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SURF FISHING REPORT

     July 2021    

     The month of June proved to be a good one for surf anglers. The bite vastly improved for a variety of species. Warm water, approaching 70 degrees flooded the beaches. Most sandy stretches were jugged with sandcrabs. The grunion continued to run and lots of schools of small anchovies and sardines were feeding in the shallows. The croaker bite was strong all month but turned red hot on the full moon. Anglers scored fish, both yellowfin and spotfin, off the open beaches, off the jetties, in the harbors and lagoons. Most of the yellowfin ranged from 2- to 3- pounds with a few better kickers. Several of the better spotfin were in the 7-pound class with most fish ranging from 3- to 5-pounds. The corbina bite was also good with anglers reporting many more takes. Sandcrabs have been a top bait, a softshell, all the better. Halibut anglers found good action but had to work for a legal fish. North County and San Diego anglers found more quality fish. A bonus was the strong showing of white sea bass both on the beaches and in the harbors and lagoons. Most of the fish have ranged from 22- to 30-inches with the occasional legal fish topped by a 14-pounder. Brown bait, sardine and grunion patterns have been best. The calico bass were active on most reefed beaches and taking swimbaits and hard jerk baits. The shark fishers scored some big leopards at the river and harbor mouths. A slab of mackerel was the top bait. A 42-pounder was the top fish.

     SANTA BARBARA— The stretch from Summerland to Santa Clause Lane has been a good one for halibut anglers, according to Hook, Line and Sinker. Several legal fish were reported taken to go with good numbers of shorts. A shop regular caught and released a 24- and 26-inch fish on a glowbug colored swimbait off Summerland. Another angler landed a 25-inch halibut and released two shorts at Santa Clause Lane on a grunion pattern Flash Minnow. Other good halibut catches were reported from El Cap, Gaviota, Goleta and East Beach. The week-end grunion run and strong full moon tides buoyed the bite. The barred perch fishing was also solid with anglers reporting limit fishing at El Capitan and Refugio. Most of the perch have been around a pound with a few better kickers to 1 ½. Sandcrabs, mussel, lugworms and Gulp! Sandworms have been working well. The calico bass have been active on the shallow reefs. Staging grunion may have perked up the bite. The fish are taking grunion pattern swimbaits and hard jerk baits. The bait soakers are scoring with frozen grunion or squid. A 4-pound fish was taken near Graveyards on a frozen grunion. Cabezon, shallow water rockfish, sand bass, and yellowfin croaker have also been in the mix. The best stretch for corbina continues to be along Carpinteria. Sandcrabs are plentiful and are a top bait. A few guys are getting bites on bloodworms. Still some thresher sharks finning around the Goleta Pier. Pier anglers are taking a few bass, shallow water rockfish and perches. A legal seabass was taken from the beach at Goleta.

MALIBU– Corbina anglers are reporting more takes this week along Malibu beaches, according to Wylie’s. Warming waters, plentiful sandcrabs and strong full moon tides had the fish in a better mood. Most of the corbina are ranging from 1 ½- to 2 ½- pounds but there are some bigger, more leery, models. Sandcrabs have been a top bait, a softshell, all the better. Bloodworms, lugworms and mussel will also get a bite. The stretch west of the old Charthouse is a good place to look. The calico bass bite also continued solid with lots of fish on the shallow reefs and kelp edges. Squid has been a top bait but grunion pattern swimbaits are also getting bites. There has also been chunky yellowfin croaker, shallow water rockfish, sand bass, leopard sharks, cabezon and mostly short, halibut in the mix. Good numbers of white sea bass are also showing along the shallow reefs. The bulk of the fish are ranging from 18- to 25-inches but there are a few legal-size fish to 35-inches. Swimbaits have been a best bait. There were good numbers of halibut reported but few fish were of legal size. If you weed through enough shorts you will get a legal. Several 20-pound plus leopard sharks were reported taken this week.

     REDONDO BEACH– Corbina anglers have been taking some quality fish near the Hermosa Pier according to Just Fishing. A couple of fish in the 3-pound class were reported. Sandcrabs have been a top bait as they are plentiful in the surf line. A nickel-size bait has been ideal. Better catches have been made early and late as beach crowds are light. Strong tides have boosted the bite. Good catches were also reported from El Segundo, Manhattan and Torrance beaches. Torrance Beach has been a good place to look for a legal halibut. The grunion ran on this beach and the staging fish have drawn in the halibut. Grunion pattern Flash Minnows have been a top bait. Some anglers have been finding success fishing the deeper holes at a low tide. There are fish all along south bay beaches. Other catches were reported from El Segundo and Hermosa beaches. The bait soakers are scoring a few legal halibut in and around King Harbor. Cut anchovy or sardine has been the top baits. The better fish have been ranging from 26- to 28-inches. A few fish were taken on small swimbaits. There are also lots of yellowfin croaker in the mix. Good numbers of white sea bass both short and legal are on the reefs along PV. Grunion pattern swimbaits have been getting bites.

     SEAL BEACH– The spotfin croaker bite was strong on the full moon tides, reported Big Fish. Anglers reported excellent catches of spotfin ranging to 4-pounds. Good numbers of yellowfin were also in the mix. The long rodders are getting them fishing a double dropper loop rig and a pyramid sinker outside the breakers. Good catches were reported from Surfside, Bolsa Chica and Huntington Cliffs. Bloodworms have been a top bait but mussel, lugworms and ghost shrimp are also getting bites. The bulk of the fish, both yellowfin and spotfin, are ranging from 2- to 3-pounds with a few fish in the 4-pound class. Corbina anglers report a big influx of fish. Plentifuls sandcrabs and warming waters have the fish flooding the beaches. The 1 ½- to 2 ½ pound fish are more apt to bite but there are some tankers well into the 4-pound class. Sunset, Surfside, Bolsa Chica and Huntington beaches have all been holding big numbers of fish. The halibut bite is good for short fish but few legals are in the mix. The dedicated halibut angler is scratching a few legals but it takes some effort. Shoreline Drive and Cherry Beach are good places to look. One 30-inch fish was taken at the Bolsa Chica Inlet on a swimbait. Lots of white seabass have been showing in and around the harbors. Most of the fish are short but there are a few fish to 14-pounds in the mix. Anchovy, sardine and grunion pattern swimbaits have been the top presentation. Some big leopard sharks were taken at the mouth of the San Gabriel River.

NEWPORT BEACH– Corbina anglers report many more takes this week, according to Ketcham Tackle. Catches were reported from Newland, River Jetties, the street jetties and near the piers. Strong tides, water temps approaching 70 degrees and tons of sandcrabs had the fish on the feed. With lots of tourists on the beaches, early and late tide swings have been best. Screening for a softshell has been best. Sandcrabs have, overall, been the best bait this week. Bloodworms will also get a bite. Plenty of 2- pound class fish with a few tankers to 4-pounds. A 3 ½ pound fish was taken at 32nd street on a soft shell. The halibut fishing is good for numbers but poor on quality. Anglers have to weed through a bunch of shorts to find a legal. Flash Minnows and Krocodiles have been best baits. Newport Harbor mouth continues to be a better spot for a quality halibut. The bait soakers have been taking fish to 32-inches on cut sardine and anchovy or live smelt. A 32-inch fish was taken off the jetty on a whole headless, trap-rigged sardine. A few white seabass have also been in the harbor. The street jetties have been a good place to find a better spotfin croaker. Anglers fishing the stronger tides, early and late are finding spots to 5-pounds. The recent full moon saw several catches of spotfin. Lugworms, bloodworms and mussel have been strong baits. The 5 pounder was taken on a ghost shrimp. Good numbers of yellowfin croakers have also been in the mix. River Jetties, the piers and the Wedge Jetty are also holding croakers.

DANA POINT— Steady halibut fishing all along this stretch, reported Hogan’s. You have to weed through some shorts but the legal-size fish are there. Most of the fish have been ranging from 18- to 26-inches with a few kickers to 30-inches. The Krocodile bite was good this week as the fish were mixed up with the bait. A few big yellowfin croakers and mostly short white seabass were also in the bait concentrations. Watch for birds and flipping bait. Catches were reported at Doheny, Poche, T-Street and below Cottons Point. Early, overcast mornings have been ideal. Anglers fishing the reefed beaches inside Seal Rock have been taking some nice calico bass at low tide. Wading out and making long cast to the kelp stringers and reefs has been the ticket. A few double-digit white seabass have also been in the mix. A grunion pattern 5-inch MC Swimbait has been hot. Harbor anglers report lots of white seabass in and around the jetties. Most of the fish are short but there have been legal fish to 34-inches. One anglers took a legal fish on a Hook-Up bait. Swimbaits have also been producing.

     OCEANSIDE— A 7-pound 9-ounce spotfin croaker took the lead in the shops croaker derby, according to Pacific Coast. The same angler also checked in a 7-pound 5-ounce and a 7-pound 3-ounce fish. The giant trio of spots were taken near Wisconsin Street in Oceanside on sandcrabs fished on a long rod rigged with a dropper loop. Good croaker catches were also reported from Oceanside Harbor and jetties, the Oceanside Pier, Tamarack Jetty and in the lagoons. The shop has checked in several fish over 5-pounds since the derby began. Some nice yellowfin croaker to 4-pounds have also been in the mix. Corbina anglers are finding more consistent success on north county beaches. Below the harbor, the Army/Navy Academy and south Carlsbad have been good stretches. The sandcrabs are thick and nickel-size baits are plentiful. Screening for softshells is well worth the time. With lots of summer beach goers, early and late sessions have been most productive. Low to middle incoming tides have been good. The halibut bite on the open beaches saw some legal white seabass in the mix. One angler wading out in low tides at Terramar scored a 21-pound halibut and 3 legal white seabass on a glow pattern Flash Minnow. The seabass ranged from 30- to 36-inches. The halibut bite has also been good in the lagoons. Anglers are scoring legal fish on live smelt or live sardine fished in the main channels on the strong tide swings. Lots of calico bass on the reefed beaches.

SOLANA BEACH— The spotfin croaker bite was strong on the full moon. Several fish eclipsing the 5-pound mark were reported this week. The fish are active outside the breakers and inside the harbors and lagoons. One angler took 4 spots to 4-pounds fishing bloodworms off Table Tops. Another took a 5-pound fish on a ghost shrimp fished inside Mission bay. Some nice yellowfin croaker have also been in the mix. Corbina anglers reported more takes along Torrey Pines and Mission beaches. Early tides under overcast skies have been best. Sandcrabs have been the top bait. Find a softshell, better yet. Most of the fish have been ranging from 1 ½ – to 2 ½ -pounds with a few kickers pushing 4-pounds. The bigger fish have been tougher to hook. Corbina fishing has been especially good on both Crystal Beach (near the pier) and along La Jolla shores.  Small barred perch and some chunky yellowfin croaker have also been in the mix. The mouth of Mission Bay continues to kickout better-size halibut. An 18-pound fish was taken on a live, trap-rigged 10-inch smelt fished in the main channel. The tide was a strong incoming. Lots of calico bass in the reefs off Sunset cliffs.  

What to look for this Month

No hurricane in sight but they often form over Veracruz and push out into the Pacific

Synopsis: La Nina is definitely here.  Just back from Alijos Rocks (about 600 miles south of San Diego) where the water temp was 62.  That’s about 10 degrees less this time of year, than in a warm water year.  The cool water has effected our coast by providing a huge amount of sand crabs (who love the cool water) but has not slowed fishing.  In shore waters are nearly 70, and although the past few years it has been warmer by now, the huge amount of bait seems to be offsetting any negative effects from cooler than average water temps.  Hurricane action off Mexico has been very light with no tropical storms on the horizon.  But that can change quickly and once again begin to push south swells this way.

 Grunion runs continue this month with some very good chances of catching a legal halibut.  My advice would be to fish around the grunion runs.  To find out for the lifeguard where they came ashore and to fish them at peak low and peak high tide periods, when they are likely to bite.  Live bait, shrimp, smelt, anchovy, sardine, grunion can be fished effectively on the carolina rig.  Also Kastmasters, Krocodiles, Lucky Craft Flash Minnows and Rapalla X Raps will all work.

Grunion Runs:

Su 7/11 10:35 p.m. – 12:35 a.m.
Mo 7/12 11:10 p.m. – 1:10 a.m.
Tu 7/13 11:55 p.m. – 1:55 a.m.
Sa 7/24 10:05 p.m. – 12:05 a.m.
Su 7/25 10:50 p.m. – 12:50 a.m.
Mo 7/26 11:35 p.m. – 1:35 a.m.
Tu 7/27 12:20 a.m. – 2:20 a.m.*

Tides: Between July 8 and month-end we have some fantastic tides.  Your biggest tide swings will be between July 8-15 (new moon) and July 18-28 (full moon).  These huge tide swings will be great for corbina and best to fish them on an upcoming high tide.  Minus tides, especially those around the full moon will provide some great opportunity to fish around those rocks or structure that you commonly can’t reach.  Use the tides to your advantage!

Water Temps: South 70, North 64 (rising temps– +4 degrees in one month)

Winds: Light morning winds from the southwest with fog. Afternoon west winds 9-15 knots.  strong afternoon winds will relax just before sunset…I’ve had some of my most productive days fishing close to shore during a windy evening event.

Swell: Not a lot of swell action to report.  Lucky for us, it’s the winter cyclone season in Australia and the South Pacific which means swell impulses will continue to come all the way across the south pacific and up to us.  Look for mostly 3-5′ surf this month with the possiblity, later in the month, for a big swell from the south.  All good news for warming water temps.

  Report compiled by Gundy Gunderson and Bill VarneyCARLSBAD SUNSET

     Send your pictures and reports to:  fishthesurf@mail.com