Before I get into the details of what’s biting in Southern California this week, I want to take a moment to ask for your help in helping a fellow angler. Mitch Russo, who is sixteen years old, is an avid fisherman and has been helping out behind the scenes of the SWBA tournament season this year. Every time I’d seen him during the season he was nothing but smiles and enthusiasm, so I was very surprised to learn that he suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. As a result of his condition, Mitch will need sinus/brain surgery in the near future and the costs of the procedure are going to be a real hardship on his family.
Tenacious Baits, a local company for which he is a Junior Pro-staffer, has come up with a way to help Mitch and his family. Simply visit the Tenacious Baits website at http://tenaciousbaits.com/ , purchase a pack of the “Mitchfish” swimbaits and $5 will go directly towards Mitch’s surgery fund. Even if you aren’t a bass fisherman, please buy a few packs to help this young man’s family get through this difficult time. And if you are a bass fisherman, please support Tenacious Baits by trying out a few of their products. I’ve never met the owners of the company or fished any of their baits, but after seeing them step up to help out I will definitely be giving them a try.
On to the fishing reports…
I spoke with Captain Larry Heron, of Calico Hunter Charters, who fished Santa Cruz Island last weekend. He reported that the bass bite at the island continued to be slow, but the shallow water rockfish bite has been excellent on swimbaits in sixty-feet of water. He ended the day with five lings and limits of rockfish to four pounds for his clients. The hot bait was a four-inch Big Hammer Swimbait in “Creeping Death” color.
In the Santa Monica Bay the sport boats are still fishing rockfish, but there are plenty of bass for private boaters to catch. Tommy Nitahara fished with John Uriarte over the weekend and caught fifty bass topped by a seven pound sand bass.
The water along the Palos Verdes Peninsula has been stable for a while now and the calicos are biting better than they did during the summer.
John Curry fished up there on Saturday morning and again on Sunday afternoon and reported slow fishing early, but wide-open action in the late afternoon. The fish were up in the column and readily hitting the 7” MC Weedless swimbait.
After fishing calicos for two days, Curry went hoop netting on Monday night and ended up with limits for him and a couple buddies on bugs ranging from three to five pounds. In case you missed it, Curry shared his hoop netting strategy in last week’s column. There is a big outgoing tide every night this week, so there should be some bugs crawling shortly after dark this weekend.
There is still a ton of squid and other baitfish around the Horseshoe Kelp and Huntington Beach. Matt and I fished rockfish on Friday afternoon and there were big sheets of mackerel on the surface, sardines or anchovies mid-column and all of our rockfish were coughing up squid. With that much bait around it was tough to locate biting fish, but after driving around for a couple hours we found some biting spots and ended up getting limits of brown rockfish up to eight pounds. All of the fish came off small structure spots in 120-150 feet of water on frozen squid.
If you’re planning a rockfish trip, keep a close eye on the tides as our bite went from sixty to zero the second the tide bottomed out. Low tide doesn’t always affect the rockfish bite, but whenever possible plan your trip to start during an incoming tide so that you can catch your fish without having to worry about them shutting off at low tide.
The tuna and yellowtail continue to bite for the 1-½ day boats out of San Diego, but it’s no longer a sure thing. The tuna are getting harder to find and from what I’ve seen the yellowtail are getting smaller (if that’s even possible). Anyway, if you want to go, pick a day with good weather and go in with low expectations. Worst case scenario you’ll have a fun day on the water and if the stars line up for you the fishing might be great. A more reliable option in San Diego is the rockfishing.
Seasons Sportfishing is offering rockfish charters as well as open party trips and they’ve been looping the big reds and lings lately. If you don’t have your own boat and want to get away from the sportboat crowds it’s definitely worth the extra money to jump on one of their trips.