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WON Reports: Private Boater's Spotlight

Private Boater's Spotlight: Winter halibut bite keeps rolling

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Feb 21, 2012

Big swells and wind conspired to keep boats off the water during the week; and even come the weekend, getting to the islands or even getting out between the Mission Bay jetties was a challenge for little boats.

The islands went unchecked last week due to the weather, but the local coast, and the best local halibut fishing in recent memory, gave private boaters a shot at something that pulls back.

San Diego County has been kicking out the halibut from North County to Imperial Beach. As has the Long Beach/L.A. Harbor complex.

WON Saltwater Editor Brandon Hayward fished the halibut along the upper end of the Pendleton Coast last week, getting one legal halibut on his skiff on Friday before jumping on Tim Husband’s 28-foot Parker on a Saturday trip that ended up with 5 halibut.

“On Friday I fished with Denny Hill. We started trying for halibut but there was no drift, so we headed down the coast and got down as far as Patterson’s Kelp, where the conditions were pretty hideous,” he said. They ran back up to some hard bottoms along the upper end of Pendleton and Hayward got a 10-pound halibut.

The trip the next day with Tim Husband and wife Cory on the Parker had ideal halibut drifting conditions.

“There was a little bit of south wind, actually a decent little 8 knot or so south breeze and uphill current, which made for perfect drifts,” added Hayward. “Cori got the first fish on the first drift on her first bait, which is pretty much her standard seabass move to… and from there we just kind of picked; in the morning,, four ounces was holding bottom and in the afternoon it took six to eight. Tim and Cori both got doubles on the flatties and I had one. The fish were the ‘stock grade’ for what’s been from Dana Point to Oceanside, like 8 to 10 pounders. Tim had one that was like 16 or 18 for the big fish of the day.”

Husband was back out Sunday with Ron Springer and Bill McKenzie and the trio had four of the stock grade legals before they bailed out before the mid-afternoon breeze kicked in. The same day the sportboat Clemente ended up with 5 halibut and a 43.1 pounder.

There’s also been some huge halibut he had around Oceanside and its artificial reefs in additions to outside the wrecks around Mission Bay and down off Imperial Beach.

WON Freelance writer Greg Trompas spent his last two weeks in school getting his captain’s license, but he reported that one skiff anglers had a fish in the low 40s and backed it up with a halibut in the high 30s the next bait. Trompas himself has two halibut over 40 pounds for the winter and is looking forward to getting back at it this week.

On the exotics front, there’s been no reports of seabass or yellowtail in La Jolla, although there has been some squid around for the few looking.

The weather is supposed to get back to being prime this week, with low 70s taking over along the coast to go with lots of 10 knots or less and variable in the forecast to go with 4 to 6 feet of the west swell that’s been around for weeks.

Bob Vanian at reported that there’s been a mix on offer for private boaters.

“The fishing along the San Diego County coast continues to produce a mixed bag of what are mostly sand bass, calico bass and sculpin along with an occasional halibut. Please keep in mind that the seasonal rockfish/ground fish closure remains in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, 2012,” said Vanian.   

“Boats fishing out of San Diego Bay have generally been finding their best fishing while working off Imperial Beach. There has been a mix of sand bass, sculpin and halibut biting while drifting sandy bottom areas in the region of the Imperial Beach Pier in 45 to 60 feet of water. Skippers have reported success with the halibut while fishing sandy bottom next to the hard bottom being marked by lobster trap floats. The halibut bite has been best during the morning hours and there have been nice sized fish caught that go up into the 20 pound class.

Boats fishing out of Mission Bay have been finding a mix of bass, sculpin and halibut biting. A couple of the better areas for the bass and sculpin in this region have been at the Jetty Kelp area outside of Mission Bay and while working the hard bottom outside of the kelp line along the middle part of La Jolla. There have also been a few halibut biting for boats fishing the sandy bottom outside of Mission Beach and the sand around the structure of the Yukon wreck.”

double double

DOUBLE, DOUBLE — A south breeze and uphill current was a winning combination for Tim and Cori Husband last Saturday. They scored this foursome of flatfish while drifting live sardines on a trip out of Dana Point.

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