The wind and swell kept ramping up as the week went on, keeping private boaters away from the islands and in along the beach, where consistent local halibut fishing was the best bet for anyone looking to take advantage of some of the best local halibut fishing in years.
The halibut have been biting in the Long Beach outer harbor, and all along the coast. The common theme to the halibut bite — from San Diego to Dana Point at least — has been that the halibut have been found on the hard bottom areas.
Tim Husband told the Private Boater’s Spotlight that he got down to the Pendleton Coast to give the halibut a try with the father and son team of Rich and Ethan Romero, but not before anchoring up on a kelp line to try for bass and seabass. The kelp line kicked out bass and junk (even sea urchins on the hooks, which could be the culprit behind disappearing kelp on some spots), before switching over to halibut.
“And the guys were seasick, it was pretty lumpy and rolley, but we had our shots. We ended up with two halibut and lost one at gaff and had some missed bites,” said Husband. He said that perfect 4- to 6-inch sardines were the bait and the water was 58 degrees when the wind started blowing.
Travis Tomkins at Dana Wharf Sportfishing added that he’s also had success on the halibut while fishing down below Dana Point, with each trip giving up a halibut on the bait jigged up in the shallow water inside the kelp line.
“There’s all sorts of bait, sardines and mini macks, all over the place in the shallow water. I’ve been jigging smelt on the edge of the kelp, too,” said Tomkins.
There were no reports of seabass or yellowtail along the coast last week, as the La Jolla show on the yellows for a couple days late in the week before the full moon never rebounded. But there has been a good showing on the yellowtail around Todos Santos Island, although the distance and visa requirement has kept private boaters away. Some of the charter boats out of Ensenada had double digit scores on the yellows by finding bird schools and fishing the yo-yo iron.
The bass fishing has been good up and down the coast from the Santa Monica Bay to Oceanside, with the Horseshoe Kelp and Izor’s Reef being productive, especially for those with squid.
There continues to be major volume of squid up and down the coast, especially in the Santa Monica Bay — especially off El Segundo. Pete Wilkowski at Just Fishing in Redondo Beach said it’s been “all you want” on the squid in the bay.
ONE OF TWO ON THE TWO TIMER — A trip out of Dana Point that ran down to Pendleton gave up two halibut for Tim Husband and Rich and Ethan Romero. Here’s Ethan with the biggest fish of the day. The fish ate a live sardine.