Opening day and I just had to give it a try. Didn't feel like burning too much gas on a solo trip, so I decided to try some live lining close to home. Dropped the boat and headed over to Yorktown to catch some bait. Caught 8 small croakers and 1 decent spot for the livewell and headed for the Coleman bridge pylons.
The tide was ending it's incoming flow and I dropped the first live croaker on the up current side of the bridge. It got down about 30' and started going nuts. BAM! It got hit hard and I let the fish eat it for about a ten count. Started reeling and got the fish to the surface just in time to see it spit the poor croaker out. It looked to be about a 26" rock, but it swam away so I’ll never know.
First fish got ate, so I was pretty confident that I would have a chance to figure out how to get the hook set in another one. Second bait went deeper before it got slammed and I waited for a good 20 seconds before I stopped the run. Line came tight and I felt the weight of a good fish. I started to reel and was gaining some line when it just went slack... Hmmm, It doesn't take much to get cut off when PowerPro meets barnacles. Evidently I let the fish run down the side of the bridge pylon a little too far.
I was using circle hooks up until this point when I decided to switch to a 7/0 kahle. This is the same hook that I accidentally caught a 34" rock at this same spot back in July. Figured I could set the hook before the fish ran too far and cut me off or spit the bait. That was the plan anyway.... Fresh bait, fresh hook, same spot and same twitch twitch...slam....then nothing. I reeled in to check the bait and found I had some sponge and some tangled line on my rig. Funny thing though...it was the same color PowerPro I was using. I grabbed it and hand over handed til I felt something tugging back. Sure enough it was the fish that cut me off about 10 minutes earlier! Not exactly what I had in mind for my first rockfish of the year, but hey.... I'll take it! 22", healthy, and even had a few sea lice on him.
I changed hooks to a live bait hook that I think was a tad small for this application and had several more croakers get slammed. For the most part the croakers were only good for one drift, as they would get pummeled once, spit out, and then left alone. I tried dropping them back down, because even though they were missing some scales they were still alive. Nothing was interested in them after the initial hit....
I ran out of livies and changed up to trolling bucktails for the start of the falling tide. No takers trolling, but I'm used to that. Tried jigging for a while as well and got a few bumps, but no hookups.
I had fun trying something new and learned a good deal about this live lining technique I've been reading about on the "original board". I'll figure it out sooner or later... It's nice to be able to practice a 1/4 mile from the boat ramp... Take that!!!!.... evil gas prices....