As I mentioned last week, consistent weather is the key to good wintertime fishing and with another week of warm temperatures in the books, the fishing remains good and will probably get better over the weekend. While there haven’t been any major shakes on the yellowtail front, other than some new fish moving into the Santa Monica Bay, the cumulative effect of this stable weather is being experienced by everyone who’s been fishing. Unless we get a month of heavy storms, like the forecasters keep threatening but not delivering, I think that the fishing may quickly transition into spring and summer conditions.
Speaking of conditions, I got a call yesterday from Captain Jimmy Decker, who was fishing Palos Verdes. He reported decent bass fishing, but complained that calicos just didn’t seem to be biting as well as they should have given the water temp, color and current. When I asked him what exactly he expected in the middle of February, he laughed and said that with the warm weather and good conditions he’d expected summertime fishing. Well, if the weather holds up, that may happen sooner rather than later.
Before I get into what’s happening this week, I’d like to take a moment to discuss what’s not happening but soon will. The Southern Cal out of Pierpoint Landing started running again on Wednesday and Captain Mitch Christensen reported that he’d spent part of the trip looking for yellows and the rest fishing bass. Although he didn’t find any yellows he did find lots of bait and water temps as high as 64-degrees. Once rockfish opens on March 1st and the deep water spots off Long Beach start getting some more coverage, I’m fairly certain that some yellowtail are going to start showing up in the counts.
In other news, the Pursuit out of 22nd Street Landing fished Catalina on Wednesday and had a good snap on the barracuda to go along with lots of bonito, some bass and a handful of small yellows. Barracuda don’t normally show up in any volume until April or May, so this may just be a small batch of holdover fish they ran into or it might be the first wave of an early movement of fish. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
As I mentioned earlier, the yellowtail have showed up in the Santa Monica Bay. Like last year’s fish, these are all coming off deep water rockfish spots and from the reports it sounds like the boats are seeing a lot more fish than they are catching. Your best bet for getting a shot at these fish is to jump on the New Del Mar or Spitfire out for Marina Del Rey Sportfishing. If you’re a private boater my advice is to drive around with your face glued to your meter and have your yo-yo rod in hand and ready to drop on any deep marks you see. There are no birds or surface activity associated with these fish, so it’s going to take a lot of work to find a school on your own.
There are good tides this weekend with slack low at dawn and slack high around noon, so if you’re headed out to look for yellows, I’d try and be in a fishy looking zone at those times of day.
There are similar, but smaller, schools of yellowtail cruising around the Box Canyon area but unless the numbers improve I wouldn’t even waste my time fishing there. The other area that was biting, but slowed down considerably in the last few days, is the area below the Coronado Islands. It’s hard to tell if these fish just aren’t biting or if the lack of coverage is just making it tougher for the few boats that are fishing to find the right schools. That zone should see some more pressure this weekend, so I guess we’ll find out then.