Cedros Island Sportfishing
Suggested tackle and gear for your trip to Cedros

Preface: Fishing at Cedros Island between May and November can best be descripted as the same as fishing off Southern California but on “steroids.” The techniques and methods for targeting Calico Bass, Yellowtail, Yellowfin Tuna and Dorado are exactly the same. If anything the tackle requirements are less when fishing Cedros Island because most of the time the fishing is extremely good. That can be attributed to light fishing pressure, the massive abundance of bait around the island and the quantity of fish that simply call Cedros Island home. As you prepare your tackle, you will find most of the items you will need you probably already have, but here are a few suggestions:

 Suggested Tackle Recommendations

Remember weight is key. You are allowed 72lbs of weight per person on the plane. This includes your reels, tackle, and personal items (clothing and luggage). Rods are not included in this weight. So, if you can limit your total weight going down to the island, the more fish you will be able to take home. Example, your total weight going down to the island is 35lb’s. This includes reels, tackle and clothing, you will be able to take home roughly 35lbs of processed, vacuum sealed filets.

 This is one reason why we provide you with a recommended tackle list. The other is we want you to have the most enjoyable trip possible with the correct gear.

          Gear list                                                         

  1. Primary soft plastic rod- A rod in the 7-9ft (20-50lb line rating) length capable of fishing ½ to 3oz lead heads. The reel can be a 300 or 400 size baitcaster loaded with 50lb braid with a short top shot of either mono or floro in the 50lb class. 50lb is recommended as any time your fishing bass you could hook a big yellow, white seabass, or black seabass. This will give you abrasion resistance from the structure and the sharp teeth of the bass without having to install a new piece every five fish.
  2. Primary surface iron rod- A rod in the 8-10ft length (30-60lb line rating). The reel can be a 16 to 35 size conventional reel or a 400-500 size baitcaster. Recommended line should be 65-80lb braid with a 60 to 80lb top shot. 40lb is doable, but be warned,  you will be fishing around heavy structure and kelp that the yellows head right back for and will break you off. The heavier line allows you to have a more reliable chance to get the fish back out of these places.
  3. An all-purpose rod that allows you to fish stick baits, A-rigs, larger soft plastics, smaller surface iron, flat falls, and make bait. Recommended length can be 7 to 9ft (20-50lb line rating) while using a 300 to 400 size baitcaster or a small conventional size reel. This reel is normally filled with 60lb braid and a 50 or 60lb top shot. Again, this line recommendation is to the area in which you normally will be fishing this rod.
  4. A rod that you could use for slow trolling live mackerel or plugs with from the panga, that you can also use to yo-yo fish with and dropper loop fish with. A rod in the 6 ½ to 7 ½ ft length rated for 30 to 80lb line with a size 10 to 40 conventional 2 speed reel capable of holding 350 to 500 yards of line loaded with 65lb braid minimum (80 or 100lb recommended) to a 100ft of 60lb minimum mono (again 80 or 100lb is recommended due to the structure that you will be fishing around in some times 30ft of water).

       It is ideal if you bring 50/60/80lb floro. The smaller spools allow you to take them on the panga with you each day and not take up much room in your tackle bag. This also allows you to change out your top shots during the day if they become frayed from the structure or the teeth on the bass.

 Terminal Tackle                                                                   

You will want to bring a pair of side cutters and duck bill pliers, Braid cutters and knot pullers. The captains will be there to assist you in removing your fish and tying knots if needed.

2 packs of J style hooks in the 5/0 and 6/0 size for fishing yellows while slow trolling. You will also be using this size hook for the dropper loop fishing. If you are coming later in the season (September or later), you might want to bring a pack of 4/0 hooks for the Dorado and Tuna that visit the island in these months. In general, you could bring hooks from 1/0 to size 6/0.

Sinker recommendations would be the following: 2 each of a size 6, 8, and 10 oz torpedo sinker and 1 of a 12oz torpedo. Think about leaving these behind at the end of your trip to increase the number of pounds of fish you take home. They can be left with the lodge manager or your panga captains as they always appreciate the extra tackle.

Lead Heads- Recommended size would be 1 to 2 oz heads with a mix of weedless and non-weedless styles. If you are buying a 2 pack, no more than 5 or 6 packs are needed, if you’re following the recommended line rating you don’t lose many in the kelp. If you are fishing a weedless style 8-inch bait the recommended size would be an 8/0 or 9/0 size hook in the ½ to ¾ oz size. Again, only a few packs are needed if you are following the recommended line rating.

Soft Plastics - Bring them in the following sizes. A 5 and 7 inch are your standard. If you are looking for that true trophy you may want to bring a couple of 9-inch baits as the smaller fish (3 to 6lb fish) will be less aggressive towards that bigger bait. The colors that perform the best seem to be Christmas tree, Calico Hunter, Rainbow Trout, and any color with a brown in it. MC swimbaits, Sudden Impact, Reyes, Pearl, and Big Hammer are just some of the manufactures that work well on the island. Pick them up in the paddle tail and weedless bait configuration. If you plan on mostly fishing bass during your trip it would be recommended that you have no less than 50 soft plastic baits as you could have over one hundred bass days. 

Stick baits are something to try at the island for both your bass and yellows. Recommended size would be in the 6 and 6 ¾ inch size. Daiwa, Aftco, Shimano and Nomad all make quality stick baits. Some of the manufacture’s hooks might need to be upgraded. Check with your local tackle store.

Surface iron choice is your own, but they all work on the island. Try to limit it to 10 -12 jigs as you rarely lose one. The standard colors of Blue/White, Mint/White, Mint, Birdshit, Scramble Egg all work.

Yo-Yo iron in the standard colors and no more than 4 are needed. The 6x jr, 5x, 6x along with the new style flat falls or knife jigs in the 200-gram size or smaller work. The Tady TSP also works well when you are Yo-Yo"ing" at the island. 

Bait catching rigs are needed. Recommend 1 a day for the full days that you fish. Size 3 or 4 seem to work best for the Mackerel and Sardines.

Tackle Bags are recommended for the panga with either the 3600 or 3700 size trays. Non rolling bags are recommended due to their size and space available on the panga.

                                               TERMINAL TACKLE CHECK LIST

  • 1.  Assortment J style Hooks 1/0 to 6/0 size.
  • 2.  Torpedo Sinkers 2 each 6, 8, and 10 oz
  • 3.  Torpedo Sinker 1- 12oz 
  • 4.  Bait Catching Rigs size 3 or 4. One for each day.
  • 5.  Surface Iron’s 
  • 6.  Leadheads 1 to 2oz. 12 total. 8 Weedless Model and 4 Non-Weedless
  • 7. Weedless Style Bait Hooks 8/0 and 9/0. 2ea at ½ and ¾ oz
  • 8. Yo-Yo Irons 
  • 9. Stick Baits in 6 to 6 ¾ inch length. 6 Total.
  • Other essentials: Finger tape, gloves, pliers, sun glasses, hat(s), sun screen, sun shirts, insect repellent and a light wind breaker jacket.

A huge THANK YOU to Steve Nies at Island Fishing Tackle for putting together this list.  If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to call him, or any crew member at Island Fishing Tackle. 310-707-1205

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