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           SURF FISHING REPORT    

 

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Southern California Surf Fishing Report November 2022


      The month of October is often one of the best months for surf fishing. Typically mild, “Indian Summer” weather slowly gives way to cooler temperatures and shorter days. Yearling bait schools flood the shallows along the continental shelf and gamefish feed with abandon in anticipation of winter. Warm water species yield to cooler water gamefish like white seabass, halibut and bonito.

     But this year’s October was a different thing.      Unsettled weather, low pressure, wind and swell combined to hamper any consistency in a bite. West winds rolled over inshore water and sunny days created red tide. Put it all together and you had a month marked by off color, streaky, inconsistent conditions. Catches were made in fits and spurts. Toward the end of the month, conditions were improving but a couple of storm systems were poised to slow progress.

     Looking forward, ocean temps are cooling but not cold. Water temperatures are well suited for the bait. Schools of anchovies, small sardines and mackerel have moved back into the shallows. Several quality halibut and white sea bass catches were reported at month’s end. Not wide open fishing but quality fish emblematic of catches typical at this time year. Some better quality barred perch also showed on several northern beaches. The bite in the bays and lagoons also rebounded at month’s end, concluding a rare fall slump.

SURF FISHING ROUND-UP

SANTA BARBARA— This week saw a slow down in catches, partly due to cooling water and flat tides. But also due to fewer anglers, according to Hook, Line and Sinker. A few good catches this week might preview what is to come. That halibut bite on the western beaches like Gaviota, Refugio and El Capitan continued strong for better-size fish. A 33- inch and a 31- inch were the top sizes among several other legals. There are not a lot of bites but most bite have been quality fish. Beach anglers have been fishing Zoom Flukes fished on a dropshot. Kayak anglers have also been catching fish launching from the surf fishing outside the breakers. Here the fluke baits have been working but a live smelt has been dynamite. Down the beach, Carpinteria and Ventura kicked out another 33-inch fish to go with a 31-inch fishand Another positive development was on the barred perch front. Cooling water had the fish on the bite off several beaches. An angler fishing Jalama reported a near limit of barred perch ranging from 8- to 12- inches. Its the first sign of a some better quality fish as water temps drop to the lower 60s. These fish were caught on mussel but lugworms, Gulp! and grubs have all been working. No corbina catches were reported. The sand crabs are drying up. No white sea bass catches were reported. Better tides this week should bolster the bite. A few better leopard sharks were reported off the Goleta Pier and around the harbor mouth. A butterflied mackerel has been a top bait for a better one.

MALIBU– Still some good catches posted despite fewer anglers, reported Wylie’s. The bite on the reefed beaches continues to be the top draw. Here anglers are scoring a mixed bag of sand bass, calico bass, yellowfin croaker, barred perch, sargo, cabezon and even a few lingcod. The water temps are in the mid 60’s and the fish are still active. Squid has been a top bait in the rocks with shrimp, cut sardine, anchovy and mussel all getting bites. The bait bite has been best. Finesse plastics like small swimbaits and soft jerk baits have been the better artificials. Big Rock. Las Flores and Leo Carillo were all good stretches.The shark and ray bite was strong. A shop regular caught and released an estimated 150-pound bat ray near the Malibu Pier on a whole squid. Other anglers reported leopard shark catches near the old Charthouse. The halibut bite was slow with mostly short fish reported. Look for more fish to show in cooling water with more bait in the mix. A persistent swell served to put the sandcrabs down. No catches were reported but with water temps in the mid 60s, the wily, late season fish are still around. There were a few scattered reports of barred perch catches below Point Mugu. The fish are in good numbers but still mostly smaller models. No sign of bonito off the pier despite good conditions. Anglers report lots of sargo on the hard bottom beaches. Shrimp, squid, mussel or lugworms will get a bite.

REDONDO BEACH– With cooling water, swell and flat tides, the corbina bite slowed this week, according to Just Fishing. There was one standout catch, however, a 4 pounder that took a Flash Minnow aimed at a halibut. The sand crabs have been harder to find. There are still good numbers of fish on the beach. Anglers can still scratch at a few quality, late season fish. More and more barred perch are showing in the surfline. The fish are small, mostly under a pound but they are aggressive. The grub bit has been good with motor oil and root beer standards working. Gulp! Sandworms and mussel will also get a bite. The long rodders have been scoring a few nice yellowfin croaker soaking lugworms outside the breakers. The stretch off Dockweiler and near the Manhattan and Hermosa Piers have been good stretches. Single and double dropper loop rigs fished on a 3-ounce pyramid sinkers has been the set-up. A few fat sand bass have also been in the mix. Anglers fishing smashed mussel off the PV reefs have been scoring some nice sheephead. A couple fish went double digits.

SEAL BEACH– The red hot bonito bite cooled off but some good catches were still reported this week, according to Big Fish. The Seal Beach Pier and Jetty and 72nd place jetty were good spots to get after the little speedsters. Most of the fish ranged from 1- to 3-pounds with a few kickers to 4-pounds. Coltsnipers, Megabaits, Krocodiles and Hopkins were the top spoons. The feather and bubble rig was also getting bites. A breeze, swell and flat tides put the fish down early in the week but some schools returned by the weekend. Conditions are right for more bonito action. A few corbina catches were reported under tough conditions. There are still plenty of fish and crabs around and the water temps are in the mid to upper 60s. It’s to be seen whether it can all come together for one last bite. The few catches this week came on loodworms, a good, late season bait. The long rodders reported a good croaker bite off Bolsa Chica. Anglers soaking lugworms outside the breakers reported a mixed bag of mostly yellowfin to go with a few spotfin and chunky sandbass. As the water slowly cools, more barred perch are showing but the fish are small mostly palm-size. Grubs and Gulp! Sandworms are working. The halibut showed signs of improvement with a handful of 30-inch class fish reported. The stretch along Shoreline Drive has been jugged with bait and has been a good place to look. Finesse baits and natural baits have been best. Soft jerk baits and flukes rigged dropshot or with a dart head have been hot. Sunset and Surfside is also seeing improved catches.

NEWPORT BEACH– A breeze, flat tides and swell combined to put the skids on a good bonito bite, reported Ketcham Tackle. Anglers were scoring fish off the Newport and Balboa piers, the wedge Jetty and in the main harbor channels. Conditions were improving by week’s end and a few catches were reported over the weekend. The spoon bite has been good with 21- and 28-gram Coltsnipers getting bites. Blue and green /chrome Krocodiles were also hot. With water temps still in the upper 60s, the corbina are still present in good numbers. The instability of conditions has hampered the bite for weeks. If it comes back together for a last bite is to be seen. The sandcrabs are dropping out but this could prompt more aggressive feeding. Its a good time to fish a bloodworm or ghost shrimp. Most fish at this time of year are usually good ones. More barred perch are also showing but the fish are small well under a pound. River Jetties kicked out a few legal halibut this weekend. The fish were taken on live smelt, made in the slough. Typical of fall, anglers are seeing fewer fish but better quality. The fishing in Newport Harbor was slower than usual. Anglers scratches at bay bass, sandbass and mostly short halibut. The bay bite has been in a funk in recent weeks.

DANA POINT— Despite water temps around 67 in Capo Bay, the corbina bite continues to be a scratch, according to Hogan’s. With warm water, sandcrabs and plenty of fish, you would think the bite would be better. Just looking for several days of stable weather. It may not be in the cards. But with so many fish still present, you can’t give up on them yet. The halibut bite showed signs of improvement with more catches reported at week’s end. Most of the fish were shorts but a few better models were reported for the first time in weeks. The bait bite both cut sardine and cut anchovy has been best. A 12- pound fish was taken off the short jetty on a half piece of sardine. A few other legals were taken in the harbor on small plastics. Another, double digit fish was taken off Cottons Point on a white Zoom Fluke fished dropshot. The croaker have been active in and around the harbor. The long rodders scored a mix of yellowfin to 3-pounds and spotfin to 4-pounds on ghost shrimp fished at night off Doheny. Angler pressure has slowed. The bonito went down with the breeze, mid-week but a few popped up off the San Clemente Pier over the weekend. The spoon bite has been best.

OCEANSIDE— Streaky water, breeze, slack tides and cooling water made for some of the toughest fishing in months, reported Pacific Coast. It was a real scratch. Water temps are still in the upper 60s. There are still sandcrabs on the beach but the water color is off. A stretch of fair weather more typically fall, could rebound the bite but that has not happened. Its a game of wait and see. The halibut bite on the beach was also tough with the off-color water. Things had been improving before the red tide. The lagoon bite also slowed. There has been some good night action in the lagoons but this bite slowed with changing with the conditions. The bonito off the Oceanside Pier scattered with the dirty water. There is still a lot of bait around o it may not be the last we have seen of them. Iike many other stretches, conditions are just off.

SOLANA BEACH— Streaky, off color water put the kibosh on much of the beach bite. Anglers reported slow fishing for corbina. The fish are still there in good numbers but conditions are poor. Look for a week of full moon tides and fair weather to improve conditions. Low pressure at the end of the week may end that chance.

Gundy Gunderson

Thank you to Brian, Brian, Larry and so many other anglers for their great reports and photos…

PLEASE keep them coming!

What To Look For This Month

35′ swells from a forming Pacific storm pick up strength near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and are headed for our shores

Synopsis:  November means you are squarely past the transition to winter and making some adjustments to your surf fishing plans.  Big pounding swells will now come regularly from the northwest and upset your summer spots.  Now is a good time to reveiw the spots you fish that face south and begin fishing there.  On calm or small surf days, west facing beaches will still produce but for some reason, beaches facing south seem to turn on now.

This month will provide you with days of rain and perfect days of warm sunshine and calm winds.  Remember that it will take a few days after a big blow or rain for the beach to clear up.

Tides this month will have some crazy swings.  I like to fish around the end of jetties, that I can’t usually get to, during these super low tide periods.  The middle of the month looks good for halibut fishing with a small tide swing and lots of anchovy around.

Another fun fish this month…(through February)…are bonito.  Look for them in the Redondo Harbor, 72nd St. Long Beach, Los Alamitos Bay and along the beaches from the Santa Monica Pier to Wylies Bait Shop.  This is one of the most fun fish catch in the surf/bay and great to eat.  I use a bobber and bonito fly, tiny tott lure or a krocodile/kastmaster to catch them from the rocks and shore.  Look for diving birds and breaking fish and that’s where you’ll find them.

Baits that work great this month include ghost shrimp, lug/blood worms, clams, grubs, DuraScent, Gulp! and hard-baits.  Check out my new collection of BattleStar Jerk-baits in our tackle store.

Grunion Runs Over For 2022

Observation Months 2023: March, April, May, June  Collection Months 2023: July and August (Limit 30)

Tides: November begins the crazy huge winter tide swings.  Early in this month we’ll see lots of water movement around the full moon on Nov. 8th (Ironic…full moon on election day :).  A slack tide period will arrive mid month which is a great time to fish from the rocks and try for halibut.  November 23rd’s new moon signals the first astronomical winter tide period but on that day you’ll get one of the largest tidal swings of the year at over 8′!

     During these large tidal swings I always look forward to going down to my local jetty or rocky beach and fishing the lowest tide…trying to reach areas I can’t usually reach, like around the end of jetties or other structure areas.

     This tidal period also gives you opportunity to fish in very close at high tide.  Perch will come into the inshore trough to find the last of the sand crabs and gorge on bean clams.  Barred, walleye and calico surf perch are very active now.

     Lastly, these big tidal changes will also contribute to the formation of rip currents at the beach.  Watch for these as they are one of the best places to find feeding fish….fish that are keyed into the bait upwhelling caused by the rip.

Water Temps: 68 South, 62 North (down).  Look for water temps to drop during and after wind and storms.  Water temp is a bit warmer now than at this time most years but look for it to drop to around 60, which is a good temperture for spawning surfperch.

Winds:  Offshore mornings continue until Monday 11/8 when onshore winds will usher in a large Pacific storm.  1-2″ of rain is possible and will blowout all the beach spots.  Look for that to recover during the week and be replaced with light morning offshore/calm winds and afternoon 5-12mph NW winds.

Swell:  In large part, most of the swells from the south have diminished.  The exception will be the remenants of several typhoons off Australia which will send sets of chest-high swells our way.  A series of storms forming in the Aleutian Islands (one already with 35′ swells) will send surf to most west facing beaches over the new couple of weeks.  Beginning now think about the spots you fish that face south and begin fishing there.

Good luck and good Fishng!

  

Surf fishing reports compiled by

Gundy Gunderson and Bill Varney

CARLSBAD SUNSET

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