While the big news this week was the excellent rockfish bite happening just about everywhere along the coast, there’s not much use in covering it as by the time you read this, rockfish will be closed and will remain that way until March. If you’re a private boater that targets rockfish, I’d recommend picking up a descending device before the fishery reopens. You can pick one up here.
I’ve had a homemade one on the boat for a year now and got my first chance to use it the other day when Matt caught a nice cowcod while we were fishing lings in the Santa Monica Bay. The descender worked great, but I underestimated the amount of weight it would take to pull a large fish down and had to attach several sinkers. I’d recommend having a minimum of 5-pounds attached to it so that the fish doesn’t float the sinker.
If you want to fish for rockfish over the next couple months, you’re going to need to go to Mexico to do it. If I were planning a trip, I’d jump on one of the 1 1/2-day trips the San Diego boats run to Colonett. The Pacific Voyager out of Seaforth Landing ran a trip there over the weekend and loaded up on the big rockfish and lings. As a bonus they had limits of yellowtail from 18 to 30-pounds. These are really fun trips, just make sure and check the weather report before making a reservation as it’s a long run.
There are scattered yellows biting along the beach and at the islands from Ventura down to San Diego. These fish are biting in deep water on the rockfish grounds and while the bite has been hit and miss, it’s been best around the full and new moon. Sportboats have been averaging two to ten fish on the days they’ve been biting, but with rockfish closing, I’d imagine that the boats that do manage to get out will spend more time looking for yellows.
The best bet for yellowtail right now is at the Coronado Islands. The San Diego out of Seaforth Landing has been fishing there all week and has been loading up. Their best score came on Sunday with 129 fish.
The bass bite along the coast has been surprisingly good this week. My buddies Chris Lilis and Brian Marshall fished PV on Sunday and reported excellent fishing for calicos on the hard baits. With the SWBA California Offshore Challenge tournament coming up next weekend, bass fishermen have been giving the islands a look as well. Though most are reporting slow fishing, there are enough big fish biting that it should make for an interesting event.
We’ve got good weather forecast for the weekend, but there are some storms forecast for next week, so just make sure and check the weather before running far. I’d like to close out this amazing year by thanking you for reading my columns and to wish you the best of luck in 2016!