With the wind forecast to blow like hell this weekend, it looks like we’re going to get a chance to test the validity of the statements I made in the beginning of last week’s column. In case you missed it, I believe that every day of warm weather we can string together at this time of year builds up the ocean’s ability to rebound after wind events. So, with several weeks of mostly stable weather leading up to this weekends wind event, I’m fairly confident that the fishing will snap right back when the weather comes down. Guess we’ll have to cross our fingers and wait to see what happens.
According to the forecast given by The Fishing Weatherman – Chris Dunn , the worst of the weather is going to come through on Friday night and Saturday. While the wind is supposed to die down on Sunday, I’d avoid running to any of the islands this weekend unless the forecast changes. If you were planning on fishing along the coast, I’d avoid anything north of the Santa Monica Bay this weekend, as it will most likely be completely blown out.
Let’s take a look at what bit this week and will hopefully resume biting shortly after the wind stops.
Not much has changed up north as the Channel Islands continue to kick out good rockfishing for all day and overnight boats. The 1/2 and 3/4 day trips are also scratching away at them, but not getting as many big fish. This area is going to get the brunt of the wind this weekend, so make sure and check the weather forecast before scheduling any trips next week. Private boaters should also be aware that the marine weather up there is often under-forecast, so if you get out of the harbor and it’s rougher than you were expecting, don’t count on it getting any better later in the day. When it doubt, it pays to err on the side of caution.
The record that is the Santa Monica Bay is still skipping in the same groove it’s been for the last couple months. Sport boats are still fishing rockfish on the local banks, private boaters are still catching bass on the artificial reefs and there is still a big volume of bait waiting for the barracuda to come and find it. If you’re planning a trip on Sunday, the north part of the bay will probably be less affected by the wind than some of the more exposed parts of the coast.
There are still a few bigger bass being caught along Palos Verdes, but the fishing is extremely slow overall. Private boaters looking to catch bass along the coast would do well to focus their efforts on sand bass. These bass have been biting from Izor’s down through the Newport Reef. The fishing hasn’t been wide open, but the couple guys I’ve talked to have put together a decent day by fishing 5″ swimbaits close to the structure. Night time has been the best time for bass and private boats have been getting some big ones, including an 8 1/2 pound sand bass caught by Cousins Tackle pro-staffer Jason Kordan.
Sport boats continue to target rockfish on the coast, but are keeping their eye out for the barracuda to arrive. Earlier in the week, there were some scores on big spanish jacks along the coast, but they only bit for one day before moving along. There have been reports of more jacks being caught on the coast off Ventura, so the fish might have just bit on their way north.
The calico fishing has been good at both Catalina and San Clemente Islands, but Catalina has been kicking out the most big fish. One of them was a monster 11-pound calico that Seeker Rods pro-staffer Gene Yun, caught on a weedless swimbait of his own creation. This is the second double-digit fish to come from Catalina this year, which says a lot about the big bass population at the island.
The on again, off again, exotic bite at San Clemente Island continues, with the Thunderbird getting full limits of white seabass on Easter Sunday. This hot bite was followed by them not catching a single fish on Monday’s trip. Hopefully these fish, along with the yellowtail, will settle in and bite a little better after the water temps recover from the wind.
Further down the coast, the yellowtail bite at the Coronado Islands continues to be mediocre. One day, the fish will bite and boats will get a dozen to thirty fish and the next day they won’t and boats will only scratch a handful. The good news is that boats are metering a lot of fish down there, so if they ever do decide to bite full speed it’s going to be pretty epic.
The fishing has been a little tough for private boaters lately because most of the fish are coming off sonar schools, but those in the know are still catching fish. Captain Duane Mellor of Seasons Sportfishing has been consistently catching fish without a sonar. His technique involves looking for good conditions, then metering around for bait schools. Once he finds a bait school, he’ll drop yo-yo jigs to see if there are any yellowtail associated with it. If he gets bit, he’ll drift with the school and if not, he’ll go in search of the next bait school.
Since the weather is most likely going to suck this weekend, you may want to just find something to do on land instead. Those of you living in the LA or Orange County areas might want to head down to 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro on Sunday to check out their version of Day at the Docks. There you can tour boats, check out the tackle manufacturer’s displays and stock up on discounted gear.