cityevader

Lure color/type for central coast?

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How important is it for a lure to mimic local baitfish colors? 

What kind of baitfish swim the Santa Cruz area? 

I only know of Jacksmelt. 

 

FYI, i mainly get Perch, sometimes Jacksmelt, and extraordinarily rarely get a bigger fish such as Striper...with Gulp sandworms on a carolina rig. 

 

I have zero confidence in lures, and maybe if i could eliminate incorrect color choice for this area, i might give them a chance more often. 

 

Second question, what type of lure for flat, sandy beaches? "All" the talk on the forums seems to be big current east coast plugs and techniques. But here? Minnows? Poppers? Floating/sinking? 

It seems hard to get a decent retrieve when there's only 10 seconds between waves. 

 

Edited by cityevader

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How important varies from very important to not at all, if that makes any sense. Some, most of the time is how i look at it. Water clarity and speed has a lot to do with how important a role  realism plays, at least where I fish - nowhere near Santa Cruz. 

Cant imagine bait being a whole lot different. Forage can be more than just little fish, important detail to remember. 

For stripers, white tends to be the dominant color I throw nowadays, some variation on it anyhow, I like redheads as well as all/mostly white. Sometimes more realistic patterns do better.

Bass are bass, east or west. What’s really key is recognizing how to adapt to what’s in front of you, which takes recognizing what’s in front of you. If you’re just copying other dudes, you’re never gonna do any better than them. Some of these crazy east coast techniques potentially have utility for some of us over here. If anything, we have the stronger current, and they have calmer water on average.

 

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Recognizing and adapting to what's in front of me, is just words... without a mentor, this noob just goes out fishing. There is no one to learn from and no one to copy. 

I throw lures, i throw Gulp, sometimes i catch, sometimes i don't. 

 

It's easily 30 to 1 that i catch on Gulp than a lure, hence the low confidence.

I realize that presentation/technique are site and species dependant. 

 

I was just hoping for an "emotional boost" with the idea of matching natural bait... without even knowing what the natural bait actually is...in order to more confidently try lures. 

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Honestly, in a way, it’s better that you have no one to copy and no one to “learn” from, cause trust me, you really don’t want most of what they’ll teach you.

Just going fishing? Hell brother, me too. 

Sometimes you catch, sometimes you don’t .... you know, that’s all of us, but in it all, you can learn things given time. Why you catch, why you don’t, and in time and with some luck and imagination, how to effect that.

fishing is different things to different people. To me, step one is figuring what I want to do. Then, how am I going to do it? Three, making it happen. 

 

You want to catch with something other than gulp. Pretty easily fixed - you could use the same rig, with anything else right?

 

If you don’t mind catching the same stuff, and want an “emotional” color boost, throw something with some red on it. Not a lot, just a touch. More than just a “emotion” thing, quantifiable difference in catch rates, at least with perch.

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As an aside, a lot of guys like throwing Carolina rigs like you do, often with Kalins grubs with red flake. Catches a lot of small fish, like I feel gulp does. But color wise any great perch bait has some red on it, my take on it. 

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color is last on the list for me.....  i'd be more concerned with the size and weight of your offering,  when and where you're throwing your offering, and how effectively you're working the lure while you're in the strike zone.... 

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Hehe. If you think its tough to get a decent retrieve between the waves with a plug--try fly fishing. It makes spin fishing seem so easy. The key is to fish something that works between AND within the breaking waves. Foam is home.

 

I fish mostly south of you in SLO County, but I have caught perch and stripers in Santa Cruz too. Remember Rule #1... "When the fish are biting, they will hit anything. When they are not biting, you need bait." When is the best bite? I look for an incoming or outgoing tide at the crack of dawn. Even better is when the sun and moon rise at the same time.

 

Barred surf perch and striped bass eat the same stuff, but in different ratios. Overall, they like mole crabs and baitfish. Perch = more crabs/worms... and stripers = more baitfish. 

 

I agree that our top lure for spin fishing (perch) is the Big Gulp sandworm in red or camo, on a Carolina rig. It's almost a bait really, with a very effective scent. The problem is with too many smaller perch getting hooked. Curly tail grubs also work but not as well. However,  I've never hooked a striper on a Big Gulp sandworm. When the perch and striper seasons overlap (April-May) my favorite spin lure is the Lucky Craft Flashminnow 110 or 130, because they hook both stripers and big perch. The surf must be small for proper action of these plugs. Effective colors for me have been the sardine and Nishiki (chartreuse with a red head).

 

In bigger surf with stripers around, I like bucktail jigs, in white or chartreuse, with a curly rubber tail. I don't know what food they are supposed to imitate but they do work for some reason.

 

Lately I fly fish more then I spin. Only break out the spin rig when the surf is too big to fly fish.

 

My quiver: Big Gulp, curlytail grubs, Z-Man Crusteaz, Lucky Craft Flashminnow, SP Minnow, bucktail jigs, DIY flies. Hope this helps. 

 

 

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In my short couple of years, 3 of the 4 Stripers were caught on Gulp. A shorty and a keeper two years ago; then one threw the SP Minnow's hook 8 feet away, but worst was the biggest Striper I've ever seen just a couple weeks ago (on Gulp) which I stupidly high-sticked on 14# line merely five feet away... and lost everything. 

 

Earlier this Thursday evening, i spent time with a 1/2 oz Rapala Twitchin Minnow with a red head... Having just "youtubed" walking the dog technique at lunch time, but i couldn't actually work it whilst blindly fumbling. 

I then spent the entire next 2hours after work until sunset just trying to figure out how to consistently cast an SP Minnow... Clearly there is far more than just getting the BBs into the tail, as most casts helicoptered. 

Two seagulls eyed it then turned into but then away, clearly unimpressed with my presentation. 

 

I've ordered  Lucky Craft 115 Jack Smelt... We'll see... 

I also ordered a book on surfcasting with lures, will see how it goes. 

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Stu, i've been thinking about your saying, "foam is home"...

I've never caught a fish in the foamy wash, but then again, I always avoid it. 

With only boobtube to learn from, the thrust of all advice seems to be to look for holes, cuts, or otherwise deeper areas. 

Since that's where I aim, I can't catch elsewhere. 

 

Do you simply mean that i should work the entire area, or that foam is actually better? (flat sandy beaches here, sometimes with visible structural differences but they are often outside of casting range) 

 

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I can't speak about stripers further north on the left coast, being from SoCal.  I regularly fish SP minnows, LuckyCraft flash minnows etc targeting mainly Halibut and Calico Bass.  Perch generally don't care what color LC you throw, if there are large enough models around and they are not specifically keyed in on bottom bait, they will generally hit it.  If you dont want to be like me and become a tackle Ho, stick to anything resembling baitfish, anchovy, sardine and mackerel colors are great choices.  Swimbaits can also be very effective when fish aren't interested in chasing a minnow plug. They can be worked more slowly while still maintaining a realistic appearance.

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On 10/17/2019 at 7:54 PM, cityevader said:

Do you simply mean that i should work the entire area, or that foam is actually better? (flat sandy beaches here, sometimes with visible structural differences but they are often outside of casting range) 

 

I usually work the entire area, because stripers and perch hang in different places on different days. Or they move in schools from place to place.

 

The beaches where I fish have large shallow areas with the occasional outgoing rip or trough that runs parallel to the shoreline. Changing tides are the best times to fish. On lower tides, I often find fish in the deeper spots. On higher tides the fish seem to spread out on the flats to feed. Some days they can only be found right in the breaking foam, other days right at your feet on the ledge of the shore break. Often they hang out where water (and food) washes from the shallow foamy areas into the deeper holes. Some times they will be holding  in an area where clumps of seaweed or kelp are swirling in an eddy.

 

So cast all over the place until you get some action. But I still say, foam is home, and structure is your friend. That includes rocks that can attract fish as well. 

 

I get skunked a lot. That's because I keep trying all year round, and the fish come and go in seasonal cycles. I just like being out there.

 

 

 

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