With Labor Day in the rearview mirror and all but the hardiest of weekend warriors having hung up their fishing gear for yet another season, there are still plenty of excellent fishing opportunities available along the length of our coast.
The Black Pearl out of Morro Bay Landing scored some albacore on an exploratory 1 ½ day trip that they ran earlier this week and at the time of this writing the boat is out looking for more fish. If you’ve wanted to catch an albacore, this may be your best option even though it’s a bit of a drive (around 200 miles north of Los Angeles). The Black Pearl has a couple more 1 ½ day trips on the books for next week, but I’d visit the website and see if they are still on the fish before booking a trip. It would be a heck of a long drive to catch rockfish.
Speaking of rockfish, that’s about all that the sport boats fishing the Channel Islands have been catching of late, but there is still some sign of exotics up that way. I fished Santa Cruz Island on John Curry‘s new boat last weekend and we caught good numbers of calico bass on the weedless swimbaits along the backside of the island. While there we also saw at least one yellowtail that boiled on my bait but wouldn’t bite it. After fishing calicos, we headed over to Anacapa for some quick rockfish recon and John caught a legal lingcod on the one drop that he made before the wind came up and sent us running for the coast.
Santa Monica Bay
Rockfish, rockfish and more rockfish for the sport boats fishing up that way, but there are plenty of sand bass biting for private boaters fishing the deeper structure and the calicos are biting in the kelp off Malibu. In the south end of the bay, the water off of Palos Verdes has been rolling over every few days due to upwellings, but if you can find clean and warm water with some current, there are bass to be caught and there are still some yellowtail swimming around tight to the kelp.
The sport boats from LA Harbor to Newport seem have been on tracks to the rockfish grounds all summer long and absolutely nothing has changed there, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of other fish for private boaters to target. Brandon Vulgamott headed out earlier this week for a little bounceballing and ended up with three legal halibut and a bunch of sand bass and sculpin out of Long Beach. The water along the south end of Palos Verdes has been unstable as well, but Captain Benny Florentino took a charter group up there on Monday and had great fishing for calicos along the kelp.
Catalina and San Clemente Island
There is a bunch of squid at Catalina and some school sized yellowtail and seabass to go along with it, but the island isn’t getting a lot of pressure as most boats are fishing offshore. San Clemente Island is also kicking out some fish, but other than guys fishing calicos, there hasn’t been much traffic.
The Orange County offshore waters are still kicking out a few fish, but there isn’t a lot of volume. Captain Jimmy Decker has done a number of solo marlin trips over the last few weeks and baited both a marlin and a swordfish on Tuesday, but couldn’t get either to bite. In previous trips he’d caught a couple of marlin and a few dorado. The Cortes and Tanner Banks continue to kick out school sized bluefin and some slug yellowtail when the weather cooperates. If you want to take advantage of this bite you should book a 1 ½ trip on one of the boats out of LA or LB as these fish are all biting live squid and the San Diego boats don’t have easy access to it.
There are yellowtail and dorado within range of the ¾ day boats out of San Diego and the ½ day boat New Seaforth even caught some on a recent afternoon trip. Further south, there are still plenty of smaller bluefin, bigger yellowfin, decent sized dorado and tiny yellowtail to be caught. The overnight trips have been getting good scores the last few days, but I’d recommend booking a 1 ½ day trip to get more fishing time.
Captains Duane and Jaime of Seasons Sportfishing are continuing to tear it up down there as well, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds on the party boats, it’s more than worth it to shell out a few more dollars and fish in style by chartering them or jumping on one of their open party trips.