Just Go Fishing – SoCal Reports On Fire

A lot goes into deciding when to fish. Regardless of where you are going to go fish…in the surf to offshore, it’s good to understand the tides, how moonphase affects the tides, wind, weather, recent fish counts vs. signal etc. All of these things play into how successful or not a trip MIGHT BE. Yet when it’s all said and done, sometimes you just have to throw away all those things and go fish.

This last weekend was one of those times. I got back from my Louisiana redfish trip to find that the last week was a real doozy in SoCal. Possibly the 2 most finicky fish we aspire to catch…

White seabass and bluefin tuna both bit!

white seabass reports

Yet going into the weekend, conditions were less than ideal. It was going to be pretty bumpy out there. Not so bad that trips got cancelled, but bad enough that if you pay attention to these things it might dissuade you from going fishing.

Those who decided to go anyway were rewarded for doing so.

fat yellowtail

In my own particular case, I was supposed to go on a trip Friday night going overnight on the Toronado. I skipped the trip. Not so much because I was worried about the weather, but because I just got back in SoCal on Thursday night, had a bunch of errands to do on Friday, and was more interested in sleeping in my own bed, than in a boat bunk. My buddy Ryan Kruskramp (right) went anyway. He told me it was a rough trip. They started at Catalina, went to Clemente, and then back to Cat. Lousy conditions everywhere, but Ryan managed to catch one of 3 yellows caught for the trip.

Up north in the Channel Islands, not only was there the threat of uncooperative weather conditions, it was past the “golden window” of 3 days before/after a full/new moon this last weekend. Yet in spite of the weatherman, conventional wisdom or the fact that they blanked on Saturday, Capt. Shawn Steward killed it on the Graylight with 6 white seabass, 6 yellowtail, and a halibut for his Sunday charter group (above).



socal bluefin tuna

Another buddy of mine, John Fein, was celebrating his birthday by going on back-to-back 1.5-day trips aboard the Legend and Tomahawk. John was not going to be denied this weekend. He drove down from the Bay Area to go on these trips. He didn’t have big tuna gear, so he rented. The boat caught fish on his Legend trip, but he blanked on the big tuna. It was John’s time though on the Tomahawk trip. They got into a pre-dawn jig bite that ended up being the most successful segment of the trip. John told me he almost dumped his whole spool dropping his 320-gram Nomad Buffalo Jig to 80 fathoms! About 30 cranks into a fast retrieve he got stopped, eventually resulting in catching his FIRST EVER bluefin…a 130-pounder!

rod rental

I got to hand it to John. I see a lot of people get hung up on the fact that they don’t have the right gear to land these bigger fish. I’ve mentioned it here before, but it’s worth saying again, rent rod gear for these type of trips is really nice now. John caught his big fish on rental gear from Fisherman’s Landing. It consisted of a Shimano Talica 20II paired with a Calstar 770H rod (rated 50-100). Cost to rent ran around $80. I spent about $1000 (highly discounted) for my big bluefin setup and it’s one of the least used rigs I have. Renting is a pretty cost efficient way to go…especially if you’re only going to do this type of fishing a few times a year.

Hopefully, the good times continue this week.

I’m going to get shots at both bluefin and white seabass (and maybe yellowtail and halibut). I’ll be on the New Lo An tonight (Tuesday, 6/1) for a 1.5-day trip. I return early Thursday morning, then head up to Oxnard for the second of my 3 Graylight charters on Friday. My birthday trip ended up getting canceled, so there’s this trip and a makeup trip scheduled for July 2nd. Got room on the July trip if you’re interested. The July trip is after the limit goes up to 3 fish!

Wish me luck. All for now. Good luck if you get out there.


Joe Sarmiento
Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing boats of Southern California. In addition to writing his blog, Joe's writing has appeared in Western Outdoor News, The Log and Griffin Media. Joe is ...