Saturday, July 19, 2008

Each morning this week the beach was covered in a layer of fog pushed ashore by a soft southwest wind.

A slightly larger (just slightly larger!) West swell and a thin layer of fog helped to make this week one of the best corbina fishing weeks of the summer. It always seems a little easier to trick corbina and large perch when you have a bit of fog. Bright sunshine surely gives the fish an advantage of figuring out the bait with the hook in it--so overcast skys are always welcome.

Last week's very small surf was replaced by 1-2foot swells from the West and helped to push the corbina ashore and over the crab beds. A few more bubbles and jumbled surf helped hide our bait and made for some great corbina and perch fishing.

One evening this week after making (sand crab) bait at high tide I went to my favorite perch spot and hoped that I would find the big perch that I hadn't seen in two months. I've had a few days at this spot in the past few months that were downright bad. Just two or three small fish and very few bites.

I've been afraid that the "bucket brigade" had caught and kept all the fish. I see this too much at the beach where anglers are catching fish and putting every one, no mater what it is or what it's size is in their bucket. I can only hope they are eating the fish and not giving them to friends (get your friends down here to catch some fish--you're not the neighborhood provider!) or freezing them to eventually throw them away.

Well after my first bait I knew the answer and I fell to my knees and thanked the Lord!

The big fish were still around, caught and released to be caught and released again another day. Almost every cast a big fish was pulling line and heading for open water. It was a great relief to see them here and biting again. Almost like visiting with an old friend.

And that was just the evening bite.

Early morning, at week's end, I was ready for the corbina and have learned that the low tide going to high tide is by far the best time to fish corbina. Corbina come ashore as the tide grows higher and float over the crab beds in just inches of water. As they look for food on the crab beds I sight fish , find them first, and then cast my bait in their direction. With any luck they pick my bait out of billions of choices and the fight's on!

All the corbina in the last several weeks have been caught in very shallow water--sometimes as little as 4or5 inches. I like to use a 3/4ounce sliding sinker to keep my bait anchored on the bottom and a 20inch 4lb flouro leader. Be sure to use a very sharp hook with a dime sized sand crab and be patient. When I'm standing in the water, ankle to knee deep, I will stand very still and am always amazed how close the corbina come to me as they look for food on the bottom.

Looking forward to today, tomorrow and this upcoming week. We are starting to see a nice Southwest swell begin to fill in today. Predictions are saying that it may reach 5-8feet on Sunday. We'll wait to see if that happens. If the swells too big try to find a protected area that has less swell influence. Also, the South Bay, where we have seen a lot of corbina from RAT beach to Santa Monica, should finally get good after a slow start to summer--probably because of such small swell and cooler than usual water.

As the week progresses the swell should die back to about 2-3feet. Also look some great morning low to high tide events that are perfect for corbina fishing. These morning tides will be followed by some great evening high tides that will be perfect for catching sand crabs and fishing the slab barred surf perch.

Let me know how you do by sending a report and pics to

Until next week have a great time down at the beach and catch some fish!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Great weather and light winds made for some good surf fishing this week

Clear water, light winds and small surf helped to make this week productive up and down the coast. We had some good reports from Santa Barbara and Malibu this week of more halibut being caught on lures and flys just after the grunion run. You rarely hear of halibut and surf fish being caught on the fly--but the secrets out!!--I'm not the only one who has written about and used the Clouser Minnow on the Carolina Rig--Team 57's WingNut hooked and landed a 28"+ flattie on the fly and showed us again how productive these saltwater flys can be!

Another great bait for Halibut is the fresh dead grunion. I collect these by hand and fish them the next morning or freeze them for use at a later day. Fished on the Carolina Rig these are deadly for both halibut and calico bass.

In Ventura we had a nice report from John that although corbina fishing has been slow the bite on perch has been very good with most fish caught on the Carolina Rig using sand crabs.

Down in Orange County the surf fishing remained good with quite a few yellowfin Croaker caught this week along with a few corbina, perch, spotfin croaker and your usual cornucopia of sharks.

Phil let us know that early this week surf fishing in North San Diego was great with a nice catch of perch, corbina and a couple spotfin croaker up to 26". He fished a bit heavier gear and rigged several sand crabs (4 or 5 dime sized crabs) on a bait holder hook. The biggest spotfin was taken on this rig.

Sand crab collecting has been great this with crabs almost everywhere at the beach. The crabs have also been in almost every size with some great dime size crabs and some monster softies too.

One challenge this week was caused by the small surf. Corbina have been feeding in very close and the small surf in combination with clear water has made the fish very weary and harder to bait and hook. Small surf means less bubbles and less churning of the sand and bait from the bottom. In conditions like this, when I'm targeting corbina, I like to downsize to 4lb fluorocarbon leader and a size 6 split shot wire hook. I bury the hook in my bait and fish with one or two crabs (hooked back to front). Moving stealthily along the beach and fishing before sunrise and at sunset will help my chances not to spook the fish and get more corbina bites.

This upcoming week has some good tides and light winds. It looks like we will have a modest swell both from the West and Southwest building though the week peaking over next weekend. Tides look best in the late afternoon and evening--but we all know the right time to go fishing is whenever we can! As the swell fills in look for some great corbina fishing on the upcoming tides that should yield some of the best catches of the year...

Don't forget to send us your reports. We'll see you down there....

Where you can check out our new Surf Tackle Pack

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The first week of July brought great fishing to Orange County beaches.

We had great weather this week, clear water and a medium west swell. Mornings at the beach alternated from clear and windy (from the west) to calm and foggy. Much of the kelp and trash that floated around in the inside surf last week has been brought to shore and will hopefully make it to the trash can!

Three types of fish highlighted the surf counts this week. Again, fishing for halibut was very good with reports from North of Santa Barbara, Pt. Mugu, Central Orange county and San Clemente. Most fish were taken on the Lucky Craft lures and fresh dead grunion fished on the carolina rig.

Some big spotfin croaker were caught in Central Orange County also. We're glad to see these fish as last year at this time the bite was wide open. Hopefully, they are here to stay and we'll get a good shot at them. This week's spotfin was caught on the carolina rig with sand crabs--which was also a favorite for them last year.

The big news has been the abundance of corbina. Billions of sand crabs are now at the surface and the corbina are coming in droves to rush up the beach and pluck the crabs from their beds.

My favorite tide to fish corbina is a low coming to a high. This is when the fish catch waves and rush up the beach to eat crabs. Some of the biggest corbina I've caught have been in 5 or 6 inches of water. It's good to fish them close to shore using a short 12-20 inch leader of 4 or 6lb fluorocarbon on the carolina rig. I like to use a #6 split shot hook as it hides well in the bait and is very sharp--which means more fish and less lost strikes.

I really can't stress enough how important it is to use a thin very sharp hook in the surf. Because you're not over the fish, like in a boat, you don't always feel the bite as the fish attacks. With a very sharp hook you have a better chance to hook the fish and make the hook stick as you pull it though the surf.

Bait wise, the sand crab has worked the best and is the bait of choice for corbina. Don't get me wrong, last August the corbina must have been sick of the crab as the mussel for a few weeks was the better bait. But right now, sand crabs are what they are feeding on.

I've been using medium crabs, about the size of your thumb nail, and my bigger fish have preferred these. But the vast majority of corbina this week were caught on smaller crabs about the size of your pinkie nail. I've been placing two back to front on my hook and have had a lot of success with the smaller bait.

This weekend and week coming up once again have some great tides that mirror those of last week. We are not expecting a big change in the size of the surf and the warm weather coming up should help make fishing great again this week.

To get a few more details take a listen to my audio fish report if you haven't already. You'll find it at:
Also, take a look at my All-In-One Surf Tackle Kit which includes my book and everything you'll need to catch fish at the beach.