Saltwater Float Tube Fishing
"Tackle Selection for Spotted Bay Bass"
Tackle selection for saltwater float tube fishing for spotted bay bass based on the tital conditions in Newport Harbor, California
Before we get started with the actual tackle selection lets go over a few rigging suggestions for your floattube. When fishing saltwater I suggest a quality float tube in the "U" or "V" shape such as the Bucks Bullet HC or Mustang or any of the top end Outcast models. If you like the pontoon style than I suggest the Caddis Nav IV or Kennebec. There are other good float tubes on the market but these are models that I have a history with and that our pro staff and writers have supplied data on. The point is pick a good tube.
What I carry on my Float tube to fish the saltwater
2 fishing rods, approx. 6# of tackle, fish finder with battery, 32" handle net, 24" handle gaff, one 3 slot rod holder, 1 scottys rod holder, floating fish basket. So as you can see my float tube must be capable of carring me at 250 pounds and all my gear, Whimpy tubes need not apply.
At a minumim your tube should have room on the arms to mount at least one rod holder and if possible a fishfinder. Some float tube fishermen use the "moody" style rod holder, but I like having the more stationary Scotty style so I can "kick troll" or to set my rod in while I re-tie. The fish finder is an optional item for the harbors but does come in handy locating the edge of the channel and rock piles. Riggin a fish finder is quit easy using a Scotty fishfinder holder or you can rig your own or use the Piranha mount . You also need room for a good net (required by DFG) and as you see I carry a gaff as well.
Basic Tackle Selection for Newport Harbor
Lets start with rods and reels. I carry two setups. For 3/4 oz. spinnerbaits, 1/2 oz.carolina riggin I fish a 7' graphite baitcasting rod, nothing fancy $59.95 retail. The rod is rated 12-20# test and has a 11" cork butt with a trigger grip and 4" cork fore grip. It's built with 1 foot Fugi SIC guides. I use an inexpensive Daiwa, low profile baitcasting reel loaded with 12# test line. Basically the same setup you would use to throw spinnerbaits for largemouth bass but slightly heavier. Total outfit less than $125. Se my Bay Bass Spinnerbait article for more information.
Note: Spotted bass have very sharp teeth and side plates on their heads and they have a tendency to trash and roll on the bait. For this reason the money you spend on line is more important than any other expenditure.
For fishing plastics using drop shot rigs, shallow water Texas riggin and small jigs I use a 6 1/2' graphite spinning outfit with 6# or 8# P Line. Some saltwater floattubers like to fish even lighter line into the 4# range but these fish are very aggressive and with the right presentation you could fish 20# test and they would still bite. They are hungry all the time!
Again, these are bass so fish them the same way you would largemouth. When I am fishing In shallow water eel grass and dock situations my "Go To" rig is a Texas rigged Assalt "Salt Shaker" worm. The Texas rig allows the bait to glide through the grass without snagging or picking up pieces of grass. If I am fishing deeper docks I will flip a 3/4 oz. football style leadhead with an Assalt "skirted curl tail" or one of the many crawfish imitation on the market. This rig lets me get very close to the piling or deep under the dock. Try to leave the bait in the strike zone as long as possible.
If I am fishing a deeper (20 - 30 feet) Channel break or rock pile I change my approach. For this situation I re-rig both of my rods. The 8# test spinning rod i set up with an 3/8 oz Owner Sled Head rigged with a Assalt Curl Tail or a Zoom "Salty Super Fluke" 1/2 oz. drop shot rig on a 2/0 VMC wide gap worm hook. The baitcaster that I usually throw spinnerbaits with is changed to a red 1/2 oz. tri leadhead with a 4" Big Hammer tail. The technique i use here I like to call the "Uphill bounce & twitch". Here is a link where you can reed more about my favorite artificial bait technique for Bay Bass and Halibut,
Color choices for plastics
It is no secret that I am a big fan of Assalt and Big Hammer brands, Sunrize Tackle makes a quality product and i have never been disapointed. When I am fishing In shallow water eel grass and dock situations I like to use browns and reds. Colors such as #10 Amber Pepper red or #6 Redbug and #33 Oxblood red are good choices and i have been surprized by the effectivness of #18 Rootbeer Christmas and #21 Smoke red.
When I get into the deeper Channel breaks I tend to stay with natural baitfish colors such as #22 Salt & Pepper #13 Pearl Flash and the #40 Blue Pearl is also good. I am also going to try a couple of the lamination colors my next time out, L2 Green Pumpkin w/pearl belly looks like a great brown bait choice and the L7 Voodoo Child has caught my eye.
My second choice for plastic baits and of equal value when it comes to confidence is Zoom Bait Company. Zoom Bait makes the Salty Super Fluke that I mentioned and my best colors are Smokin Shad and Baby Bass. I have caught largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spots, sandies and halibut on these baits and they are always in my tackle bags.
Most quality float tubes have enough tackle storage pockets to handle a good amount of tackle. I use quality Ziploc bags to store my plastics and spinnerbaits. I use waterproof plastic boxes for my jig heads and lead stuff. In addition to all of this tackel I wear my PFD, and I carry a whistle, and a couple of water which I make a point of drinking, dehydration comes quickly and can cause more problems that you are ready for.
I haope this article helps you get a better grasp on what is needed for a succesful saltwater float tube fishing trip. See you on the water.
Thanks to netperdormancegroup