One of the keys of being a better overall fisherman is to experience as many different types of fishing as possible. You gain valuable insight that you can apply to other styles of fishing that you may have never realized otherwise. Growing up, we fished a lot of inshore saltwater for species like the California sheephead that pull hard and give us perspective on the limits of our gear.
On this day Oliver is testing the pulling power of his new Megabass TS Destroyers, which are high end and high power Bass Fishing rods. Knowing the limits of your gear is important when targeting the biggest fish of your life, this is how we gain insight into how far we can push things with our gear. It’s how you build confidence in what your’e using.
Sheephead have been a long time favorite fish of ours due to their tenacious pulling power for their size and great eating attributes. However as we’ve grown to appreciate the larger specimens we have felt it was important to start releasing the bigger models to preserve the fishery as they are prone to being overfished. The smaller 5lb models eat great so there was no need to keep the larger units. Carrying a descending tool (heavy weight with a big hook) to help sink these fish back down to the depths is key as well as carrying a net in the boat instead of a gaff to get them on board to appreciate their unique beauty.
Some interesting facts about this unique fish (wikipedia) –
California sheephead, Semicossyphus pulcher, is a species of wrasse native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. Its range is from Monterey Bay, California, to the Gulf of California, Mexico. This species can live for up to 20 years in favorable conditions and can reach a size of up to 91 cm (3 ft) and a weight of 16 kg (35 lb). They are carnivorous, living in rocky reef and kelp bed habitats, feeding primarily on sea urchins, molluscs, and crustaceans.
All California sheephead are born female and morph into their male form at various stages in their lifecycle, determined by environmental conditions and pressures. Because of this, they are considered to be protogynous hermaphrodites which have planktonic larvae. Their coral and kelp-heavy habitat provides protection from predators, which is important as this species is diurnal, foraging during the day and seeking shelter at night.
The California sheephead is considered vulnerable due to high fishing rates off of the coast of southern California. Since fisheries tend to remove the largest fish, they end up removing the males. This skews the male-to-female ratio and affects the fishes’ lifecycle, which can negatively affect populations.
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Shimano Tranx 300 & Tranx 400-
Shimano Tranx 500-