I was really hoping to open this week’s column with a story about how the full moon finally got those local bluefin to bite, but as you can tell by the headline, sculpin and sand bass it is. Before I get into this week’s action, I’d like to check in on the non-existent bluefin bite. The good news is that the fish are still around and divers shot a couple earlier this week. The bad news is that they’re still not biting and are harder to find than they were before the storms.
Those fish were locked in on that super clean 60 to 62-degree water and, if you’ve taken a look at the latest SST’s, the water along the coast cooled significantly during the storms. There still is plenty of warm clean water around, it’s just not where it was, so you’re going to have to go looking. When you do go looking, I’d do it in areas that have similar bottom topography as the areas where they were showing along the beach as they’ll likely be relating to the offshore banks in a similar fashion. If you missed last week’s article, I broke down where, when and how the fish were biting. You can read it by clicking here. With good weather in the forecast this weekend, it will be a good time to do some January tuna fishing even if the fish don’t cooperate.
Speaking of cooperative fish, there are plenty of them biting for anglers along the coast and at the islands. Starting up north, the bass are biting along Santa Barbara coast and Captain Larry Heron reported good fishing for his clients on Saturday. The fish are biting swimbaits fished around rocky structure. Farther south, the sand bass, sculpin and triggerfish are biting for boats fishing the Santa Monica Bay. The Spitfire out of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing reported limits of bass and sculpin on several trips this week.
The bass and sculpin are also biting for boats from LA and Orange County landings. Nacho’s Receiver in Long Beach is currently tanked up with live squid and if you’re a bait fisherman I highly recommend picking up a scoop because it makes all the difference in the world on the bass bite. If you aren’t a bait fisherman, the bass are biting artificial lures just fine along most of the artificial reefs as well as at the Newport Pipe. There are still some halibut being caught around Dana Point as well as down in San Diego.
The islands have gotten very little coverage this week but there are some bass and bonito biting at Catalina and I couldn’t imagine why the calicos wouldn’t be biting at San Clemente Island if someone made the run. I also wouldn’t be surprised to find the yellows biting there if someone were to bring a tank of live squid and look around the front side or around the corner on the east end. Taking a tank of squid to the dirt clod might not be a bad idea either, just remember that you’re not allowed to keep rockfish anywhere in US waters.
If you want rockfish there are some biting for the full day boats fishing the Coronado Islands and they are also catching the occasional bonito and yellowtail. The best bet for big rockfish and even bigger yellowtail is still down the Mexican coast at Punta Colonet. There are several boats with 1 1/2-day trips online this weekend and the weather is supposed to be good so it would be a great time to get down there. BD’s Joe Sarmiento fished down that way last weekend and you can read about what worked and what didn’t in his trip report here.