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Bite Rebounds After Wind

Judging by the reports that have been coming in over the last few days it looks like the bite has almost completely recuperated from last week’s winds. The surface temps are still a little lower than they were a couple weeks ago, but the forecast is calling for stable weather through the weekend so the fishing should continue to improve.

So let’s take a look at what bit, what’s biting and what might bite this coming weekend.

My friend Ron Ballanti of Cousins Tackle fished Santa Rosa Island on Sunday and reported excellent fishing for lingcod and rockfish on Kustom Kraft Swimbaits fished in shallow water. The rockfish bite at Rosa and Santa Cruz islands has been consistent all week long and barring any significant wind, should continue through the weekend. The forecast looks a little breezy at the time of this writing, so make sure and check the weather before booking a trip.

Fishing in the Santa Monica Bay is exactly where we left it before the wind. Sport boats fishing rockfish at Short Banks or down around Rocky Point are catching lots of small to medium sized rockfish with a good number of reds in the mix and the occasional ling cod. The rockfish are biting for private boaters as well, but they also have the option of targeting sand bass and calicos on the artificial reefs in the bay. The bass bite is best first thing in the morning and just before sunset. So if you’re heading out you may want to bring some rockfish gear for when the bass bite slows down.

There’s not much to report from Palos Verdes other than a few calicos being caught in the kelp. The water temps and color along the peninsula are still off following the wind, but the fish are biting anyway, so look for the action to improve dramatically once the conditions straighten out. If you were interested in fishing bass on the coast, I’d focus your energies on targeting sand bass on rocks and reefs from Long Beach down to Newport Beach. It takes some work to find biting fish, but if you’re willing to drive around and look at a few different spots, you shouldn’t have any trouble putting a day together. With all of the fin bait in the area right now, I’d suggest fishing a 4 or 5-inch swimbait in a baitfish color like Key Lime.

The good news for the calico guys is that both Catalina and San Clemente Island are biting full speed.

I spoke with Captain Jimmy Decker who ran a charter there on Tuesday. He reported wide-open fishing on weedless swimbaits on the standard two to four pound fish with a handful of bigger fish in the mix. Also fishing the island this week were Ty and TJ Ponder, along with John Beerling, who reported over 100 fish with a five-pound average. Their fish came on 7 and 9″ MC Viejos Series Swimbaits and the 7″ MC Weedless.

Speaking of San Clemente Island, the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker has been doing well on rockfish there on their overnight trips this week. Yesterday they were able to make several tanks of squid during their trip and this morning they’ve already landed three yellowtail (as of 8 AM on Thursday). There’s no way to know if this yellowtail bite will turn into anything or if they’ll even be able to catch more squid, but it’s worth keeping an eye on as there have been yellowtail at the islands for at least a couple months now but no one has reported catching any since Brandon Hayward caught a handful at the end of February.

In other rockfish news, the El Dorado is still running trips to San Nicholas Island when the weather permits and they’ve been catching lots of fish. San Nick is within the CCA (Cowcod Conservation Area), which only allows fish in depths less than 20 fathoms (120 feet). This makes for fun shallow water rockfishing with light tackle, so bring your bass gear if you’re heading out on one of these trips.

The yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands is still hit and miss, but even on the days where they aren’t biting, the boats are seeing lots of fish. I spoke with my friend Randy Freeman this morning, who fished on the San Diego on Wednesday. He reported that the boat fished below the rockpile and ended up with 27 fish for the 25 passengers. While most of the fish came on the surface iron, there were a handful caught on the yo-yo iron and a couple on bait. Freeman said the fish were moving fast all day, popping up and disappearing just as quickly. Which is often what fish will do when they first move into a new zone. So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this batch of fish settles in and bites for a while.

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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 and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal Scene, Erik keeps all of the BD readers up to date on what's biting in Southern California. Erik divides his fishing time on local boats, long-range trips and Mexico excursions. For the past eight years, Erik has been competing in the SWBA (Saltwater Bass Anglers) tournament series and has multiple tournament victories to his credit. His sponsors include Batson Enterprises / Rainshadow Rods, Robalo Boats, Tilly's Marine, Abu/Garcia, Penn Reels, Navionics, Raymarine, MC Swimbaits, Uni-Butter Fishing Scent and Bladerunner Tackle.