|I have never met Dan Fultz, but he's the man. Always out, always trying, I saw him fishing down below my place in San Clemente day after day last year until the boat connected on the first seabass of the year last year for the BAC (Balboa Angling Club) flag.
He's back at it this year. Here's 68 pounds of respect:
(Photo courtesy of Jimmy Decker; Balboa Angling Club)
He scored the fish of a lifetime--which is also a new BAC record--just a few days after getting the flag for the first fish of the year with a 35 incher.
Here's my big prediciton again: this is going to be a great season for big seabass. The set up is just so perfect, and there's already been a few huge local fish caught to go with some schoolies at Catalina.
Anyone who says they are going to sell their boat post MLPA is delusional. There are still options galore, as mapped out in the "Sacred Coast" series in this month's WON. It's just all about getting out and enjoying our incredible coast. Fultz scored his fish off Newport, but there's a laundry list of spots to try, including Crystal Cove to the south, which is still open to hook-and-line fishing--and is one of the best coastal spots around.
There's a lot of zones that have the potential of kicking out a 60-plus-pound white seabass. Here are 10 along the coast that come to mind.
1: La Jolla, the queen of the SoCal Bight: LJ kicks out big fish and big hits when massive schools push in come early summer. Day in, day out, LJ is the best spot on the coast. Period.
2: Squid beds along San Diego county coast. Find them, fish them in the dark. My first 60 came from a north county squid bed.
3: Barn Kelp: Spear guys consistently shoot huge fish here. April is the time it gets with it for the spear guys. It's a pretty standard line for all the kelps from Dana to LJ.
4: Pendleton Coast: The kelp has died off and shifted around. Take the time to figure it out now and the rewards could be great come summer.
5: Dana Point. Epic habitat, and often overlooked (after all, it too close to the harbor, right?). Between Dana and Mateo there is an almost continual kelp bed that few ever camp out on and fish seabass along. Enough said.
6: Salt Creek: An all time seabass producer, especially on big fish when schools push in late spring.
7: Newport Artificial Reef: It kicks out a lot of big fish. It also has a lot of core guys fishing it all the time. Makes a guy wonder how many other spots would kick out fish like the reef does if there were guys trying every day.
*Crystal Cove is right behind the reef(s).
8: Rocky Point/Point Vincente: Mostly small fish get caught on rod and reel up here, but spear guys skewer the shit out of the big fish here. Before Bill Ernst shot his 90 plus off County Line, the world spearfishing record was from Rocky.
9: Point Conception: A total sleeper, the stuff gets on bird schools in the fall up here when there's no squid and it lives in squid beds for weeks on end when there's fall squid nests. There's a hoist in Gaviota. Epic skiff potential.
10: Any little kelp line from Point Conception to the border. Come March/April when the little schools of huge fish push back in, any kelp line can kick out a huge seabass. That's what makes local fishing great.