Southern California anglers continue to experience good rockfishing as they await the beginning of the 2012 surface fishing season. There have been some encouraging signs south of the border as well as improving conditions in our local waters.
The Tradition out of has been red hot in the Santa Monica Bay. Anglers have been catching limits of rockfish, sculpin and a few nice fat lingcod on most trips. Jimmy Bass from Tradition Sportfishing also believes that a barracuda bite is imminent.
“Water temperatures have been up over 60 degrees and there are huge spots of bait around,” Bass said. “Good conditions and food are what you need for this whole thing to take off.”
Captain Andy Siratt of the Enterprise reported seeing several barracuda jumping out of the water near Long Beach and catching two of the hard fighting gamefish on Wednesday. In addition to the show of barracuda, the Enterprise also had limits of rockfish.
The Native Sun out of Long Beach Sportfishing has been catching sand bass on her Friday and Saturday evening twilight trips, but Captain Gabriel Ceballos will also be looking for barracuda.
“It looks like they are just starting to move in, and barracuda love to bite at night,” Ceballos said.
Ceballos will be asking anglers to bring their two-ounce leadheads for the sand bass as well as some small heavy jigs sometimes referred to as yo-yo irons.
Around Catalina Island, Tino Valentine, skipper of the Liquid Coast Highway, was on a busman’s holiday over the weekend on a private boat. He caught a white sea bass, limits of calico bass and several halibut. Valentine said things were looking better every single day.
Further south at San Clemente Island, there was great rockfishing for the Fishing with Phil group on board the Toronado on Sunday. The early risers were treated to an aerial display of flashes, loud booms and what sounded like small arms fire emanating form the West End of San Clemente Island near Castle Rock.
It was presumably the Navy doing exercises and training the brave men and women who keep us safe every day. “It was awesome to see and hear it—really exciting,” said Lokey Rincon from Long Beach.
Captain Larry Moore remembered a time in the 1970s when jets would climb straight up as far as the eye could see, then dive straight down and fire away at Castle Rock, also know by the U.S. Navy as Target Rock.
“It made the hair on the back of your neck stand up,” said Moore.
Rockfishing was excellent at the island for a variety of bottom grabbers. Nick Nuzzo caught a giant lingcod that you can see in the attached video. It was extra special as it was his birthday.
A few 18- to 25-pound yellowtail are being taken daily around the Coronado Islands and around La Jolla. You see a lot more fish than you catch right, which is typical of migratory fish just arriving from the south.
In addition to the yellowtail, good numbers of barracuda have also been taken.
Captain Mike Slater reported good barracuda fishing on Wednesday near Todos Santos Island in Ensenada, Baja California. The toothy critters were being taken on blue and white lures. The captain of the Gamefisher Ensenada also said there were good schools of 15- to 20-pound yellowtail; however, very few of the yellowtail were caught.