Fishing Reports

New Year’s Fishing Options & Prognostications

Well, the holidays are finally over and it’s time for you all to get back to fishing so I’ll have something to write about each week. Fishing coverage over the holidays was sporadic at best, so this week’s report might not accurately reflect the current angling opportunities but here’s what we do know. The sand bass and sculpin are biting for the 1/2 and 3/4-day boats from the Santa Monica Bay to San Diego. These fish are being targeted with either live or frozen squid and as always the boats that do have live squid will get the best results. From the limited reports I’ve gotten, the calico bass are biting for private boaters fishing along the coast and also at San Clemente Island. Rockfish are closed in California waters until March 1st but San Diego based boats that are fishing them in Mexican waters are having good fishing.

Short report I know, but that’s all I’ve got. Now let’s talk about a couple of other things that might be happening and those that are sort of happening but not getting much attention. Starting way down south, the American Angler made a swing by Colonet on their way south yesterday and caught a few yellows before continuing on their way. My guess is that they made a pass through the zone to do some prospecting for the 1 1/2-day boats that will be heading down there. The Tomahawk has a trip online tonight that will likely make a run down to that zone if they don’t decide to stay closer to home and see if they can’t relocate the bluefin tuna that were below Ensenada.

The bluefin were last seen and caught by the Independence as they were making their way home from a long range trip earlier this week. I don’t know if those bluefin will still be down there when someone gets around to looking for them but I a certain that this isn’t the only area holding tuna right now. Water temps are still above 61-degrees well into US waters and there’s still plenty of bait around so I don’t think the tuna up this way are gone, I just think that no one is looking for them. Right before Christmas, I took a run out of Newport with the intent to take a look at the Butterfly but got turned around by weather just past the 43. Not being able to make it any farther, I took a look at some other banks on the way home and while I didn’t find any tuna, I did find lots of bait, birds, whales, dolphins and most importantly clean and unseasonably warm water. I did an afternoon swordfish trip out of Newport yesterday and though only 60, the water was blue and full of bait 3 miles outside the harbor. With good weather in the forecast this weekend, I’m itching to make another long run tomorrow to take another look offshore. Not sure if I’m going to do it, but I’ll report on what I do or don’t see if I go.

Speaking of swordfish, they’re still biting. Well, they’re still biting for everyone but me it seems and Bight Sportfishing got the first one of the year on New Year’s Day. The good news for the guys targeting them is that the local spots haven’t been as bad of a gang bang as they were in early December. When I fished yesterday afternoon there were only three boats to be seen on the horizon, which is a far cry from the 25 to 30 boats that were on it before. I may not have caught one yet, but have noticed that the guys consistently catching fish are not the guys just driving into the middle of the fleet and letting them go. If you’re going out on your own boat and have no idea what you’re looking for, I’d recommend investing in a trip with a charter operation that’s been having success like Bight Sportfishing or Pacific Bills Charters. While you’re still going to need luck on your side to get bit, not getting bit is very easy to do, especially when you’re fishing in the wrong zone, wrong depth or with the wrong gear. The cost of a charter is a lot cheaper than the time and money you’ll waste trying to figure those things out yourself. Anyway, get out there and catch something this weekend!

Erik Landesfeind
Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California an...