Q: I like going out on 3/4 day trips for Calicos. I get bit a lot on the fall but I am missing a lot of those fish. Any advice?Tom C  Long Beach, CA

A: There are a few small adjustments you can make that will help you increase your hookup ratio. 1) Don’t set the hook until you feel the weight of the fish. Simply throw the reel in gear, drop your rod tip, and only swing once the rod loads up a bit; thereby allowing the fish ample time to grab the bait. 2) Try using scent on your plastics. Products such as Unibutter, Hotsauce, and Pro-cure can make fish hold on to the bait longer. 3) If you still miss the fish, throw your reel back in freespool. A lot of times, that same fish that missed the bait will come back on it. 4) Downsize your bait. The difference between a 5” bait and a 4” bait may not look to be all that much. But in actuality, the volume of the baits is vastly different. A smaller bait may be just the ticket. — AA Pro-Staff

Q: I’ve noticed that AA’s has a wide selection to choose from. What are your favorites?  —  Ryan M    Oceanside, CA

A: AA makes tons of color/style combinations that are fantastic. However, there are a few baits that I call “confidence baits.” These are lures that I generally start out each trip with.

  • CALICO BASS: 5” Shad Tail or AA Slugs in Hot Belly Calico, Brown Back Sardine, Green Back Chovy, or Casey’s Classic
  • Sand Bass: 5” Shad Tail and 4-5” Monarch Grubs in Chartreuse & Gold, Brown Bait, Hot Belly Dorado, or Green Back Chovy
  • Spotted Bay Bass: 3” Single Shrimp and 3” Baby Puss in Chartreuse& Gold, Clear Red Flake, Casey’s Classic, Green Back Chovy, and Rainbow Trout

These are just some of my favorites. For an in depth look at species specific lure/color choices, please refer to charts contained in this website. — AA Pro-Staff

Q: I like fishing plastics, but sometimes I get tired of throwing the standard shad tail. When is it best to branch out and try a different bait?

A: It’s never a bad time to try new baits. Fishing is all about experimentation with lures in different conditions. Each angler has specific baits he likes to fish given the conditions he’s fishing in. However, you’ll never find that one lure if you don’t try. Don’t be afraid to vary the style of bait, size, color, and method of retrieve. The slightest change can make all the difference. But remember; always take notes on what you’re doing. It may be tedious, but once you’re able to see a pattern emerge, you’ll be glad you took the time. — AA Pro-Staff