Fishing Reports

Sportboat Winter Hours – A Great Beginner’s Trip

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

“Oh man, I really want to go fishing with you. Let me know next time you’re going.”

It could be your co-worker. Your workout partner at the gym. Your wife’s best friend’s husband…whatever.  They see your pictures.  They eat the fish.  They REALLY want to go fishing with you.  You could just blow them off, but you see them often enough that it would be awkward if you did.

A couple of weeks pass and you see this person again, “Hey (insert name here), I’m going out next weekend. Can you go?”  What time would I need to meet you?  5:30

“I really want to go, but I think my daughter might have a soccer game.  Let me check and get back to you.”

Yeah, sure.  Whatever.  Crickets.

Has this happened to you before?  They never get back to you.  But you’ll show them pictures from your trip and they’ll say they want to go again.  Rinse and repeat.

Something needs to happen to break this cycle.  Wintertime fishing offers the perfect solution to this dilemma…WINTER HOURS.

We’re in that weird part of the year where not a lot seems to be going on. We have another month plus before rockfishing re-opens. Right now, a lot of boats aren’t even running, opting to do boat maintenance in preparation for the coming season.

For the boats that are running, they may not be running every day of the week. If they are a half-day boat, they may not be running two trips per day. If they are doing a morning and afternoon halfie, they may be only doing it on the weekends.  The rest of the week, they may only be running one trip a day.  This trip is commonly called an “Extended Half-Day Trip.”

Salty Story Time

I had a job a couple of years back in Santa Monica where this was a common scene…

  • Co-workers see Joe put frozen, vacuum-sealed bags of fish in the break room freezer
  • Co-workers ask if I went fishing
  • Joe shows pictures from a weekend fishing trip
  • “Oh man, I’d really like to go fishing with you!”

Here we go again.

I ended up scheduling a summer half-day trip aboard the New Del Mar (right) out of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing.  Remarkably, 16 people actually showed up.  Of the 16 though, ten got sick.  Some of those 10 never even got a line wet.  They were sick before we even departed the dock.

Why The Extended Halfie Is Great

The point of the story is this, DO NOT schedule more than a half-day trip with someone you’ve never fished with before.  It’s a smaller commitment for them in terms of time and expenditure.  It allows them easy entry to see if they like it and would like to make a bigger commitment.  They also get to find out whether or not they get sick.  If they do, it’s only a halfie.

It’s also a smaller commitment to you.  If they end up requiring a lot of your attention, it’s less time you’ll need to spend with them.  Also, if they do require a lot of attention…you’re only missing time on a halfie.  No big deal.

A bonus is at this time of year, many of the boats are doing really easy “bankers’ hours” type of trips.  You don’t have to be ready at 5:30 in the morning.  It’s a little more leisurely.

Here are a few options that I found and what they are doing:

Tradition  – out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro.  They’re doing the typical sand bass and sculpin program right now, but there’s always the chance you get lucky and score a halibut (top pic).  They’re running 10 am to 4 pm trips.  The boat is alternating between this trip and a sand dab trip, so double-check the landing schedule.

City of Long Beach – out of Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach.  They’re doing 10-4 trips Wednesday to Friday and then double halfies on the weekend.  Same program as the Tradition.

Sea Watch – at Seaforth Landing in San Diego.  They’re doing a 9-2:30 trip.  Similar bass and sculpin targeting (left), but in shallower water (1 oz leadheads are recommended).  The kicker here is they are seeing signs of yellowtail in La Jolla.  You never know if you might get lucky and be on the boat the day they want to go.  Bring a yo-yo rig and Junior size heavies just in case.

All for now.  Good luck if you get out there.

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...