Bass and Yellowtail Report
I have no idea what El Nino has in store for the coming months, but for now I’m happy to have summertime weather in the middle of February; and it looks like the fish are too. I’m sure that there are fish biting in more places than I’m going to be talking about in this report, but it’s that time of year where there’s a definite lack of fishing coverage in most areas. So, let’s take a look at what people have been catching this week.
Starting way up north, the calico bass are biting well along the coast of Santa Barbara. Captain Nick Tharp of El Tiburon Charters ran a trip up there over the weekend and reported almost 60 bass to 4 1/2-pounds for three anglers, with all of their fish coming on swimbaits and spinnerbaits. I’m sure the bass are biting at the Channel Islands as well, but with the rockfish closure there’s not a lot of guys making the run and the ones that are have been keeping their mouths shut.
Speaking of islands, my friends John and Travis Curry made the run to San Clemente Island on Saturday and reported excellent fishing for big calicos. With the lack of kelp at the island, the brothers were forced to fish tight to the beach all day to get bit.
This paid off for Travis who caught his personal best calico on a creature bait of his brother’s design.
John warned that the shallow zones on the backside of the island can be sketchy if there’s any swell and he suggested having someone drive from the console rather than the trolling motor when putting your boat in harms way.
The calicos are biting along the coast as well, but like everywhere else they’re not getting a lot of pressure. The guys that have been fishing the kelp along the beach have reported unseasonably good fishing with the bass feeding high in the water column. If you’re planning a trip I’d suggest fishing more of a spring or summertime pattern than one you’d normally fish during the winter.
While there are a few yellows to be caught along the beach and at the islands, the bulk of the fish are at or below the Coronado Islands. The 3/4-day boats out of San Diego have been scoring on the small to 15-pound class yellows at the Coronados this week but it’s been hit or miss. On Wednesday, the Malihini out of H&M Landing decided to go long and found limits of 20-pound class yellowtail south of the Islands. The fish all came off sonar schools and were happy to bite the yo-yo iron. This may be a new batch of fish that are working their way up the coast or they might have just had a lucky trip. I recommend checking the counts later this week and seeing what happens.
These trips have been consistently limiting out on good quality yellowtail and there have been lots of quality reds and lings rounding out the bags. With the good weather forecast to last through the weekend, I can’t think of a better time to jump on one of these trips.