Editor’s Note: Everyone is getting tired of wind in the fishing forecast, including Erik Landesfeind, but he manages to round up your SoCal fishing options starring rockfish.
Looking back over my last few columns, I noticed that this is the fifth week in a row that I’m leading my report off with a gripe about the weather. I do however appreciate Mother Nature keeping us on our toes by replacing our regularly scheduled wind with freezing cold weather, rain and, oh yeah, wind. Since there isn’t much fishing to report this week I thought I’d take a few minutes to look into what’s been happening weather-wise.
This shot, which is the forecast of a small weather window in the middle of next week, is what our normal wind map should look like for this time of year. As you can see on the map, the coastline cuts in dramatically below Point Conception, creating the Southern California Bight. This indent blocks Southern California from the prevailing northwest winds that blow across northern and central California coast.
Along with blocking the wind, the shape and topography of the Bight’s coastline causes the inner edge of the northwest wind line to wrap around. This wrap around creates a counter clockwise wind rotation within the Bight through most of the spring and early summer. This rotation is known as the Catalina Eddy and occurs throughout the spring and early summer. This weather pattern is the creator of the “June Gloom” and the usually calm winds associated with it.
This picture is a pretty good representation of what we’ve been going through this spring. It appears that the local northwest winds have shifted into more of a west-northwest direction, pushing them within the normally protected waters of the Bight. Unlike the winter weather patterns where the wind blows strong enough to blast right past Point Conception, this weather is wrapping around it and into the Bight. Not having a degree in meteorology, I have no idea why it’s happening, I just hope it stops doing it soon.
As I said before, there really isn’t much to report this week because the weather has kept most boats off the water. As the Navionics map shows, rockfish are still biting up north and the boats that got out this week all caught fish, despite being limited as to where they could run. The weather looks fishable along the coast all weekend north of Ventura and the islands look okay for Saturday but windy on Sunday.
The rockfish were biting at San Nicholas Island and probably still are but I doubt any boats are going to be able to make it out there this weekend. San Clemente Island looks fishable this weekend and if the forecast holds, I may run out there Saturday morning to fish bass. No one has been out there in a while but the rockfish bite has been good and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some yellows in the counts this weekend.
The squid showed up at Catalina this week and the Pacific Carnage should have bait for sale at the island this weekend. At the time of this writing on Thursday morning, they are tanked up and sitting in front of Avalon. Nacho’s bait barge also has plenty of live squid today but might not by the weekend, so make sure to plan ahead with some frozen if you’re heading out. There were some yellows biting at Catalina this week and the Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing caught 33 of them on Monday’s trip. I’m sure that having a tank of squid wouldn’t hurt your chances in getting bit. If you’re looking for yellows, I’d look for areas with good conditions on the west end backside of the island. I’m sure the water is pretty ugly in places after this week’s wind so you might have to drive around a bit to find good water.
It sounds like the wind rolled the water down in the 1 1/2-day bluefin zone so let’s keep our fingers crossed that the boats fishing down there this weekend can relocate the fish. The 3/4-day boats haven’t found any cooperative bluefin this week but have been scoring big bonito and kelp paddy yellowtail when they’ve been able to get off the dock. The weather looks good down in that zone all weekend, so if you’re looking for somewhere to fish I suggest giving that a try.