Barracuda are biting off Catalina Island and Taka at Taka’s Tackle reported that the white sea bass are getting hungry. Taka said that the ‘cudas are chasing irons on the front side of the island. “Guys are catching legal fish up to 10 pounds,” he told us. The big news this week is that white sea bass are getting active around the island. Taka said that divers have been seeing the fish for weeks, but it is only recently that anglers have been able to get the sea bass to bite. Taka suggests using a live squid on a Carolina rig with an eggsinker big enough to get the bait to the bottom. The key to finding the fish is finding the off colored water. Once the weather calms, Taka expects the yellowtail to show up. He’ll look for the fish on the squid grounds with live squid or irons.
Southern California anglers are anxious for the fishing to pick up. “It’s on the verge,” says La Jolla kayak guide, Jim Sammons www.kayak4fish.com. Sammons reports that there was an amazing run of big yellowtail during the last squid bloom. “I had buddies who caught 40 and 50 pounders,” he said. Jim also had reports from free divers of huge white sea bass cruising the kelp beds at Catalina. “The fish are there, they just won’t bite,” he said. Jim has been turning his attention to spotted bay bass in San Diego Bay. He suggests fishing a moving tide with a soft plastic on a leadhead jig. “It helps to have the tide and wind going in the same direction so you drift straight,” he points out. Since the bass are structure oriented, Jim stresses the importance of keeping the bait on the bottom. “The bay bass fishery is good pretty much all the time,” he says.
Anglers out of Morro Bay aren’t letting the Federal government keep them from fishing. While rock cod fishing is off limits until the first of May, anglers have turned their attention to catching sand dabs. “When the boats go, the fish are there,” reports Greg Smith at Virg’s Landing www.morrobaysportfishing.com. He says that folks are scoring good catches of these tasty fish with No. 2 Sabiki rigs tipped with a piece of squid in 150 to 200 feet of water. “There’s no limit, so you can catch as many as you want,” Greg says. Once the ground fish ban is lifted, the boats will target rockfish, ling cod, white fish, and halibut. “Hopefully, the albacore will come back, too,” Greg adds. – Ric Burnley
During the coldest part of winter, most anglers wouldn’t think of heading north in search of good fishing. But the action out of Victoria, British Columbia might change their minds. Captain Gord Martin on Fog Horn Charters www.foghorncharters.com told us that he’s been catching good numbers of winter/spring king salmon in 135 to 185 feet of water. He’s using down riggers to pull hoochies with anchovies or herring right along the bottom. Gord is anxious for halibut season to kick off this week. He expects to find plenty of fish between 40 and 45 pounds by using a spreader bar laced with herring, sardines, or octopus. “It takes up to 2 pounds of lead to reach the bottom in 150 to 450 feet of water,” Fishing will only get better as the weather gets warmer. “We’ll catch these fish and bigger salmons through the summer,” Gord said. -Ric Burnley
The moon is waxing and the squid are rising. Nick Hawk at Dana Landing www.danalanding.com reported that the action on Humbolt squid is gaining momentum as the moon gains weight. He said that the local party boats are geared up to put anglers on this insane action. During the day, anglers are chasing spotted bay bass in Mission Bay with soft plastics on a ¼ or 3/8 ounce jig. “Big Hammer lures are the most popular,” he told us. Nick suggests looking for the fish in the back basin over grass beds or in some of the shallower coves. The same areas are producing big halibut and yellowtail for guys fishing live squid on a single dropper rig with a 4/0 hook 24 inches above a sinker. “Looks like it could be a good spring,” Nick said. – Ric Burnley
According to Stephanie Scott at Gus’ Discount Tackle, fishing around San Francisco has been pretty slow. “The best thing going is sturgeon in South Bay,” she said. While many anglers turn their noses up at these big fish, Stephanie says that a hearty group of fishermen targets sturgeon with a passion. “About 20 percent of my customers are sturgeon nuts,” she claims. Stephanie told us that the best action has been around Oyster Bay and Berkley Marina with anglers scoring fish between 44 and 66 inches from both boats and the piers. To catch one of the prehistoric looking behemoths, Stephanie suggests using a cable rig and either herring, ghost shrimp, mud shrimp, or grass shrimp for bait. “The size of the hook depends on the size of the bait,” she says. Local angles are keeping their fingers crossed for a good halibut season this year. She said that several oats have already started targeting the flat fish in San Francisco Bay, but she hadn’t heard any good reports. While most anglers will use anchovies on a three way rig for the halibut, some guys have found luck with rotary killers. “Other than sturgeon,” Stephanie said, “fishing right now kind of stinks.”