Southern CA Saltwater

Warming waters spur bass bite

BY MERIT McCREA/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 08, 2019

DANA POINT/NEWPORT — The warmest coastal waters in the Bight set up off Orange County this past week and the bass were appreciative. It was 64 degrees on top by the weekend, after two weeks of unseasonably calm waters, with a third on the way.

Capt. Brian Woolley reported, "Another week of great weather and a few days of good sunshine really helps things again this week. Our water has been in the 62- to 64-degree range. With that our bass action has started to make some marked improvements.

BRIAN DUNHAM FISHED the Thunderbird overnight to San Clemente Island.

"Some great fly-line action the last few days for us on our 1/2-day trips as we’ve been in on the spots fishing bass. Some good action on the artificial like the swimbaits and rubber but the fly-lined sardine fished the best on these trips. Also some solid sheephead for our anglers that like to fish the exotic baits like the clam and shrimp."

Meanwhile the Dana Wharf 3/4-day runs continued to take advantage of the rockfish bite down off Camp Pendleton in deeper water. Both bait and iron worked well. Woolley noted anglers should come prepared to do a little bass fishing too, now that things are heating up.

Saturday the two 1/2-days aboard the Sum Fun released nearly 200 calico, keeping about 20, along with 14 sheephead, 3 sand bass and 3 rockfish.

Both the Fury – Dana Wharf Sportfishing, and the Thunderbird, up at Davey's Locker Sportfishing continued to tap into the latest yellowtail action out at San Clemente Island.

"Capt. Marcus has been fishing yellows in the morning. Yesterday they had 24 fish in that 8- to 12-pound range... Then of course after they have their go with that yellow they’ve either gone to work in some deep water for the rockfish or setting up on the spots for bass and whitefish," said Woolley.

Marc Ingram fished the Thunderbird and reported similar action, saying, "Captain Jeff Markland found some willing but smaller biters in the morning. The size and amount increased as the day went on with plenty of action and fish boiling around the boat.

"The hot ticket was 20- or 25-pound line and a number 1 hook for our smaller sardines. More experienced anglers using this method had up to 8 yellows in their bag. Final count was 80 yellows – up to the high teens."

Local fishing out of Newport tapped into lots of sculpin and whitefish out on the Long Beach Shelf, and got just a taste of the mid week 2-day local yellowtail snap out there too.

The biggest taste of that bite was had aboard the Patriot on Wednesday off Huntington Beach. The 16 aboard the 1/2-day run tied into 24-plus to land 12 of the bigger forks. The fish bit both the dropper looped and fly-lined sardines, plus found good bass fishing too, keeping about 15. The day prior they'd gone 9 for 16 on the forks, with limits of whitefish.

vancefreemanwithVANCE FREEMAN WITH Fury crewman Sam Rose at San Clemente Island.

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