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Central CA Saltwater Fishing Report

Santa Barbara became “surf perch central,” 26-inch birthday halibut from the harbor

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 31, 2013

SANTA BARBARA — Steady and dependable action on barred surf perch characterized the Santa Barbara region from the Rincon to Gaviota. A 26-inch halibut topped the catch list. A few boats targeted the ongoing white seabass bite up the coast from Santa Barbara, however weather pre-empted much success.

Santa Barbara’s core group of surf fishers continued catching (and mostly releasing) barred surf perch and the trend towards big fish continued. Capt. Tiffany Vague at Hook, Line & Sinker said, “While many of our surf fishers use tried and true baits like 2-inch Gulp! sandworms, 3-inch Kalin grubs and 3-inch Big Hammer swimbaits, some of our customers know that when they want the biggest barred perch, it is time to throw the Lucky Craft CIF Flash Minnows. They seem big for surf perch and the number of fish caught dwindles, but the size goes up dramatically, because only the larger units go after the Lucky Craft. It is common to catch 13- to 16-inch perch with the LC lures.”

Rain and wind kept most people away from the ongoing squid spawn and associated white seabass bite up the coast from Santa Barbara. A few boats made the 15- to 20-mile run, but no reports came back in of the fish, which are known to be running 30 to 60 pounds. As long as the squid sticks around, those big coastal white seabass have no place they would rather be.

Matt Allen of Santa Barbara went to Hook, Line & Sinker this week to get set up for halibut. Capt. Tiffany Vague sold him a Berkeley Air rod and swimbaits including a 4-inch Big Hammer “invader”. Allen fished Sunday (his birthday) and caught a 26-inch halibut from the sandspit at the entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor. Now that’s the way to celebrate a birthday!

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