FishingFishing ReportsSaltwater Fishing

Rockfish Bite in Mexican Waters

With light rain and not so light winds forecast for today, it’s a safe bet that the local fishing isn’t going to improve by the weekend. With that, you can expect a repeat of last week’s action; slow bass fishing, a few halibut and plenty of lobster for the hoopnetters. The one bright note is that several San Diego boats will be running 1 1/2 to 3 day trips this weekend targeting rockfish and yellowtail in Mexican waters.

Starting to the north, I would still avoid anything above Marina Del Rey as they continue to be in full sand dab mode and barring an early season seabass bite, it will continue until rockfish reopen on March 1st. The rocks and reefs in the Santa Monica Bay and down through Long Beach continue to kick out perch and sculpin for the sport boats along with the occasional sand bass or calico. But if you want a shot at catching bass, your best bet is to go on a weekday.

If you pay attention to the counts you’ll notice that boats will turn in bass all week and then come the weekend it’s mostly perch and sculpin. This isn’t because the bass stop biting on the weekends, it’s because the boats don’t put as much effort into catching them. While wintertime bass take skill to catch, perch and sculpin don’t, so if a sport boat has a big weekend load of inexperienced passengers you can bet they’ll be looking for bag fillers instead of bass.

The Native Sun out of Long Beach Sportfishing has started their yearly halibut derby and on Wednesday they caught five halibut and a bunch of sculpin for their twenty passengers. In my opinion, halibut fishing is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but they have been getting some good sized fish and if you’re lucky enough to catch one you might win some money. Like with the bass trips, I’d try and get out on a week day because the less people there are on the boat, the better your odds of catching a fish.

Spotted bay bass fishing continues to be tough but there are fish to be caught in all of the bays and harbors. On Saturday the SWBA will be hosting their first tournament of the 2014 season at Davies launch ramp in Alamitos Bay and teams will be fishing spotties in Long Beach and Huntington Harbor. If you’re interested in seeing the weigh in, you can watch it online at starting at 1:45 PM.

As I mentioned before, there are several boats running 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 day trips out of San Diego on Friday night. The Tribute and the Dominator will be running a 1 1/2 day trips that will most likely be fishing the area around Colonet. These trips usually spend a couple hours looking for yellowtail on the high spot in the morning and then fish deep-water cod the rest of the day. If you were going, a good plan would be to hope for yellowtail, but expect to fish rockfish in depths up to 500 feet (and bring the appropriate tackle).

The Chief still has a few spots available on their 2 1/2 day trip departing on Friday night. This trip will make the long haul down to San Martin Island (approximately 155 miles south of San Diego) and fish a day and a half down there before running home. The pinnacles around San Martin have been biting, so you can expect a good shot at yellowtail and plenty of good-sized rockfish. The yellowtail have been biting the yo-yo jigs and the rockfish will as well, so make sure to bring plenty of iron along with some torpedo sinkers and hooks. The boat will likely anchor in the lee of the island overnight, which will give you a chance to fish calicos so remember to bring a bass rod.

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...