Bass and Yellowtail Bite
We’re coming off a little shot of weather as I write this on Thursday morning, but if this winter’s previous storms are any indicator, it shouldn’t have much effect on the fishing once things straighten back out. With water temperatures averaging between 59 and 61 along the coast, it appears that all of our hot weather didn’t due much to warm the water but it did make for a couple weeks of stable temperatures. Water stability is a key to good fishing at any time of year, but it’s felt the most during the winter months.
In last weeks article I suggested anyone fishing bass to use warm water presentations rather than the standard low and slow winter techniques. I put my own advice to the test on Sunday morning during a trip I took out of Marina Del Rey and it proved to be the right call. Despite it being a cold morning with absolutely socked in fog, the fish on the artificial reefs were up and chasing bait schools high in the water column. In a couple of hours we caught at least 30 fish that were a mix of sand bass and calicos on swimbaits and Alabama Rigs.
When the fog burned off enough to see I ran up to Malibu and fished shallow boiler rocks for a wide open bite on calicos that were eating the surface iron, the hard bait and the weedless swimbait despite the cold-ish water. We finished our morning fishing the break wall and the bass there were biting as well. For us, the key to getting bit was finding areas with conditions and bait. On the artificial reefs, the condition ended up being tidal movement as the fish stopped biting on the slack tide. In tight, the conditions were surge and off color water.
If you’re headed out, I’d suggest trying different areas until you get bit and then figure out what was different where you got your bites so that you can look for other areas that might bite.
The calicos and sand bass also bit well for the guys fishing Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach. John Curry fished Izors Reef on Sunday and reported excellent fishing for quality sand bass on Alabama Rigs and swimbaits. Like my fish from Santa Monica, all of his fish came off bait schools that were scattered around the reef.
In other somewhat bass related news, Captain Nick Tharp of El Tiburon Sportfishing reported on a charter trip he ran on Tuesday. “What a crazy day! With the extreme lack of current over the last few days, the bass fishing has been pretty slow so I brought a bag of fresh frozen squid with us just in case. I found a spot with great meter marks but the bass didn’t want bite so I posted up and started chumming while my clients fly-lined stripped squid. That resulted in an hour long flurry of calicos, sand bass, rockfish and triggerfish.” They ended up with four trigger fish, which are the only ones that I’ve heard of being caught that far north. Not sure if it has anything to do with El Nino but it’s a good fish story nonetheless.
Finally, the yellowtail are still biting at the Coronado Islands. These fish are not really relating to spots but are coming off bait schools in deep water so the fishing can be hit and miss. The Malihini out of H&M Landing has been on these fish all week with scores ranging from 20 to 100 fish per day. If you’re planning on jumping on a 3/4-day trip this weekend make sure and bring your yo-yo rod as almost all of the fish are coming on jigs. The yellows are also biting at Colonet but there is some wind in the forecast for that zone over the weekend, so I’d check the weather report before booking a trip.
If you’re looking for something to do off the water this weekend, why not head down to the Pacific Coast Sportfishing show at the Orange County Convention Center. It runs Friday through Sunday and I will be giving a yellowtail seminar on both Friday and Sunday. For more information, check out this article. If you make it to the show, please stop by and say hello.