Targeting lookdowns is best done from the beginning of may through early September with the peak bite centering around the full moons. They can be found around docks, bridges and jetties but have a preference for flowing water and like to hang around vertical structure adjacent to a substantial dropoff. They mostly feed on small baits like juvenile greenies, glass minnows and small shrimp though I've caught plenty of bigger fish on mojara or sardines while snapper fishing.
To catch these guys, you'll want to keep your tackle light. This is finesse fishing at its finest. I like a soft rod and tiny reel loaded with 4# mono. Small jigs ranging from 1/16-1/8 of an ounce will get the most strikes. White is the best color most of the time but in dirty water I like orange, pink or chartreuse.
Speaking of dirty water...I find that some of the best action I've had with these fish is after a few good rainy days. When the outgoing tide turns dark at an inlet and meets clean ocean water, the resulting edge creates a serious ambush point for feeding lookdowns near the slow water at the end of most jetties. These fish will often be tight to the rocks right on the edge of the tide line.
Work your jigs by casting toward the current edge and letting it touch bottom. Keep your rod high and work the jig with a series of no more than two or three short twitches. Reel up slack and repeat until you reach the surface. When you hook a fish, make a note of it. Generally, lookdowns will school at a level depth so once you hook one, there will be more at the same depth. This is much like crappie fishing in freshwater. It's important to keep presenting your jig above the fish because they feed by attacking from below.
If you work your jig below the fish, it may go unnoticed...
Stay tuned for part two with some nice pics coming with it in the near future!
story courtesy of David Hartwell@Big Dave Slay City, Land Based Lessons