Sunday, December 21, 2008

This week started with a washout of epic proportion. Not only was it freezing but the kelp, trash and mud that flowed downstream to the beach was unbelievable. I think most fish found a hiding place and hunkered down.

Put some bait together with clams, sidewinder crabs and a bit of gulp and gave it a shot on Saturday afternoon during the barely high-high tide. The conditions were calm and flat glassy with a small swell. Even the areas that once offered the cleanest water were murky and loaded with floating debris.

On one of my early casts I hooked into this nice barred perch using a combo of clam and sidewinder crab.

It was a long time between bites but I did have a chance to enjoy the sunset.

Just after dark the wind began to pick up pushing cold air offshore. On one of Ken’s last casts he hooked into this nice corbina using the 3inch Gulp! Camo sand worm. The Carolina rig with a 18” leader of fluorocarbon and a 3/8oz slider did the trick. After a nice fight, it was off the hook and freedom.

Got back to the car just in the nick of time to scrape off the ice and head home for a warm cocktail.

This week looks like a complete washout. Although we have some good tides coming up you'll have to find some days with light winds and small surf to out smart the fish in hiding! I'm looking forward to some time off over the holidays and a road trip that will take me fishing in the warm Pacific.

Next report will be of some colorful fish, I hope. Until then I sure hope everyone has a great holiday and even better New Year!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

This week was busy so I only had a few minutes on Wednesday to collect bait. With a little luck I found a hot bed of sidewinder crabs. Next, with the advice of a homeless guy, I was pointed in the right direction to collect a few clams too. Hey, those guys that live under the overpass keep a sharp eye on the beach and can be a great help when looking for bait!

Left before sunrise for the beach Friday in hopes of catching an astronomical seven-foot tide and a few bites. Made it to the beach and was greeted by flat calm seas, no surf and a clear high tide. Everything looked perfect. Truly, the calm before the storm.

As a few raindrops pelted me I struggled to get bites. The lack of waves and the super high tide did everything it could to prevent any current. I first tried the clam for bait and after a few casts caught a nice opal eye near the rocks. My stomach was rumbling as it reminded me of Anderson’s pea soup!

After changing bait to sidewinders I hooked into a nice perch. As I got it near shore I could see it was the biggest walleye I’ve ever hooked—probably 14 inches—but not this time--bing, out pops the hook. On the next cast I hooked into this guy and after a short battle she came to shore—crab and all.

Caught just a few more perch but nothing else was biting. Probably because the tide swings were so great they couldn’t find their home.

Woke up Saturday to do “church” work by moving the clams out of the Talbert Outlet and into a protected area inside the marsh. Here they can reproduce and pour baby clams out the inlet and thus onto the sand in both directions up and down the beach.

A BIG thank you goes out to the 14 volunteers who helped us round up and move 1,396 Pacific Littleneck and Razor Clams into the estuary. Also, thank you to the Huntington Beach Wetland Conservancy for their guidance and cooperation on this project. These folks have done all of us surf fishermen a big service by doing this. The restored marsh that spans from the Santa Ana River to Beach Blvd. will be home to millions of fish and the soon-to-be dredged inlet will be their way to and from the ocean. Once the clams are in place a few days we'll be able to place anchor rocks near them to insure their survival. Here's one of the beds where clams were planted.

The estuary which will be flooded some time early next year is roughly 3 miles long and 1/4th mile wide. When doing sampling to determine where the clams would go we came across loads of ghost shrimp, crabs and a sand worm over two feet long! With so much bait and such a huge area of water there’s no doubt the Orange County coast is in store for some epic surf fishing!
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

This week started off and ended with clear warm skies. Small surf, that made surf fishing look promising on Monday, was over by late in the week as a big Southwest swell pounded the shore.

I took some time to collect some sidewinders knowing that this time of year they work great for the spawning perch.

I also like to use mussel now and rig it two ways. The first is by doing what everyone has done forever—clumping a wad on the hook and sending it out to sea. The other way is by finding the bigger mussel and using the lip only. I like to thread the lip up the hook just as I would do with a worm. This seems to give the bait a more natural presentation because it moves across the bottom like a worm rather than just spinning through the surf. I’ve had some good luck with it and have even caught a few halibut using that technique.

I switched off between baits, mussel, clams and sidewinder and hooked into a few nice perch. Although it was a tough week for surf fishing I was glad to have a few to pull on.

I even had some luck with one of the biggest walleye I’ve ever caught. You know it’s big for a walleye when you can lip it for the pic.

The tidal movement this week had a lot to be desired. Luckily, next week has some great tides—astronomical in fact—so that should lead to some great fishing—unless the surf’s ten foot!!!

Volunteers Needed!!
Talbert Relocation Project

Here's some great news
The State Parks have granted our volunteers free parking for the day. You just need to show a copy of the event flyer at the Magnolia/PCH entrance and you’ll save the $10.00 parking fee. The renovation of three miles of estuary along PCH from Beach Blvd. to the Santa Ana River will be completed in the spring and is guaranteed to make the Bolsa Chica to Santa Ana River corridor the best surf fishing in the State. Thank you everyone for your help!!

You can check out the flyer at our website:

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Packed the tent and the teenagers and took a road trip up to Jalama to do some camping and surf fishing.

If you’ve never been there, Jalama is a great place to camp and enjoy the ocean. It’s about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara. The campground is bordered on one side by Vandenberg Air Force Base and the private Coho Ranch on the other side. This makes it about as pristine and secluded as possible and with very little pressure the beach provides some great surfing and perch fishing.

When we arrived cloud breaks gave way to sun. With calm winds we had some nice fishing for perch.

I had brought a wide variety of bait with me including grubs, mussel, clams and sidewinder crabs. I was determined to try everything and see what worked best. After tying on the Carolina rig to my 6lb main line I was ready to go. As usual it was almost a fish every cast. Jalama is a place where fifty fish days are common. No big ones this time but many in the 8-11 inch range.

Even caught a few walleye perch although this one didn’t have some of the classic characteristics and I still wonder if it might be a freak!

I’ve known for some time that small fish love Gulp, grubs, mussel and clams so that’s why I brought along the sidewinder crab to try for bigger fish. It’s no secret that the last two state records for barred perch were caught on this crab.

Each cast connected with bigger fish in the 12-13 inch range.

As the sun set we sat by the fire and enjoyed talking about our day. The next morning I just had a few minutes to fish before the rain came in. It poured for five straight hours so instead of fishing I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading. Next time I plan to spend more time fishing the sidewinder because I’ve seen the pictures in the Jalama store and I know the 16 incher is out their waiting for me!

Volunteers Needed!
Please help us (and yourself!) on Saturday December 13, 2008

The Talbert Marsh on PCH near the Santa Ana Rivermouth is being restored to it's natural state. Under special permit has been asked to move all the clams from the Talbert inlet (where the marsh meets the ocean) and relocate them inside the marsh. In Janurary the inlet will be dredged of all sand allowing the tidal basin to flood.

Participants Working on the relocation will help with digging up clams with hands and shovels, transporting them by bucket and replanting them inside the Talbert Marsh.

What: Clam Relocation Project for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy

When: Saturday December 13, 2008 from 12noon to 4pm (feel free to come earlier and go fishing--there's a great morning high tide that day!)

Where: Talbert Inlet, End of the State Beach Parking lot, PCH and Brookhurst (enter also at Magnolia (just 200 yards North of the Santa Ana Rivermouth in Newport Beach)

Details: Parking is $10/car so please try to carpool. You will be working on the sand at the edge of the water. Bring a trowel, cultivator or shovel and a great attitude!

Let us know you wish to attend (and how many are coming) by sending an email to:

Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit

Friday, November 21, 2008

Took a trip last weekend to San Francisco to see my team handle the Cardinal and had a chance to do some fishing on the way back near Refugio State Beach just West of Santa Barbara. Once safely back home I had a chance to do a bit of fishing back down in Huntington too.

Beautiful conditions greeted us at Refugio and as the tide began to drop we got a good look at what must be a great spot at high tide. We fished the edges of these rocks at medium high tide and had some good luck.

Found a nice bed of sand crabs and had some luck with both crabs and grubs.

Although none of our fish were big today we did have a nice bite on palm sized barred, walleye and black (buttermouth) perch.

Couldn’t wait for the weekend so I made my way down to Huntington on Thursday. Fished using clam, mussel and sidewinder crabs and had a good bite of medium sized perch.

There’s no doubt the perch are spawning now so look to hook some slabs in the coming weeks.

This coming week has some very good tides with the only fly in the ointment being the possibility of rain by mid week. Other than that with a few day off you need to get to the beach!

Artificial lures like grubs, etc. begin to really work well from now through the winter. But if you really want to catch the big perch and croakers between now and February I suggest using the sidewinder crab. You can find these crabs on almost any jetty at low tide. Collect ones that are from a dime to the size of a half dollar. After hooking them through the last leg socket pull the claws off and toss the claws out for chum. Cast near where sand meets rocks, like the edge of a jetty and hold on! The last two state record barred perch were caught on this bait and the new record is out there waiting--for you!!!

Next week I’ll be going back up the coast above Santa Barbara and hope to have some luck—I’ll let you know what we catch next time…
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fishing this week was no less than a challenge. Wind, rain, floods, ok no floods but rough weather and curdled water made the fish hard to find. After waiting the weather out I gave it a shot on Thursday and had a good day. In the morning the tides weren’t quite right but the wind was warm and offshore. Waited until the afternoon to catch the upcoming high tide and of course the wind changed direction and blew 12 knots!

I went back again to the clams and mussel on the Carolina rig. Even though it was tough to fish and feel bites in the wind I did manage a few fish. I fished at an area where rocks meet sand and used a 1oz-sliding sinker to keep my bait on the bottom.

My first few casts netted me a couple micro yellowfin croaker. Boy, would these make good yellowtail bait!

Then I hooked into a few nice sized perch.

After loosing a nice fish I hooked into this guy. Here are a couple different angles. Because it’s spawning time I placed her carefully back in the water so she could tend to the kids…

We are waiting to see if the big wind is going to setup on Sunday as expected. I sure hope not! Even with the wind, once it’s over the tides are great this upcoming week with a nice high tide in the morning and a good bait catching low tide in the afternoon. I really think the surf fishing will continue to be good as we make the transition to winter. We’ve already seen some huge spawning perch this past week so it looks like we’re in store for a fantastic bite over the next two months.

Hopefully, this weekend we’ll have some light winds, a bit cleaner water and some good luck back at the beach!

Home of the All-in-one Surf Tackle Kit

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This week gave us some strange weather conditions with heavy fog early in the week followed by mid week red tide and rain today!

Changes in weather always seem to effect surf fishing and it was good to see the clouds clear this morning, warm winds turn offshore and the sun begin shine.

Although the spotfin didn’t want to bite this week, we found some good fishing Monday and Friday on perch and a few croaker. Monday’s weather was foggy and cool at the beach giving way to sunshine and a small southwest swell. My buddy KV and I fished with mussels, clams, crack and grubs. All baits seemed to work well with the biggest fish caught on the natural baits.

Here’s a sampling of our perch all in the 8-14” range:

Crack baby

Slider grub


Mussel (got to love the shells, don’t know how that happened?)

Along came Friday and I was jones'n to get to the beach. Hardly a soul down there first thing in the morning. As I walked out to the beach the wind was blowing slightly from the West, maybe 5 knots, not enough to cause a problem. By the time I made it to the water’s edge it was blowing 25 knots and I had to hold on to my hat! Then, just as fast as the wind had come up, within 20 minutes a warm wind turned offshore, the sun came out and the fishing kicked into gear.

I always hope for the monster corbina or spotfin but today they were busy and left me with their neighbors a few nice perch and a couple of yellowfin croakers.

Here’s a look at the baits we used

I like to use these baits on a Carolina rig with about 20” of 6lb fluorocarbon leader. There are a lot of great hooks out there but I like the gamakatsu split shot hook. If I’m fishing near rocks I use a small 1/4th oz sliding sinker, in bigger surf or near a strong current I’ll use 3/4th oz. to try to keep my bait in place and on the bottom.

If you need to get a refresher on DFG rules and regulation for bait collection, etc. check out this link to their website:

This weekend and early next week will provide some ok tides and a small south swell. Later in the week, tide movement dies out (maybe a good time for halibut fishing?) but is replaced by week's end with some great swings in tide. Throughout November we will have alternating weeks with big and small tide swings--which always provides some good days for fishing and collecting bait. Also, don't forget that as our water cools, some big fish really like the plastic and now's a good time to add the artificials to your bait collection.

I really had my doubts about how good this weekend was going to be with all the reports of rain. But the winds were calm all afternoon and evening and with a small south swell building the dirty water has been pushed away—which means for this weekend there’s no doubt the fun has just begun!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

I took a chance of fishing on Thursday afternoon hoping that the low going to high tide would produce some fish. Unfortunately, the water had turned over for the first time in four months and it was a cloudy green and very unappealing.

I tried almost everything, mussel, clam, sand crab and grub with no bites what-so-ever!

After much procrastination I decided at the last moment Friday to go on back down to the beach and trying it again. The weather was beautiful with no wind and warm sand. No reason to go back to yesterday’s bad memories so I decided to try a spot about a mile down the beach.

My first thought was to use the clam and mussel as it had produced so many nice fish over the last month. Several casts and not one bite. Now that Fall’s here it was time to break out the motoroil copperflake swimtail slider grub. First cast a few nibbles then fish on! Nothing big but a handful of nice perch.

Now the sun was setting and the sea was flat calm glassy.

It was getting dark and time for just a few more casts. As my line came up coast with the longshore current I was bumped once, twice, fish on! This one seemed a bit bigger. Within seconds it ripped off 100 feet of line and I knew I had something good. It was getting darker by the second and I somewhat imagined it would pull me out to sea. Lucky for me it didn’t and I eventually go her up onto the beach.

Well, now it’s dark—but you know, just one more cast. I straightened up my grub and cast out into the darkness. Keeping tension on the line at all times I could feel every groove in the sand. Bump, Bump, fish on! Another fight in the dark and another great spotfin croaker.

Here’s a look at #2 and the sunset just before being released to grow bigger today for a bigger fight tomorrow!

The setup I used today was a spinning rod’n’reel with 6lb pink Ande as my mainline and the Carolina rig. On the C-rig bigger waves today meant using a 3/4oz sinker, a bead, a swivel, a shorter 18inch 6lb fluorocarbon leader and a #2 super sharp Gamakatsu split shot hook. A super sharp hook means more bites that become more fish.

This weekend and this upcoming week offer some great conditions for surf fishing. Smaller surf from the south will keep water temps up and clear in most places. We are expecting mild winds until later in the week when a small storm may pass by. Best of all we have some great tides that will provide both good fishing and good bait gathering. Both the morning low going to noon high tides looks great and the evening low to high looks promising too.

I’ll probably be tempted to go out one more time this weekend as there are some great tides—hopefully, I’ll find more fish and less green water!

Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit