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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This week’s devil winds finally broke down and left us with flat glass conditions, a small southwest swell and clean clear water.

Tides like the ones we have this week are my favorite time to fish. The high provides great water movement and the low tide exposes outside holes and makes collecting shellfish a breeze. Took a few minutes last week to collect enough littleneck clams and was glad I had them in reserve. Took only a few minutes at high tide to catch a few crabs and make my way to a favorite rock meets sand area.

Thursday provided perfect conditions when an outgoing tide formed a perfect eddy on the edge of beach and rocks. As so many other great posters have said, always look for water movement and fish the edges or churning discolored water. It makes sense that fish wait here for food churned up from the bottom and it provides a good place to hide.

Using the Carolina rig with a 6lb fluorocarbon leader I cast out a chunk of clam with a #2 split shot hook buried deep inside. The churning eddy caught my bait and carried it down stream. I knew I had only one hour to fish and I hoped for the best. When it looked like I was ready to get hung up on the rocks, blam! Fish on…

Fought this spotfin for about ten minutes and slowly climbed over the rocks to shallow water. With a little luck she tired out and I got her up onto the rocks. Check out how dark this fish’s colors are. Took a quick pic and sent her on her way.

Changed bait to a crab and cast back into the eddy. Not much time went by and I was on again. This brute was a real fighter and took over 100 feet of line on a single run. Fought her from one side of the rocks back to the other again and again. Finally she tired and I knew I had to get to the beach to have a chance. Once on the sand it was just the two of us. Finally up on the sand my fishing buddy Ray (I’m envious of your year-long fishing sabbatical!) took my picture and off she went back into the surf.

Friday came and I couldn’t resist the temptation to get on back down to the beach. The waves were a bit bigger today and the very high tide made fishing and landing fish a real challenge. Didn’t catch one spotfin—but the yellowfin croaker bite was red hot.

Caught only one perch this week but it was nice to see!

This week's tide rolls right into good tides next week and the week after. It looks like the swell will be small and coming from both the South and West which should lead to some clean warm water--eventhough we still will have a bit of kelp. As the water cools, look for both the natural and artifical baits (grubs, kroc, kastmaster, etc.) to both work well to find the fish.

This week was another great surf fishing week especially when you need to leav’em biting cause you’re out of bait! Can’t wait to get down there again!
Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This week started with warm days and calm seas and ended with big surf and the blustery winds of fall.

At the first of the week the surf was large and created strong current that made fishing a bit difficult. I guess it was a real test in patience having to wait for the right time to cast and fish between swells. Fishing from the rocks was especially challenging as the waves, even at low tide, crashed upon the rocks.

Until the water really turns cold and I switch to artificials I will keep using the clam, mussel and sand crab for bait. Because the surf was big this week I decided to fish a rocky area that had some protection from the swell.

Whenever I’m fishing on or near the rocks I like to use the Carolina Rig with a very light-sliding sinker (1/4thoz). This allows me to get my bait very close to the rocks and not get snagged. I always hide the tip of my hook inside my bait (which is soft anyway) so it has less chance to snag also.

When the surf and current are strong fish will hug the rocks for protection. This is where I started to fish, right down in the rocks. On the first cast using clam--a small opal eye perch.

There were a few barred perch around and every one was about palm sized.

My next bait scooted around the edge of the rocks and blam—yellowfin croaker on!

It was a bit slower this week and you had to be more patient than usual to find the best time and place to catch fish. It looks like there will be a big swell from Hurricane Norbert that will bring warm water from the south but make fishing south beaches tough. Next week promises some great tides both for fishing and collecting bait. Hopefully, by then the surf will back down and let us get back to some good ol’fishin’.

Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Perch, Yellowfin and Spotfin Croaker in the OC

Wild, wacky and weird was the weather at the beach this week. We started out the week with south wind, a modest south swell and rain. Then the sun broke out and the wind turned howling offshore—and that was just the first hour!

I took some time at the midmorning high tide to gather sand crabs and was happy to see they were still around. Later that day at low tide, I stopped by my favorite clam spot and picked up some beautiful little neck clams for bait.

This week’s surf fishing took up exactly where last week left off—with fish biting almost everywhere in Orange County. I started fishing a spot where rocks meet sand and found a nice eddy current that was rapping around the rocks and heading out to sea. With crabs at first for bait, the bite was fantastic on perch….both barred and walleye…

Fantastic on crabs for big yellowfin croaker too…

But crabs weren’t the only bait in my arsenal so it was time to slap on the clam and take a stab at floating a bait down the current. I cast out and caught the current just right. My Carolina rig floated to the bottom and then began to make it out into the current. There wasn’t a nibble or bite here--just a pull of the line and I knew I was on!

Fought this spotfin from one side of the rocks all the way around to the other side and then back again. After twenty minutes I knew there was no way I would be able to bring it up on the rocks so I carefully made my way back down the rocks to the safe sand of the shore. After another five minutes of fight, the fish swam away from the rocks and into the open water. I knew now that I had a chance. It wasn’t long and she was on the shore.

I was lucky my new friend “John” was there to take my picture. I asked him to take a shot of me and he gladly agreed. He stuck his rod into the sand and began to take my pic when his rod went bendo. He was now hooked up too, and once he finished taking my picture he reeled in a nice 13” perch—a great reward for being such a good guy!

Caught and released these guys to fight another day. There’s no doubt this day was clamtastic!

With such good fishing this week I expected Friday and the weekend to be great. Unfortunately, nature had a different plan that included huge surf and a coming front. Well, I guess I’ll have to wait until next week—but that’s ok the fish need a rest!

This upcoming week may be a challange depending on how big the surf is. One change for sure will be the drop in water temp. Yesterday the water was 60degrees--well down over the last week. This may turn off some corbina but should make the perch and croaker hungrier than ever as they now will load up with food for winter.

Hope to see you down there soon and please keep sending in your reports and pics--everyone wants to see them!

Home of the All-in-One Surf Tackle Kit