak. I also recommend trying before buying.
Sign up for a Hobie First Cast session. It’s your best bet in trying out the kayaks you’re interested in and learning how to fish off them. Your guide will get you some on-the-water
experience and is there to respond to any questions you may have.
So, get started by calling 949.661.4947 and ask for the First Cast experience!
Stay tuned for upcoming kayak fishing tips. Until then, keep your lines tight and stay fishy!
Today we will cover the basics of catching Calico Bass on your Hobie kayak.
First, Calico Bass can be finicky. This characteristic in itself makes catching them tricky. Understanding where Calico Bass live, feed and hide are only part of being successful in catching them. Catching this fish is not an exact science, but we’ll give you a better understanding of how Calico Bass live and to lead you in the direction to catch them. After you purchase your first Hobie kayak, there is no greater reward than to self-guide into open water and landing your first fish!
Bass love to hide in structure. By structure, I mean floating kelp, anchored kelp, boiler rocks, sea grass, etc. My advice to you is to look for obstruction in the water; whether it’s kelp or rocks and hopefully a little current in the mix as well. In this article we will only be focusing on the little guys. It gets more technical hunting for the bigger boys. We will cover this topic in a future installment.
In whatever structure pile you decide to fish, give yourself about a 20+ foot buffer. This is for a variety of reasons. Here are a few.
You want to give yourself plenty of room to cast toward your structure. Try fly-lining a live bait. A Google search or YouTube video will demonstrate this. Also, a simple dropper loop rig with bait will work as well if you’re into the whole bait-and-wait technique. I personally prefer to use plastic swimbaits and spinnerbaits. Also, if you’re not anchored, the current will eventually push you too close to the structure and it may scare away the fish. And, even worse, you might get stuck. Always keep that in mind.
If open water scares you or it’s just too rough, stay within your own personal boundaries. You’ll get increasingly comfortable as you get to know your Hobie kayak and how it reacts to rough and calm water. It won’t take long to figure out.
Calico Bass is an incredibly tough species. Given their size, they are heavily sought for the fight. They are ambush predators. When they are in the 1-3 pound range they will be attacking the lower tail region of your choice of bait, such as live bait, (i.e. sardines, anchovies and squid.) Even with artificial lures, they will bite the tails to stun its prey and then bite the head or hook.
So you’ve found the structure I’ve described, now what? It’s simple. I love to cast my bait just because I feel more productive vs. the bait-and-wait technique. One technique is not better than the other. It’s a matter of personal choice. Now, pick a spot you feel is optimal in your structure and cast toward it. Now it’s time to retrieve it.
Retrieve it at medium speed. Keep it steady while retrieving it back to you. Pause to allow the bait to sink or swim. Just let the bait do its job. With lures, you have to provide the action by mimicking a bait fish. Alright, did you catch anything? Chances are you haven’t.
So send that bait out again. But this time I want you to do what we call fan casting. Position your kayak so you’re facing the structure, or, to the best of your ability, given what the area allows. Now, fan cast in between the 9 & 2 o’clock positions, starting at 9 o’clock, retrieve it, then at 10 o’clock, and so forth. This gives you more water coverage in your structure and will increase your odds of landing a fish.
If this doesn’t work, adjust the position of your HOBIE. Go to a different side of your structure which may be either straight ahead, opposite of where you just were, or, to the left or right. Then continue fan casting in the same fan pattern as previously described. Try this method first before making the decision to find new grounds. Chances are with this semi-top water method you will NOT catch a monster, but, it will get you fishing like a kayak fisherman! You will slowly begin to understand how Calico Bass react to your lure or bait and it will be up to you as to how you can perfect your method and increase your success rate!
In my next installment, we’ll cover the more technical aspects of fishing for these crafty fish.
Until next time, keep your lines tight and stay fishy my friends!
Tommy Ponce, contributor
Dana Point Jet Ski and Fish Village teamed up this year to bring SoCal kayak anglers another
opportunity at big island fish on a limited load 2.5 day kayak mothership trips aboard the
Islander. This trip targets nearshore favorites such as calico bass, sand bass, halibut, sheephead,
leopard shark and sometimes even yellowtail.
The Islander begins loading kayaks and gear at around 5:00 PM and will leave Fisherman’s
Landing in Point Loma around 7pm. From there we fuel and bait up and make a slow and steady
course for San Clemente Island. We fish for two full days and begin the journey home the last
evening returning to dock early in the morning at about 6am. The price includes live bait, food
and sodas. Not included are beers and tips. Because of space limitations, no Hobie Pro Anglers
will be allowed.
What: 2.5 day trip
How much: $625
Depart: Friday June 5th @ 5:00 PM
Arrive Back to Dock: Monday June 8th @ 6:00 AM
Where: Boat leaves Point Loma, San Diego, bound for San Clemente Island (conditions
What: 2.5 day trip
How much: $625
Depart: Thursday June 18th @ 5:00 PM
Arrive Back to Dock: Sunday June 21st @ 6:00 AM
Where: Boat leaves Point Loma, San Diego, bound for San Clemente Island (conditions
If you’ve been on these trips before, you know that there is no better way to fish from a kayak.
The maximum amount of kayakers on this trip is limited to 18 spots. Trips fill up fast. A $200
non refundable deposit (cash, debit, credit and checks) will hold your spot with the balance due 6
weeks before the departure date. Once paid, the fare is non-refundable, unless we have someone
waiting to take your spot.
Get your deposit in early to guarantee your spot.
If you’re not familiar with the Islander, check out their website. I can speak from experience, the
boat and crew are exceptional and have the reputation as the finest mothership boat on the west
Come on kayak anglers, jump on this!
Contact Mike Ponce for details (714) 658-4089 or email me at email@example.com.
First cast, first fish, first kayak, the first fishing experience. Three Belles Outfitters wants to create new fishing moments for anglers of all ages and skill levels in the new Hobie® First Cast program. Don’t have a kayak? No problem! Dana Point Jet Ski will provide each participant with a Hobie Mirage® kayak and an experienced kayak fishing guide to get you jumpstarted into kayak fishing.
The best part of fishing on a Hobie Mirage? Your hands are free to tend to your line. Hobie’s patented MirageDrive® system allows you to pedal your kayak instead of paddling it. To quote Bass Fishing Hall of Famer, Hank Parker: “If you’ve got a paddle in your hand, you aren’t fishing!”
Give us a Call today to find out how you can get involved!
We’re excited. This is going to be the SBS’s first kayak only tournament and we’re hosting!
• When > May 2nd
• Where > Dana Point Harbor
• Time > 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. (scales open at 1 p.m.)
• Check in > 3:30-5:30 no later!
• Cost per person / kayak > $50 basic entry
• Big Fish Option > $10
• Big Odd Fish Option (any fish besides bass) > $10
• Pay Out is 1 in 4 with 1st and 2nd Big Fish paid
• Artificials ONLY!!….scents and or attractants are ok to use (no squid strips or other bait as a trailer)
• Trolling is allowed
• There will be a shotgun start for each flight at the Harbor entrance. We will randomly draw a chip to determine starting kayak #. You must be back within the 5mph buoys before your flight time deadline to be considered “on time”, or be penalized 2 pounds, returning 15 minutes or later after your flight deadline will result in a DQ
• 3 fish 15 inch size limit > all species of bass count, if you weigh a short fish, it will not count toward your 3 fish limit
• There will be no dead fish penalty
• There are no boundaries (MLPA areas are off limits, anglers are responsible for knowing these areas)
• PFD’s must be readily available at all times
• BBQ is included in your entry
• We encourage carpooling as parking may be limited!
We’re ready to start off the 2015 Fishing with Friends Tournaments. We had some amazing fish take the jackpots last year, and this year will be no different.
The format is very simple: Entry fee is $10 with the largest legal fish taking all.No sharks, rays, skate’s, etc. Very simple format: no sponsors, no raffles, no prizes, no points, NO HASSLE. Starttime @ 7a.m. with weigh in @ 2p.m. Weigh in and post tournament potluck at Dana Point Jet Ski. Parking will be available for those early launchers. Gate to launch will open at 6:30 a.m., and will close at 7:30 a.m., but will re-open at 9:00 a.m. You can launch any other place you choose, just make sure you check-in and kicked in your ante. Sign-up for what you will be bringing to the potluck.
This is a great fishing opportunity for beginning and seasoned kayak fishermen who are not looking for the high stress competitive fishing scenes, but just want to fish and learn from other kayak fisherman.
California Gray Whales are amazing creatures. They spend their summers chowing down in Alaskan seas then travel to Baja California to party and have kids in the winter, then travel back to Alaska in the spring. Subsequently, a large number of them pass within kayaking distance of Dana Point Harbor in the late fall through late spring.
The Gray Whale migration has three periods: southbound (late November to late January), early northbound (late January to early April), late northbound (mid April to late May).
During the southbound and early northbound periods, the Gray Whales are looking to get to their destination. The Grays pass outside the kelp beds northwest of the Dana Point headlands. They pass close to the San Juan Rock whistle buoy, then they head offshore, passing close to A Mark on their way south. They follow roughly the same path (just in opposite directions) on the way north.
Look for the Gray Whale’s spout and or their back and tail. They are kind of stealthy as they swim underwater for a couple minutes, then surface for three or four breaths. On the last breath, they often raise there tail out of the water (fluke). After the fluke, they will stay underwater for a couple more minutes. I can usually keep up with two or three of these cycles (3.5 to 4 knots). Gray Whales will also breach, come out of the water and fall sideways, or “spy hop”, come straight out of the water. This is thought to allow the whale to look around for landmarks. They do this a lot around the Dana Point Headland.
The following track has gotten me close to the most Grays during the southbound and early northbound periods. Start at the Dana Point Harbor entrance. Head 210 degrees magnetic to A Mark, approximately one mile offshore. At A Mark, turn right to 330 degrees magnetic. This will take you a couple hundred yards outside the San Juan Rock buoy (about one and a half miles). At the buoy take a slight right turn to 310 degrees magnetic and follow a line a couple hundred yards outside the kelp beds. Continue as far as you feel comfortable (the Ritz Carlton Hotel is about one mile from the buoy, Three Arch Bay is about two miles from the buoy) then turn around and follow the path back to the San Juan Rock buoy. When you get to the buoy, turn toward the mouth of the harbor and head in. This will give you the maximum benefit of going with the swells and wind for the final leg. About eighty percent of the Gray Whales I’ve seen have been within a couple hundred yards of this track.
During the late northbound period, the mother whales (cows) are taking their time with the newborn babies (calves). They swim in pairs and, often, in groups with other cow/calf pairs. They swim much closer to shore and occasionally stop to nurse and, it’s thought, show the calves landmarks that they will use to navigate on their future migrations. It is believed that the Dana Point headland is one of these navigation landmarks. That is why they often breach and or “spy hop” at the point.
The following track has provided lots of good viewing of northbound cows and calves. (Remember don’t get so close that you are harassing the whales.) Start at the mouth of Dana Point Harbor. Head to the green harbor entry buoy, about 1/4 mile to the west of the entry. Follow a line parallel to the harbor jetty, heading toward San Juan Rock. When you start to come across kelp attached to the bottom, you have a choice: 1. Go right and pass by San Juan Rock on it’s left or right, then continue past the Dana Point headland and stay inside the kelp beds as you go up the coast; 2. Go left around the kelp bed and pass close to the San Juan Rock whistle buoy, stay close to the outside of the kelp beds as you continue up the coast.
Often, I will be fishing just outside the kelp beds at the San Juan Rock buoy and the cow/calf groups will pass right by. So the alternative to searching for the northbound Grays is to just go to the buoy and sit. Eventually the whales will come to you. Watch for the whale watching boats and you should be able to tell when the whales are coming your way. If you find yourself directly in the path of a nearby whale, do nothing. The whales know you are there and will either avoid you themselves, or even come by to check you out. If you move you could disturb them more than if you just sit still. Remember, don’t harass the whales.
Note: Back in the commercial whaling days, Gray Whales were known as “Devil Fish” because the cows would so fiercely defend their calves. Now a days it actually seems like the cows want the calves to interact with humans. I’ve had two encounters when, I didn’t see them coming, and the calves swam right under me with the cow near by. Wow!
Up to about the year 2000, a Blue Whale sighting at Dana Point was unprecedented or even unknown. these whales are thought to be the largest creatures that have ever lived on the planet. It’s to our benefit, the Blue Whales have now decided to make the Dana Point area one of their favorite summer destinations. During the 2012, 13, and 14 seasons, Blues have started passing by Dana Point in June, then settled in to feed in early July. They stay with us until about October. These whales are here to feed on krill (small shrimp) that live in underwater canyons, about two to five miles off shore and about a five mile stretch up and down the coast. I wait until mid July to go out to see them when they are feeding. They are too fast to keep up with in a kayak when they are passing through.
It may seem intimidating to look for whales in a kayak five miles out to sea, however, in a way, the Blues are easy to watch because once you find them feeding, they pretty much, stay put, so you don’t have to chase them all over the place. Just be aware of changing weather conditions and plan your trip to take advantage of wind and wave direction on the way back in. I spot a Blue whale from a distance by looking for the fifteen to thirty foot tall spout. Blue Whales rarely breach or spy hop. They are so big, though, that a good part of their back will come out of the water when they breathe.
Here is the track I use to look for Blue Whales out of Dana Point Harbor; it’s easy. Start at the harbor entrance, note the time. Head for A Mark, (210 degrees magnetic, about one mile out). When you get to A Mark, note the time again. Now continue on the 210 degree heading for an equal amount of time that it took you to get to A Mark. This will put you about two miles off shore. At this point, decide to go up the coast (preferable) or down the coast, whichever direction looks the most promising. Look for other boats milling about, this usually means there are whales in the area. Always try to begin your return to the harbor going with the wind and waves.
Of course, on the way out, if you see a whale, head straight for it. Blues are here to feed, they usually stay in the same area for long periods of time. Once you spot one, you have a real good chance it will still be there when you get to the area.
Watching a Blue Whale is easy. When they are feeding, they dive deep for about five to ten minutes. When their dive is done they surface with a prominent spout and make a lot of noise blowing the air out. They stay on the surface, blowing about every 20 to 30 seconds while, usually, swimming in a large circle for about five minutes. When they are ready to dive back down, they arch their back and flip their tails (fluke) out of the water to get vertical. When the tail comes up out of the water for the dive, this is called “fluking”. It’s fantastic to see and is usually considered the “money shot” of whale watching. Nothing is more amazing than being close to a fifteen foot wide, two ton whale tail as it silently slips below the surface to begin a deep dive. Now, wait five to ten minutes, and the whale will do it again.
Some tips: 1. If you are following a whale and there are a lot of boats slowly going in one direction, hang back a couple hundred yards, the whales often double back on their path and will come up much closer to you; 2. Blue Whales often travel in pairs, look for the second one too; 3. If you find yourself very close to a Blue, you don’t want to be under the spout water when it comes down; for such a magnificent creature, they’ve got really bad breath.
Remember don’t harass the whales; Blue whales are so big it is hard to imagine a kayak can harass them, but if you cause them to change their feeding pattern, that’s harassment. I was once hanging back from the crowd, as mentioned above, when a Blue surfaced right next to me (20 feet). He just sat there and looked at me for about a minute, about the time it took the other boats to realize I was getting the interaction of a lifetime, then he slowly moved away as the other boats came rushing up. I just sat there as the whale seemed to be saying, “make them go away”. I felt a little sad when he swam off, but I did get some great surface and underwater shots with my GoPro camera.
Note: Fin Back Whales will often be in the same area and behave the same as Blue Whales.
Alan Harkness – Dana Point Kayaker
Disclosure – I am not an employee of Dana Point Jet Ski or any other business that stands to profit from this article. I am a volunteer Docent at the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center. All information in this article is from my own experiences and opinion. I am not getting paid to write this article.
We have been notifying customers about this situation for the last couple of days. We hope that the whale is quickly located and proper aid can be given. Contact Captain Dave of Dolphin Safari if you happen to see anything on the water in the days to come. You can call them at (949)488-2828.
Dear Dolphin Safari Friends,
If you live in Orange or San Diego counties we are hoping that you can help us. On Thursday, this small gray whale (about 12 to 20-feet in length) was seen from the Ocean Beach pier heading north. Later that day, about 4 miles away another report come in that a small gray whale approached two surfers (possibly to get help?) and lifted their boards out of the water, rubbing itself against their boards and feet. The two surfers were thrilled with the close encounter, but noted on Facebook that ‘one bummer was that the whale might be dragging something behind it’. Other observers have said it has a line near its head and that its only 12 to 15 feet in length.
The whale was seen several times that day, always close to shore and by people on the beach. Because much of the coastline has reefs, rocks, and dense kelp beds, a search by boat will be very problematic.
So we are asking you, our dolphin and whale fans, to keep a sharp eye out for this distressed whale. If you are at the beach, then please look for it. It may be moving very slowly. The surfers initially thought it was a rock, and that was from just twenty feet away.
Three disentanglement teams are standing by. If you see the whale please call the Large Whale Disentanglement Hotline 24/7 at (877) SOS-WHALE (767-9425) or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF CH-16. We have several trips out today, but as you know, our vessels cannot get that close to shore, so Capt. Dave & I will be out on our inflatable looking. If you see something, you can also call us at 949 488-2828.
We thank you for your help and prayers for this whale.
Capt. Dave & Gisele