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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

SCULPIN in FULL SWING

OC SCULPIN in FULL SWING

Merit McCraePublished: Jan 11, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT — At both Dana Wharf Sportfishing and the two sister landings in Newport Bay, Davey’s Locker Sportfishing and Newport Landing, the word was lots of sculpin on the fee, with the sculpin season underway. In addition, with the waters offshore cooling, the exotics seem to have moved in on the coastal shelf break – not eager biters but a fun show nevertheless, and something to try for after downloading on scullies.

 

CAPT. SHANE MANSUR had the Sum Fun out on Tuesday for the sculpin opener and found easy 5-fish limits of these tasty rattlesnakes for his anglers.



At Davey’s Locker, Josh Iwanaga said, “As we kick off the New Year down in Newport Beach, sculpin fishing is in full swing. The Freelance is running 3⁄4-day trips and the Western Pride will be starting their p.m. Half-day runs during the week. Both boats have been fishing for near limits. The bait of choice is the red on red flake Scampi jig —used best with a small strip of squid on the jig. If you are bringing one rig down, we recommend using a small leader of 25-pound, with braid, as you can feel the bite with less stretch. Any and all gear/tackle needed can be bought down in our office.”

 

Capt. Brian Woolley at Dana Wharf Sportfishing advised, “Best rigs this week was a 5-inch Viejos swimbait on a 1-ounce leadhead, fished on a dropper loop with an 8-ounce sinker. Lights-out easy 5 fish like that, as it eliminates the rockfish by-catch and the aggressive sculpin have no problem jumping on that swimbait.”

 

Tuesday, 45 anglers rounded up 225 scorpions for full limits.

 

Although cooler water in the coastal kelp beds kept the calico sluggish, offshore the scene was unexpected, yellowtail on kelp paddies and big bluefin tuna boiling. “Yesterday, even in that funky southeast breeze, Capt. Beau Daniels on the San Mateo had an a.m. 1⁄2-day and found a kelp off the beach and ended his trip with 17 yellows for his 4 guys.”



 

It was the whale watch boat that spotted the boiling bluefin. Woolley said he too saw it. “I saw it on Thursday in a spot of mackerel that the dolphin had pushed up on the surface. That was in 200 feet of water,” said Woolley. All avoided capture however. “None caught but always a chance we could go look after we load up on those sculpin!”

 

As for the halibut derby, there was no recent movement on the leaderboard. It happened that bigger halis caught last week were taken in the deeps while cod fishing, and the anglers hadn’t entered the derby!

 



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