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           SURF FISHING REPORT    


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Southern California Surf Fishing Report September 2022


Thank you to everyone who came to our Carpinteria on-the-beach clinic last week.  We had over 70 anglers who caught yellowfin, perch, corbina and a leopard shark or two!

Thank you to the California State Park System and Supervising Ranger Dave Wilson and his staff.  Thanks to Shoreline Baits and Rick Klein for their great Lug Worms and all the anglers who came out.  We learned a lot and had a great time with friends, family and the joy of meeting new anglers.


Huntington Beach…Ready to fish!

August was another excellent month of surf fishing with anglers finding success catching a wide variety of species. The overriding factor was the abundant amount of forage in the shallows. Anchovies in large and small sizes, sardine in large and small sizes and even standard size mackerel and mini-mackerel were everywhere inside the 100 fathom curve. Add to this lots of micro-bait and pinheads and you have all the means to draw in gamefish. Most beaches had warm, clean water only interrupted by a few swell events. Summer beach crowds could also hamper the bite.

The plentiful bait and clean water drew in good numbers of bonito. The catches were best off the piers. The little speedsters averaging from 1- to 2- pounds with a few kickers to 4-pounds have been reported off the Malibu Pier, inside King Harbor, off the Newport and Balboa Piers, San Clemente Pier and the Oceanside Pier. A dorado was also reported hooked off the San Clemente Pier.

The corbina bite was also stellar this month. Good catches were reported from most southern California beaches from Carpinteria to Imperial Beach. One exception was the Balboa Peninsula which was plagued by streaky off-color water for most of the month. A few swell events created the local event. The quality has been good with lots of fish in the 3- and 4-pound classes, topped by a few catch and releases estimated in the 5- and 6-pound classes. Thick spots of sandcrab have bolstered the bite. The small crustaceans are the most plentiful they have been in several seasons. Heavy beach traffic has been the biggest challenge. Early morning and late evening tide swings have been best. Look for the beaches to clear after the Labor day weekend.

The full and new moon tides brought some big spotfin to the table. A monster 26-inch fish, estimated at over 10-pounds, was taken at Black’s Beach. The fish were active on the big swell and ripping currents. Good catches were reported from Seal Beach Jetty and Pier, Newport Pier and Harbor, Doheny, Old Man’s, Oceanside Harbor, Jetty and Pier. Good numbers of smaller yellowfin have also been in the mix.

Shallow bait on the reefed beaches has also made for good mixed bag fishing. Anglers posted catches of chunky calico bass, sand bass, yellowfin croaker, shallow water rockfish, sargo, white sea bass, barred perch, corbina and leopard sharks. Squid, shrimp and cut anchovies have been the top baits.

The halibut bite was in a mid-summer slump, typical with all the warm water around. The catch was mostly shorts with a few legals here and there. But at the end of the month a good bite for fish ranging from 18- to 25-inches developed in the North County lagoons. One angler reported catching 10 fish in a session with two of legal size on cut anchovy. A few legal halibut were also reported taken from Goleta and Henry’s off Santa Barbara. White seabass, striped bass and rare angel sharks rounded out the catch. Big leopards and bat rays were also in the mix.

SANTA BARBARA— The yellowfin croaker were on the bite, reported Hook, Line and Sinker. The fish are usually not found in abundance along these northern beaches. Anglers report good yellowfin croaker catches all along this stretch. The fish are feeding on shallow bait and will take most offerings. Shrimp and squid have been top natural baits. The fish will also strike a spoon or small swim or jerk bait. Good catches were reported from Henry’s, Goleta and Carpinteria. The bait also drew in

halibut and white sea bass. Flash Minnows and swimbaits have accounted for many of the bites. Most anglers target halibut and pick up a few white seabass. The halibut are smaller ranging up to 27-inches. Most of the seabass are shorts with a few legal fish to 34-inches. Gaviota, El Capitan, Refugio, Goleta and East Beach have been good stretches. The barred perch are largely overlooked with all the warm water species around but most beaches will kick out a limit or near limit of fish to 1 ¼ -pounds. The grub bite has been good with motor oil and clear/red flake colors getting bit. Gulp! Sandworms , mussel and lugworms are other top producers. The reef bite has been good with calico bass, sand bass, yellowfin croaker, shallow water rockfish and a few cabezon taking the bait. Squid and fresh market shrimp have been effective. Lots of larger leopard sharks and rare angel sharks have been biting at the harbor mouth.

MALIBU– The rocky beaches continue to produce excellent mixed-bag catches according to Wylies. Anglers soaking squid and shrimp report a mix of calico bass , sand bass, yellowfin croaker, shallow water rockfish, cabezon, white seabass, sargo, barred perch and small leopard sharks. Julian Farias of LA found good fishing off Will Rogers State Beach. Other good reports came from Paradise Cove, Big Rock, Pescador and Matador. Corbina anglers also found success along Santa Monica and Malibu Beaches. The water is warm, the sand crabs are thick and the new moon tides were strong. Avoiding heavy beach traffic was key to getting a bite. Early and late tides have proved best. The shark bite was good with anglers scoring a mix of small and large leopard sharks, shovelnose, and a few rare angel sharks. A fresh slab of mackerel or a whole frozen sardine will make a good shark bait. Small bonito were splashing around off the end of the Malibu Pier. Just a few fish were hooked.

REDONDO BEACH– Good, peak-season, corbina fishing this week, reported Just Fishing. Excepting a few stretches of off-color water, conditions have been good throughout the south bay. Warm water, strong, new moon tides and plentiful sandcrabs combined to make for the best fishing of the season. Large beach crowds were the only impediment. Lots of fish in the 2- to 3- pound class with a few kicker to 4-pounds. Catches were reported from El Segundo, Manhattan, near the Hermosa Pier and below the Topaz Jetty. Screening for dime- to nickel-size crabs and softshells is worth the effort. The long rodders are scoring yellowfin croakers targeting the zone outside the breakers. Single and double dropper loop rigs baited with sand crabs, mussel, cut anchovy or lugworms have been getting bites. A few striped bass have also been in the mix when fishing lugworms and cut anchovy. Not much word on halibut. With the warm water most catches have been shorts. A few anglers, willing to put in time, are finding a few legals. A few legals to 25-inches were also reported taken in King harbor on cut anchovy. The bonito are also showing in better numbers in and around the harbor. A few fish were taken on small spoons and splasher rigs.

SEAL BEACH– The corbina bite was good for most anglers pursuing the wily fish, reported Big Fish. Anglers reported many takes and more fish hooked and landed. The bite was spread through-out with good catches reported from Belmont Shores, Dog Beach, Sunset Beach, Bolsa Chica, Huntington Cliffs and near the Huntington Pier. Most fish have ranged from 1 ½ – to 2 ½ pounds with kickers to 4-pounds. Sandcrabs are plentiful and a nickel-size bait has been ideal. Find a softshell and better your chances. A few small barred perch, yellowfin croaker and small leopard sharks have also been in the mix. Beach crowds have been a factor so early and late sessions have been the most productive. The croaker bite was also good with strong, new moon tides and an abundance of small bait in and around LA Harbor. Yellowfin to 4-pounds have been taking cut anchovy. Spoons and anchovy pattern swimbaits and jerkbaits have been top lures. The spotfin were also on the bite. Natural baits like bloodworms, mussel and ghost shrimp have been taking fish to 5-pounds. Catches were reported from the Belmont Pier, 72nd Place Jetty, Dog Beach, the Seal Beach Jetty and Pier. Corbina anglers found improved fishing with cleaner water and strong tides this week. Catches were reported from Sunset, Surfside, Bolsa Chica and Huntington beaches. Lots of 2- to 3-pound class fish with a few kickers to 4-pounds. Beach traffic is a factor putting the fish off. Early and late tide swings have been best. The halibut bite has been mostly shorts on the open beaches. More legal fish were taken in and around LA Harbor, Alamitos Bay and Huntington Harbor. Cut, whole, anchovy and live smelt have been top baits for a legal fish. Lots of larger leopard sharks have been active on most beaches. Reports of small bonito around but no documented catches.

NEWPORT BEACH– The streaky water on the peninsula beaches finally dissipated, improving the bite reported Ketcham Tackle. The corbina bite still has not completely recovered to previous levels but is good. Anglers are seeing lots of fish and takes have increased. Large crowds have had a big effect making the fish skittish. Look for good tides, early and late. Anglers reported seeing fish all along the peninsula. A few hand-size barred perch have also been in the mix. Look for ideal conditions, post, Labor Day weekend. The croaker bite was also improved with angers reporting catches off both piers, the street jetties, River Jetties and Newland. The long rodders are scoring fish soaking bloodworms and mussel on single and double dropper loop rigs. The yellowfin have been ranging from 1 ½ – to 3-pounds with a few kickers to 4-pounds. The spotfin have been chunky ranging from 2- to 4-pounds with a few fish in the 5-pound class. The croaker have also been active in the harbor near the Pavilion. The spotted bay bass bite has also been solid in the bay. Watermelon color, Yamamoto Hula Grubs have been hot. Best bet for a legal halibut has been in the main channel at the harbor mouth. Here fish to 32-inches were reported ,taken on fresh frozen anchovy. The beach bite for halibut has been slow. Some big leopard sharks have been taken at River Jetties on a fresh dead strip of mackerel. A thresher shark was hooked off the Newport Pier. Some bonito schools have also been spotted.

DANA POINT— The corbina bite in Capo Bay was the focus of many surf anglers this week, reported Hogan’s. Anglers reported spotting lots of quality fish. The bite has slowed from few weeks ago but is still good. Most anglers are reporting 1 to 2 fish in a session. The fish have been quality ranging from 2- to 3-pounds with kickers over 4-pounds. Beach traffic has been heavy and may have affected the bite. Look for the beaches to clear and the fishing to improve after the Labor Day weekend. The croaker bite was good with strong, new moon tides, lots of bait and warm water. The long rodders were getting them soaking lugworms, mussel and cut anchovy outside the breakers. Good catches were reported from Doheny, Poche, the Pier and T- Street. The croaker were also active in the harbor. A few anglers scored a nice barred perch catch dragging grubs off Salt Creek. Most of the fish ranged from palm-size to hand -size with a few better kickers. More bonito catches were reported off the San Clemente Pier. Anglers have been getting bites on small Coltsnipers and Laser Minnows. A dorado was rumored to be hooked of the pier but could not be substantiated.

OCEANSIDE— More good corbina fishing along north county beaches, reported Pacific Coast. Anglers reported 1- to 3- fish in a session with lots of fish in the 2 ½ – to 3-pound class and some dandy kickers to 5-pounds. Heavy beach traffic has been the limiting factor but the volume of fish, the abundance of sandcrabs and the warmth of the water bodes well for the fall. Post Labor Day will see more ideal conditions. A 4-pound 13-ounce corbina leads the shop’s derby. With a new moon and strong tides, the croaker, both spotfin and yellowfin were on the bite this week. Good catches were reported from Oceanside Harbor, the harbor jetty, the Oceanside Pier, and the Carlsbad Lagoon.The yellowfin have ranged from 2- to 3-pounds with a few better kickers and the spotfin have averaged frm 2- to 4-pounds with a few kickers to 6-pounds. Bloodworms and nugget sandcrabs have been the top baits. Both dropper loop and sliding egg sinker rigs have been working. The halibut made a surprising show in the lagoons. Anglers reported a big influx of fish ranging from 18- to 25-inches. One angler caught and released over a dozen fish with a couple being legal. Cut anchovy and live smelt have been top baits. A few spotted bay bass and croaker have also been in the mix. The bonito showed off the pier for most of the week. Lots of sharks and rays off Ponto.

SOLANA BEACH— The corbina bite on Mission Beach was a top draw this week. Anglers securing and fishing sandcrabs early, have been posting nice scores of quality fish. A few better models were pushing the 6-pound mark. The early tides have been best with lots of mid-day beach traffic. Good corbina catches were also reported from Del Mar, Black’s Beach and Torrey Pines. More chunky spotfin were taken on the strong, new moon tides. The long rodders reported catches from Table Tops, Black’s Beach, Torrey Pines and at the mouth of Mission Bay. Bloodworms and ghost shrimp have been the top baits. Some of the larger fish have been taken on the ghost shrimp. Night bites have also produced quality. Some 2-pound class yellowfin and a few small white seabass have also been in the catch. A 14-pound halibut was taken at the mouth of Mission Bay on a live smelt. The halibut bite has been spotty both on the beaches and in the bays and harbors.

Thank you to John, Brian, Kiowa, Johnny, Jason, Chip, Cam, and so many other anglers for their great reports and photos…PLEASE keep them coming!


 Morro Bay Clinics Coming up Next…Click Below to Learn More BIG MORRO PERCH



Come join us at the beach or in-store for  hands-on instruction, techniques and tips on how to be a successful surf angler.


 What To Look For This Month

Tropical Depression-12 (KAY) projected route for this week

Tropical Depression Kay explodes as it leaves the coast of Veracruz Mexico

Synopsis:  September offers a “shoulder month” for surf fishing with warm, clear calm water and a change in forage from sand crabs to ghost shrimp, mussel, clams and worms.  September is also time for halibut to again spawn.  You’ll find some excellent tides this month for halibut with minus low tides for long casts and small tide swings, near mid month, for targeting halibut.  Remember, super low tides will allow you to fish halibut habitat you can’t usually reach and small tidal swings (along with fishing at peak low and peak high tide) will give you your best shot at these fish.

This month is a “shoulder” for baits.  Sand crabs will begin to diminish and surf fish, gorged for the last few months on crabs, will look for something new to eat.  Worms (Blood/Lug), mussel, clam and ghost shrimp work great this month and thoroughout the fall.  Try to hit the beach with a variety of baits and you’ll find they really do the job this time of year.  Find lug worms at most coastal tackle shops…Ghost shrimp at Big Fish in Seal Beach and SeaForth Landing…clams in intertidal areas and mussel on just about all rock jetties in SoCal.

Grunion Runs Over For 2022

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

Tides: September, wow, has some great tides.  From Labor Day right into the middle of the month look for some big tidal changes as we approach the Full Moon on September 10th.  Tides don’t flatten, which makes for great halibut fishing, until Sept. 15-21 and then are replaced with another set of 5+ foot tide changes all the way up to and around the New Moon on Sept. 25th. 

     Big tidal changes around the Full and New Moon will be great for bait catching, corbina, perch and croaker fishing.

Water Temps: South 72, North 68 (warmer)

This is the warm clear water we’ve all been waiting for.  Look for temps to increase over the next two weeks as south swells continue to bring warmth this way.

Winds:  Morning offshore winds followed by afternoon 9-14mph winds from the west.  Look for the first of a series of Santa Ana conditions coming this month.

Swell: Hurricane Javier and pulses from New Zeland/Antartica continue to send swell inpulse north and into Southen California.  Kay is now churning as a tropical depression and is predicted to turn into a cyclone in the next few days with a possible landfall near Cedros Island.

     What we will experience here is still unknown but the National Weather Service warns of life-threatening surf along the Baja Coast with possible surf to 25′.  Depending on how this pans out, surf in SoCal could reach historic heights around the 10th-15th of Sept.  Be very wary of large surf and be sure to check out our cam page for beach cameras before you go.  Areas that face west or inside protected harbors will be your best bet for fishing these days.  Look for more monsoonal rain possible in the next week as it accompanies hurricane Kay.


Surf fishing reports compiled by

Gundy Gunderson and Bill Varney


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