Saturday, November 29, 2008

Packed the tent and the teenagers and took a road trip up to Jalama to do some camping and surf fishing.

If you’ve never been there, Jalama is a great place to camp and enjoy the ocean. It’s about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara. The campground is bordered on one side by Vandenberg Air Force Base and the private Coho Ranch on the other side. This makes it about as pristine and secluded as possible and with very little pressure the beach provides some great surfing and perch fishing.

When we arrived cloud breaks gave way to sun. With calm winds we had some nice fishing for perch.

I had brought a wide variety of bait with me including grubs, mussel, clams and sidewinder crabs. I was determined to try everything and see what worked best. After tying on the Carolina rig to my 6lb main line I was ready to go. As usual it was almost a fish every cast. Jalama is a place where fifty fish days are common. No big ones this time but many in the 8-11 inch range.

Even caught a few walleye perch although this one didn’t have some of the classic characteristics and I still wonder if it might be a freak!

I’ve known for some time that small fish love Gulp, grubs, mussel and clams so that’s why I brought along the sidewinder crab to try for bigger fish. It’s no secret that the last two state records for barred perch were caught on this crab.

Each cast connected with bigger fish in the 12-13 inch range.

As the sun set we sat by the fire and enjoyed talking about our day. The next morning I just had a few minutes to fish before the rain came in. It poured for five straight hours so instead of fishing I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading. Next time I plan to spend more time fishing the sidewinder because I’ve seen the pictures in the Jalama store and I know the 16 incher is out their waiting for me!

Volunteers Needed!
Please help us (and yourself!) on Saturday December 13, 2008

The Talbert Marsh on PCH near the Santa Ana Rivermouth is being restored to it's natural state. Under special permit has been asked to move all the clams from the Talbert inlet (where the marsh meets the ocean) and relocate them inside the marsh. In Janurary the inlet will be dredged of all sand allowing the tidal basin to flood.

Participants Working on the relocation will help with digging up clams with hands and shovels, transporting them by bucket and replanting them inside the Talbert Marsh.

What: Clam Relocation Project for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy

When: Saturday December 13, 2008 from 12noon to 4pm (feel free to come earlier and go fishing--there's a great morning high tide that day!)

Where: Talbert Inlet, End of the State Beach Parking lot, PCH and Brookhurst (enter also at Magnolia (just 200 yards North of the Santa Ana Rivermouth in Newport Beach)

Details: Parking is $10/car so please try to carpool. You will be working on the sand at the edge of the water. Bring a trowel, cultivator or shovel and a great attitude!

Let us know you wish to attend (and how many are coming) by sending an email to:

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Took a trip last weekend to San Francisco to see my team handle the Cardinal and had a chance to do some fishing on the way back near Refugio State Beach just West of Santa Barbara. Once safely back home I had a chance to do a bit of fishing back down in Huntington too.

Beautiful conditions greeted us at Refugio and as the tide began to drop we got a good look at what must be a great spot at high tide. We fished the edges of these rocks at medium high tide and had some good luck.

Found a nice bed of sand crabs and had some luck with both crabs and grubs.

Although none of our fish were big today we did have a nice bite on palm sized barred, walleye and black (buttermouth) perch.

Couldn’t wait for the weekend so I made my way down to Huntington on Thursday. Fished using clam, mussel and sidewinder crabs and had a good bite of medium sized perch.

There’s no doubt the perch are spawning now so look to hook some slabs in the coming weeks.

This coming week has some very good tides with the only fly in the ointment being the possibility of rain by mid week. Other than that with a few day off you need to get to the beach!

Artificial lures like grubs, etc. begin to really work well from now through the winter. But if you really want to catch the big perch and croakers between now and February I suggest using the sidewinder crab. You can find these crabs on almost any jetty at low tide. Collect ones that are from a dime to the size of a half dollar. After hooking them through the last leg socket pull the claws off and toss the claws out for chum. Cast near where sand meets rocks, like the edge of a jetty and hold on! The last two state record barred perch were caught on this bait and the new record is out there waiting--for you!!!

Next week I’ll be going back up the coast above Santa Barbara and hope to have some luck—I’ll let you know what we catch next time…
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fishing this week was no less than a challenge. Wind, rain, floods, ok no floods but rough weather and curdled water made the fish hard to find. After waiting the weather out I gave it a shot on Thursday and had a good day. In the morning the tides weren’t quite right but the wind was warm and offshore. Waited until the afternoon to catch the upcoming high tide and of course the wind changed direction and blew 12 knots!

I went back again to the clams and mussel on the Carolina rig. Even though it was tough to fish and feel bites in the wind I did manage a few fish. I fished at an area where rocks meet sand and used a 1oz-sliding sinker to keep my bait on the bottom.

My first few casts netted me a couple micro yellowfin croaker. Boy, would these make good yellowtail bait!

Then I hooked into a few nice sized perch.

After loosing a nice fish I hooked into this guy. Here are a couple different angles. Because it’s spawning time I placed her carefully back in the water so she could tend to the kids…

We are waiting to see if the big wind is going to setup on Sunday as expected. I sure hope not! Even with the wind, once it’s over the tides are great this upcoming week with a nice high tide in the morning and a good bait catching low tide in the afternoon. I really think the surf fishing will continue to be good as we make the transition to winter. We’ve already seen some huge spawning perch this past week so it looks like we’re in store for a fantastic bite over the next two months.

Hopefully, this weekend we’ll have some light winds, a bit cleaner water and some good luck back at the beach!

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

This week gave us some strange weather conditions with heavy fog early in the week followed by mid week red tide and rain today!

Changes in weather always seem to effect surf fishing and it was good to see the clouds clear this morning, warm winds turn offshore and the sun begin shine.

Although the spotfin didn’t want to bite this week, we found some good fishing Monday and Friday on perch and a few croaker. Monday’s weather was foggy and cool at the beach giving way to sunshine and a small southwest swell. My buddy KV and I fished with mussels, clams, crack and grubs. All baits seemed to work well with the biggest fish caught on the natural baits.

Here’s a sampling of our perch all in the 8-14” range:

Crack baby

Slider grub


Mussel (got to love the shells, don’t know how that happened?)

Along came Friday and I was jones'n to get to the beach. Hardly a soul down there first thing in the morning. As I walked out to the beach the wind was blowing slightly from the West, maybe 5 knots, not enough to cause a problem. By the time I made it to the water’s edge it was blowing 25 knots and I had to hold on to my hat! Then, just as fast as the wind had come up, within 20 minutes a warm wind turned offshore, the sun came out and the fishing kicked into gear.

I always hope for the monster corbina or spotfin but today they were busy and left me with their neighbors a few nice perch and a couple of yellowfin croakers.

Here’s a look at the baits we used

I like to use these baits on a Carolina rig with about 20” of 6lb fluorocarbon leader. There are a lot of great hooks out there but I like the gamakatsu split shot hook. If I’m fishing near rocks I use a small 1/4th oz sliding sinker, in bigger surf or near a strong current I’ll use 3/4th oz. to try to keep my bait in place and on the bottom.

If you need to get a refresher on DFG rules and regulation for bait collection, etc. check out this link to their website:

This weekend and early next week will provide some ok tides and a small south swell. Later in the week, tide movement dies out (maybe a good time for halibut fishing?) but is replaced by week's end with some great swings in tide. Throughout November we will have alternating weeks with big and small tide swings--which always provides some good days for fishing and collecting bait. Also, don't forget that as our water cools, some big fish really like the plastic and now's a good time to add the artificials to your bait collection.

I really had my doubts about how good this weekend was going to be with all the reports of rain. But the winds were calm all afternoon and evening and with a small south swell building the dirty water has been pushed away—which means for this weekend there’s no doubt the fun has just begun!

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