|At the end of the day, end of the season, our calico and sand bass fishery is based on conditions. (I can't comment on spotted bay bass.) When it's good water conditions, the bass fishing is great. When the conditions are off, you could fish bass all day long and be left thinking that there's not a bass for miles. But there are. They just are not biting. The same can be said for time of day. Anyone who has spent winter days at Catalina will tell you that it's common to wail on the bass all night and catch and release until the thumb goes numb, but come daylight you'd think there isn't a bass for miles.
Point: our fishery is based on condition, for all species. And the cold-water upwellings that the SoCal Bight and northern Baja are vulnerable to make our waters fickle, especially in the spring.
Word that the local stocks of bass — calico, sand and bay — are in need of protection and further regulation has the state looking into further regulations. The red flag is thanks in major part to a predoctoral research paper by one Brad Erisman of University of California, San Diego. Titled the "Illusion of Plenty, Masking Collapse of Two Key Southern California Fisheries" the paper by Erisman et. al (which includes Larry Allen) states, "the two most important recreation fisheries off Southern California have collapsed..." Here's the link to the article:
Wednesday SAC attended the State Marine Resources Meeting and participated quite actively in the discussion, according to a press release from SAC (Sportfishing Association of California).
"The State is considering action to protect the biomass of sand bass, kelp bass, and spotted sand bass. Many private groups were represented in the forum as well as individual anglers," went the release. "The DFG Biologists did a good job of providing accurate background information on the status of the basses. SAC provided additional information not covered by the report. The DFG put on the table possible options to include the following: possible closure to fishing the select species of some time period when they are spawning, reduction in bag limits, increase in length of retained fish. The DFG Biologist report showed that increased bass length for retention was the most definitive method that we felt reasonably manages the situation. All of the potential options will be forwarded to the Commission for consideration in final rule making."
So what was SAC's stance?: the association advised against a closure while supporting an increase in the length to 13 inches for those fish retained.
What do you think should be done? I think our bass populations are healthy. After all, it's been a bass a cast on the squid all winter. Why? Because the conditions have been stable.
Oh, and the Packard Foundation helped fund the study. Shocking.