Fishing Reports

Bass & Yellows Bite For SoCal Anglers

It’s been another week of good weather and good winter fishing for SoCal anglers. The bass bite continues to be good along the coast and boats from Santa Barbara to San Diego are catching fish.

socal fishing report

The big calico above was caught earlier this week on a half-day trip aboard the Chubasco II out of Oceanside Sea Center. On a side note, if you’re a spot boat angler and haven’t fished out of the new landing in Oceanside, I recommend giving it a shot. I’ve known and fished with Captain Ernie Prieto for well over a decade and can vouch for the fact that he runs a top-notch operation.

sport boat report

While most of the sport boat bass action continues to be in the form of leadhead and squid fished on the bottom, private boaters are catching bass on a variety of lures and much higher in the water column. I’m not sure what it is about sport boats that push bass down to the bottom during the winter but they do. When I got my first boat and was somewhat limited on fishing spots, I used to frequently fish the Gambler wreck in front of Long Beach harbor. I knew the spot from my days of fishing on a sport boat and on my first winter trip there, I envisioned that I’d need to fish a swimbait on the bottom to get bit. After getting bit on the sink a couple of times with my 1 1/2-ounce leadhead, I switched to a 1/2-ounce head, cast out the bait and got a bite 10-feet down.  The next hour produced steady bass fishing high in the water column, but that changed when a half-day boat showed up and dropped anchor near me on the wreck. At that point, the suspended bass bite died completely and you had to drag the bottom to get bit.

The obvious lesson here is to not fish bass near sport boats but it’s equally important to not fish bass like a sport boat.

Navionics fishing charts

This week’s Navionics Chart may not look all that exciting but it paints a pretty accurate picture of what’s happening. The bass are biting all along the coast and sport boats are catching sculpin as well. Starting up north, CISCOS has bass trips online and the fishing has been good when the boat has been getting off the dock. The bass bite has been steady out of Long Beach, Orange County, and San Diego landings as well. I’m sure that the bass are biting at the islands as well but they haven’t gotten much coverage lately due to weather and a general lack of angler interest.

SoCal fish counts

The good news on the yellowtail front is that Sunday’s trip to Colonet aboard the Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Landing caught 74 fish, ranging from 10 to 20-pounds, on yo-yo jigs. That’s the best recent score down there and a far cry better than Saturday’s high boat that caught 10 fish. Since boats are only getting off the dock on the weekends, it’s a guessing game as to whether or not tonight’s trips find more yellowtail. If you’re thinking about jumping on a trip I recommend just going for it instead of waiting for the counts to improve.

socal yellowtail

If you’re looking for more of a sure thing and a fun adventure, I recommend heading down to San Quintin and fishing with K&M Sportfishing this weekend. Captain Kelly Catian said that he’s got some openings this weekend due to a canceled charter so it’s a good chance to fish with the top operation down there. If you haven’t been to San Quintin, it’s a safe and easy drive that takes about 4 hours once you cross the border. There are a couple of very affordable hotels within walking distance of the dock and if you bring a couple of buddies along the cost per angler of food, lodging and a couple of full days of fishing will likely be the same or less than a 1 1/2-day trip out of San Diego. On a final note, we’ve got some serious wind in the forecast early next week, so I’d keep an eye on the forecast if you’re planning to fish late in the day on Sunday.

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...