For the first time in a few years, the middle of winter is finally starting to feel like the middle of winter. While our state can certainly use a break from the endless summer we’ve experienced the last few years, it’s not so fun for us fishermen. Despite the iffy weather and slow overall fishing, there are still some fish to be caught if you’re willing to go out and look around.
With rockfish closed for the next couple months there’s not much happening in Santa Barbara or Ventura Counties but the Gentleman out of CISCO’s is running 3/4-day trips for bass, bonito, perch and sand dabs. I spoke with Captain Larry Heron of Calico Hunter Charters and he reported that he’d been off the water during the holidays but had a few openings for coastal bass trips available. These trips normally fish the coast off Santa Barbara and can be a fun alternative to fishing on a sport boat.
There’s been a little bit of squid in the Santa Monica Bay and the Redondo Special out of Redondo Sportfishing has been putting it to use on some yellowtail and the occasional big seabass. This bite has been extremely hit an miss and the squid has been tough to catch, so if you’re planning to head out, I would hope for the best but not expect much. Boats out of Marina Del Rey have been targeting calicos, sand bass and sculpin on the 1/2 and 3/4-day trips and the fishing has been fair at best.
The bass fishing along the coast from Palos Verdes to Dana Point has been hit and miss for private boaters. Chris Lillis fished Palos Verdes on Wednesday and reported slow fishing and dirty water. The guys fishing sand bass out front of Long Beach and Newport Beach are catching some fish but it’s far from wide open. Jimmy and Tracy Decker fished below Newport Harbor on Sunday and reported decent fishing on calicos with hard baits. With a big swell forecast for the next few days, the conditions along the coast are going to change, most like for the worse.
Haven’t heard any news from Catalina or San Clemente Island this week but I’m sure that you could find a calico bass or stray yellowtail somewhere along either of the islands. The Gale Force and Triton are running combo hoop net and fishing trips to the island this weekend. If you’re interested you can find out more details on their website.
Down the beach there are some scattered yellowtail, seabass and halibut biting, but they’re spread randomly from Dana Point to San Diego, so you’re going to need to put in the time to figure that out yourself if you’re interested.
The local San Diego boats are mostly fishing rockfish in Mexican waters and have been doing pretty well. There hasn’t been any yellowtail at the Coronados the last few days but then again there’s not a lot of guys looking for them, so who knows what is or isn’t down there to be caught. Further south the yellowtail were still biting well at Colonet for the 1 1/2-day trips over the weekend. These fish are almost all coming on the yo-yo iron so bring your jig stick. Also make sure and bring some rockfish gear as the boats switch to deep water codding once the yellowtail bite dries up for the day.