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   Southern California Surf Fishing Report

June 2024 

          It’s like they say…June rolls in like a marine layer and rolls out on a sunny day.  The traditional June gloom is here and the fishing is great along the beach.  June also boasts the longest daylight period of the year…so you can be at the beach early and stay late!

     June brings billions of sand crabs to the surface as they look to grow, feed and spawn.  Surf fish will be flush along the beach looking to find pockets of crabs.   Inshore troughs will be the first-place surf fish look for food because this is the area where sand is eroded away and food like crabs, clams and worms are exposed.

     Because swell and current are generally slowed this time of year, I like to use a lighter 1/2 ounce sliding sinker on my Carolina rig and lower to a 4lb flouro leader.  The lighter flouro works well, early in the season, when corbina (especially big ones) are wary of just about every offering.  As the summer winds on corbina and big croaker will be less wary, but for now, during their early spawn, they tend to become picky eaters.

     The best baits to use now are sand crabs, mussel and worms (lug, blood, sand) for perch and croakers and hard-baits, soft swimbaits, and monster grubs for halibut.  Your best bet for a corbina is finding a soft-shell sand crab (about the softness of a pop can) and casting it just a few feet offshore into the inner trough.  I generally cast past that trough.  Reel slowly until I feel my sinker fall into the trough and catch on the beach side…then just let my bait wag back and forth in the current until a fish, using the trough as a superhighway, comes along and bites.

     Look for this month to have more swells from the South and warming water each day.  Morning overcast will be the norm with a moderate afternoon West wind.  Two large tidal swing periods will bring in billions of grunion and an exceptional change to catch a legal halibut in the surf.  Both morning and evening periods will be productive and will give you the best chance to catch fish.  Remember, to follow the tides and base your fishing times around them….Often, low to high for corbina, high to low for perch and slack tide periods for halibut.

Santa Barbara:  Santa Barbara and Ventura continue to be slow due to cooler water and red tide.  Perch fishing remains good from UCSB to Mussel Shoals with most fish in the palm size range.  Look for bigger fish around rock structure along beaches North of SB and places like the Wharf, Haskels, Carpinteria and Rincon.  The bright spot in Santa Barbara has been the great halibut fishing (with many smaller fish) along More Mesa beach, Hope Ranch and near the Wharf, where East Beach meets West Beach and the harbor sandspit.  Look for fishing to improve as warm water comes North this month.

     Best baits have been sand crabs, worms and grubs for perch–and Battlestar/Lucky Craft, plus soft plastic swimbaits and grubs for the halibut.

South Bay:  Surf fishing has really picked up in the south bay.  Fishing along the Malibu coast (Malibu, Leo Carrillo, Matador Beach, have all been producing some keeper Calicos and sand bass along with quite a few juvenile white seabass.  I have yet to get a report of a legal from the area but I’m sure angler have caught a few.  Many of these fish have been caught on Lucky Craft/BattleStar lures but also on strips of squid fished under a bobber and over the reef.  Additionally, slug baits and 5″ green/white and all white rubber baits have done the trick.

Orange County:  Orange county beaches have been nothing less than excellent with multi species days for most all anglers.  From Huntington Harbor to Dana Point the corbina fishing has been off-the-hook!  Soft-shell sand crabs seem to be the best bait now in the surf, with dozens of corbina running up and down the beach looking for food.  Perch, yellowfin croaker, leopard sharks and halibut all on the chew…ever increasing as the water temps climb.

     Bolsa Chica, being one of the bright spots has been kicking out fish from one end of the beach to the other.  Newport Jetties and between the piers has been another hot spot for corbina and perch.  The Santa Ana river mouth was the site of a huge grunion run last week and has now produced several legal halibut not only along the beach between the river and the Talbert Marsh, but also up into the river itself at high tide.

   Southern Orange County has been kicking out limits of spotfin croaker along Doheny State Beach most caught on mussel and bloodworms.  Both low and high tide periods have produced these fish.

San Diego County:  Wow, SD has been on fire!  Inside SD harbor and Mission Bay have had great spotfin and bonefish fishing…especially on fresh pumped ghost shrimp.  While, out on the beach, the surf fishing at Torrey Pines, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Army/Navy beach has been fantastic.

     Several huge spotfin, to 9lbs, have been taken near the estuary entrances along with some of the best halibut fishing in years.  One angler reported 4 legal halibut from the beach in one day!  But it doesn’t stop there…perch fishing has been great with both palm-size and big breeders hitting the shore and a crazy, wide-open, yellowfin croaker bite at both Torrey and below the Carlsbad State Park.  Even juvenile white seabass have been caught along areas with reef and eel grass beds.  Amazing good fishing as the water has warmed up above 62 degrees.

     

Thank you Micah, Jordan, Jeff, Brian, Kevin, John and to all the anglers for their great reports and photos…

PLEASE keep them coming!

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What To Look For This Month

 

Four huge storms originating near Australia, with swells to 30′, will bring a series of South swells to California over the next three weeks

Synopsis:

     A series of storms and swells from both the Northwest and South continue to battle it out for supremacy over California waters.  Northwest swells represent cool water.  Southern swells represent warm water and they seem to be meet near Pt. Vicente, Palos Verdes. 

     But the tide is turning…Beginning today we will experience the first of a series of southern swells.  Easter Island, in the South Pacific, has been busy producing storms.  Expect swells on South facing beaches to begin to climb today and continue to receive swells from the south for the next several weeks.  Although these storms are quite a distance from California they will begin the warm water process and soon be augmented by hurricane swells from central Mexico.

     Although a few more swells will be coming from the north this month, a dominant series of Southern swells will fill in during June and push cold water north.  A nursery, of sorts, has formed between Australia and Antarctica that has produced five huge storms in a row.  Each of these storms make they way into the open South Pacific and push swells our way.  Even though the swells are 30+ feet we’ll see nothing like that but we will experience the warm clear water they send this way.

     The result of this change from cooler to warmer water will ignite fish to eat, encourage the spawn and begin the molting process of sand crabs that leads to thousands of soft-shell crabs and wide open bites.    

     Grunion Run Schedule for 2024 

  • Observation Months 2024: April, May, June
  •  
  • June–Observation Month Only
  • 6/6 Thu  9:30 pm – 11:30 pm
  • 6/7 Fri  10:15 pm – 12:15 am
  • 6/8 Sat  10:55 pm – 12:55 am
  • 6/9 Sun  11:40 pm – 1:40 am
  • 6/21 Fri  9:10 pm – 11:10 pm
  • 6/22 Sat  9:50 pm – 11:50 pm
  • 6/23 Sun  10:35 pm – 12:35 am
  • 6/24 Mon  11:20 pm – 1:20 am

Collection Months 2024: July and August (Limit 30)  Halibut often feed near shore before, during and after a run

  •  
  • Here’s a note from the CA-DFW:

There is a no-take seasonal closure of California grunion from 12 A.M. Monday, April 1, 2024, through 11:59 P.M. Sunday, June 30, 2024. Throughout the seasonal closure, grunion may only be observed, they may not be touched, handled or taken. During the open season, California grunion may be taken by hand only and the bag and possession limit is 30 fish per person. For more information, including a schedule of expected grunion runs and observation-only times for 2024, visit CDFW’s grunion web page.

  • Surf Fishing Tips Around Grunion Runs
  • 1.  Always look for halibut around/adjacent to structure (jetties, offshore rocks, harbor entrances, estuary entrances, docks, etc.)

    2.  Find where the grunion came in and fish there up to two weeks after a run.

    3.  Find where the grunion came in and fish there 10-12 days after their spawn to take advantage of the grunion fry hatch and return to sea.

    4.  Get to know the lifeguard or warden on your favorite beach and ask them were the grunion came ashore.

    5.  Fish for halibut with artificials like BattleStar Lures, Lucky Craft, Krocodiles, Kastmasters, Grubs.  Fish halibut with live or fresh dead baits like mussel lip, sardine, anchovy, smelt and grunion.

Water Temperature:  57 North, 65 South (Unchanged).  Water temps have stayed the same for the last several weeks.  As storms from the north offset the warmer water from the south we can see the battle, as warm southern water in Orange and San Diego Counties tries to makes it’s way around Palos Verdes’, Pt. Vincente, and push north.  

Tides:  June offers some amazing tides for surf fishing, grunion and bait catching.  New moon occurs on 6/6 and the full moon on 6/21.  Both day’s night high tides will be loaded with grunion.  The 1st through the ninth will have some large tide swings…helping to highlight perch and corbina fishing.  Croaker will be biting during rising tides and super highs will make it easy to catch sand crabs.  The tide period between the 10th and 18th will be neap, or small tidal changes, perfect for targeting halibut.

Winds:  We have now settled into the typical June weather pattern.  Look for a moderate to heavy morning beach marine layer, that may thin over the month, and afternoon winds from the West at 10-15mph.  Most mornings will be calm or slightly offshore and for late afternoon fishing sessions, winds should begin to die about 1 hour before sunset…making for a great time of day to fish until dark.

Swell:    Finally (it’s about time!), swells from the Northwest will end this month and be replaced by swells from the South.  Numerous swells, spawned by a “storm nursery”, are creating high-seas in the ocean south of Australia.  Once these storms move east and reach the eastern side of New Zealand they gain strength.  The jet stream then directs them into the open South Pacific, pushing swells from huge seas toward California.  

Follow Pacific Hurricanes Here:

(hurricanes will begin again in June)

www.eebmike.com

Good luck and good Fishng!

  

Surf fishing reports compiled by

 Bill Varney

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