Saturday, May 31, 2008

This week proved to be a struggle against the elements at the beach.

Winds throughout the week helped turn the water over and lower temps by three degrees. The week started out with some promise as our latest South swell pushed water temps up to 63degrees. But Orange County saw the temp drop quickly as strong Northwest winds blew across the coast.

Again today, the wind is blowing from the Northwest but a coastal eddy should set up over the weekend and give us a warmer, softer breeze from the South. Later this week a moderate swell from the South is predicted to begin pushing more warm water up the coast.

I did see some postitive signs this week: first, the water is clean and very clear (with the excepting of some windblown kelp and trash). Looking back to last year the beginning of June was characterized by red tide that covered most of orange county in tomato soup. So this is a much better start to summer.

By contrast much of the South Bay, from Santa Monica to Hermosa, have seen red tide this week and a downturn in fishing.
I did receive a good report on perch fishing from the Santa Barbara area--with a hot bite on perch reported between Mussel shoals and Rincon. Most fish were caught on grubs--but crabs, worms and mussel would all work well in this area.

Bait fishing has provided another positive as the crab beds are well established and growing. Every day I'm finding a large number of baby crabs that have just hatched. This bodes well for bait fishing throughout the summer.
I've also seen a few corbina in the very shallow waters picking through the crab beds. Although the bite has been on and off (mostly off) they are beginning to show--and with about three more degrees in water temp, they should go nuts.

Looking back to last year, the water was also cool and we didn't have a good bite on corbina until the end of June and particularly in July. One year before in 2006, the water in Newport on June 1 was 64 degrees and corbina were everywhere!
June has always been a good month for perch and corbina with some great spotfin croaker fishing near the end of the month.

This week I found perch almost everywhere I fished--both from the rocks and along the open beach. Most of the fish were in the 8-10" range, while the bigger fish must have been hunkered down waiting for the wind and weather to change.

I did have a bit of luck with some larger perch by using the sidewinder rock crab as bait. They are plentiful and easiest to find during a medium to low tide on your local rock jetty or basin. Because they are larger and harder than other baits they tend to annoy small fish and entice larger fish to bite.

Try catching a couple the size of a quarter and using one for bait. Hook them through the last set of leg sockets and cast them out on the carolina rig. This bait is very hardy and can be kept in your gargage at 60degrees for about a week.

This weekend's, and this upcoming week's tides offer some great surf fishing opportunities. All we need is a little more summer and a lot less spring and we'll be off to the races.

When you're not down on the beach, keep your eye on the beach cams to check out the temps, wave size and conditions--because it's about to break loose and you don't want to miss it!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wind driven rain pelted the Orange County coast this Thursday and Friday and made fishing almost impossible.

But early Saturday brought improved conditions with winds diminishing to around 8mph along the beach.

While at the same time, it's flat glassy at Catalina, just 30 miles offshore. Check out this web cam--this week has provided some good reports of White Seabass fishing: CATALINA CAM

If there was any good news from the wild weather this week--was that the winds were coming mostly from the Southwest and not from the North. This should help warm up the water and continue to bring sand up the coast to provide some new structure on the beach.

In the last few hours the swell from the Southwest has died down and yesterday's 4-6ft surf has been replaced by 2-4ft breakers.

If you're going fishing this holiday weekend watch the tides and wind conditions. Check out the live beach web cams on my site to see the wind conditions at your beach: CAM PAGE

This weekend's tides feature low morning tides with high tide in the late afternoon. This bodes well for collecting bait and doing a bit of fishing in the evening. Mornings, with some cooperation with the weather, offer some good corbina fishing with an incoming tide and hungry fish.

Starting next weekend we have some great tides and the first week of June is usually one of the best times of the year for catching corbina. Until then we'll wait for the weather to improve ( as has been promised for later this week ) knowing that fishing is bound to get better by the day!

Check out the

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wild wacky winds whip windwaves

I guess that says it all for this week at Orange County's beaches. Tuesday and Friday were highlighted by strong Westerly winds that churned up the water and put a damper on this week's fishing.

But still, there was some good surf fishing to be done. I started with some "field research" on Mother's day. Can you believe that! My wife asked for me to take her to the beach Sunday morning so she could have a picnic and watch me fish! Man, I love mother's day!!

It was low tide and overcast. As I looked up and down the beach there were no fisherman but hundreds of surfers. That's when I knew that fishermen were more respectful of their mothers. While the surfers were down here having a great time (paddling through cool water, breathing in fresh air, keeping an eye out for the Solano Beach white shark)--fishermen were home letting their mothers know that they were more important than surf--now that's saying something about us. Something good I think...

Anyway, I was fishing alone. And fishing was good. Had a great bite on 8-10" perch, both barred and walleye. There were two distinctive inshore troughs and both produced fish. In the outer trough was a big school of walleye and inside a nice group of perch.

You know it's windy when a kite surfer almost cuts you off!

As the week progressed the wind became a big part of the picture. Blowing hard out of the West meant the water was going to rool over--and it did. Yesterday's water was much greener than earlier in the week, but now with calm warm conditions the water will clear up and warm to around 60. Fishing was still good yesterday with a nice pick on 10-14" barred perch. The carolina rig with a small 1/4th ounce sinker and a sand crab worked the best.

This weekend and next week offer some great fishing. Try fishing the high tides in both the morning and evening. Also, get you hands dirty and dig up some crabs for bait. They have been plentiful in recent weeks with some of the best soft crabs I've seen in years.

Check out my new Surf Tackle Kit

Friday, May 9, 2008

Like a blanket, fog covered the beach this week.

A scant few hours of sun beat down on the beach this week as a strong coastal eddy formed and pushed winds and swells in from the southwest.

Wow, that sounds bad.

Not that bad, really. Southwest winds, which are common for this time of year, help bring warmer southern hemisphere water up the coast. Later this weekend and into early next week we should see a small south swell that will help hasten the water warming process.

All good news for corbina hunters.

The week's surf fishing was good with a nice mix of perch, croaker, a spotted bay bass and halibut in the mix. Fished this week between Santa Ana River and Seal Beach with some luck. Although it was windy at times and overcast the swell has been small and the water clear and perfect for surf fishing.

Sand crabs have been plentiful at high tide. Early in the week, during the 1/2hour of peak high tide there were three legal halibut caught at Bolsa Chica within five minutes of each other. One was on a sand crab, one on a live smelt and one on a "ghost shrimp" pattern 3" swim bait. Near where rock meets sand we caught a nice spotted bay bass--proving that just about everything lives along Huntington Beach (including a great white!)

It makes sense that the butts are in close as we have just had a couple of grunion runs (click here to check out the grunion run schedule to plan your next halibut run). Try fishing them with a little heavier line (6-8) using a kastmaster, Krocodile, Lucky Craft, Rapalla or 3"inch swim bait right at peak high or low tide. I've noticed that halibut like to work as little as possible. When the tide is raging it is too much work for them to feed. But when the tide is slack it's easier for them to see and catch food and that's when they seem to be most active in the surf line.

This weekend offers some challenging tides but decent conditions. Next week, especially in the afternoons and evening offer some superb tides and a chance to catch some great fish. Still the corbina are not here, or biting at least, in big numbers--but just give the water a chance to warm up, once we get to 60+ we'll be in business!

Friday, May 2, 2008

With light winds and blue skies life was good at the beach this week.

A small south swell and southwest winds pushed more warm water up into Orange County this week and brought us one step closer to summer.

The green water from two weeks ago is almost gone with gin clear conditions in several areas from Newport to Seal Beach. Making bait last evening was a bit tough but the sunset was great and with very little wind the beach was comfortably warm.

Today's fishing was very good for 12-14inch barred perch. No sign of corbina on the bite or swimming in the shallows as of yet--with the exception that one swam into the back of my leg yesterday while crabbing and almost knocked me over!. We still need the water to go up a few degrees before the crabs make it in big numbers to the surface and the corbina come in to eat.

Check out this strange growth on this perch--probably not to good to eat either!

This weekend and upcoming week have some great tides, small surf and low winds which will help to make for some great surf fishing. I'd stay with the carolina rig and natural baits like sand crabs, mussel and worms. Just remember to look for what occurs in the area and you can be sure that's what they're eating. The evening and morning high tides will probably be the best time to find fish.

Now's a good time to stock up on what you need to surf fish with this summer so take a look at my tackle shop and dream of what might be!