California Surf Fishing: The Hunt for Big Fish

Gary Kazazian and a Prized White Seabass from the Surf

Several months back, I wrote an article about how I’ll be “rediscovering surf fishing” this coming year. A little later, I wrote another article titled “Catching Massive Fish from the Surf… Is it Possible?“. I know many of you are eagerly awaiting more articles and updates on my mission to target bigger game fish from the surf like white seabass, calico, halibut and even possibly yellowtail, and those updates are coming! Over the past couple of months I’ve got my feet underneath me and I really feel like I’m making progress. Expect next summer to be loaded with many updates so be sure to subscribe to receive the weekly blog posts.

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Back when I published these articles, I mentioned that only a handful of anglers in California have had regular success targeting this larger class of fish (excluding yellowtail). Well, one of those accomplished anglers who has inspired me to take up this new challenge is a man by the name of Gary Kazazian. Many of you likely already know who he is and if you don’t you can find him here on Instagram.

Gary has fished the surf with his twin brother, Kasper since 2017 and he’s wasted no time at all in becoming an expert at catching some of the biggest fish I’ve ever seen pulled out of the beaches here in So Cal. I’ve been fortunate enough to have fished amongst them and I can attest that they’re pretty incredible at what they do. Their specialty? White seabass, halibut, sheephead, and calico… from the surf! Luckily, Gary’s taken the time to detail his tactics and experience in his newly released book: “California Surf Fishing: The Hunt for Big Fish”.

A book by Gary Kazazian | Teaching you how to catch white seabass, halibut and calico from the surf.

What’s All the Chatter About?

“Here we go again… another book about surf fishing”.

When I started surf fishing, I had no idea what was out there. I had a buddy who showed me the ropes, but literally, I had no idea what I could possibly catch. A few years later, as experienced as I was with my tactics, there was always a chance I’d catch something I’d never seen before, but only with the same tactics… just improved with time. I never changed what I did or specifically tried to target other species.

It was around the seven year mark that I started to get curious about catching anything other than corbina, croaker, perch, halibut, sharks and rays. A couple things happened that tipped me over the edge and got me really curious to explore the other 99% of the surf. First, I got lucky and was part of a monumental record yellowtail catch from the surf, and then… I fished with Gary.

It was then that I started taking the possibilities of catching larger game fish like yellowtail and white seabass from the surf seriously. While yellowtail are still a mystery, white seabass have been figured out by a select few.

Anyways, the reason I bring all that up is to clarify that this book is unlike any other book out there. Gary has basically “unlocked” the next level of surf fishing and I can’t wait to get a taste of it all for myself when summer rolls around. Let’s dive into the book.

What’s In The Book?

First, Gary breaks down the two major approaches he takes to surf fishing: using lures and bait & wait. If you’re the type of angler who loves breaking down the science behind it all and analyzing conditions to maximize your chances of success, you’ll gain a lot from the book.

The “Where’s” of Surf Fishing

A deep analysis of how to find spots that might produce for the given style (lures or bait) is provided with some real-life examples and case studies. The notorious question: “Where’d you catch that”, is one that no seasoned angler likes to hear. It takes a lot of time and effort to find a spot that produces fish and to simply give that spot up to an angler looking to take a short-cut just isn’t right.

In the book, Gary teaches you how to locate a new spot including how he uses Google Earth to map out potential new spots.

The When’s of Surf Fishing

In this section, we learn about which conditions are best for which types of fishing and why. Do you need to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch the biggest fish? Which tides are best? Using wind to your advantage etc. Gary makes some interesting points that keep your gears turning.

One of the interesting things I learned from reading Gary’s book was his perspective on how the tides affect fishing with lures as opposed to bait & wait style. So while certain tidal heights and phases might not be inherently better or worse for fishing, they may indicate which style of fishing you should pursue for that given tidal slot.

The How’s of Surf Fishing

No book would be complete if it didn’t give you a little insight as to how to achieve your goal. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal anything here as I’ll let Gary do that for you guys.

The Weeds

After the where’s, when’s and why’s, we delve into the nitty-gritty of it all as the topics are broken down species-by-species. Gary titles this section, “the weeds”. It’s in this section that I really learned a lot. While it isn’t essential info, I think it’s what takes an angler from good to great.

If you’re looking to purchase the book, head over to californiasurffishing.net and support these two as they educate us all on an exciting style of surf fishing.

Stay tuned this coming year! I’ll have lots to add as I learn the ropes and throw my own spin on some things. Take a look below and you’ll see some of the awesome catches these two have had over the last few years.

White Seabass
Kasper with yet another massive white seabass
Sheephead
Kasper with a prized sheephead from the surf
Calico
Gary with a nice calico from the surf
Halibut
Just another average catch… halibut

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