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           SURF FISHING REPORT    

 

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Southern California Surf Fishing Report January 2022

     The spectacular weather of November gave way to a marked change in December as a series of storms buffeted the southern California bight with wind rain and swell. Surf anglers struggled to find any consistency as the surfline conditions changed from day to day. The early part of the month saw a few late corbina catches with water temperatures just dipping into the 60s. Lots of KEN NPBanchovy schools, feeding in the shallows, also drew good numbers of halibut onto the beaches and into the harbors and lagoons. But a mid-month deluge of rain, wind and swell dirtied up the shallow waters and pushed the bait out deep. Several more systems continued to unsettle beaches as the month ended.

There is not much you can do when mother nature kicks in. At this time of year, it is all about fishing the windows. If the weatheris mostly wind and swell, then conditions will rebound quickly. But if there is a lot of rain and runoff and the beaches become fouled, it will take much longer, often days, to recover. The northern beaches off Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Barbara, are less densely populated and not subject to as much dirty runoff. These beaches will often recover first. Beaches near deeper water and canyon mouths will also clean-up quicker. Scouting beaches for water quality is recommended at this time of year.

Looking forward, on the better weather windows, the barred perch bite has been solid on Oxnard and Ventura beaches. Most fish have ranged from ½- to 1-pound with some quality kickers to 1 ½ – pounds. Lugworms, bloodworm and mussel have been best baits. The bite on the shallow reefs has all also been good with anglers reporting mixed-bag catches of calico bass, sand bass, johnnie bass, chocolate rockfish, and some dandy cabezon. Cut squid and fresh market shrimp have been the best baits on the reefs. The fish are glued to the bottom. The opaleye and sheephead were also active.

On the southern front, there has been a lot of halibut on the beaches of north San Diego County. The bite was very good prior to the change in weather. Look for this bite to rebound, first on the open beaches, then at the harbor and lagoon mouths and main channels. As the runoff cleans up, the bait will soon return. This is also a good time to hook a striped bass. River, creek and harbor mouths are a favored haunt. Look for signs of bait in association with these spots.

SANTA BARBARA—Uneven weather made for challenging surf conditions for most of the week. A few anglers made barred perch catches on the western beaches like Gaviota, Refugio and El Capitan. Heavier sinkers were the rule with residual swell.The bait bite was best with lugworms, bloodworms and mussel producing. Most of the fish have been ranging from ½- to 1-pound but there are a certain amount of kickers over the 1-pound mark. These western beaches have been kicking out solid perch catches for several weeks now. Look for the bite to bounce back with better conditions. Another series of storms may delay that. Halibut anglers found decent conditions on a few spots but poor weather limited opportunities. Prior to the weather, the stretch from Goleta to the mesa had been good for a mix of short halibut and legal fish to 28-inches. Hard jerk baits were working best. This week, a few fish came from in and around the harbor but storm run off dirtied things up. The bite on the shallow reefs had also been good for a mix of sand bass, calico bass, johnnie bass, chocolate rockfish and a few cabezon. Squid and shrimp were best baits. But wind, swell, and runoff made for poor conditions. It will take a stretch of good weather to re-establish the shallow bite.

MALIBU– A good bite on the shallow reefed beaches was snuffed out by wind rain and swell, reported Wylie’s. The few anglers who ventured out found hit and mostly miss, conditions. Prior to the weather, the reefs were holding a mix of sand bass, calico bass. yellowfin croaker, shallowwater rockfish and cabezon. Spots like Big Rock, Pescador and Matador had been good. Squid and shrimp have been better baits. Other cooler water species like opaleye and sheephead were also in the count. With a series of low pressure systems due to arrive this week, it may be challenging to find stable conditions. Prior to the weather, the northern beaches were starting to kick out some better quality barred perch. Spots like Silverstrand, Santa Clause Lane and 5th street. No giant fish but a few ranging from 1- to 1 ½ -pounds. These less urban beaches tend to clean up quicker so look for opportunities between storms.

REDONDO BEACH– A good barred perch bite had been developing prior to inclement weather, reported Just Fishing. Conditions now vary from beach to beach. A few barred perch catches were reported taken near the Hermosa Pier early in the week. The fish took 2- inch Gulp! Sandworms. More rain and weather deteriorated conditions. The rocks along Torrance Beach was another better stretch. But swell and wind wiped out conditions. Prior to the weather, the halibut bite had been improving with anglers starting to find more legal fish in the surfline. But swell and dirty water pushed out the bait that had been holding the fish. A few halibut catches were made in and around the King Harbor early in the week but runoff dirtied up the water, post storm. Another series of storms this week will further limit prospects. It will take a stretch of better weather to straighten things out.

SEAL BEACH– A developing halibut bite along Shoreline Drive bit the dust with a flush of dirty, urban runoff from a series of storms, according to Big Fish. The bite was good with lots of small bait shallow drawing in good numbers of halibut. Soft jerk baits in white and anchovy colors were a best bait. But after several days of rain and swell, waters behind the LA Breakwater dirtied up with runoff. The beach bites also dissolved as spots like Sunset, Dog, Bolsa Chica and Huntington Cliffs saw conditions deteriorate. Another series of storms this week make prospects for a quick recovery dim. Storm runoff also put the kibosh on a good bay bass bite in Alamitos Bay and Huntington Harbor.

NEWPORT BEACH– After a series of wet storms, swell and wind, few anglers ventured out this week, according to Ketcham Tackle. The barred perch bite near the Wedge was wiped out by big swell and surf. Conditions were also tough off the street jetties where anglers had been connecting with a mix of barred perch, yellowfin croaker and a few small leopard sharks. River Jetties was also good for mostly smaller barred perch and a few legal halibut but storm runoff dirtied the waters. The waters inside Newport Harbor held up for a while but the series of storms finally muddied he waters. It may take a while to clean-up with another round of storms approaching.

DANA POINT— Same story here. A few catches early in the week then a deterioration of conditions according to Hogan’s. Prior to the storms, Strands and Salt Creek had been good stretches for barred perch. The grub bite had been good with motor oil and root beer colors getting bites. The south Laguna beaches tend to clean-up quicker so this will be a better stretch looking forward. San Clemente beaches saw more off-color water. A few barred perch catches were made along the cleaner stretches below the pier but most of the fish were small. Between the holiday and the weather, few anglers ventured out. Cool, dirty water made for slow action inside Dana Point Harbor. Finding cleaner beaches in the windows of better weather will be the tactic going forward.

OCEANSIDE— A few halibut catches were reported early in the week in the lagoons and along Cardiff but a late week storm changed conditions, according to Pacific Coast. A good halibut bite had been developing in the shallows both off the beaches and in the lagoons. Lots of small anchovies were feeding in the shallows. But the wind, swell and rain has dirtied up the inshore waters and the bait has moved deeper. Looking forward, the key will be to find the cleaner beaches during the windows of better weather. The beaches should clean up first. The lagoons will take a little longer. The good bite in Oceanside Harbor also slowed.

SOLANA BEACH— The good barred perch bite along Del Mar, Torrey Pines and Mission Beach slowed with off color water, wind, swell and rain. The fish have not been big but limits of smaller fish was the norm. Lugworms, Gulp! Sandworms and bloodworms were top baits. The most recent storms made for spotty conditions and lots of dirty stretches. The spots that recover the quickest between storms will still kick out perch catches. Look for cleaner stretches on the better weather days. For the first time since early summer, no corbina were reported. Halibut anglers struggled to find good conditions. A few small fish were reported taken on bait near the mouth of the lagoon.

Compiled by Gundy Gunderson

What to look for this Month

U.S. Navy swell model for the North Pacific.  Red area indicates origination winds that are producing the large swell expected to be here in mid January.

 

Synopsis: January’s here and Happy New Year!  This month looks like we’ll have some big surf from the NW and an extended period of light morning and afternoon winds.  Although storms will slide down the coast later in the month it looks like high pressure in the north is blocking the storms for now.

     January is always a good month to use grubs, spoons, swimbaits and hard lures to search the beach for fish.  I often use a grub coated in Taco Sauce and walk the beach, fancasting for fish.  When I get bites I’ve found the fish and then remove the grub and thread on a worm to try to catch a bigger fish.  Once you find the fish switching to a natural bait will yield some impressive results.

Grunion Runs: Over until March 2022

Tides:  January’s here and it’s good some good tides in store for you!  The first week of this month features a new moon and astronomical tides (King Tides).  New moon was on the 2nd and will influence tide changes for about 10 days.  Conversely, the second week of Jan is a great one for halibut fishing with very small tidal changes and a chance to cast close to spots where sand meets rock and halibut live.  The 16th-22nd is influenced by the full moon and again provides some big tides…great for perch and spotfin fishing.  The month rounds out with a short lul in tides, then big tide changes begin as we make our way into early Feb.  Big (King) tides this time of year are great for barred, walleye and calico surfperch…with light tides being best for targeting those lazy halibut.

Water Temps: South 58, North 55 (stable)  Temps over the last two weeks have been stable with small ups and downs caused by wind.  January is generally a month with wide ranging water temps.  Wind and storms can turn the water over and upwell cold, then just days later a santa ana can raise temps 3degrees, in one day.

Winds: Light winds in morning and afternoon are predicted for the next 7 days.  January often has offshore morning winds that can be strong at times and afternoon 10-15 knot winds out of the West.  Best time to fish this month is in the morning and anytime during a day of fishing when santa ana conditions occur.  This is also the month where there can be huge swells accompanied by gale force winds on the outside…which may wreak havoc on the inside.  Watch the weather and give the beach a break for a few days after storms.

Swell: The cool clear water from the North is here.  Swells from the North Pacific will continue for the foreseeable future.  Look for the swell out of the NW to be beyond fishable from around Jan 12-18th.  A very large ground swells will be hitting west facing beaches.  Then a lull of sorts for about week.  Then back to bigger surf by month end.

 

  

Surf fishing reports compiled by

Gundy Gunderson and Bill Varney

CARLSBAD SUNSET

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