socal fishing

I’m Dreaming of a Yellow Christmas

Another lunar cycle, another yellowtail bite along the coast. Captain Jeff Jones recently pointed out that the yellows weren’t only biting on the full moon, some months they were biting on the new moon as well. That certainly proved to be the case this month as yellowtail scores soared around last weekend’s new moon.

Since this bite seems to be lunar cycle dependent, I’m going to keep my report short and recommend that you check recent counts before jumping on a boat and expecting wide open yellowtail fishing next week. If the bite does drop off by the time you’re ready to go, you may want to hold off and schedule a trip around the next full moon on January 5th. There’s no guarantee that the bite will rebound, but it’s been doing it for the last eleven months, so unless there’s significant weather I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen again.

Working from north to south, the yellows bit on the coast in Ventura again this week. These fish are in the same general area as they’ve been for the last several months, but the bite has been spotty. It seems like the fish will bite for a few boats one day, then there will be a bunch of traffic and less biting fish in the following days. So, don’t wait until you start seeing big scores if you’re headed up that way because by the time you hear about them biting it’s probably going to be over.

The Santa Monica Bay is kicking out a few yellowtail this week. These fish, as with all of the other fish on the coast, have been coming off of bait schools in deep water. Water depths can vary by day and location, but fish are being caught in 150 to 300-feet of water. The sport boats out of Marina Del Rey have been getting fish on the yo-yo iron when they can find a school and spending the rest of the trip fishing rockfish.

Long Beach is also kicking out a few yellowtail for the sport boats, who are also relying on rockfish to round out the catch.

These fish are coming in deep water at the 150 and the Southeast Bank.

The counts have been low, but sport boats are reporting marking lots of fish, so the bite may improve any day, though it probably won’t until after the first of the year. Private boaters are also scoring the occasional yellowtail in this zone. I’m going to be taking a look out there on Christmas Eve and will report back if I find any biters.

Catalina has been kicking out a few small yellows for boats fishing the island, but if you want to target them, I’d go somewhere else.

An interesting side note about the island is that Gerry Mahieu fished there on Sunday and reported seeing millions of tuna crabs floating around the waters off Parsons Landing. Historically, these crabs have shown up in the winter, they’ve been harbingers of good summer fishing, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for another stellar year in 2015.

The waters between Dana Point and Oceanside have been the most productive for big yellows this week with sport boats getting good scores over the weekend. These fish, along with the ones that are biting outside of La Jolla in San Diego are all coming off deep water bait schools around hard bottom areas. Private boaters should try and stay away from any fleets in these zones as you’ve got a better chance of getting bit if you can find some non-trampled fish.

Finally, the yellows are biting at the Coronado Islands. Over the weekend, boats were getting limits of smaller grade fish.

While the counts dropped off a little on Monday, the fish got a lot bigger.

On Monday, 16 anglers aboard the San Diego accounted for 70 fish in the 18-28-pound range. Most of these fish are coming on the yo-yo iron, so if you’re planning an after Christmas trip, make sure and bring some jigs.

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