The staple bait along the southern California cost and for a number of years has been sardines. While the exact reason is under debate, recent catches of sardines or lack thereof, indicate the fish are in decline. Like it or not, anglers may be seeing anchovies as the primary live bait this summer tuna season.
This season for many of the bait docks all that is available for live bait is anchovies, and often very small ones at that. No sardines, no live squid… This could definitely make for some tough days of fishing.
The anchovies available are generally healthy and good swimmers. The problem is, really, local anglers have become accustomed to fishing with either the larger sardines or squid. And there’s definitely an acquired skill to hook them, and some finesse required to cast them away from the boat and to fish them.
So for those of you who find yourself wrestling on your next trip with bait that’s little more than two eyes and a wiggle, here’s some hints on how to fish with them: