Last week’s slow fishing certainly isn’t going to be improved by the wind that blew this week across our local waters. But with Santa Ana winds forecast for the weekend, conditions should improve. So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at what’s biting in Southern California.
Starting to the north, the Channel Islands were most heavily hit by this week’s wind, but the fish were biting before the blow. Yellowtail have been biting at the islands, as well as along parts of the Ventura County coast. These fish should still be biting when the weather gets back to normal. But what may not be biting is the tuna and marlin that have frequented the area in previous weeks. My guess is that those fish have moved on. I hope I’m wrong, but this wind will probably be the final straw for that pocket of water that they’ve been biting in the last few weeks.
The Santa Monica Bay has been producing slow to occasionally good yellowtail fishing for sport boats this week. On Wednesday the Redondo Special managed 49 good sized fish for the 17 anglers on their half day trip. Most of these fish are coming on anchovies and sardines, so if you’re planning to head up to the bay on your own boat this weekend, make sure and stop for bait.
There are some calicos biting for private boaters along the beach from Palos Verdes down to Dana Point, but the fishing is far from wide open. If you’re interested in catching calicos I’d recommend running out to one of the islands. I fished San Clemente Island on Sunday and after burning a couple hours trolling for wahoo on the frontside, I ran around the backside and fished bass. The conditions weren’t great but we still managed around 30 fish on the surface iron for two hours of fishing. There were some yellowtail caught by other boats in that area too, but it seemed like it was an early morning deal.
Catalina Island is also kicking out a few yellows, but they are mostly the smaller grade fish and they haven’t been biting all that well. If you’re interested in catching some yellows, there have been some fish caught on the beach from Box Canyon down to La Jolla. The bite has been scattered and hit or miss, so it’s going to take some work to find cooperative fish. If I were heading out, I’d just run out to the areas that bit last fall and winter and look for conditions.
The yellowtail are also biting at the Coronados, but the San Diego based 3/4-day boats are having trouble getting off the dock. The Malihini reported only getting a few reservations each day this week and never getting off the dock. Instead of disappointing the people that do want to go, they are scheduling only one trip per week starting in November. So, if you want to go fishing on the Malihini, Fridays are the only day to go.
I know that fishing for yellowtail on a 3/4-day trip may seem slightly anticlimactic after the season we’ve been having, but it’s still fun and the sport boats can use your business, so why not jump on a trip.
Finally, the offshore report is a short one this week. The yellowfin tuna were still biting on the offshore banks prior to Thursday’s wind, but it’s been pretty slow everywhere else. Your best bet is to jump on an overnight or 1 1/2-day trip to get a shot at some of the bigger yellowfin. The red crabs have moved in to the tuna grounds and that’s made for some tough fishing at times, so you’ll want to make sure and bring some 20-pound fluorocarbon and small hooks in case you run into that situation.
There are still being wahoo caught along the coast, but the water conditions in the northern zone are deteriorating. I’m sure that there will still be fish caught in Orange and LA Counties this weekend, but your best bet for wahoo is probably going to be off San Diego County. I spoke with Brandon Hayward of One Man Charters and he reported finding an area of fishy water that resulted in several bites and one wahoo for his charter on Saturday. Hayward has a few open dates in early November for anyone interested in trying their wahoo luck and can be contacted through his website.