Goat Herding Mission

Discussion in 'Private Boaters and General Saltwater' started by Kam_Walsh98, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Kam_Walsh98

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    I wanted to finally put a serious effort towards targeting sheephead because I’ve always thought they were one of the coolest fish around here, both in appearance and physiology. I launched the yak at 6:30am and headed off into the kelp. It was my first time bottom fishing from the yak and since I don’t have a fishfinder I decided to stick to my guns and fish close to the kelp. I fished shrimp on a dropper loop and chummed where practical. Long story short, I caught around 2 dozen sheeps of varying sizes in a variety of spots. Most were short (LOTS of those darn 11.5” suckers; I swear they stop growing for awhile at that size along with 21” halis and 3.24” bugs) but I found a handful of nice keepers. No big ones but I was satisfied with my first attempt. Kept two of the legals and a good size inshore yellowtailed tilefish for the table.

    One thing I noticed is to move spots if you’re catching shorts one after the other, especially if you catch terminal male fish that are undersize. I’ve watched sheephead lots of times while scuba diving and I noticed harems with small males don’t tend to have bigger males; the bigger ones seem to hang out together or are the solitary male in a group of females. This is possibly complete bs but I noticed a similar pattern today; I caught the two biggest legals and missed another couple good fish in the same spot while the first area I tried had nothing but shorts.

    Some ideas for next time:
    Rock crabs-I can’t imagine these not being goat candy; if there’s a low tide the night before it might be worth trying to collect a few dozen to keep away the babies/small calicos/perch.
    Better chumming- shrimp pieces don’t sink very fast in 40-60ft of water so maybe a chum pot would work better. I don’t like hauling out chum pots though so I also thought of making chum “balls” with some binding material to allow them to sink quickly and disperse while down. I heard sand is popular on the east coast.

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  2. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    Sand balls are popular for a reason...
     
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  3. galen

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    You are brave to have those chompers just laying in your lap!
     
  4. crawdadguy

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    good work
    I want to go to San Nic and get a biggie
    I wonder how small octopus would work for bait? I buy them at a market and do well on rockfish and bass
    is your shrimp cooked or raw?? How big are they? tails only?
     
  5. Ken roe

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    Where you launch from today?
     
  6. BenC

    BenC Well-Known Member

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    Nice work on the goats Kam!
     
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  7. Kam_Walsh98

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    LJ Shores
     
  8. Kam_Walsh98

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    I heard small octopus work great. I was using raw 99ranch shrimp with the shells on
     
  9. Mr. NiceGuy

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    Sheephead are strange fish. They are all born as red/pink females. At around 18" they become males and the stripes become more vivid. The age of transition from female to male depends on environmental factors, such as food supply. Food supply also determines the lifespan, which averages from about 9 years to 21 years. California sheephead populations are considered threatened, so size and bag limits are important.
     
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  10. Oscar636

    Oscar636 Well-Known Member

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    Was it a hard launch? Been wanting to fish LJ just skeptical about launching there
     
  11. Kam_Walsh98

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    Wasn't bad at all that day. The keys to successful surf launching are:

    Secure down EVERYTHING
    He who hesitates is lost
    If the waves are above your head, go back to bed
    If it's looking rough on the way in, go in backwards
     
  12. Mr. NiceGuy

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    A good way to practice is to go to the mouth of SD River by Dog Beach in OB. The waves are bigger and wash in different directions at the river mouth.

    Go with an empty kayak so you have nothing to lose.

    Practice capsizing in the river where it's more calm and you can stand up if you have to. Practice re-boarding your kayak without touching the ground. Practice pumping water out of a swamped hull with a hand pump.

    Then go out in the waves and practice holding patterns in the middle of the wave sets at all angles relative to the waves - bow into the waves first, like you are launching. Stern into the waves like you are landing. And lastly let yourself get broad-sided by waves.

    When the wave is about to broadside you, lean into the wave and notice how it easily lifts your kayak up, and the mass of the water passes under you. If you roll away from the wave, you will definitely roll and crash. You will probably feel the thrill of starting to catch a wave from behind, but then you will discover that this usually leads to a loss of control and a crash as your bow dips underwater. You will learn how important it is to use your paddle as a brake and kill the beginning of surfing while you still can. Momentum can build quickly and overwhelm your ability to control it. Try to get your experience of rolls and crashes with an empty kayak so you don't lose all your gear.

    I think it's easier to feel your way through these motions and responses by doing it on the water than to try to describe them. In a few hours of smashing around, you will gain confidence in the way you manage the movement.

    It's the ocean and you could be on your own if an emergency arises. The buddy system with a fishing friend is always a good measure of safety.

    When you are ready to go fishing and launch in La Jolla, watch the surf reports for surf size, and frequency. Look at the size of swells and expected wind. Look up the strength of currents. 2.5' surf and <10 mph wind is pretty mild and safe. As you gain practice, you might feel comfortable with 3.5' surf. However, nice fishing gear can sink fast, and it's not cheap! When launching and landing, it's a good idea to stow and bundle your gear down flat, and not leave it up in your pole holders as many people do. Rolls and yardsales can happen anytime the wave hits you wrong, or when you are caught off guard.

    I like this one as a good place to start:
    www.surf-forecast.com
    Find La Jolla Shores 6 day forecast

    If you are launching from the bays, this one is good:
    www.tides4fishing.com
    When tides are rushing in or out with more mass, remember that the mouth of the bay at the end of the jetties become classic examples of Venturi Effect. It might be a good time to refresh what you know about Bernoulli's Principal and fluid dynamics.

    Accidents and unexpected challenges can happen at anytime. Kayaks and systems can break in many ways. Pedals, control strings, rudder, etc. It all breaks at some point. When you are 1.5 miles from shore, it's nice to have options. Be safe!
     
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  13. RolloTomasi

    RolloTomasi “,,, prisoner in a world of mystery...”
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    What about frozen sand balls?
     
  14. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    I have heard of them .. probably effective
     
  15. Ken roe

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    Nice report.
    I'm new to kayaking & found your info very helpful.
    I have been hesitant to launch off beach & navigate waves.
    I'll try w/o any gear a few times to get a feel for the challenges it presents.
     
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  16. old_rookie

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    That's a lot of fish catching. I bow down to the herder(er).
     
  17. Oscar636

    Oscar636 Well-Known Member

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    I’m use to waves from surfing, but not with a kayak with gear, but thanks so much for all the info which is super helpful! Kayaking in the mouth of sd bay gets its own fun haha which I have been fishing lately
     
  18. Tnel73

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    THANK YOU! For spending the time on this right up! Your awesome!
    Very helpful for all those who are new you couldn't of advised them better in one write up as you did here! Thank you for the time and effort you put into this
     
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