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            Surf Fish Report

      Today, huge schools of bluefin were reported about 400 miles below San Diego.  That’s good news for us surf anglers because it seems the winter water temperature is still a bit above normal.  In cold water years, surf fishingPERCH BRIAN PARKER AT SAN SIMEON takes a break until spring.  But when the surface temp stays warmer thoughout the winter we seem to find that the bite continues.  Halibut and perch to the north, spotfin and corbina in the middle and stripers to our south means the lockjaw of winter has not yet trapped our surf fish!

Santa BarbaraPerch have filled in all along the coast and almost every beach from the Hollister Ranch to Carpinteria have been kicking out 1-3lb barred surfperch. Halibut fishing with Lucky Craft, Rapalla and white swimbaits have produced fish at the harbor entrance, near the Goleta Pier and inside the Wharf loop. Also, look for the right tide, a minus tide is great, to fish just below the White Estate where the metal groins stretch out into the water. You can almost always find halibut here.

Ventura…Just like Santa Barbara there has been a great many barred surfperch along with a few corbina still biting.

Malibu, Santa Monica and the South Bay…Again, some great perching here with barred surfperch to 2+lbs. Winter months allow for a wide variety of baits. Fresh, unfrozen, shrimp has always worked…along with Lug/Blood worms and mussel. There have been a few corbina still around. I would look for rock structure/rocks just offshore and fish around these rocks GHOST SHRIMP WONwith a very short leader and very light egg sinker. Perch this time of year from Malibu to Pt. Mugu are tight to rocks and are PERCH 1 12014 very hungry! Again this week another nice striper was caught at Dockwyler Beach/El Segundo. There is no place in Southern California that more striper have been caught. I remember them there in the 1960′s.

Orange CountyWOW, both good fishing for spotfin croaker and corbina. Inside the LA harbor several big corbina were caught last week on worms. Any break in the weather that allows the sun to come out and wind to be calm are good days to fish spotfin. You’ll have some luck with lug and blood worms but the best bait by far are ghost shrimp. Use a light 1/2oz sliding sinker and 6lb fluorocarbon leader. Thread you ghost shrimp on and gently cast your bait into the inner trough. You don’t need to cast out far, as the bigger spotfin will be coming in close to feed. These fish don’t nibble, they will pick up your bait, pause, then quickly swim away. All you’ll need to do at that point is reel down and your engaged! Yellowfin croaker and perch are biting all along the OC coast on lug/blood worms, clams, mussle and ghost shrimp!

San Diego...I’ve got to wonder if fishing is good here because the water is warmer…certainly the closest beach to 60 degrees. Perch and yellowfin croaker have been found along most beaches. Halibut fishing in the lagoons and along the outlets has produced a few legal fish each week. Anglers have been using live smelt along both Ponto and the Carlsbad jetties to catch fish. Again, last week Del Mar river mouth hasOPALEYE_PERCH_10_08kicked out another nice sized striped bass. The fish coming from this area lately have been on Lucky Crafts and white or sardine colored swimbaits. Look for the bite to continue, especially after periods of rain.

What to look for this Month:

Tides: Great tides all the way though the middle of March. Look for some very large tide swings near the full-moon and new-moon phases. The high tides during these periods can be great tides for fishing perch and the very low tides are the best times to fish near and around jetties. At places littleneck clams (2) like Newport Beach, this is the only time of year you can get out and cast just around their ends….to where the big fish are! Use these very low tides to fish structure you normally would not be able to reach.

image094Water Temps: South 59, North 53

Swell: Not a tremendous amount of swell so far this winter. We even have a bit of swell still coming from the south. Look for swell size to vary with each storm that rakes the CA coast. When challenged by big swells, tuck inside the bay or harbor and fish orange lugthere. Once you have a day of calm, fish the next day and you’ll find fish. Remember, this time of year the very best time to surf fish is right before the next storm. I can’t tell you how many times when clouds were on the horizon, that fishing was unbelievably good. It has something to do with the air pressure and it really makes fish go on the hunt.

Winds: Once again, light and variable winds will coincide with the swell/surf. Expect periods of high surf and wind, followed by light offshore, Santa Ana conditions and good fishing. Periods between storms offer the best Winter surf fishing…especially just before a storm when they go wide open!

There’s good fishing out there so please send me your pictures and reports!




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