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           SURF FISHING REPORT    


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Southern California Surf Fishing Report August 2022


Michael with a 27″ monster spotfin

     The month of July saw some of the best corbina catches in recent memory. Several trophy class fish were reported including a 25- and a 24-inch fish. Lots of fish over 18- inches. The robust return of sandcrabs has been a big factor. The spread is wide with catches reported from Carpinteria to the Mexican Border. The corbina bite and the beach bite in general took a dump , mid-month with a large ground swell and several days of persistent wind. The water rolled over and the temperature dropped on most beaches. The big swell put lots off eel grass and kelp in the surf line and created ripping, un-fishable current. Conditions slowly, but steadily improved and by the end of the month the corbina bite had rebounded albeit not quite as good.

Several other species were on the bite in the month of July. White seabass catches were reported up and down the coast. The most legal fish came from the beaches west of Santa Barbara. Gaviota, Refugio and Goleta kicked out fish ranging from 24- to 35-inches with a few better kickers including a couple in the double digits. Other seabass catches were reported from Malibu beaches, PV, LA Harbor, Alamitos Bay, Huntington Harbor, Doheny, Cottons Point and Ponto. Swimbaits and Flash Minnows aimed at halibut, got most of the bites. Some fish came on cut anchovy or sardine.

   The calico bite was also of note. The fish have been active on the shallow reefs. Gobs of anchovies and staging grunion have drawn and held the fish. A 10-pound class calico was taken off Malibu on a swimbait. Other 4- and 5-pound fish were reported from up and down the coast. The croaker bite was also strong. The full and new moon periods saw more spotfin. Not the big tankers we saw earlier in the season but solid 2- to 4-pound fish topped by a few 5-pounders. The yellowfin have ranged from 1 ½ – to 3-pounds with a few better kickers.

Corbina anglers made some barred perch catches on the southern beaches. Most of the fish were small. Some better quality fish to 1 ½ -pounds were reported taken off Ventura and Oxnard beaches. Here, limits or near limits was the norm.

The halibut bite was slow for the most part excepting a massive, fish of a lifetime that went 55-inches. The giant flatfish was taken on a Flash Minnow at the mouth of Huntington Harbor and was released. Because it was spawned out, the size was estimated at 48- to 50-pounds. Most other halibut catches were short fish with a few , well-earned legals. The best fishing was on the cooler northern beaches. The bite in the harbors, bays and lagoons was a scratch with live smelt producing the most legals.

The plentiful anchovies attracted a few exotics. Small bonito were chasing the bait inside King Harbor, LA Harbor and Newport Harbor. A few striped bass were also in the count. A handful of 4- to 8- pound fish were taken off Dockweiler. And spots of 6- to 12- pound fish were spotted ,pushing bait in the open basin of Newport Harbor.


SANTA BARBARA— The good bite on the western beaches continued with cleaner water and strong tides, reported Hook, Line and Sinker. The bait is the story with anchovy schools thick outside the breakers. White seabass, both short and legal, halibut, up to double digits and chunky barred perch have all been on the bite up here. Most of the seabass have ranged from 24- to 35-inches with a few better kickers. Anchovy, grunion and sardine pattern swimbaits have been working best. Dark, blacksmith perch patterns have been working well in low light situations. The bait has also drawn halibut into the shallows. Flash Minnows have been scoring fish to 12-pounds. Perch jerkers have been bagging half to full limits of barred perch to 1 ½ -pounds on grubs and lugworms. Gaviota and Refugio have been good stretches.  Closer to the harbor Goleta has been holding short and legal seabass and good numbers of halibut. Here there is bait and the spoon bite, be it a Krocodile or Kastmaster, has been good. The calico bass are increasingly active on the shallow reefs. Anchovy pattern swimbaits are tough to beat.

 MALIBU– Warming water, strong tides and plentiful sandcrabs had the corbina in a biting mode, reported Wylie’s. The shop checked in a 4-pound 6-ounce fish taken on a nugget-size softshell sandcrab. The angler, CK from Malibu only would say, the fish was caught near the shop.  Other anglers found success with sandcrabs, landing fish ranging from 1 ½ – to 3-pounds. The catch of the week however was a big calico bass taken on a kayak off El Pescador Beach. The fish was well over 8-pounds but was not weighed. The calico bass have been active on the shallow reefs. There has been lots of bait around and a grunion run. Sand bass, cabezon, yellowfin croaker, white seabass and shallow water rock fish have also been on the bite. Swimbaits are a good choice. With the bait around, 5/8 ounce Krocodiles in blue or green prism have been hot. The bait soakers are scoring fish on cut anchovy, sardine or squid. The best quality barred perch have been coming from County Line and Oxnard beaches. The fish have ranged to 1 ½ pounds and are taking mussel and shrimp. Gulp. 2-inch Sandworms are another good bait choice.

REDONDO BEACH– Warming water, strong tides and acres of sandcrabs put the corbina fishing front and center, according to Just Fishing. Anglers reported lots of takes this week landing fish to 4-pounds on south bay beaches. The bite has steadily improved since the last big swell. Good catches were reported from El Segundo, Manhattan Pier and below the Hermosa Pier. The fish are scattered throughout the bay.  Sandcrabs have been the top bait, softshells, even better. Mornings have been the best with lots of beach traffic in the afternoons. Most of the fish have ranged from 1 ½ to 3-pounds with a few better kickers pushing the 5-pound mark. Barred perch have also been in the mix. Most are small with a few to 10-inches. The bait soakers have been scoring good numbers of yellowfin croakers soaking sandcrabs, lugworms and mussel outside the breakers. The fish are ranging from 2- to 4-pounds. The spotfin have been rare. The halibut specialist have been picking off a few legal fish bouncing spoons through the shallow bait concentrations. 5/8 ounce prism and blue/chrome patterns have been best. A chunky sandbass or a stray seabass or striped bass may latch on to your spoon. Halibut fishers have been hooking 4- to 8-pound stripers off Dockweiler Beach. The rock hoppers have been scoring some quality calico bass of the PV reefs. A few short and legal white seabass have also been in the mix.

SEAL BEACH– Good numbers of sandcrabs, strong tides and warming water improved the corbina bite along Bolsa Chica and Huntington beaches, reported Big Fish. It took a while for the bite to rebound fully after the last big swell. This week saw ideal conditions.  A nickel-size sandcrab has been a top bait. Early tides with few beach goers have been best. Most of the fish have been in the 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-pound range with a few better kickers. One angler caught and released a 4- pounder at Sunset Beach on a ghost shrimp. Mostly smaller barred perch and yellowfin croaker have also been in the mix. The better size croakers both yellowfin and spotfin have been located along the jetties and off the Seal Beach Pier. Here anglers have been scoring yellowfin to 4- pounds and spotfin to 5-pounds on mussel and bloodworms. Good catches were reported from the Seal Beach Jetty and Pier, the 72nd place jetty and inside Alamitos Bay and Huntington Harbor. The best halibut catches were reported from Shoreline Drive and Belmont Shores. Anglers have been taking legal fish to 28-inches on small plastic swimbaits and soft jerk baits fished on the dropshot. Anchovy patterns have been hard to beat. Some better-size leopard sharks have been taking slab mackerel at the San Gabriel River mouth. Shovelnose sharks and 40- to 50-pound class bat rays have also been in the mix. The bay bass fishing was good with the strong tides and plentiful bait. Swimbaits, soft jerk baits and underspins, all taking fish.

NEWPORT BEACH– The corbina bite has been slow to rebound since the last big swell turned things over reported Ketcham Tackle. Anglers reported hit or miss fishing. The sandcrabs are thick and the tides strong but few fish were reported hooked over the weekend. The barred perch made up the catch with fish to 12- inches taking sandcrabs. Most anglers reported a half limit or better. Few yellowfin croaker were reported from the open beaches. Most catches were made off the jetties and near the piers, and inside Newport Harbor. Lugworms, bloodworms and mussel were top baits. River Jetties, the street jetties and both the piers kicked out catches. Most of the yellowfin ranged from 2- to 3-pounds with a few spotfin to 4-pounds in the mix. The bite has been a bit of a scratch, but the quality has been good. Look for good incoming high tides. Inside Newport Harbor, lugworms and mussel have been working  well, scoring a mix of  yellowfin and spotfin with a few sand and bay bass in the mix. The bay bass bite has been steadily improving since the temperature dump. Local grommets have been scoring some big bat rays at the mouth of the harbor. A few of the mud marlin have been over 100- pounds.

DANA POINT— The bite in Capo Bay was much improved with good tides and lots of bait and sandcrabs, reported Hogan’s. The water has been slow to clean up since the rollover a few weeks ago. This week saw the water clean up and anglers reported more takes from corbina. Recent weeks saw some big fish caught below the San Clemente Pier. There hasn’t been a bunch of takes this week but the takes have been quality with lots of 18- to 23-inch fish reported. Screening for a softshell or a nickel-size crab is worth the effort. A few smaller barred perch and yellowfin croaker have also been in the mix. The long rodders, targeting outside the breakers, have been making the better yellowfin and spotfin catches. Good catches were reported from Doheny, The lifeguard HQ, T- Street and Old Man’s Beach. Bloodworms and mussel have been top baits. Soak a ghost shrimp for a better one. A 5-pound class spotfin was taken off Doheny on a lugworm fished at dusk. The halibut bite was slow with few legal fish reported. The catches have been mostly shorts. A couple legal fish were taken in the harbor on live smelt. The harbor bite has been a mix of yellowfin croaker, short seabass and barracuda and a few spotted bay and sand bass. Small plastics have been working best.

OCEANSIDE— With strong, new moon tides, the croakers were, once again on the bite reported Pacific Coast. Yellowfin to 4-pounds and spotfin to 5-pounds were reported taken off the Oceanside Harbor Jetties, the Oceanside Pier and off the beach near the Army/Navy Academy. Bloodworms, lugworms and mussels have been good baits, A big sandcrab will also get a bite. A few short white sea bass have also been in the mix mostly around the harbor. The Army/Navy Academy was at the center of a good stretch of corbina fishing. Below the harbor and off south Carlsbad state beach were other good stretches. The bite is not as good as it was before the swell, but it was getting close by the weekend. Look for a strong August with all the sandcrabs on the beaches. Not many halibut catches were reported. A few mostly shorts on the open beaches. The better prospects for a legal was at the lagoon mouths, either on the beaches or just inside the lagoon. Here, live smelt has been the most consistent bait and the best chance at a legal fish to 30-inches. Target the stronger tide movements, incoming or outgoing. Spotted bay bass and a few yellowfin rounded out the lagoon bite. Anglers making long cast over the hard bottom beaches at low tide have been scoring some chunky calico bass. Grunion pattern swimbaits are scoring a mix of calico, sand bass and a few short and just legal white seabass.

SOLANA BEACH—  The corbina bite was good this week off Mission and Ocean beaches. The new moon tides, warming water and tons of sandcrabs made for ideal conditions. Anglers reported 1 to 3- takes in a session catching and releasing fish to 4-pounds. Sandcrabs have been a top bait. Softshells are even better. Early and late tides have been best avoiding mid-summer beach traffic. A few smaller barred perch and yellowfin croaker have also been in the catch. The long rodders are making some good croaker catches off Ponto, Torrey Pines and Black’s Beach. Lugworms, bloodworms and mussel have been top baits. Higher tides have been better but the fish will bite as long as water is moving. A few white seabass and the occasional orangemouth has also been in the catch. The better shot at an orangemouth would be in Mission Bay where the fish have been under the lights, pushing bait. Small swimbaits and soft jerk baits have been scoring fish to 8-pounds. Not many halibut to report. A few legal fish were taken at the mouth of Mission Bay on a headless, whole, anchovy.

 Thank you Brian, Jason , Curt, Jeff, Joe, John, Tony and Michael and all other anglers for the great photos!

 What To Look For This Month

Nine-E is forming off central Mexico and should provide us with a large south swell around mid month.

Synopsis:  August is always a great month for surf fishing.  This is when big corbina prowl the shore and we begin to see a transition from sand crabs to other baits, like worms, mussel and ghost shrimp.  Northern beaches will see some of the largest corbina of the season with record size fish in the Carpinteria and Santa Barbara area.  You can even catch one all the way up at Jalama, this time of year.  Southern beaches will have the full variety of fish…with good chances of some exotics like corvina and bonefish along SD. OC and LA county beaches.  Mid month will give us or largest tide swing, mild wind and a large south swell.  Now is the time to get out there, because as you can see in the pictures, fish are everywhere!

Note About Grunion Runs:

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

AUGUST Grunion Runs:

  • 8/11 Thu 9:25 pm – 11:25 pm
  • 8/12 Fri 10:10 pm – 12:10 am
  • 8/13 Sat 10:55 pm – 12:55 am
  • 8/14 Sun 11:45 pm – 1:45 am
  • 8/27 Sat 10:00 pm – 11:59 pm
  • 8/28 Sun 10:30 pm – 12:30 am
  • 8/29 Mon 11:10 pm – 1:10 am
  • 8/30 Tues 11:50 pm – 1:50 am

(With great reluctance, we have been given permission to collect up to 30 in July and August)

TIP:  Watch these days/time for your best halibut fishing periods.  Fish 2 days before, up-to 7 days after a grunion run to target halibut.  Use the Carolina rig with a sardine/anchovy/smelt/grunion.  For lures, use a Krocodile/Kastmaster/Lucky Craft/Rapalla XRap.  Fishing near both peak high and peak low tide will get you the most bites. Get into the practice of asking the lifeguard/Warden where the fish came ashore…and fish there!

Tides:  Moderate to astronomical tides characterize the month of August.  Full moon, occurring on August 11th is surrounded by huge 8.7′ tide swing…wow, that’s huge.  Month end gives us the new moon on August 27th with some great tides leading up to it.  Mild tidal swings are due for the rest of the month and will make for some good corbina and croaker fishing.  When it comes to fishing the big tides look to fish the hours after peak low tide.  Low tide will draw food, etc. from the rocks and the filling tide will make for some good fishing.  When it comes to the moderate tides (14th-23rd) this will be your best time to target feeding halibut in areas near rock and pier, etc. structure.

Water Temps: South 70, North 66 (warmer)  Water temp continues to rise as swells from our south push warm clear water our way.  Expect this will continue through much of September with our warmest water temps next month into the first of October.   

Winds: Mostly calm in the AM with 10-15 knot winds from the west in the afternoon.  Early next week stronger afternoon winds will wip up from a low pressure system to our north.  Look for mid month to have calm winds as the monsoonal moisture moves into So Cal. with the possibility of rain, even at the beach.  Watch out at this time for lightning when you’re on the sand.

Swell:  This month we will continue to enjoy swells from the south.  Tropical depressions, just off the Mexican coast, will produce swells along with huge cyclones near Antartica and New Zealand.  Next week the remnants of Frank will send it’s last swells toward SoCal.  Near mid month expect a moderate swell again from the same areas with surf near record heights.  Mid month south swells may combine with astronomical tides to make fishing tough.  Check the condtions on our Beach Cam page before your go.


Surf fishing reports compiled by

Gundy Gunderson and Bill Varney


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