Good Spring Fishing Continues For SoCal

It’s been another pretty good week of fishing across Southern California and the big news continues to be the bluefin bite. As has been the case in recent weeks, the bluefin bite has been sporadic with big scores coming late last week, before things slowed way down and then started to pick back up again.

To add to the confusion, the biting fish seem to be moving about quite a bit, and the fish that bit yesterday aren’t necessarily going to be biting in the same spot today.

That being said, both the full day, overnight and 1 1/2-day trips have been scoring fish this week. Some of the best scores are still coming at night, but there have been plenty of fish being caught during the day as well. My advice to anyone who’s on the fence about going is to just pick a day that has some nice weather in the forecast and go even if the fish didn’t bite yesterday. Things are changing so much on a daily basis that every boat that leaves the dock has the shot at a big score on any given trip.

yellowtail on iron

In other news, there are still a bunch of yellows on the front side at San Clemente Island and they still aren’t biting all that well. The few that are biting however are consistently larger than the yellows that are biting much more readily on the back side of the island if you’ve got a boat that can fish shallow. I headed back over to Clemente on Saturday morning and found the yellows biting in the same zone I reported about in last week’s column. The fish were still in really shallow water and most of the ones we hooked were in 10 to 20 feet of water. The fish are mixed from 6 to 12-pounds with a couple of 15-pounders and they don’t require chum to get them to come up and bite the surface iron. Just make sure and have your drag tight if you hook one of the bigger ones in 10-feet of water. We got drug around pretty good by a couple of them.

The bass bite at Clemente remains excellent and they were really keyed in on the weedless swimbaits on Saturday. The fish are biting in the kelp and in open water over reefs but, just like the yellows, they are keyed in on the 20 to 30-foot depth zone. I think that this has more to do with the depth the bait is hanging out in than anything else, so don’t just drive up to a spot in that depth and assume you’re going to load up, the fish can slide deeper or (not much) shallower on any given day.

Other than that, the fish are continue into spring mode up and down the coast with more bass showing up in the counts for boats fishing out of Long Beach and out at Catalina Island. The boats up north really waylaid the big seabass and halibut at Santa Rosa and while there’s some wind in the forecast for Saturday, Sunday and the early part of the week look great up that way. Good luck if you’re heading out this weekend!

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 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...