Good Weather Promises Better Fishing
Except for the little shot of yellows the Malihini caught at the Coronado Islands, last weekend can honestly be called the worst weekend of fishing we’ve had in quite some time. Unsettled weather kept most of the sport boats at the dock. While private boats fishing the waters around Los Angeles and Orange Counties struggled to scratch a few sand bass and sculpin.
Things weren’t much better in the bays. The SWBA tournament in Long Beach saw only 6 of the 55 competing teams weigh a three fish limit of spotted bay bass, while 26 teams didn’t weigh a single fish. Matt and I were one of the teams lucky enough to weigh a fish, but I will say it was one of the toughest days of fishing I’ve ever had in the bay.
How about those multi-day trips that I talked about in last week’s column? Well, the Chief ran down to San Martin Island and caught a few yellowtail and rockfish in windy conditions. Those windy conditions continued to deteriorate throughout the day and by the morning of the second day they were facing 30-knot winds and 12 foot stacked seas. The weather was so bad that it took the boat 36 hours to make the 15-mile run home (a trip that usually takes around 16 hours).
Anyway, it’s time to put last weekend behind us and take a look at how things are shaping up for this weekend. The stable weather we’ve had this week is forecast to continue through the weekend and that should result in better fishing. So let’s cross our fingers and take a look at what I hope will be biting this weekend.
The sand bass and sculpin bite should be good in the Santa Monica Bay and down through Long Beach and Newport. Private boaters should concentrate their efforts on the larger artificial reefs, like Izor’s Reef. I spoke with Tom from the Long Beach Bait Company this morning and he plans to look for some squid tonight. If he’s successful Nacho’s receiver will have bait for the weekend, if not you’re going to need to get some frozen squid before heading out. Swimbaits fished slowly and near the bottom are a good alternative to bait and are much cleaner to fish with, so don’t hesitate to give them a try.
My favorite swimbait at this time of year is a 5″ clear with red flake fished on a 1 to 1 1/2 oz red lead head.
If you are a sport boat fisherman, I’d plan on jumping on a half day trip out of Marina Del Rey or Long Beach. I’d recommend checking the reports before you head out to see if they are catching more bass on the morning or afternoon trip and then book accordingly. As usual your best shot at catching bass is going to be on a twilight trip, but you’ll have to find a boat that’s running one this weekend.
The halibut continue to bite for the Native Sun and they caught a 28-pound fish this week. The fishing is still slow, not that halibut fishing ever gets all that good, but it’s something different you can do if you’re tired of catching bass and sculpin.
I would continue to avoid fishing the bays in LA County as I’m sure the fishing is still horrible, but San Diego Bay has been biting lately. Captain James Nelson has been absolutely crushing it down there lately and has been loading up on bass, halibut, bonefish and even the occasional leopard shark. If you’ve got your own boat and know the bay, it’s worth a trip right now. If you’re unfamiliar with the bay or don’t own a boat you should book a trip with James.
I don’t spend much time focusing on surf fishing, but my friends Julia and Randy have been hitting the sand in Huntington Beach lately and have been catching perch and yellowfin croaker. The fishing isn’t wide open and I’m sure the water feels pretty cold on the legs right now, but it’s a fun way to spend a morning. If you’re planning on heading out, make sure and schedule your trip around an incoming tide and bring some small grubs and Gulp! sandworms as bait.
Finally, the islands might be biting this weekend so if you’re feeling adventurous head on out. There is a little wind forecast for the outer islands, but I think that Catalina and the Coronados should miss most of it. I’m planning to head out to Catalina on Sunday to look for some calicos. No one’s been fishing bass over there lately so I have no idea if it’s biting, but I know that the calicos on the beach aren’t, so it’s worth a shot.
The Mission Belle is out taking a look at the Coronados at the time of this writing, so you can check their report and see if they found any yellowtail. Even if the yellows don’t bite the bigger rockfish are currently biting at the Coronados so it would still be worthwhile to head out there this weekend.
Good luck if you’re going fishing and let’s hope it ends up being better than last weekend!