Saturday, February 7, 2009

I hoped to cram some fishing in before the storms arrived so I got up before sunrise and made my way down to fish. I had hoped for a pre-storm glass-off but no such luck—strong winds and frigid temperatures met me at the beach.

Went down to the beach earlier in the week (when it was warm and sunny!!) and gathered a few sidewinder crabs, mussel and clams. My favorite spot to find crabs is under small rocks (rocks about the size of a shoe box). I look for areas that have sea water flushing at high tide over the rocks and then go at low tide and carefully turn them over to look for crabs. I like crabs about the size of a dime to a quarter. Many times I will use an old golf glove to catch the crabs which helps with the pinching (aaahhh!) and keeps my fingers from getting cut up on the sharp edges of the rocks. Always be sure to put the rocks back when finished looking

Sidewinders will keep at home for a week or more if you keep them cool and moist. I like to keep them in a loosely sealed plastic container with a couple of unopened mussels for them to hide under. If possible, rinse them daily with a bit of salt water, and as long as they stay cool, they will last a solid week. I regulate the temp by keeping them in a small ice chest with a bottle of frozen water up against their container.

Hooking the crabs is easy. First start by pulling off their claws and tossing them into the water as chum. Put the hook, I like to use a #1 splitshot or #6 worm hook, through the back leg socket and through the other side (opposite leg socket) or through the bottom middle of the crab up through and out the top. Cast them out on the carolina rig and you're ready to rumble!! They work best in areas where rocks (where they live) meet water. But don't be afraid to use them on the open beach once you've found a wideopen perch bite.

Off colored water and crazy wind made fishing tough. I could only cast upwind and let the gusts take my line and bait down the coast. Using a bit of mussel and clam I caught a nice walleye.

Fishing was tough with no bites for almost an hour and finally a strong bite on the sidewinder crab--At last, I was on. She came up the beach blast full of babies. I took a quick picture and gently put her back.

Felt lucky to get a couple of fish today in such poor conditions. With good tides coming next week we can only hope to get a few casts in between storms. There will also be considerable changes at the beach from the storm--so look for new holes and troughs to form. This week's upcoming super low tides are a great time to take a walk on the beach and look for new places to fish at high tide. Low tides are also a good time to try your hand at fishing lures like kastmasters, Krocodiles, rapalla, lucky craft, etc. Look especially for areas where the water is moving and off colored. Try to fish the edge where clear water meets cloudy water. Once such area in Huntington Beach is where the dredge pipes meet the ocean. You will find one at the south end of Bolsa Chica and one just north of the Santa Ana river (near the Talbert inlet) where Huntington and Newport Beach meet.

Hope you have great luck out there!!

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