SoCal Sportboat Report – Winds of Change

SoCal Sportboat Report

For myself and other salty types who’ve had our fill of chasing tuna, dorado and the elusive wahoo, we’ve been ready for a change of pace. I’ve held back talking about it too much though because there were still anglers wanting to go out and experience El Nino and experience catching these offshore species. Boats were willing to accommodate their wishes and continued to look offshore.

After weeks of declining numbers and grade of tuna being caught, boats started to cutback to weekend only schedules, start their annual maintenance, or just take a break from the almost two year grind of the never ending El Nino season. There will be boats that may run into some offshore trips if opportunities present themselves, but for the most part that phase of our fishing season is over. Turn the page. Now what?


rockfishing season
Sunday’s 3/4-day aboard Stardust Sportfishing

Most of the boats have switched over to rockfishing. Rockfishing will be my personal focus through the end of the year. I may get one last try at wahoo. Hopefully, I can get a little bass and yellowtail action mixed in as well. Be prepared for wind and rain when you go out. Think about having some extra clothing just in case. When I rode the Stardust this weekend, I saw lots of anglers get soaked by either waves coming over the rail, or the bait tank spilling water all over them. That being said, there’s good bottomfishing to be had.

The rockfish have had a lot of time to fatten up while being mostly neglected this year.

On my trip Sunday, it was pretty bumpy on the water just off Santa Rosa Island. Capt. Dane Johnston had to keep the boat in gear to try and keep it over our target zone. Despite the effort, we’d get pushed off pretty quickly anyways. That said, I came home with a fat sack that included a limit of 3 lingcod, so no complaints from me.


socal report
Friday Oct. 30th on the Mission Belle

The fishing is going to be opportunistic. There will be times that it really goes so you need to be ready.

It was really good at the Coronados this weekend. The Mission Belle, ¾-day boat out of Point Loma Sportfishing had 100 and 92 yellows Saturday and Sunday respectively. There is still an opportunity for wahoo too. On Halloween, Philip Huber’s El Nino ticket got punched when he landed one. I posted this video to the So Cal Salties Facebook page of Philip’s catch.

I don’t really see these fish going away. Lots of the migratory fish will settle into the areas where they’ve been getting caught and I think we’ll continue to have opportunities along the entire coast and the local islands. Remember to watch for windows around the full moon and don’t forget  to bring your yoyo irons. 


fishing reports
Big checks for big fish at Dana Wharf Sportfishing

Dana Wharf Sportfishing has started their annual halibut derby. Last year, a pot of almost $3600 was split between anglers Norm Bell and Steve Sneider (above). There are designated drift days on Fridays and Sundays OR you can enter for an additonal $5 on any ½ or ¾-day trip when you buy your ticket.

We’ll need a little help from Mother Nature, but there’s definitely good fishing to be had. Pick your spots and go.

Good luck.

Joe Sarmiento
Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing b...