View Full Version : WSB Behaviour
01-14-2004, 01:51 PM
Does anybody have any experience or opinions as to whether White Sea Bass hang together by age (size) groups or rather, if say, a school of juveniles are hanging around (taunting me) is it likely their mammys and pappys are close by? I've floated dead still (you get cold pretty fast like that!), over a school of them for more than hour hoping to see one over 28", but they seem to be all just under that threshold and all I'm left with is a twitchy trigger finger. Beautiful sight though. The area is fairly limited in the amount of kelp, so my feeling is there are'nt any big daddies lurking nearby, but who knows? I'm not that experienced with them. I've asked two fairly experienced hunters and gotten the two different takes. One guy said if there are juveniles around then there are larger ones not too far. Another guy told me they're like humans: they associate in age groups!
01-14-2004, 06:47 PM
I haven't been doing this long, but i have nailed a few and this is what i have noticed. They smaller juveniles like to run in larger schools and i have seen many in tight to shore or on the shallow side of kelp beds.... i like to call those places "The Nursery." When they get bigger they seem to break off and run in schools much smaller 3-20 or so (rough guesstimate). But they definately seem to congregate by size/age. At least thats what i have noticed... because i have never see juveniles with large adults.
01-14-2004, 09:57 PM
From what i have experienced, it depends what time of year it is.
In the springtime and early summer, it is breeding season, so you are likely to find small 20 -25 lb males schoooling up and trying to breed with a big female. But when we are diving in the ocean, anything is liable to happen at any time, so always be on the lookout. I have seen 40+lb white seabass every month of the year.
In the late summer through fall you will find areas where small whites (less that 10 lbs) school up, and it is unlikely,
but possible, that a big mama will be hanging around them.
My advice is that if you see a school of whites that are on the borderline of being legal, keep an eye out in the school for one that may be of good size.
And always dive smooth, dive safe.
01-15-2004, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by PV_Spearo
...is that if you see a school of whites that are on the borderline of being legal, keep an eye out in the school for one that may be of good size.
Yup, that's exactly what I was doing. I floated over, and followed them for a long time. There were a couple that could have been anywhere from 24-32" and like I said, my right index finger was getting pretty sketchy, when it suddenly occured to me that I had no markings on my gun to check any marginal catch. That night, I carved a notch on my Riffe and the next day I was back out there. All pretty marginal or small juveniles though (they say a 28" one is 5 yrs. old?) so I left them alone.
Thanks for responding guys! I've seen the pics of the fatties you guys have landed, so I appreciate you sharing your experience.
01-15-2004, 02:11 PM
when it suddenly occured to me that I had no markings on my gun to check any marginal catch. That night, I carved a notch on my Riffe and the next day I was back out there.
Pete, I know that the mark you put on your gun was to give you some reference of size and not to measure and discard. As not to confuse any non spearfishermen viewing this site, this practice of marking guns is used for reference only,as sometimes it helps to gain a better size prespective underwater. The accidental harvest of undersize fish is a rare and unfortunate event.
01-15-2004, 06:34 PM
Thank you for correcting me. The truth is, I knew the mark I put on my gun could also be used to measure a White that I might shoot and had made a major error in judging it's size. I figured better a dead fish left as food in the water than me with a $400+ fine on the beach if my judgement of underwater measurements failed me big time. There's more background to this that will further illustrate the caution I practice, but you're right, the language in my last post could lead someone to believe that I was going out there to "catch, measure and release," which I was not.
It all started around Christmas when I was tooling around at one of my local spots hunting for kelp and sand bass. I was in some nearshore kelp when I spotted a couple of majestic, but for me unfamiliar looking fish swimming through. Before I knew it a whole school was underneath me and I strongly felt they were the storied White Sea Bass but because I had never seen one in the water before, I was not certain. I didn't see one suredly over 28" and left empty handed. I came back the next day and was chatting with the Warden/DFG/Lifeguard guys as I often do and he mentioned that he had seen WSB out there earlier in the week, confirming my suspicion. This was the day and the dive when I realized I had no way to measure a fish before getting back to shore. Based on my "luck" or lack thereof with uniformed folks who wear badges and carry guns; if I were to shoot something that I think is over 28", you can then rest assured that, on the beach, with the Wardens present, it will come up 27 & 7/8 every time!! I don't want to go there with my first WSB.
To date, I have never shot a legally defined undersized fish. As a beginner, I probably shot a couple of "monsters" that turned out to be more like guppies. I've eaten everything I've shot and at this point I'm not much interested in fish of a size that are skirting their legal minimum. Through all the above (and more) encounters with the Whites I had over the days and even weeks, I was ALWAYS looking for a larger one perhaps with the bunch and I never shot at one.
It's the underwater optics that is most challenging to me right now. I found that a notch on my gun (in my hand) was'nt helping me (prior to shooting it) to measure a critter 10-20' under me. Perhaps comically, one day during all this I cut a shiny 29" length of conduit, swam out and dropped it on the bottom and tried to "train" myself to recognize the right size White! Today, if one of those guys does'nt look to me to be at least a yardstick in length, I'm passing.
Moose, thank you for posting and correcting me; you did so in a helpful way and with class. I hope I received it with the right attitude.
01-16-2004, 06:54 AM
Pete,of nothing you did was wrong. in fact , the skill of judging fish size underwater is a very difficult one to acquire, and to be new at this sport you seem to be very perceptive and well versed . (You must have very accomplished teachers.) Everyone has had the misfortune to shoot an undersize fish especially while acquiring the new skills to determine the difference . If for some reason you happen to have this occur, Try this :Bring the undersized white to the beach and as the officer walks up immediately take out your dive knife, knock off a filet and start chewing like you haven't eaten in days . I think you'll be surprised with the result . Good luck Pete, cherish and protect our sport . There are many who would like to put it to an end .
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