Steady Winter Fishing This Week

A combination of bad weather and post-Thanksgiving angler attrition has prevented any boats from getting off the dock to see if those bluefin are still biting at the Cortes Bank.

socal reds

The good news is that we’re likely to get a report this weekend as there are a couple of boats with trips planned and the weather looks good to make the run. While we’ll need to wait to find out if we’ll be getting bluefin for Christmas, there’s plenty of good fishing options available for the weekend.

rockfish reports

Starting up north, the rockfish bite along the Santa Barbara coastline and at the Channel Islands continues to be really good. The wind is forecast to blow pretty hard up there on Friday but is going to die off for the weekend. If you’re planning a trip on your own boat you may want to hold off until Sunday to give the seas some time to lay down after Friday’s wind. The same advice holds true if you’re planning on jumping on a sport boat and heading to San Nic this weekend. The fish will likely be biting the same both days but the ride should be a lot better on Sunday than Saturday.

The rockfish are biting at Catalina and San Clemente Islands as well, but there are better fishing options at both islands. The bass fishing at Clemente has been unusually slow the last couple of weeks but I’d have to imagine it’s improved since then. There are also some small yellowtail biting on the middle of the front side and up at the west end of the island. After having a couple of tough trips in a row at Clemente, we decided to fish Catalina on Saturday. We spent the morning fishing crankbaits along beaches from the east end to Salta Verde and had really good fishing on calicos to four pounds. Before we headed home we ran around the front side and had good bonito fishing on hardbaits. The fish were mostly on the small side but we did get a couple of nice ones.

fishing reports

Sunday’s weather forecast kept us on the beach so we decided to fish the break wall. Conditions were great in the morning with a high tide and lots of water movement, but the fishing was pretty slow. After cranking the wall for a couple of hours and only having a dozen bass to show for it we pulled the plug and fished inside the harbor. Had to cover a lot of water to find fish in there too but once we found them they were schooled up and biting. Ended up with forty or fifty fish to five pounds on crankbaits before heading home at noon.

yellowtail report

There isn’t anything all that exciting happening until you get down to San Diego where the yellowtail are biting along the beach as well as at the Coronado Islands. In both locations, these fish are moving around and chasing bait schools in open water. The fish on the beach seem to be showing best in the morning and private boaters are getting them by running and gunning on bird schools. If you’re planning on giving it a try on your own boat, I’d recommend fishing on a weekday and, if you can’t, try to find something that doesn’t already have other boats on it. The fish below the border are all coming from sonar schools they aren’t all that private boat friendly. If you don’t want to drive around all day staring at your fish finder, I’d recommend jumping on a full day trip and let the captain do the searching. This will be my last report before the holidays, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and good luck if you’re fishing!

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...