Posts tagged "sand bass"

Tips on Winning Tournaments

May 11th, 2016 Posted by Fishing With Friends, Kayak Fishing, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Tips on Winning Tournaments”


First and foremost, let me say that the tips I’ll be sharing with you here are NOT a guarantee to win in kayak tournaments. These are observations I’ve made in my own tournament experience.

I have failed countless times- more than I’d like to admit. Everyone is a winner if you learn from your mistakes and simply enjoy the experience with your fellow anglers. If you’re not having fun, maybe fishing is not for you.

Let’s start by saying this. If you want to contend with tournament fisherman you’ll have to follow their successful path, but then make it your own. Do your homework.

Tournament fishing off a kayak can be challenging. One of the first questions you ask yourself is where am I going to go? Is live bait an option in this tournament? If so, what size is the bait and color? Knowing these things can really help you plan a better tournament experience.

When I said doing your homework, I meant to go out fishing that day fully prepared. Know what the tides are for the day. Is the current acting in your favor? If not, what is your experience telling you to do? Do that. Also, is it sunny or overcast? Understanding these factors gives you a greater chance of succeeding and a bigger edge against your competitors, but this is just the beginning.

I wouldn’t say the old bait and wait technique won’t work for kayak fishermen, but I also wouldn’t call it a tournament technique either. Know the species you’re targeting and understand what makes them tick. Bait selection is key; it is part of your success. This applies to artificial lures as well as live bait and learning all there is to know about all forms of bait. Fishing with artificial lures can be lucrative if you use them correctly. Assemble your tackle box based on the successful experience you had catching fish with those particular items. Don’t forget what the conditions were that day when you caught that particular species and what colors you were using.

So you caught that fish! Now what? Well, first determine if the fish is legal or not. Most tournaments set the size limit in place before you head out. If you don’t plan to kill your fish do your best to keep them alive and be humane. Some tourneys require you to practice catch and release. Others will penalize you for every dead fish you bring back subtracting from your total weight. This is not true with all tournaments.

Some of the best advice I’ve been given is to not throw back ANY LEGAL SIZE FISH. Other anglers could have had a terrible day, regardless of their winning reputation. I have personally made this mistake one too many times and I regret it. Also pay close attention to where your fellow anglers are fishing. Don’t get too close to them, they can be territorial during a tournament. But if you’re given the OK to be nearby, feel free to pick their brains on how they have been doing and how they have been catching fish. Some fisherman will give great advice. Always listen to other anglers and don’t discount your personal experiences catching fish and reciprocate in sharing your knowledge.

I wish you all great success in kayak tournament fishing! Never give up. Don’t let your friends’ smack talk ever get into your head. Always abide all state and tournament regulations.

It’s your responsibility to learn what they are.

Respect all anglers who decide to fish these tourneys as we all have one thing in common. We’re there to catch fish. We’ll weigh them in for a possible jackpot and of course, bragging rights!.

I hope this article is helpful in conveying understanding of what it takes to be successful in tournament kayak fishing. Again, this is not the be all and end all of tournament fishing. Trust the knowledge you are acquiring every time you go out.

Until next time fellow anglers, enjoy your kayak, stay fishy, and keep your lines tight!


Tommy Ponce


Fishing the Pipe

May 1st, 2014 Posted by Kayak Fishing, Local Events, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Fishing the Pipe”

Fishing the pipeline


If you’ve kayak fished Dana Point very much, you’ve probably heard people talking about “the pipe”.  There’s a secondary waste water treatment plant in the San Juan Creek bed just upstream from Doheny State Beach.  The treated waste water is pumped off shore through a 10,550 foot pipe under Doheny State Beach.  The pipe runs in a SSW direction out to about a 100 foot depth and then the diffuser runs another 1272 feet in a NW direction. The majority of this pipe is buried in the seabed with a nice covering of boulders.


This long pile of rocks along with the kelp growing on it makes for a wonderful fish habitat.  Here you’ll find calico and sand bass, sculpin, rock fish, White Sea bass, and all the other fish that inhabit our local waters.  You might even find a nice halibut lurking on the edges of the boulders or a toothy ling cod at the deep limits.


I like to fish the pipe with live bait on a dropper loop using a torpedo weight.  I’m always rigged with spectra for the main line and a short length of fluorocarbon as a leader and will vary the size of the weight depending on the size of the bait and the amount of current and wind drift, but usually between 2 and 4 ounces.  I’ll also vary the rating on the fluorocarbon and because it’s easy to get hung up on the bottom, will usually use 30 pound test.


Unless you know where the pipe is, it can be very difficult to find and without a fish finder you won’t be able to stay over it.  In some places the rock pile may only rise a couple feet off the bottom and in others it may rise 12 feet.  Because of the amount of current and wind drift that can occur here, I always have a drift chute stowed on my kayak.  Here’s a screen shot of how the pipe will appear on your fish finder.




So, to get you started, here are a couple of my favorite spots along the pipe to catch fish.  The first one is in about 45 feet and the second around 65 foot depth.


N33.26.881 – W117.41.368

N33.26.354 – W117.41.580


With these two spots on your chart plotter, you’ll get a good indication of the direction the pipe runs and can add your own spots along this line.  Crisscross the pipe in an east-west direction and add another mark each time you see a significant change in the depth.  Pretty soon you’ll have a nice line of marks denoting where the pipe and the fish exist, like this:

April FWF Tournament Winner

April 18th, 2014 Posted by Fishing With Friends, Kayak Fishing, Uncategorized 0 comments on “April FWF Tournament Winner”

The 1st Fishing with Friends (FWF) Tournament of 2014 took place April 18th.  We had a great turnout.  15 Anglers showed up primed and ready to fish.  Everyone wanting to fish live bait was a little discouraged, thinking that the only bait available was going to be the same MONSTER sardines that they’d carried for the previous week.  Luckily, there were some well cured anchovies, about 4-5″.  The sand bass loved them!  The pipeline was very productive, but the guys fishing the point and on shore off Doheny had to fish hard to churn up a bite.

The winning fish for the day was caught by Melissa!  A very nice 4lb Sand Bass.  So congrats go to her!

Jackson(Dana Point’s finest boat hoist operator/culinary master) cooked a great Chicken Adobo to go along with all the great other foods that all the participants brought.

Thank you for all that showed up and we look forward to seeing everyone in May for the next FWF Tournament.