Fishing Reports

A Week Of Good Weather & Good Winter Fishing

It’s been another great week of fishing across much of Southern California. With negligible amounts of wind the last few weeks, water temperatures have been stable for long enough that the fish are biting much better than you’d normally expect with 56-58 degree water temperatures.

socal fishing reports

The calico bass in the photo above was caught on Wednesday while fishing with Captain Benny Florentino of Coastal Charters. I saw Benny at the ramp in the morning before his trip and he said that he wasn’t sure if he was going to fish Catalina or Clemente. As it turned out he fished both islands by starting at Clemente and then finishing the day off with a sunset bite at Catalina. If you’re looking to book a trip with someone who stays out way too long for my liking, Benny is your man.

socal fishing reports

Speaking about not staying out too long, I got a text from Captain Jimmy Decker (who always prudently returns to the ramp well before cocktail hour) with a selfie showing off one of several large sand bass he caught while fishing solo this morning. Based on the fact that he was catching them at least ten miles from where Matt Kotch and I had excellent fishing for big sand bass yesterday, I’d venture a guess that the deep-water sand bass bite is pretty good across all of LA and Orange Counties. As I mentioned earlier, the fish are biting like the water is a lot warmer than it is and almost all of our fish were reaction bites on the MC Swimbaits 9-inch slug fished on a 1-ounce lead head.

California halibut fishing

Another location that’s biting better than expected is Catalina Island. My friend Brandon Vulgamott fished halibut there over the weekend with John and Jack Casey. The trio landed 17 legal halibut, half of which they released. While I can tell you the fish were caught on live squid, you’re on your own when it comes to figuring out where they’re biting.

In other Catalina news, Captain Brandon Hayward of Bight Sportfishing has been having success on his recent trips there. I spoke to him about it this morning and he had this to share about the yellows and seabass he’s been catching.

white seabass fishing

“Winter is our favorite time of the year to run, and this season is no exception. It’s not easy fishing, but if you can find current along the backside of the island, and have live squid, the yellows have been biting. Deep water and the classic 18-22 fathom hard bottom spots are where you want to look. Most focus on finding the light boats, but all the noise and commotion and guys working is actually, usually, the last place to be,” said Capt. Hayward.

If you’re interested in getting out fishing with Bight Sportfishing they are booked for January but have February and March openings leading up to the March 17 end of lobster season.

The yellowtail bite along the beach in San Diego has dwindled enough that no one is really talking about it anymore. The same holds true for the yellowtail that were biting around the Coronado Islands. In that case, I think it’s more likely due to a lack of boats out looking around rather than the fish being gone. In other news of fish being gone, the yellowtail that were biting around Colonet went MIA over the weekend but the rockfish cooperated well.

On a brighter note, the Pacific Queen reported hooking and losing a 100-pound class bluefin tuna while fishing yellows on the high spot there. There are boats online to head back down there this weekend, so you might want to add a heavy tuna rod to your quiver if you’re jumping on a trip.

We’ve got good weather in the weekend forecast from Point Conception to Punta Colonet, so get out there and make the most of it!

Erik Landesfeind
Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California an...