Socal Fish Bite Full Moon
As an inshore guy, I try to avoid fishing around the full moon because the bass fishing usually sucks. The problem is that I don’t always keep close tabs on the lunar cycle and I sometimes get caught off guard by it. That’s exactly what happened to me on Monday night when I sat down to have a cocktail on my patio after loading the boat for a trip to San Clemente Island the next morning. Just as I took my first sip, a very large full moon rose above the horizon and my bass fishing hopes sank into oblivion.
I called my buddy Chris Oakes, who I was fishing with the next day, to break the news that the bass fishing was probably going to suck but dangled the carrot that the yellows might bite and if not that we’d check the bluefin zone on the high slack tide. The bass fishing proved to be the bust I expected and though we caught yellows, they weren’t the drones we were looking for. The bluefin zone saved the day as the moon had the fish up and feeding (even though we weren’t able to land any). Oh yeah, and the wind blew way over forecast as it always seems to do during a summertime full moon.
Why am I telling this story? With reports of another El Nino starting to form and after driving through almost 50 miles of anchovy schools on the way home from Clemente on Tuesday, I’m starting to suspect that fishing is about to get weird again. Just remember that no matter how much things change, the underlying pattern is the same. Watch the lunar cycles and pay attention to how they affect different fisheries. We’ve got two more full moons coming this summer and understanding what happened in this one will give you a leg up on the next.
With my fishing theories out of the way, let’s take a look at the Navionics Chart and see what’s biting. Starting up north, the rockfish are biting for boats fishing the coast off Santa Barbara. The Channel Islands are kicking out some good scores of seabass and yellows. High score for the week was a two-day trip aboard the Mirage out of CISCO’s that fished Monday and Tuesday. The boat returned with full two-day limits of 90 seabass for the 15 anglers aboard. Full day boats fishing the islands have also been scoring some seabass but the last few days they’ve caught mostly yellowtail.
The yellows are also biting at San Nicholas Island when boats can get out there. The El Dorado out of Long Beach Sportfishing had a 170 fish score there last week. The Freedom out of 22nd Street Landing reported limits of seabass for their 11 anglers on Wednesday and on Thursday morning the Thunderbird out of Davey’s Locker had fish on deck as well. There’s only a few places that these fish could be biting, but I’m going to leave that up to you to figure out because I think too much boat pressure isn’t going to do much for the bite.
As I mentioned earlier, I fished San Clemente on Monday and you can read my full report here. The water at Clemente is ugly and off color over most of the island but it cleans up just a couple miles away and the bluefin tuna were stacked up just below the east end on Tuesday. The fish moved a few miles in the couple hours that I fished them so it’s anyone’s guess where they’ll be tomorrow. The good news is that there is a string of bluefin from below the border to Clemente so it shouldn’t be too hard to find some.
Sport boats are catching these fish as well and the photo at the top of the page was from the Pacific Queen’s trip over the weekend. They got on them again on Wednesday and while the big ones were MIA they had limits of fish up to 70-pounds. If you’re heading out make sure and bring some heavy gear as you never know when you’re going to run into a bigger school, especially around the full moon.
The yellows are still biting at the Coronado Islands and all of the full day trips have been getting good scores. These fish were caught aboard the Grande out of H&M Landing which now has permits to fish the Coronado Islands on their full day trips. Private boaters are catching fish too and as I said last week your best bet is to look for fish away from the fleet, especially on the weekends.
There was some good coastal fishing this week and good, if limited, signs of spawning sand bass of San Diego and Huntington Beach. I’m not sure if these are just local fish moving off structure to spawn or the first wave of migratory fish returning for the first time in years, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The barracuda are still biting consistently off Long Beach and spots of biting fish are popping up here and there in other areas. With the amount of anchovies around I’m hoping they’ll stick around for a while.