SoCAL — Local water temperatures are finally looking spring-like, thanks to water from 59.5 to 62 degrees being found from San Diego to Dana Point, but heading into May the spring visitors like barracuda and the local bass have yet to start snapping.
The past few seasons the ’cuda have shown up like clockwork around Mother’s Day (second week of May) so hopes are high that with some stable conditions the slime won’t be too far behind.
In the meantime, it’s been rockfish and bottom biters dominating the counts from San Diego to Ventura, although there has been a little bit of spice in the mix in the forms of halibut for San Diego boats to go with some signs that the bass fishing could perk up, at least around Dana Point and Long Beach on the twilights.
The Imperial Beach halibut bite is back on, as Captain Ron Baker found that all it took was some stable conditions to get the flatties back into the shallows. On Tuesday the Point Loma that Baker runs had 6 of the halibut in the count for the 17 anglers on its ¾-day trip to go along with 68 rockfish, 16 sculpin and 7 sand bass. The biggest halibut for the day was a 29.3 pounder for Joe Velez. The boat runs halibut specials from Wednesday through the weekends out of Point Loma Sportfishing.
Robert Falcone at Point Loma Sportfishing reported that the halibut of the week was a whopping 39.9 pounder for Niki Aquilano, who was out from Florida. On Saturday, the Mission Belle passed on running to the Coronados and instead fished along the beach, scoring 4 halibut and 10 rockfish for its 18 anglers.
POINT LOMA STYLE — The halibut specials on the Point Loma out of Point Loma Sportfishing are back on back on the ’buts with skipper Ron Baker at the helm. Here are two of the whoppers from last week, a 39.9 pounder caught by Niki Aquilano and a 29.3-pound flattie caught by Joe Velez 29.3.
The yellowtail that were off La Jolla did not show up again last week as the week wore on. In fact, it takes looking back to beginning of the week to see 1 or 2 yellowtail in the counts for the ¾-day boat San Diego out of Seaforth and the Chubasco II. With no signs of exotics around La Jolla or on scouting missions that got up around Del Mar, the San Diego is back to fishing the islands on its ¾-day trips and the local half-day trips out of Mission Bay on the New Seaforth are fishing rockfish.
Up around Oceanside, it’s been rockfish, sculpin and sand dabs, like on Saturday on the Electra out of Helgren’s when 25 anglers on the ¾-day trip found 33 rockfish, 4 reds, 38 salmon grouper, 2 sculpin and 145 sand dabs.
The Clemente ran its final halibut special of the year on Sunday out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and the trip found one legal halibut to end the derby on. Up next is the fish-off that will put the top 25 halibut anglers against each other to see who can get the other half of the prize pool that was up to $5,230 before the last trip of the year. Peggy Stein’s 43-pound, 10-ounce halibut ended up taking down half of the pot, and the other half will go to the biggest halibut caught during the fish off this Sunday.
There has been a enough bass in the counts to make Dana Wharf stick out as one of the few landings that has been catching some calico bass and sand bass. On Sunday, the San Mateo fished below Dana Point with 15 anglers for 7 calico bass, 1 whitefish and 1 sculpin.
The only trips scoring a few around on the bass have been the twilights out of Long Beach Sportfishing. The winter style leadhead and squid fishing has been good for a nice pick on the quality sand bass. On Saturday night 54 sand bass and 3 sculpin hit the deck.
Marina del Rey boats had some big, grumpy sand bass from the rockfish grounds last week to go along with a mix of salmon grouper, chilis and other rockfish.
The rockfish action has been good up around Ventura for boats sticking it out local. Look for rockfish to dominate the counts until the first wave of spring barracuda shoot into local water.