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!

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