Picked up my buddy, Ravi Vavulli at 0600, the rain was coming down good, not a pounding downpour, but strong enough to keep even Forest Gump indoors. I was concerned that the parking gate would be locked, I mean who is crazy enough to fish in these conditions? As we approached the gate I was thankful the parking lot was open. Parking the car I looked at Ravi with my best serious face and said, "I can't believe there's not more people here?" Ravi caught the joke instantly and we both busted up in laughter.
We threw on our foul weather gear, grabbed our perch candy (sidewinder crabs) and hauled our treats down the beach looking for conditions... (sandy or dirty water, white-wash, troughs or holes). I looked for anyone walking on the beach, especially ladies so that I could exclaim my famous line, "Edward's got crabs" but there were no takers.
We had our own piece of the world with no one currently residing in it. After walking about a mile I found a nice hole with all of the above. I pinned on 2 dime-sized sidewinders and looked over at Ravi who was reluctant to grab the crab and fish with them so he opted for the perch-crack.
(Berkley Gulp Camo). The Gulp always catches more fish, but to get the real big barred surf perch or surf crappie as I call them, one needs sidewinder or sand crab or fresh anchovies and the monster mash will be on soon enough. I was kind of laughing to myself, because I knew that once these big perch started chewing on the crab, my good buddy Ravi, was going to be instantly transformed.
I pitched my 24" Carolina keeper into the trough; I don't like fishing a spinning reel. I am on a new Daiwa bait-caster and 10' Madrods USA stick. My 3/4 ounce weight is rolling around in the surf and my 12# mainline is eager to get bit. Suddenly, my 25# leader gets this party started. THUMP... I'm on... It's a very nice fish and I can tell it's my biggest one to date. It pulls and pulls, almost acting like a Halibut for a few moments.
I pull and cracks when the waves are coming in and keep steady pressure when the waves are going out. As the fish gets to the beach it is a 2.5 surf crappie, my biggest to date. Within the next hour there weren't a lot of bitters for me and then finally after walking about a mile up and down the beach I get another perch; about a pound and a half.
Ravi starts really looking at the crabs, but still reluctant. Then I get a 3rd fish... this one 2.4 Pounds and Ravi goes racing back to the crab bucket. I show him how to rig it up and try my best to teach him what I know. One of the main things I tell him is to keep the rod between 1-3 O' clock when you're fighting a fish or very often if you are pointing your rod at the fish, it will come unbuttoned.
A few minutes later, I look over at Ravi and he pulls in his biggest ever 2.2# barred surf perch. Ravi had pointed the rod at the fish while he was reeling, so I told him try not to do that again. The reason I was coaching him hard, was because, been there done that. I've already made all of those mistakes myself and I don't want my friend to do the same.
Ravi, runs to the crab bucket and I can see it on his face; he had just been transformed. He quickly baited up as I was hooked on another 2-pound fish. Ravi throws out and is bit right away and he's pointing the rod at the fish again and so I yell him to lift the rod.
I land my fish and quickly put my rod in the sand spike and run sprint toward my friend, because I know what's coming. As I get to him, the fish comes unbuttoned and the big wave is rushing toward us. The wave almost engulfs the fish right as I grab it and save Ravi's fish.
The idea is, by keeping your rod at 1 O' Clock you keep the correct pressure on the fish along with the proper angle of the hook. I catch another beauty, about 2.3#s and land the fish and sprint back to the fish sack and as I look over Ravi, has the rod again pointed at the fish, so I yell at him again and I dash toward him.
This fish is very big and I can tell because this one is showing some shoulders. Ravi cranks and cranks and even though his rod was pointed at the fish he beaches this Surf Crappie, like a seasoned veteran. What a beast... it is the biggest surf perch I have ever seen, 2.7#s of perch glory.
We slap high-fives and I tell Ravi how proud I am of him, but that he is very lucky he didn't lose that fish because of how he was aiming the rod at the fish. The great thing is, the rest of our day, when Ravi hooked a fish, he held his rod at 1 O' clock... perfectly.
After another hour and few bites, we packed it up and hauled our fish back to the parking lot. While we were walking Ravi looked at me and realized how important those Sidewinder crabs were to our success and finally understood why I spent so much time and effort collecting them and said, "Next time you go to catch crabs, I will come with you."
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About the author:
I started fishing freshwater with my father at age 3 in Indiana and Michigan. The first trip out I caught Perch and Bluegill and was immediately hooked. At age 7, I was going on deep sea fishing trips in Florida and pulling on fish that there's no way I should have been able to handle at that age, but did!
My grandfather bought a cottage in Portage Lake, Michigan and this is where I learned the building blocks of my fishing future. I would spend many weeks at the cottage during the summer, honing my craft.
In 1987 I moved to California and have done everything from surf, float tube, kayak and overnight boat fishing. I was a staff writer for the El Segundo Herald, Hawthorne Press Tribune, Inglewood News, Lawndale Tribune, Torrance Tribune and the Manhattan Beach Sun in 2007 and 2008, with 2 fishing columns.
I am currently a real estate agent with ZipRealty and am as passionate about real estate as I am fishing. firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-225-5947 Ext. 4193