Saturday, September 27, 2008

This week’s surf fishing can only be described as: It doesn’t get any better than this!

Fortunately, the week started off with a decrease in the South swell, light afternoon winds, clear water and great tides. The water temp has gone down a couple of degree and there is a bit of kelp in the surf but other than that the conditions seemed perfect.

I decided to go down in the evening to catch a nice high tide. Late in the season it’s best to try to catch sand crabs at the highest tide and it’s also a good time for perch and other critters that cruise the shore.

I found sand crabs in just a couple of spots on the beach. I didn’t find a lot but I did have a nice collection of different sizes. It hard to know what size the fish want and I’m always stoked when a can get a variety.

With crabs in hand I made my way to a favorite rock jetty in Newport. The days this week were perfect in the evening with light winds, mild surf and great tides.

Once on the beach I made my way to the spot and got ready to fish. I could see that the water was pushing out and around the rocks creating a nice off colored eddy. I cast out my bait and watched it as it ripped down and out around the rocks. At some point it passed between two rocks and came tight.

Wham! Fish on, what was it—oh yeah, a nice spotfin croaker.

Went four for four on the croaker with all four fish about the same size.

Then I took on the perch and caught a bunch of these.

I used the sand crab on the Carolina rig. Even near the rocks the Carolina works but it’s smart (you can see it in the picture) to fish a very light sinker 1/4th or less and if you get snagged let your line loose, then shake it loose. You’ll catch more fish and loose less gear.

Well, this next week looks like another great shot at the surf fish. Good tides this weekend, clear warm water and the last sand crabs should make for another memorable week.

This weekend and next week have some ok tides. Big mid day tides will produce some good conditions for halibut and perch fishing. This weeks' evening low tides will be a good time to collect some clams and ghost shrimp in preparation for the mild tides coming near the end of next week. Until then, good luck surf fishing and keep those reports coming--it's great to know what you catch!

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thought I'd take no chances this week and cover all my bait bases. Searched for some clams and mussels, raked some fresh sand crabs, dug at low tide for sand worms and stopped by Big Fish in Seal Beach for ghost shrimp.

It was early in the morning not long after sunrise that I made it down to the beach. I found an area that looked promising and started to walk to the surf. Just across the sand was blue water and a flotilla of chovey/sardine seiners. They were busily setting their nets and the smell of chovey was in the air.

It seemed the conditions were perfect and the fishing would be epic--with one exception. The surf was head high and building, and although the wind was calm, the side-shore current was so strong that a one-ounce sinker was swept down the beach in no time.

I knew I had to find a spot that gave some protection so I moved down the beach and tucked inside one of the two jetties.

The bite on both barred and walleye perch was excellent with all the fish no bigger than 12".
Some days you can't catch the big ones but when it comes to baiting, fighting and landing perch on the rocks it can be fun and challenging. Of course, throw in some overhead sets breaking on the rocks and that will keep you on your toes too!

One thing that helps in these conditions is to have a super sharp hook. I like to use these gamakatsu thin-wire split shot hooks. If you're getting bites but not hooking fish--it's your hook. Be sure to fish with a super sharp thin wire hook and you'll catch more fish--take my word--I've learned this the hard way!

We have some good tides for the next couple weeks so as soon as the surf settles down there will be some good fishing. If you're a halibut fisherman it's still very good. I would strongly suggest to go down to the beach early and find where the bait boats are setting their nets. If it's right outside the surf like it was this week you can be sure that's where the halibut are.

Well, hopefully the waves will go down a bit in the next few days’ cause I can't wait to get out there again!

Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit

Friday, September 12, 2008

It was dark and overcast this moring but the water was a warm 68 degrees and a medium south swell was filling in the beach with surf.

Went down to my favorite set of rocks and mud and collected some small neck clams and a few orange and green bay mussels. Didn't have the time or energy to dig for ghost shrimp so I stopped by Big Fish in Seal Beach to buy a dozen and prepare to hit the beach this morning.

Fished using the carolina rig with a 3/4th ounce sinker and a nice fresh medium sized ghost shrimp. My first cast yielded this beautiful 22" spotfin.

Caught a wide variety of fish on the ghost shrimp and the ghost shrimp clam or mussel combo.

Fishing stayed good until about 9am when the flood of surfers scared everything away with the exception of sting rays. I let this one go behind a guy paddeling out and hoped he would chase him down!

We are going to have some great tides coming up this next week. The south swell has created some new troughs and it looks like the swell will continue though the week. This bodes well not only for the new holes and troughs but also because it will continue to bring warm clear water up the coast.

Fall fishing is always great when we have an overcast morning and warm water. Although I haven't seen many corbina around in the last week the bite on spotfin croaker is the best it's been in a long time and will just get better in the next few weeks.

Finished off the day seeing a guy catch a legal halibut on the LC and one last spotfin just an inch smaller than my earlier fish.

Hope you folks get down to the beach and give it a go. The fishing's been great this summer and it will be even better this fall now that I've told so many surfers about the huge white shark right offshore!!!

Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another great week at the beach with warm clear water, early morning fog and a medium south swell.

Well this week didn't disappoint the surf fisherman one bit! Although there were considerable crowds through Monday, last weekend and this entire week served up some great fishing.

As was expected a modest south swell reached the San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles County beaches on Sunday and still should be around for a few more days. Two to Four foot waves have been reshaping the beach and pushing up more clear warm water from the south. Over the next few weeks we should have a great last chance at catching the end-of-summer corbina--that's because with this south swell, and the warm water it brings, the fish don't know that summers almost over!

As I mentioned last post, I felt that the corbina bite had slowed on the sand crab so it was time to move on to some "old school" baits to see if we could get back on the bite. I decided to go down to one of my favorite clam spots and collect some cockles for fishing.

Cockle clams are easy to find in bays and harbors. Look for areas that have small rocks (maybe about the size of a coffee can) and turn them over. These clams live by the millions under these rocks and range in size from 2-6inches across. I like to put them in a bucket overnight with wet burlap over them. In the morning they will be a bit open and much easier to schuck. I take a few minutes, before I go down to the beach, and open them and then place them in a zip lock bag. Then once I'm at the beach I can just reach into the bag, pull out their meat and put it on the hook. The last thing I want to do is be pushing a knife through a small slit in their shell in the dark!! (uh, did anyone see where my finger went?)

Went down to the surf each morning just as the sun was coming up and left each day around 9:30 or 10am. I used a combination of clam and ghost shrimp or just clam and had bites and fish on almost every cast.

Today's corbina were plentiful but smaller than the past few months with most in the 14-17" range. One corbina was even caught on the 1&1/2" curly tail grub that really lets you know fall's on the way.

Fished using the carolina rig (3/4th oz egg sinker, clear bead, black #12 swivel, 24" fluorocarbon leader and a mustad bait holder hook (the ones with the barbs on the shank). Had a great bite on perch, corbina and spotfin. And can't forget to mention the shovelnose sharks that fight like the halibut you've dreamed about but look like your mother in law!!

This upcoming week and weekend have some average tides that will improve throughout the week. Once this south swell calms down there will be some great corbina and perch holes and the fish will move in in earnest. Now's a great time to get down there and give the sand crab one last shot before the summer's over and they're gone. Just up the beach from me a buddy caught a nice spotfin on a hard crab--and even though I know that I can catch them on the clam and shrimp I've just got to take one more shot using the crab before they go by by for winter.

With so many great baits available and working I sure hope to see you down there. It's really been a great summer of surf fishing to remember!
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