As a form of protest against their unacceptable behavior I have decided not to report on the tuna bite that’s currently not really happening in our local waters. If you’re interested in fishing offshore this weekend I recommend taking a look at Fishdope to find out where the different sizes and species of tuna aren’t biting.
This week’s report is going to focus solely on the fish that are biting.
Before I get into this week’s report I’d like to share a funny story about the big seabass in the photo at the top of this article. My friend Eric Bent and his 81 year old dad Jerry decided to head up to Palos Verdes for a Father’s Day fishing trip. While fishing calicos along the kelp in the early morning Jerry cast out a Rapala hard bait on a spinning rod and hooked a fish that took off into the kelp. After seeing a lot of splashing in the bed, he figured a seal had gotten a hold of whatever he’d hooked. Eric maneuvered the boat towards the commotion and saw that he’d actually hooked a big seabass that was thoroughly tangled in the kelp.
Not having a gaff on the boat, Eric got the boat right up next to the fish and tried to grab it but could only get his hands around the tail end. At that point the lure pulled free and Eric was left trying to drag the fish into the boat by it’s tail. Eventually his grip slipped and the fish swam away. As Eric was cursing his bad luck his dad pointed out that the fish was swimming on the surface on the other side of the boat and Eric was able to drive over to it, get the fishes head into the small net he had on the boat and slow it down long enough to grab it by the gills and drag it into the boat. I ran into them on their way home as I was on my way out and took the pic. Eric later texted me that the fish weighed 52.2-pounds on the fuel dock’s scale. That’s definitely a Father’s Day that neither of them will forget any time soon!
The seabass and yellowtail are also biting at all of our islands. On Wednesday the Ranger 85 reported limits of seabass on the first day of their three day trip. These fish are coming from the northern Channel Islands where wind will likely be a factor this weekend, so you may want to check the weather before heading out.
The yellowtail are biting for 3/4-day boats fishing Catalina Island. On Wednesday anglers aboard the Freelance out of Davey’s Locker landed 138 of the mixed grade fish. Private boaters and charter boats have been scoring some bigger seabass and yellowtail on the squid grounds but it’s been hit or miss. San Clemente Island is offering a more consistent yellowtail bite with fish in the 20 to 30-pound class being found by some boats. Wind might be a factor for private boaters at San Clemente this weekend but it should be blowing hard enough to affect the sport boats. Finally, the yellows are biting a little for the San Diego based 3/4-day boats that are fishing the Coronados. Captain Ryan Bostian decided to throw in the towel on the non-biting tuna and reported good island fishing on Tuesday and Wednesday’s trips aboard the San Diego out of Seaforth Landing. If you’re planning on fishing the Yellowtail Shootout you can read my recap of fishing options here.
What may be the biggest news in the last few months, it seem like the migratory sand bass are returning to Huntington Flats. This week saw good scores of sand bass for boats fishing the Izor’s Reef area. The shear number of fish being caught indicates that it’s unlikely that these are resident fish. Izor’s Reef and the other hard bottom areas off Huntington Beach have historically been pre-spawn staging areas for sand bass before moving onto the flats. We’re going to have to wait and see if this is a fluke or the start of something all of the local boats have been waiting years for.
Most of the sand bass being caught are quality fish with fish from 2 to 4-pounds the norm and enough 5 and 6-pounders to keep things interesting. Many of the fish being caught by sport boats are coming on live bait fished on a dropper loop or sliding sinker rig but the fish will readily bite swimbaits as well. Private boaters have been experiencing great results as well with some boaters reporting catching and releasing upwards of 100 fish per day. If it’s been a while since you fished bass remember that the size limit is now 14-inches and the bag limit is five fish per angler. If you’re looking to catch some calicos, the rocks on the Horseshoe Kelp are kicking out some good scores for boats that anchor up current of the rocks and do some chumming. The big barracuda are still in that area and boats have been scoring the occasional yellowtail. If you want to avoid the crowds, I’d advise looking at the Horseshoe Kelp or making a run up to Palos Verdes where the bass are biting as well.