SoCal’s Spring Fishing Continues to Improve

While the weekend’s full moon had a negative impact on some fisheries, overall its been another good week of spring fishing. Better yet, a few recent catches indicate that we might be at the beginning of a more “normal” summer season. I put normal in parenthesis because it’s been long enough that we’ve seen the old normal that it may no longer be recognizable.

socal yellowtail

Anyway, the first sign of “normal” came with a few scores on nice barracuda along the Ventura coast last week. In the past, that area has been the first place that the barracuda show up before large schools move into San Diego, then Orange County, Long Beach, and the Santa Monica Bay. In the past, this pattern has run from late April through June and kicked off the sand bass bite on the flats.

While that’s a far stretch to make based on a couple of schools of biting barracuda, it’s a step in the right direction and we can always hope!

I fished the Coastal Social Tournament on Saturday with Jimmy Decker and Matt Kotch. The tournament, which was a fundraiser for CCA California, was based out of Long Beach and allowed three-man teams to fish anywhere they wanted to run. We decided to make the run to the east end of San Clemente Island and were greeted by an early west wind and 59-degree water. The weedless swimbait bite ended up being surprisingly good, despite the cold overcast conditions with lots of fish in the three to five-pound range. We ended up in second place with our 16.68-pound three-fish bag and caught a couple of nice yellowtail in the process. We saw quite a bit of yellowtail in and around the kelp in Pyramid Cove but did our best to avoid them since we were fishing a bass tournament. The water temp dropped at the island on Sunday but should have rebounded by now.

The yellows are also biting for boats fishing live squid at San Nic but the weather at the island has been pretty tough this week and the wind is forecast to blow through the weekend. The Channel Islands will be suffering the same fate this weekend with very windy conditions at Rosa and semi-windy conditions at Santa Cruz Island. That being said, there are some seabass and yellows to be caught up there if the weather permits. No one has been to the dirt clod lately, but I may give it a look on Friday. The fishing at Catalina is pretty much par for the course with rockfish making up the bulk of the catch with bass and bonito picking up the slack. The bass fishing along the coast is so-so and there have been a few straggler barracuda around. Last Friday the Western Pride out of Davey’s Locker landed three really big yellows on their afternoon half day but that seems like it was a one shot deal.

The yellowtail grounds off the Coronado Islands were one of the areas negatively impacted by the full moon and the fishing has been tough enough that the sport boats have gone looking offshore. The full day boats out of San Diego are finding limits or near limits of smaller kelp paddy yellowtail and the occasional small bluefin tuna. The big bluefin that were biting for boats fishing outside Ensenada slowed down with the moon as well, but boats are finding schools of 30-60-pound fish, along with the occasional large one closer to home. We should have enough fishing coverage this weekend to figure out where the bulk of these fish moved to during the full moon.

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...