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SoCal Rockfish Bite Before A Stormy Christmas

Southern California SoCal Rockfish Bite

There’s really not too much exciting to report this week other than the fact that the rockfish are biting well in most areas. While giant reds like this one caught aboard the Aloha Spirit are an exception, if you’re willing to make a drive or take a longer run, you should get the opportunity to fill your bag with quality fish. Let’s take a look at this week’s Navionics Chart and discuss your best rockfish options before the season ends on the 31st.

socal rockfishStarting up north, trips out of Santa Barbara harbor offer you the most rockfish options with the minimum amount of boat travel but if you’re coming from down south you’ll have a longer drive in crappy traffic to get home. The boats running out of Santa Barbara have the option of fishing the coast north of the harbor, which they pretty much have to themselves and if they want they can easily make the run to Santa Rosa Island on a 3/4 or full day trip.

If you fish out of a Ventura County landing you’re going to have a longer run to get to the prime rockfish zones, but their trips are mostly set up to take advantage of that. Overnight trips will normally run to Santa Rosa or San Miguel if the weather permits and their 3/4-day and full day trips will normally fish Santa Cruz Island. The advantage of  fishing Santa Cruz is that you’ll potentially have a shot at yellows as the Aloha Spirit encountered some non-biting schools there earlier this week.

socal rockfishIf you’re going to be fishing out of an LA County landing you’ll want to jump on an overnight trip if possible as the fishing along the coast and at Catalina isn’t all that remarkable. With good weather in the weekend forecast I’m sure that there will be boats fishing San Nic and possibly San Clemente Island. While rockfish will be the main target you’ll also get shots at yellows at both these islands. Boats fishing out of San Diego are catching some nice rockfish as well, like this big sheephead caught aboard the Dolphin.

Private boaters are still catching bass in most areas but the fishing isn’t great and probably wont improve after the weather we’ve got coming on Christmas Day. Here’s a shot of Tuesday’s wind forecast.

socal rockfishThe good news is that the weather is going to improve greatly once these clearing winds blow through and there are Santa Ana winds in the forecast for next weekend which should put all of the rockfish zones in play one last time. Good luck if you’re fishing this weekend and I wish you all a Merry Christmas with your family and friends!

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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 and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal Scene, Erik keeps all of the BD readers up to date on what's biting in Southern California. Erik divides his fishing time on local boats, long-range trips and Mexico excursions. For the past eight years, Erik has been competing in the SWBA (Saltwater Bass Anglers) tournament series and has multiple tournament victories to his credit. His sponsors include Batson Enterprises / Rainshadow Rods, Robalo Boats, Tilly's Marine, Abu/Garcia, Penn Reels, Navionics, Raymarine, MC Swimbaits, Uni-Butter Fishing Scent and Bladerunner Tackle.