BONITO ARE QUITE A CATCH AT KING HARBOR.
KING HARBOR - The bonito are in, providing fun for budding salt-water, fly-rod anglers. Most people associate trout with fly-fishing but you can catch everything from a striped marlin to a mackerel on a fly rod.
We didn't see any marlin in the harbor, but did catch plenty of mackerel and managed to land four Pacific bonito, pound-for-pound one of the feistiest fish in the ocean. When hooked, bonito pull hard and swim fast, a good thing because sea lions in the harbor like to grab an angler's catch. Reeling bonito in as quickly as you can is the best way to avoid feeding the sea lions.
The configuration of King Harbor at Redondo Beach makes it a favorite bonito fishing ground. Bonito will eat sardines and market squid, though anchovies seem to be their favorite forage.
Dick Acker, owner of Rocky Point, a tackle shop and aquatic outfitter at King Harbor, says that the Redondo Canyon, an underwater trench that brings nutrient rich water up from the Catalina Channel, is another reason for the excellent fishing here. The nutrients bring bait, and the bait brings the bonito.
The bonito are bright silver with a greenish-blue top. They have diagonal stripes that show vertical barring when they're feeding. Bonito grow rapidly and can reach 20 inches nose-to-tail fork in a year. Two-year-olds average 25 inches fork length and weigh about eight pounds.
Although the most common catch is an 18-incher about a year old, bonito up to five or six pounds have been caught this season. The state record is 22 pounds.
The protected water at King Harbor is an ideal place for a first foray into salt-water fly-fishing. You can rent a 14-foot outboard skiff and floating bait bucket at Rocky Point and fish the harbor. The skiffs make a good platform for fly-casting. A scoop of anchovies from the bait dock helps chum up bonito.
We learned that throwing three anchovies on each side of the boat was about right, any more and the fish were too well fed to be interested in our flies.
If you're conventional gear fishing, Acker suggests using light spinning tackle with 10-pound test or less. Lures that produce bonito include small Crocodiles in blue and white or green and white. Silver shad-colored MegaBait Twitchn'L lures fished near the surface work well.
But if you're a fly angler who has only caught trout, try salt-water fishing at King Harbor.
You won't even need Dramamine.
Mu Young Lee, a member of the Conejo Valley Fly Fishers, casts for bonito from a skiff at King Harbor in Redondo Beach.
Bill Becher/Special to the Daily News
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 25, 2004|
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