SoCal Inshore & Offshore Action Improves

It’s been another week of good fishing across Southern California. Starting up north, the seabass fishing at the northern Channel Islands was great this week with most boats reporting limits the last few days.

Earlier this week they were forecasting lots of wind for that zone over the weekend, but as of Friday morning, the forecast has backed off quite a bit. My advice to anyone planning a trip up there soon would be to check the weather before heading out.

Boats not targeting seabass have been reporting excellent rockfishing along the Santa Barbara coastline as well as at the islands. With water warming up a bit, there’s been some bass and yellowtail biting along the kelp at Santa Cruz Island. This action should continue to improve as we slowly make our way into the summer season.

Speaking of yellowtail, there are a bunch of them at San Clemente Island right now but they haven’t been biting all that well. Sportboats fishing the front side of the island this week reported finding lots of big schools but a lack of current has kept the fishing pretty slow. Once conditions get straightened out I’d imagine that there’s going to be some really good fishing.

Matt Kotch and I made the run to Clemente on Thursday morning and fished the backside east end. There was good downhill current and but the fishing started out slow along the kelp beds between Pyramid and China Point. Saw a few birds start working in shallow water and made our way over there to find wide-open surface iron fishing on 3 to 5-pound calicos and 6 to 12-pound yellows. Spent the next couple of hours pulling on fish before heading offshore to look for tuna.

While we didn’t find any fish within seven miles of the island, we did find some fish in that general area when we fished last Friday. The bluefin we spent several hours watching and not catching were breezers that came up on the late morning tide. The fish were mixed schools of 20-30-pound fish along with a few small packs of 60-100-pound fish. There was an incredible volume of fish in the area, but other than getting one to turn and follow a lure, they wanted nothing to do with us. Kelp paddies along the Clemente Ridge were also holding small yellowtail.

The tuna that are biting have been doing so mostly in the dark on the banks to the west of Clemente. Most of these fish are coming on flat fall jigs or sardines fished on a sinker rig. When the boats are catching fish during the day, it’s more of a plunker bite so the guys putting their time in at the rail are having the best results. There are also some bluefin being caught by the full-day boats fishing outside the Coronado Islands, but most of the action in that zone has been on kelp paddy yellowtail.

That’s about it for this week. Good luck if you’re heading out!

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...