It’s been another hit-and-miss but overall good week of Spring fishing in Southern California. Starting with the misses, a lack of squid caused the Santa Rosa Island seabass bite to dry up while a combination of weather, lunar cycle and Naval closures seems to have had a detrimental effect on the yellowtail bite at San Clemente Island. Thankfully the bluefin, which were mostly uncooperative over the weekend, decided to show back up and bite for boats on Wednesday. Rather than dwell on what didn’t bite, let’s check this week’s Navionics Chart to see what is biting.
As I mentioned, the squid ground seabass bite has dried up but boats are catching fish along the backside of Santa Cruz Island. These fish are roaming around feeding on red crabs and most bites are coming on red tube baits or red surface iron. There’s no set spot where these fish are being caught, so I’d look around for crab and then watch for game fish activity. The crab will usually have lots of seagulls sitting on them (no pelicans) and if the crab are near the surface the birds will casually hopscotch along with them, flaring up to pick up a crab and then sitting down to eat it. If the bird behavior changes and they suddenly start looking less lazy, there are likely game fish around, so you might want to get a lure in the water directly beneath them.
The Catalina yellowtail bite went wide open on Wednesday with the Native Sun and Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing scoring 92 and 150 fish respectively. The fish are being caught on both sardines and yo-yo jigs. Private boaters looking to get in on this action should avoid the inevitable gang bang that these boats will attract this weekend and look for some fish of their own. There are plenty of yellowtail scattered around the frontside of the island so I’d just cruise along the 90-foot ridge and look for bait schools and birds. If you get in a fishy looking area, I’d try slow trolling a sardine. The key to getting bit on a busy weekend is to avoid other boats. I know that it can be tough to drive away from where other boats are getting bit, but it will greatly improve your chances of catching fish and keeping the frustration level low.
The calico bass bite along the beach is actually pretty good considering the current water temperatures. Matt Kotch and I fished Palos Verdes on Wednesday afternoon and had a good hardbait bite despite the 59-degree water temperature. The fish were in their normal springtime position on the outer edges of the kelp beds and were stacked on the up current edges. The current was running uphill all afternoon which is sub-optimal due to most of the beds laying out better for a downhill flow but we were able to catch fish on the ones with a defined leading edge. It took some looking around to find the right beds but we ended up with 30-40 fish for our three hours of fishing.
As mentioned above, the bluefin decided to bite again on Wednesday and the San Diego managed 9 fish to over 100-pounds on their trip. After the trip, Captain Ryan Bostian shared the proper tackle for anglers planning on heading out in the near future. A fly-line bait rig, set up is a Talica 12 2-speed (or equivalent) filled halfway with 65# braid and topped with 40# mono tied to a 5-foot 40# fluorocarbon leader and rigged with a 1 or 1/0 circle hook. The second set up would be used as a sinker or rig and can double as a flatfall rod. Talica 12 or 16 2-speed filled halfway with 65 or 80# braid, topped off with 50# mono. When used for live bait, attach 5-feet of 50# fluorocarbon and rig with a 1/0 circle hook and rubber banded 6-ounce torpedo sinker. When used with a 200 gram flatfall, this rod should be rigged with an 80# crimped leader.
Finally, if you don’t have any fishing plans on Saturday, you should think about attending the live taping of the 50th episode of the Cast and Crank Podcast. The event will be held from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Taco Surf in Seal Beach. Attendees will be able to participate in the podcast by asking questions of the guests and there will be a huge raffle with lots of great prizes including charter fishing trips, an original painting by Matt Kotch, a Traeger Grill, clothing, lures, and a ton of other stuff. If you’re unfamiliar with the podcast, I’d look it up on itunes, spotify or stitcher. The podcast features a variety of Southern California fisheries and interviews some well known anglers and captains. Hope to see you there!