For the local half-day and three-quarter day
open party fishing trips a standard sport boat rig is a 7ft
fiberglass bait casting pole (Seeker and Cal Star are popular
southern California choices) with a Penn 500 Jig Master and
12-20lb test line works for just about any local target fish
and the Penn 500 Jig Master or similar is the perfect starter
through advanced reel. It also is the lowest priced, most reliable
reel out there selling for about 65 bucks.
My only comment that I share with most fisherman
is the Penn Jigmaster works best with at least 20lb test as
there is potential for any lighter line to get caught up between
the spool and the frame. Unless the fish are biting skittish,
I almost always use 15 or 20 lb test. Twenty pound test or
heavier line suggested when fishing the Kelp.
As for tackle the party boat basics are a selection
of lead "torpedo's"
(lead weights with wire eyes at both ends) sizes 2oz - 8oz
for strong current and bottom fishing. Pick up a few size rubber
core sinkers 1/2 to about 2oz for surface fishing live bait
getting below the sometimes thick schools of Mackerel or less
desirable fish. For hooks, at least a pack each sizes ranging
from #2 to #4/0 bronze live bait hooks for fishing 'Chovie's
(Anchovies') or 'Dine's (Sardine's). Best bet for tackle is
call the landing for the boat you are taking and see what's
been working best for the target fish and where the boats have
If the bait bite is slow I like to use plastic
swim baits. As for color I have had great success in San Diego
using yellow lead heads and for the swim bait start by asking
a deckhand or observing someone catching on a certain color.
I noticed out of Oceanside the fish seem to consistently like
reddish/clear and silver metal flake with a yellow 3/4 or so
head. Megabait is my choice for Oceanside out of Helgren's
sportfishing and for San Diego boats fishing the Pt.Loma and
La Jolla Kelp beds and vicinity, I like Fish Trap plastics in
brown variations with again a yellow lead head. I actually went
as far as buying less expensive unfinished lead heads and painting
them with yellow finger nail polish.
Fishing the Iron is very productive for San Diego
boats when fish are biting and come in light and heavy. Light
are for surface action and heavy is for "yo-yoing" for
Yellowtail and any other targets that will take iron. Tady
45 and Salas are common brands. Well that about covers it for
now and is a good start. This list is in no way complete but
taking this advice you will be well prepared for your trip(s).
Tackle can become addictive but the one time you have that
special lure or color none else has and you start catching
a lot of fish with it or even the jackpot then it's worth carrying
and having the extra weight along on your San Diego sportfishing