It’s been a bit of an abbreviated week of fishing due to a couple of significant wind events. Sunday and Monday brought lots of wind out of the Northwest but thankfully nowhere near the 30 to 40 knots that were forecast. Tuesday the wind switched offshore and blew hard enough to keep boats off the water. The fishing weather should be nice on Friday and Saturday but there is some light rain and southeast wind in the forecast for Sunday. So if you’re planning on fishing this week I’d do it on Saturday or take a day off next week as we’re forecast to have mostly light offshore winds.
If this week’s Navionics Chart looks like the one from last week, it’s because it is. This week’s wind aside, the fishing hasn’t changed a whole lot. Starting up north, there are bass biting both along the Santa Barbara coastline and at Santa Cruz Island. My friend Scott Summersgill fished Santa Cruz Island over the weekend and had good calico bass fishing on 4-inch Big Hammer Swimbaits. He also had some nice sheephead as by-catch. If you happen to fish bass up there, or anywhere else in California waters, all sheephead and any other rockfish must be released as the fishery is closed until the end of the month.
The closed rockfish season has most of the sportboats shut down and doing their yearly maintenance but the few that are running are reporting good fishing for sand bass and sculpin on the coastal wrecks and reefs. There is no zone that’s really biting better than the others so jump on your favorite boat and remember to bring plenty of leadheads. The bass bite has been good for private boaters lately but there aren’t a lot of guys out doing it. I fished the harbor at night recently and had good fishing. I’m seeing reports from friends that the break wall has been biting at night. If you’re planning on fishing out of Long Beach on Saturday be advised that there is an SBS tournament happening at South Shores launch ramp so the lot is going to be crowded and if you decide to fish inside the harbor you’re going to have to share it with 60 other boats. If you’re interested in fishing the tournament but aren’t a serious bass angler you should check out the Rookie / Family division where you won’t be competing against the top guys.
These tournaments are a lot of fun and a great way to meet new fishing friends.
The halibut are starting to bite along the coast and Dana Wharf is running their yearly halibut derby with a couple of trips a week online. Private boaters are also catching halibut by bounce ball fishing right now. If you’re unfamiliar with the technique, consider yourself lucky; it’s an extremely tedious and boring fishery that’s best left to the masochists who are already doing it. If you want to catch a halibut, I recommend making a tank of small mackerel and using a dropper loop rig to fish them around the edges of reefs or just off the sides of coastal hard bottom spots. Don’t fish the reef or hard bottom itself but be close to it. Halibut usually post up in the sand adjacent to the structure so pay attention to where your boat is in relation to the spot and drop on all sides of it. Once you’ve drifted a hundred feet off the spot, reel up and move onto the next one. Hit enough spots from enough angles and eventually, you might get lucky and get a bite. Yes, this does take a lot of effort and while not as tedious as bounce ball fishing it’s a horrible way to spend a day so I highly recommend avoiding the halibut fishery altogether.
There are still some yellows biting down at Colonet but the rockfish bite has been the most consistent. Boats are scoring anywhere from zero to several dozen yellows and the overall grade of fish is underwhelming. The good news is that there are some big rockfish biting down there which makes for fun fishing and some good table fare. If you’re planning on heading out on a 1 1/2-day trip this weekend I’d recommend booking one that leaves Friday night to avoid potentially fishing in the rain. That’s about it for this week, good luck if you’re heading out!