Good Weather and Good Fall Fishing

It’s been another week of good weather and good fall fishing across Southern California and, with Santa Ana conditions through the weekend, that’s likely to continue. Before I get into the details of what’s been happening, I’d like to take a moment to talk about what hopefully is getting ready to happen.

As has happened the last few seasons, in October the bluefin left our local banks and took off to wherever it is that they go. With water temperatures being cooler this year, I assumed that those fish might be gone until next year.

30 to 80-pound bluefin briefly popped up in several areas, from the east end of Catalina to below the Coronado Islands, over the last week and it might just mean that we could have the occasional fall and wintertime shots at these fish like we had a couple years ago.

My speculations aside, the only consistent bluefin bite continues to be coming from the area around the Cortes and Tanner Banks. There were some fish biting down at the Butterfly earlier this week, but it sounds like that’s dried up. There are a mix of fish at the banks, with boats getting limits of smaller fish during the day and a handful of big fish biting jigs at night. The Santa Ana conditions we’ve got in the forecast will make for nice weather in this zone through the middle of next week, so if you want another shot at bluefin, your best bet is to jump on a 1 1/2 day or longer trip.

San Clemente Island got quite a bit of bass fishing pressure over the last week and it sounds like the bite was slow overall. I’m not sure why that is, as the fishing is normally pretty good over there at this time of year, but I’m hoping things will bounce back soon. There are some yellows biting at the island right now and my friend Frank Wong got this nice consolation prize after scratching at the bass all day. I haven’t heard much from Catalina, except that the bonito are biting, but I may head over and give that tragic pile a look tomorrow. In other yellowtail news, there are some fish biting along the coast off San Diego as well as down at the Coronado Islands, but the bite is inconsistent at best.

Your best bet this weekend is to go out and load up on some rockfish. The best zone continues to be up north where boats are using live squid to catch quality rockfish and lingcod. The Aloha Spirit has been crushing it on their full day trips this week. Other than a little bit of west wind forecast for the day before Thanksgiving, the weather up in that zone looks beautiful through next weekend. If the forecast holds up, I’ll be heading up there for some Black Friday cod fishing next week.

The deep-drop swordfish bite seems to be improving and while most fish are still coming from the local banks around San Diego, there are some fish being caught in Orange County waters as well. If you’re interested in getting into deep-drop fishing on your own boat, it’s definitely worth spending the money to hire a guide to take you out and show you the ropes as it will cut down your learning curve dramatically. If you’re interested, I’d check out Pacific Bills Charters, Pinnacle Sportfishing or Bight Sportfishing. That’s about it for this week. Good luck if you’re fishing and I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

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...