Dana Point Harbor Spotty Puzzle

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Gilbert Gonzalez Jr.
May 11, 2012
55
18
Aliso Viejo
Name
Gilbert Gonzalez Jr.
Boat
8.5x32, 149's, and 52mm.
Hey Guys!

I waited as long as I could before I posted this. So I'm having a hard time figuring out the bite in the harbor. For Newport or Huntington Harbor, I can pull at least one Spotted Bay Bass in winter. I've fished the area pretty hard on foot without hopping any gates. I started in Summer through this month. I've used everything in the hard bait and soft bait category. The only catch so far was an experiment session with a Daiwa SP Minnow for a Cuda. But still no bass.

I see baitfish all the time. I am considering that it is way smaller than the other harbors mentioned. Some of the spots just seem so "fishy" but nothing bites. Could it be water quality? Could it be the seal population?

I look forward to the input!

Thanks
 
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Kin

o_O
Oct 10, 2010
275
58
San Gabriel
Name
Kin
Boat
ODC 420
they exist in the harbor, but since you can't fish in the docks area, you might be better off working the rocks on the inner portion. I suspect there is only a small population in there because i've caught more rockfish than spotties.
 
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scbassmaster

twin22s
Sep 8, 2006
439
625
35
san clemente
Name
Brian
Boat
"I'm in the market, as it were" - Jack Sparrow
I live near DPH. Docks and rocks can produce a couple fish but the bulk of the spotties I catch are on submerged grass. spinnerbaits, A-rigs and underspins are my go to lures but drop-shot and bottom plastics can work too. Just fish what you are most confident in and try to find the grass. Left side of Baby beach is the easiest place, there are patches of grass near the main entrance too. In summer they will be everywhere but they seem more picky about their winter habitat.

5D7CC046-626A-4F17-84F7-A8FB304A360F.jpeg
 
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Bwood

Member
Jan 24, 2006
272
429
Laguna Niguel
Name
Brett
Boat
17' Whaler
Island along the rocks. I catch them but if you are expecting NP MB type results your bar is too high. Try the corners. Or walk along the sidewalks and flip the docks.
 
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Gilbert Gonzalez Jr.
May 11, 2012
55
18
Aliso Viejo
Name
Gilbert Gonzalez Jr.
Boat
8.5x32, 149's, and 52mm.
I live near DPH. Docks and rocks can produce a couple fish but the bulk of the spotties I catch are on submerged grass. spinnerbaits, A-rigs and underspins are my go to lures but drop-shot and bottom plastics can work too. Just fish what you are most confident in and try to find the grass. Left side of Baby beach is the easiest place, there are patches of grass near the main entrance too. In summer they will be everywhere but they seem more picky about their winter habitat.

View attachment 1252191

Thank you! The left to baby beach is where I caught the cuda on the Daiwa SP.
 
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Chan-

:)
May 12, 2020
165
72
17
Torrance
Name
Chan Suk
Boat
?
guy i know had a lot of luck with an underspin and reeling very very slow. 10 every hour or so. I've got a couple on my trout rods with little 1.5 inch minnows also.
 
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the SLIDER

https://multimediabylj.com
Jun 11, 2015
2,084
4,904
Dana Point
Name
L J
Boat
arima - the SLIDER
I have caught a few Spotties inside the DP breakwall at night years ago. Suggestions of really light gear and freshwater spinner baits, very light plastics in eel grass sounds like the hot tip.

Question? Anyone ever eat a Spottie? I have not, figured they should go back where they came from and thank you for the fight.
 
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hobiefish

I am not always Grumpy; somtimes I am fishing!
Mar 16, 2007
318
83
Chino
Name
duane
Boat
Hobie
Just keep fishing and you will figure it out. That said, I have fished Dana Point from a kayak 3 times in the last month and it has been some of the toughest winter fishing that I can remember. Haven't figured it out yet but I will. Last two times out I was limited to 1 bass each time.

I fished Newport Harbor on Monday for the same results. I did notice that the channel in Newport is loaded with small bait and maybe that is why the spotties are not biting along the docks or yachts like normal years.
 
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niceeeee

Newbie
Jan 17, 2021
48
54
30
newport beach
Name
Nick
Boat
grady white fisherman 230
I'm having the same problem in Newport Harbor, granted I only started fishing last year and I'm pretty bad haha. Today for example I went dock hopping in some marinas in North Channel and on some docks near the jetty. Tried hook-up baits, curly grubs, and big hammers. Not a single bite. Just wondering, what advantage does a dropshot rigged with a plastic have over just rigging a plastic by itself with a led head? How do you guys rig the dropshot? Roughly how many in should I put between the plastic/bait and weight for the dropshot? Thanks!
 
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Chan-

:)
May 12, 2020
165
72
17
Torrance
Name
Chan Suk
Boat
?
I'm having the same problem in Newport Harbor, granted I only started fishing last year and I'm pretty bad haha. Today for example I went dock hopping in some marinas in North Channel and on some docks near the jetty. Tried hook-up baits, curly grubs, and big hammers. Not a single bite. Just wondering, what advantage does a dropshot rigged with a plastic have over just rigging a plastic by itself with a led head? How do you guys rig the dropshot? Roughly how many in should I put between the plastic/bait and weight for the dropshot? Thanks!
if your not catching on hookup baits your doing something very very wrong... or there's just no fish there LOL
 
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Gilbert Gonzalez Jr.
May 11, 2012
55
18
Aliso Viejo
Name
Gilbert Gonzalez Jr.
Boat
8.5x32, 149's, and 52mm.
I'm having the same problem in Newport Harbor, granted I only started fishing last year and I'm pretty bad haha. Today for example I went dock hopping in some marinas in North Channel and on some docks near the jetty. Tried hook-up baits, curly grubs, and big hammers. Not a single bite. Just wondering, what advantage does a dropshot rigged with a plastic have over just rigging a plastic by itself with a led head? How do you guys rig the dropshot? Roughly how many in should I put between the plastic/bait and weight for the dropshot? Thanks!

I usually have the most luck on Balboa Island. Try not to fish E Bay Front between Park Ave and S Bay Front. This small stretch has a grumpy resident that calls the cops. The cops are cool and will probably tell you to avoid that stretch also because they are annoyed by the constant calling. Reel in slow, low, and pause. My luck has been with 3" swimbaits in black or dark brown variations.
 
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niceeeee

Newbie
Jan 17, 2021
48
54
30
newport beach
Name
Nick
Boat
grady white fisherman 230
I usually have the most luck on Balboa Island. Try not to fish E Bay Front between Park Ave and S Bay Front. This small stretch has a grumpy resident that calls the cops. The cops are cool and will probably tell you to avoid that stretch also because they are annoyed by the constant calling. Reel in slow, low, and pause. My luck has been with 3" swimbaits in black or dark brown variations.
Sounds good, thanks for the info!
 
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niceeeee

Newbie
Jan 17, 2021
48
54
30
newport beach
Name
Nick
Boat
grady white fisherman 230
if your not catching on hookup baits your doing something very very wrong... or there's just no fish there LOL
Haha guess so, then again I tried the hookup bait in my last 5 mins of fishing. I doubted it was any good then I realized it had super nice action once I started using it and bouncing it around.
 
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