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            Surf Fish Report

      Santa Barbara Only received two reports from Santa Barbara this week but both reported good perch and yellowfin croaker fishing.  It’s been a bit quiet on the corbina front, over the last few days, but anglers are still seeing them in the surf and recommend down-sizing your line and pinning on a soft-shell sand crab for your best chance at a trophy fish.

     Malibu, Santa Monica and the South Bay… The recent fires have shut off much of the area north of Topanga Canyon to anglers.  Those who have ventured up the coast in the last few days have had very good luck on calico bass at Broomhill, Leo Carrillo and El Matador.  Fishing squid near the rocks/kelp or suspending it below a float have worked well.  Beaches south from Santa Monica to RAT beach have all kicked out barred surfperch, yelllowfin croaker and a surprising number of medium-sized corbina.

The big news (and we’re seeing this all along the coast) has been the huge uptick in halibut catches.  As mentioned in the last report this time of year signals their late fall spawn.  Halibut have been caught on a wide variety of baits…from grubs to Lucky Craft Flash Minnows..and everything in between.                       

     Orange County from Huntington to San Clemente continues to shine. It’s been good there for three straight years and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Yellowfin croaker are everywhere, with some of the biggest fish being caught near the Newport Jetties and in the middle of Bolsa Chica. Small corbina are still in the mix and hitting both sand crabs and lug worms. A good place to pick up fresh bait near Bolsa is Big Fish Tackle. They generally have a fantastic selection of live surf baits. Just as in the South Bay, halibut have been plentiful near the Bolsa, Santa Ana and Talbert outlets. One angler bagged two legals this week.

The biggest news here would be the continuing great bite on spotfin croaker. Although some of the fish have been caught on sand crabs and lug worms, the best bait seems to be live, crispy ghost shrimp.

     San Diego  continues to have good surf fishing with quite a few barred surfperch being caught…all along the coast.  That’s good news as the water temperture cools a bit and allows these fish to fill back in.  Some have been quite big, in the 13″ range, so that’s a good sign that the host mother perch are on their way back down the coast.  Corbina fishing has slowed a bit but there are still quite a few smaller fish around.  Halibut catches continue to be reported in the back bay and areas in the surf near rivermouths and rock structure.  Lucky Craft, 1/2 or 3/4oz Kastmasters and Rapallas have worked well in the surf, while live baits like smelt and ghost shrimp have been taking halibut in the bays. 

What to look for this Month:  Now, this is where it gets interesting…We can still, even today, see the remnants of a South swell. Even this late in the year, we are still getting impulses from the south which continues to send up-coast warm clear water. But this is about to change!

This upcoming week and through the first of December expect a large northwest swell, originating from the Aleutian Islands to produce some well overhead surf. This swell will open the door for winter’s north to south current/swells and reshape many of the beaches. Cooler water will spill into SoCal and while most corbina will head for the hills, perch, yellowfin and spotfin croaker fishing should pick up. Meteorologists are reporting this swell as “El Nino-esque” because of the swell will continue to build as it makes it’s way south due to the warm water edge caused by a building El Nino event.

Water temp from south to north is in the 63-65 degree range but look for temps to fall into the high 50′s over the next two weeks. Tide swings will be mighty all the way through the middle of December with tides swinging wildly off the Thanksgiving full moon and the December 6 new moon. Morning winds will be light through the period with strong afternoon breezes to 15-20 knots.

My thoughts here: Cool water and big surf will reshape the beach over the next month. Take time in a few weeks to go down to your favorite spots and check out the changes…looking for new troughs, holes and exposed structure. Begin your transition to winter baits: lug, blood worms, ghost shrimp, grubs, flies and lures and walk the beach looking for the new spots that will provide great fishing this winter.

DECEMBER CORBINA TIP:  It seems strange to be giving a tip about catching corbina in late November/early December!

Angler Kevin Sullivan asked me the other day what suggestions I might have to catch a corbina that has been teasing him along the beach all summer.  I suggested the following: “The water is and has been so clear…it’s crazy.  These late season corbina have such keen eyesight and know how to pick out the perfect bait.  I think by what I saw surf fishing today that they are still looking for and eating sand crabs.  Most years they are on to ghost shrimp and clams right now.  I would suggest down sizing your flouro leader to 4lb, use a very light 1/2 or less sliding sinker and make the leader about 30″ long.  A bigger softshell would be the bait or a ghost shrimp.  Find that spot, cast into it and then be as still as you can be and hope for the bite!  I’d even wear khaki’s and a blue shirt so I look like the sand and sky.”

orange lug


All in all, great weather and conditons for surf fishing…

Good fishing out there and send me some reports!

I’ll see you on the beach,



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