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Dana Point: Rockfish back on the menu for O.C. boats

Weather permitting

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Mar 03, 2020

DANA POINT/NEWPORT — Dana Wharf Sportfishing boats headed out for the rockfish opener Sunday, but it wasn’t long before they were blown back to the harbor. Still, they sampled what’s out there and will be back soon for more.

“We had boats leave to fish the rockfish opener today,” Capt. Brian Woolley said Sunday evening, “but the weather forced the fleet to come home early. We were able to catch some rockfish and sheephead before retreating.”


fourteenyearoldFOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD Sal Fasso with a couple eater reds caught on the Sum Fun during Sunday’s rockfish opener before the wind forced the fleet to head in early. PHOTO COURTESY DANA WHARF SPORTFISHING


The Sum Fun and Reel Fun both gave it a shot, and Woolley sent photos of the 2020 season’s first keeper rockfish and sheephead.


Woolley shared a tackle suggestion for anglers venturing out on future rockfish trips. “If you’re coming fishing with us on our 3⁄4-day trips a good medium/heavy 8-foot rod and a 300/400 size reel with 40- to 50-pound braid would be perfect,” he said. “An assortment of torpedo sinkers and a few ColtSniper jigs in 80-to 100 grams would be a good call.”


The Clemente was also out Sunday morning for a Halibut Derby trip, and managed one 7-pound legal before they too were blown out. “The last few weeks we’ve seen the halibut show a little better,” Woolley said. “There is one more month to go for the derby as it wraps end of the month on March 31.”


The weather was fine prior to the rockfish opener, and Woolley said the fishing was good. “Half-day fishing re­mained fairly decent with some good days of bass action. Fly-lined sardines, dropper loops and artificial lures all had a place this week and helped catch fish. Nicer sandbass were caught out over the deeper spots and then of course the calico action was best along the kelp and in a bit tighter. Water temperatures along the beach are still very nice, 60-61 all week for us.”


backatit
BACK AT IT on the Reel Fun. A solid sheephead for this angler on March 1. PHOTO COURTESY DANA WHARF SPORTFISHING


Woolley said the 3⁄4-day boats rode the sculpin out to the very end. “It was very steady again this past week, with limits to near limits out deep. We’re eager to see how things roll out here now that everything is open again.”


Up at Newport Bay, Davey’s Locker sent the Freelance out for a rockfish opener twilight trip, but the big boat focused on the excellent sculpin resource. They counted 137 of the spiny devils for 70 anglers, and rounded out the catch with a few bass.


Earlier in the week, Davey’s Locker and sister operation Newport Landing were busy. The Western Pride made it out nearly every day, and the bass fishing was good. Thursday 37 anglers caught 38 sandies and 13 calicos, and every angler knows how that goes. For every legal a bunch of shorts are caught and released.


quickhithalibut
QUICK HIT HALIBUT — A fish caught Sunday aboard the Clemente on the landing’s halibut drift trip. They were able to sneak in a few drifts before the weather took charge and sent them in early. PHOTO COURTESY DANA WHARF SPORTFISHING


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