DON’T FORGET to sign up for our FREE Surf Fishing Newsletter below!

           Check out our “Seminars” page for information, dates and registration


     May 2021    

The big story has been the excellent halibut bite in the bays, harbors and lagoons, especially on south Orange County, north county and San Diego stretches. The beach bite has also been good but a series of swells and a bit of wind and weather made for some inconsistencies in conditions. A whole bunch of 30-inch class fish were reported taken in the last few

weeks, topped by a 39-inch fish. The bait bite has been hot. Some anglers have been obtaining live bait from the local bait receiver, then transporting it to the lagoon. Other anglers have been making and fishing live smelt. Cut frozen anchovy has also been working well. Better lures have been smelt, grunion and anchovy pattern swimbaits. On the open beaches Flash Minnows have been a top fish finder. Look for the bite to continue to improve with continued grunion runs and warming waters.

The barred perch bite continues strong with most anglers posting easy limits. The better quality fish have been coming from the more northern beaches off Ventura and Oxnard. Anglers haven’t been seeing the usual numbers of big spawners, but there have been some ripe fish. The full moon saw the first good spotfin runs of the season. Some quality fish to 5-pounds were reported to go with good numbers of yellowfin croaker. Lugworms and mussel have been top baits. One of the 5-pounders was taken on a ghost shrimp. Lots of juvenile white sea bass also have been showing in the shallows with some legal size fish in the mix.

SANTA BARBARA— The week saw some excellent barred perch catches, according to Hook, Line and Sinker. Anglers reported limit-style fishing on barred perch up to 1 ¼ pounds. Most of the fish have ranged from ½- to 1- pound. Good catches were reported from Refugio, El Capitan, Gaviota and Silverstrand. The fish are not picky taking most offerings including lugworms, bloodworms, mussel, Gulp! and grubs. A few fish are ripe. The halibut bite has also been improving with more legal fish showing. No big ones but fish to 30-inches. A 24-inch fish was taken at Summerland on a Flash Minnow, a 25-inch fish was taken off East Beach on a Krocodile and a 28-inch fish was taken at the harbor mouth on a piece of cut, salted anchovy. The bite on the reefed beaches saw lots of shallow water rockfish, calico bass, sand bass and yellowfin croaker. Squid and shrimp have been the top baits. Mostly mackerel and a few bass and rockfish on the Goleta Pier.

MALIBU– The shop held an Uptown Derby on Saturday, according to Wylie’s. The group faced big swells and a stiff wind. Marv Taniguchi, from San Diego, took top honors with a 1-pound 12-ounce fish that fell for a lugworm fished off Santa Clause Lane. The group scratched out a decent catch of smaller perch in tough conditions and also landed a corbina pushing the 3-pound mark. Still looking for those big spawning hens. The bite on the reefed beaches was

 good during the week. Anglers soaking squid, shrimp and mussel reported taking a mix of sand bass, calico bass, yellowfin croakers, shallow water rockfish and the occasional cabezon. The stretch from Sunset to Temescal has been kicking out lots of good size leopard sharks. Squid has been the top bait. The bat ray specialists have been hanging some big fish along Paradise Cove. A 31-inch white seabass was taken off County Line on a piece of cur squid.

REDONDO BEACH– The stretch near the Hermosa Pier continues to be a better one, according to Hook, Line and Sinker. Good catches of barred perch, halibut and even a few corbina were taken early in the week. The barred perch have been striking motor oil and root beer colored grubs fished on a carolina rig. Gulp!, Lugworms and mussel have also been working. The few corbina reported have been taken on mussel. Smelt, grunion, anchovy and sardine pattern Flash Minnows have been a top halibut bait. Schools of small sardines and anchovies have been shallow around the pier, holding the halibut. Improving catches have also been reported from El Segundo and Torrance beaches. The bite in King Harbor has been waking up. Several legal halibut were taken on cut anchovy. Yellowfin croaker and small sand bass have also been in the mix. Rock hoppers fishing the reefs off PV, report taking some legal white seabass. The fish have been ranging from 18- to 32-inches and are taking grunion and smelt pattern 5-inch swimbaits.

SEAL BEACH– A hot halibut bite inside the Federal Breakwater was the big news this week, according to Big Fish. Anglers reported several legal fish to go with good numbers of shorts. The Marina Bridge was a particular hot spot kicking out several legal fish on live smelt. Other catches were made along Belmont Shores, Shoreline Drive, Cherry Beach and 72nd place. Live smelt has been a top bait. Drop shot Zoom Flukes have been a top plastic. The barred perch bite continues to sputter with small, mostly palm-size fish reported. A few smaller corbina have also been spotted. The spotfin were on the bite. Some good catches were made on the back of the full moon off the Seal Beach Pier and jetty and off Dog Beach. Bloodworms have been a top bait. A 4-pounder was taken on a ghost shrimp fished off Dog Beach. Strong, full moon tides, fueled a good spotted bay bass bite in Alamitos Bay. Small swimbaits and soft jerk baits fished on dartheads have been top baits. Some short to just legal seabass have also been in the mix.

NEWPORT BEACH– The halibut bite continues to improve, reported Ketcham Tackle. Several grunion runs, plentiful anchovy schools and warming water temps have drawn lots of fish shallow. Flash Minnows have been the top search baits on the open beaches. Metallic sardine and ms anchovy have been best colors. The stretches along Newland, River Jetties, and the street jetties have been better ones. The bait soakers are also scoring with cut anchovy and live smelt. A 30-inch fish was taken at the harbor mouth on a piece of cut anchovy and a 28-inch fish was taken at River Jetties on a live smelt made in the slough. The catch of the week was a 26-pound hali that won the annual Lilly Call Tournament. The big fish was taken on 4-pound test tournement line as per the rules. A few better barred perch were taken near the Wedge. A clear/ red flake grub fished on a carolina rig with a ½ ounce sinker was the set-up. A number of corbina have been spotted finning around the piers. Water temps are now in the low 60s. The long rodders scored some nice croakers soaking bloodworms along the street jetties. The catch was mostly yellowfin to 3-pounds and a few spotfin to 4-pounds. Small barred perch and shiner perch were also in the mix.

DANA POINT— A good halibut bite has been developing in Capistrano Bay, reported Hogan’s. Halibut anglers had been scoring a mix of short and legal fish ranging to 36-inches. The big fish was taken at hole-in-the-fence on a Cherry Berry Flash Minnow. Warming waters, a series of grunion runs and lots of shallow schools of anchovies had the flatfish on the bite. The stretch below the harbor and the beaches south of the San Clemente Pier have been the most productive. Flash Minnows, Jig Paras and under-spins have all accounted for bites. In and around the harbor, cut anchovy has been a top bait. Some anglers are targeting better fish with a whole anchovy fished with a small, treble stinger. Harbor and jetty anglers have been scoring some nice croakers on lugworms. The fish are active on the incoming higher tides. Most of the catch is 1- to 3-pound yellowfin with the occasional spotfin to 4-pounds. The short jetty has been a good spot with anglers catching fish on the harbor side and at Doheny.

OCEANSIDE— All around good fishing, reported Pacific Coast. The bite was good with anglers posting catches of mostly halibut to go with croakers, both yellowfin and spotfin, mostly short white seabass, calico bass and sand bass. Both the lagoons and Oceanside Harbor kicked out some quality flat fish. Several fish were in the 30-inch class. Top catch was a 32-inch fish taken inside the harbor on a live anchovy purchased from the bait receiver. Other legal fish, taken in the lagoons, fell for live smelt, Lucky Craft

 Flash Minnows and cut anchovy. Lots of quality fish have been moving shallow in recent weeks. The beach bite has also been good. With water temps over 60 degrees, the croaker, both yellowfin and spotfin have been on the bite. Lugworms, bloodworms, mussel and ghost shrimp have been top baits. Oceanside Harbor and Pier, Carlsbad lagoon mouth and Cardiff have been good stretches. A 6-pound 2-ounce fish was checked in to the shop. A few barred perch and small corbina have also been in the mix,.

SOLANA BEACH— Lots of quality halibut have been taken inside the mouth of Mission Bay. Several fish were double digit topped by a 39-inch fish that fell for a live smelt. The live bait bite has been hot for the better models. Strong tides at the harbor mouth, draw feeding bait and predatory halibut. San Diego Bay is also kicking out good halibut catches. Legal fish were also taken off the open beaches. Good catches were reported off Del Mar, Ponto and Torrey Pines. Flash Minnows have been the top beach bait with some,“old school”, spoon casters taking fish on slow-rolled Krocodiles. Table Tops kicked out some big spotfin croaker on ghost shrimp. A couple of fish were pushing the 5-pound mark. Some chunky yellowfin croaker were also in the mix.

What to look for this Month

French Polynesian swells from the south originated between Africa and Australia…It will be here next week.

Synopsis: May is the ultimate transition month. With the first sets of waves coming from the south May waters warm and sand crabs come to the surface. By the end of May sand crabs will be spread out along the beaches and losing their shells…providing the perfect soft-shell bait.  Now is the time to concentrate on sand crabs and worms. Corbina will be transiting the bay, harbors and estuaries and they all will be looking for fresh food.

Tides: May has some large tides that will be great for corbina fishing from May 5-14 during the new moon and May 20-31 surrounding the full moon period.

Water Temps: South 62, North 54 (wide range with rising temps)

Winds: Light morning winds from the southwest with fog. Afternoon west winds 10-15 knots.

Swell: Two northwest swells will hit the beaches the week as back to back low pressure zones move ashore from the Arctic. This will upset the water but quickly recover as two new south swells will be making there way ashore the second week of May. These storms are originating from French Polynesia and even though there are only expected to be 3-4′ in size, they are pushing a tremendous amount for warm water north.



Grunion may not be taken in April or May


     Send your pictures and reports to: