Do you remember the definition of “fun winter fishing”? I know, after many winters spent catching tuna and yellowtail it’s kind of tough to remember what things were like before everything went haywire. Well, if nothing else, this week certainly gave us a refresher course on how winter fishing used to be.
One look at the Navionics map is enough to tell you that bass fishing is the name of the game right now. I’m not saying there aren’t a few yellows around that might be willing to bite the jig at Santa Cruz or a stray seabass waiting for you on Catalina’s squid grounds. But with a significant lack of fishing coverage this week, the few boats that did fish targeted mostly bass.
Starting up north, there are both calicos and sand bass biting for private boaters fishing the coast. The weather looks killer up there on Saturday with light and variable winds but looks a different kind of killer up there on Sunday with 25 knots of wind in the forecast. If you want to fish up there do it Saturday and unless the forecast changes, take Sunday off.
CISCOS has island trips online this weekend that will be targeting calico bass but will likely look for yellowtail so bring a jig stick if you’re heading up. The islands haven’t gotten much coverage lately so it’s anyone’s guess as to what they’ll find. The same weather disclaimer holds true for the islands. If you’re going to go do it on Saturday.
The calico bass, like this one caught by Jay Jones, are biting at Catalina and San Clemente Islands. Jones ran to San Clemente Island with Gary Reyes over the weekend and were forced back to Catalina after the Navy enforced an unscheduled closure. Luckily they found cooperative bass and were able to catch them on weedless Reyes Swimbaits.
Sport boats fishing the coast from the Santa Monica Bay down to San Diego are mostly relying on sand bass and sculpin but private boaters have been scoring some calico bass as well. Dana Wharf and Fisherman’s Landing are currently running halibut derbies and halibut, like the one at the top caught aboard the half day boat Dolphin, have been biting. The 1 1/2-day trips fishing out of San Diego this weekend found mostly rockfish along the coast but the Mustang ran into some cooperative bluefin tuna on their Sunday trip out of H&M Landing. The boat landed 37 bluefin tuna, with most being in the 30-35-pound class along with a handful of kelp paddy yellowtail. Considering that we’re just coming off the new moon there’s no reason those fish shouldn’t still be biting if they can relocate them this weekend. Keep an eye on the weather regardless of where you plan to fish this weekend, there’s some serious wind in the forecast and you don’t want to get caught in it.