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SoCal Fishing Is Still The Same…Just Different

Brian Megia on the Dolphin

Last week, I was talking about how the standard winter fishing fare was in play…sculpin, bass, and halibut were available along most of our coast for the fishing weekend.  Notable exceptions were the hot yellowtail bite on the half day boats in San Diego, and the fact that bluefin were still in play.

Over the course of this week, the same species were in play, just not necessarily in the same locales and/or the same means of catching.

Yellowtail Flip Flop

As mild as winters typically are here in Southern California, the season always seems to rear up and find a way to remind us it’s still there.  For those of us that are salty, the reminder comes in the form of winter storms messing up a hot bite.

That is exactly what happened to those yellows that were chewing for the local San Diego boats in the first week and a half or so of the year.  Then at the beginning of last week, we had all that wind and rain and…

POOF!  They disappeared.

socal fishing
Pat O’Brien (left) aboard the Aloha Spirit

Meanwhile, up north…

This time of year is typically pretty slow up in the 805.  With rockfishing off the table, lots of boats aren’t even running right now.  One of the boats currently running, is the Aloha Spirit.  They’ve been doing weekend bass targeted trips (Friday/Saturday/Sunday).

Yellowtail school found on Wednesday

Last Sunday, Capt. Shawn Steward found a good signal of yellowtail.  They only ended up with 6 for the trip.  Notably though, they were a nicer grade of fish, and some were caught on surface iron!

Shawn liked what he was seeing enough that he put up an extra trip this Wednesday.  And he did it again!  Only 6 on the board, but fish up to 30-pounds, and a high casualty rate.

I had a chance to catch up with Shawn yesterday.  He told me the fish are in close to the beach and a little line shy.  He said he and Capt. Danny Ericson (of the New Del Mar, who was a passenger on Wednesday) were fishing bait (sardine) on 25# and having a hard time getting bit.  Fishing a jig on heavier string seems to be the better option (see above).  Shawn thinks there is enough bait and enough fish around that this bite may be more than a flash in the pan.  He’s running Sunday (soldout), so we’ll keep an eye on how it goes.

The Bluefin Are Getting Bigger!

I was also talking last week how Colonet so far has been a bummer.  Fishing the Mexican coast has been replaced with offshore fishing south-of-the-border.  At the time of that post, they were finding the fish over 100-miles south.  The grade was generally in the 20-30-pound range.

Fast forward to this week.  It’s been limits style fishing.  There are still those 20-30-pound fish in the mix, but there are also a lot of 50-70-pound fish with a sprinkle of 100-plus beasts!

That’s Capt. Gavin Harbour (below) of the Pacific Queen, holding up a 152-pound fish caught on Monday’s trip.

fishing reports - socal fishing

I talked to Capt. Adam Williams of the New Lo-An yesterday.  He said the fish have moved north.  They are now almost into overnight range.  The rig of choice is 50#, with fluoro, and a size 1 to 2/0 hook.  Circles are a must!

What’s amazing to me is that these 2 young captains have been putting their customers on these fish all week, while being pretty much the only boats out there.  Literally finding the needle in the haystack without the help of a bunch of eyes working different areas to share information with.  Excellent work guys!

But before everyone gets too excited here…

It’s gonna blow this weekend.  Hate to say it, but its probably a weekend to do some maintenance, look ahead and book your next trip.

I’ll be watching to see how things play out Sunday and Monday.  I’ve got my trip on the Queen next Friday, so I’ll be able to update you all first hand.

Until then, be safe and good luck if you get out there.