Good Coastal Fishing – SoCal Scene

Coastal Fishing The fish are biting well along the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego. What you’ll catch depends as much on where you go as what decides to bite on any given day. Late last week 1/2 and 3/4-day boats out of Long Beach had barracuda scores in the hundreds. A few days later those same boats were loading up on big sand bass and filled up on sculpin on the days other fish didn’t want to cooperate.

Private boaters have even more coastal options. I fished out of Long Beach on Monday with my friend Chris Oakes and we started out chasing bird schools and looking for seabass before pulling into some shallow structure to catch calico bass on crankbaits. After that we ran out and got on some migratory sand bass that bit wide open. The fishing was so good that Chris threw the weedless swimbait and had this big bass come to the surface and eat it in 80-feet of water.

coastal jumbo seabass Up north the calicos are biting for bass fishermen along the coast from above Santa Barbara all the way to the Santa Monica Bay. The guys putting their time in are still catching jumbo seabass along the coast. Captain Gerry Mahieu had a charter Wednesday morning and went one for two on big seabass. The sand bass are biting well on most structure spots from Long Beach down to Newport Beach and there have been some migratory spawners found occasionally around Izor’s Reef. If you want barracuda with a chance of yellowtail, I’d take a look at the Horseshoe Kelp. This bite has been getting better once the sun burns through the marine layer, so don’t give up too early. Down the coast the calicos are biting in the kelp from Dana Point to San Diego. This being spawning season I recommend focusing your efforts on the outside edge of the deeper kelp beds as that’s likely where they’ll be schooled up.

coastal reports coastal islands are still kicking out yellowtailThe coastal islands are still kicking out yellowtail and seabass. The forecast looks like the Channel Islands, especially Santa Rosa, will be fishable this weekend so I’d expect some good scores on seabass for the overnight boats. The full day and 3/4-day trips are fishing bass and yellowtail at Santa Cruz Island and the fishing has been good. Catalina Island is kicking out good scores of yellowtail for the 3/4-day boats fishing there. These fish are mixed in size but there are enough big ones around to keep things interesting. The overnight boats in LA and Orange County have been scoring yellows and seabass but the bite has been hit and miss. There are plenty of fish around so I’d expect the bite to stabilize and improve in coming days. With more yellowfin tuna moving into US waters I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those overnight boats took a look offshore this weekend.

tuna caught Speaking of tuna, the bluefin are still biting the kite for the boats that are fishing them. This tuna was caught by Janice La Rue while fishing with her fiance Josh Marquard. The sport boats are also flying the kite for bluefin but are also getting a few fish in the dark on flat fall jigs. The Old Glory even had an angler catch a swordfish on a flat fall jig over the weekend. A few boats have been getting some opportunities on the yellowfin when they find ones that want to bite. If nothing else that gives anglers something to hope for other than maybe getting a shot at a kite fish. If I were taking my boat offshore this weekend, I’d bring live bait, standard trolling gear, kite trolling gear and poppers. The way the fishing is right now, you never know what you’re going to find. If you are heading out, the dolphins have been holding yellowfin, so if you find some try trolling a cedar plug or feather in front of them or flyline a bait.

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...