|The wind really got up this afternoon, with white caps and wind swell being the report up and down the coast. It was blowing 16 knots in front of my place in north San Clemente, and the boats running back towards Dana Point were hucking spray and falling off the fronts of waves.
Still, this weekend will go down as the one come year-in-review time as the one that really rang in our saltwater season. There were island seabass caught at not only Catalina, but also San Clemente and the Channel Islands. A little bit of 'cuda bit from Marina del Rey--got a call around 3 p.m. that the New del Mar had the first four gar of the year on board--to Long Beach as well over the weekend. No huge hits, just enough to show that things could get interesting.
The yellows stopped putting on impressive shows at the Coronados and La Jolla, but chalk it up--at least partially--to this being the first weekend where there were multiple bites for skiffs to run on and the crowd being a lot heavier than the volume of fish.
Then, of course, there's those huge coastal seabass. No huge numbers, no go here, catch this reports, but there were some incredible fish caught and shot.
The man of the weekend was my bud Jim Kingsmill. He ran out of Dana Point and up to Newport to get tanked up with the tiny squid in the Newport receiver. He told me tonight that he had to eliminate some water and really work at it, but in the end a 57 for Kingsmill and a 59 for a buddy of his--missed his name, but caught that it was his first seabass--made the effort worth it. It was not a one bite, one fish story, unlike all the other coastal fish so far this spring.
The conditions look great and we are way ahead of where we've been the past few seasons around mid May. I'm optimistic. But the pessimist in me wants to put it out there that if the past few seasons have shown anything, it is that you should get out while there is getting to be done... wait around for whatever you are waiting for and it may never come.
Here are the five bites to watch, and get in on even, this week:
CATALINA YELLOWS/SEABASS: The big boats had a few yellows over the weekend, and the small boats had some good seabass fishing down east over the weekend and late in the week. There's more and more bait (squid) showing up, especially on the frontside, and the conditions are just a few steps away from being perfect.
SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND: Kind of a sleeper, the Options has strung together some good trips on the smaller grade seabass that are stock at the islands right now.
LOCAL 'CUDA: The Santa Monica Bay and Horseshoe/Flats have signal on the 'cudas. It looks like it could be any day that some big scores get posted.
LOCAL SEABASS: Any kelp line/known seabass producer has the potential to kick out a fish of the season, if not a lifetime, for anyone who has a skiff and wants to put in the time. The time has been late in the late, late afternoons/evenings, in the dark, and right at grey. In other words, the time periods that involve the most work. Fish of the week was a 66 pounder for a boat out of Dana Point.
CORONADOS/LJ YELLOWS: When it wants to bite, it really wants to bite and the grade is incredible: solid 18- to 30-plus pounders. Well worth putting in a day.
But that sums up the prospects this week, no matter what you're into: well worth putting in a day.