Southern CA Saltwater

Dana Point: SSTs back on the mend

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jun 05, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT — Ocean conditions are improving for the boats that call Dana Point and Newport Harbor home.

"We still haven’t seen the sunshine we’ve been hoping for — however, the lack of wind has been welcomed and the water along the beach has started to show some signal. The 1/2-day scene has perked up as a result. Some fun bass action the last few days. Fly-line action on the surface is back in play. Fish up and reacting to the chum has been nice to see as well. Some nice sheephead and sculpin as well, to go with that bass on the inside there," Capt. Brian Woolley said.

CAPT. MARCUS BAILY, pictured right, had his Fury over at San Clemente Island this week and found some willing yellows cruising the front of the island.

There you have it. The inshore summer season is on! As for those 3/4-day cods and other bottom biters, they were still the prime 3/4-day target on the coast. Interestingly, Woolley noted the rockfish seemed to have set to foraging fairly far from their usual rocky bottom safety zone, as they searched the mud for schools of anchovy and spots of red crab that showed up there.

He said, "There has been some anchovy and red crab lingering that has moved a lot of this fish off the hard bottom and into the mud off the spots so using the side scan for locating these rockfish was a huge help this week."

After the recent resurgence of yellowtail action out at San Clemente Island, the bite "tightened up a bit" over the weekend, lots of fish to see, just a bit harder to draw a bite over the weekend.

That opened the door to some plan B action on the bottom biters, and it was good, adding to the a.m. big game shots. Plus, pulling in tight added quality calico to the mix aboard Dana Wharf Sportfishing's overnight action.

The boat had an open party offshore 1.5-day on the books this week, so we'll be looking forward to those results.

As for the numbers, highlights included the morning 1/2-day aboard theClemente Thursday, with 18 anglers releasing 175 calico bass. The Sum Fun was out on the cod grounds that day and 23 anglers bagged 140 cods including 125 reds, 35 sculpin and a dozen whitefish.

On up the O.C. coastline, the Davey's Locker Sportfishing and Newport Landing fleet saw continued fast fishing for sculpin and on local runs to fish the local zones just up coast. Friday the Western Pride managed 30 sculpin limits on their a.m. run, while adding in 70 other bottom biters.

There's been a bit of live squid in the bait for them too. But the Thunderbird had the full bait selection daily on their overnight runs to San Clemente Island.

The word was, a bit of nesting activity in Pyramid, with attendant a.m. shots at yellows and barracuda, maybe a seabass or two, followed by fanning out up the front side in search of gamesters, and finally, bottom grabbers as needed.

Aboard the Thunderbird Sunday they went 12 for 18 on the mid-20s grade forks. Light tackle was the culprit in the game, giving sea lions and kelp stringers just enough of an advantage to seal the deal on zero for the more foolish anglers.

After that was over, it was on to bottom biters, followed by a bit of bass. The final for the 36 fishers was the 12 mossbacks, 64 ocean white sea-fish, a nice seabass, 213 cods, 3 sheephead and 19 keeper calico.

With that bit-O juice in the bait tank the Freelance had headed on across to Catalina Island with 54, 3/4-day anglers. They tangled with the yellows there and landed 15, also 2 bonito and barracuda before implementing plan B (bottom biters) for 107 on the white sea-fish, 6 sheep wrasse, 5 calico bass and 2 hands full on cods.

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