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     January 2021

     Hazardous surf continues to pound west facing beaches as we are hit with yet another NW swell. Look this month for a series of head-high NW swells originating in the Arctic and raking the West coast on a weekly basis. Nothing unusual here but it does make fishing the west facing beaches tough.

     Often times this time of yer, when conditions downgrade from the NW, we look for South facing beaches to fish where we can be protected from the swell. Some great examples are from Pt. Mugu to Malibu (especially Leo Carrillo State Beach). Cabrillo San Pedro, inside Long Beach Harbor, tucked up against the Huntington Harbor breakwater to Anderson Street, on the South side of the Newport Jetties, Crystal Cove State Beach and San Onofre.

choki gomez npbJan, Feb, and March are all great perch months. Although a slew of other surf fish can be caught this time of year, the season’s biggest walleye, calico and barred surfperch are biting full steam!

Try a variety of bait this time of year like grubs, worms, ghost shrimp, clams and mussel and be sure to fish near rocks, jetties, harbor entrances…right next to the rocks. Downsize your egg sinker (to 1/8th ounce) and shorten your leader (to 10”) and you’ll have much less snags in the rocks.

When fishing the beach use a grub on long casts to cover as much surface area as possible. Soak your grub every five casts in hot sauce (I like Taco Bell “HOT”) Walk the beach until you find fish. Once you do, slip off the grub and put on one of your live baits to try to sift out the small fish and hook into a big winter slab.

Santa Barbara…The Carolina rig with 4 and 6lb flourocarbon, matched with a Gulp sandworm or live Lug worm, has been working great for barred and walleye surfperch. Pink and red Gulp mullets have been working great, cast on the leadhead, for shallow water rockfish. Big Hammer 3” and 4” swimbaits (shad, baby bass, spottie special) have all been working well for both nearshore rockfish and a few legal halibut near both the Wharf and harbor.

Ventura…Solid barred perch fishing here for the last two weeks. Ventura will be especially hit hard by the NW swells. image8Look for areas along the Ventura beaches to tuck into to fish as the fish will be tucked in there too.

Malibu, Santa Monica and the South BayGreat fishing for some big 13+” barred surf perch and a few walleye (very close to shore) around the Leo Carrillo area (Matador, Big Rock) Bloodworms have been the go to bait. Fish the sand areas but be sure to downsize your sliding sinker when you are near rocks.

Orange CountyStill good in Orange County with San Onofre being the stand out spot. Lots of small to medium perch…but you’ll find the big one’s right in the rocks, yellowfin croaker walleye surfperch and a few just legal halibut. Have not seen any spotfin in the last week from here to Mexico.

San Diego...Very slow with some small to medium barred surfperch. Corbina are still be seen cruising the beach with a 25” landed last week on a motoroil grub. If I’m in SD I would either be on the sand with a bloodworm or motoroil grub first thing in the morning or right at sunset…and the rest of the time…tight to the rocks!

What to look for this Month: Synopsis: La Nina has set in and it looks like this winter may have less storms than last, a bit colder air and water temps and some on and off huge swells sliding in for the Arctic. If we don’t get too many storms this month and light winds, fish on the days when the surf is smaller and calm. Fish will be cruising and feeding those days.

image7Tides: Some really good tides around the new and full moon (12th & 28th) with an exceptional week, Jan 17-23, providing small tides changes that are ideal for halibut fishing.

Water Temps: South 59, North 54 (down)

Winds: During a La Nina we don’t expect any prolonged wind events this month. Mostly calm in the morning followed by 9-15mph in the afternoon out of the west…accented by a series of Santa Ana’s, throughout the month.

Swell: Head-high surf this week with a smaller, then larger NW swell predicted for the next two weeks. When the surf if big look for areas that are protected from the surf and fish there. When the swell is down and the water color back to normal (a day or two after the swell leaves) fish those beaches again. Fish will congregate, over the next three months, near rocks.

 Once you have a chance to fish please send me your pictures and a report!




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