- Local advice booking your next San Diego 6-pack or open party sport fishing trip. Request info on planning and booking a private charter or open party San Diego sport fishing trip - image

What tackle do I bring on a half-day or three-quarter day trip?

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 been fishing.


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.

Plastic Swim Bait Fishing San Diego - Image

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 trip.

Fishing Iron

Tight lines,

Rob Mailly
Email Rob



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