Saturday, April 4, 2009

Over the last month surf fishing’s been tough for me. I’ve fished mostly central Orange County and found a boatload of bad conditions. Winds from the West and dismal looking water have kept fishing slow along the coast. With some exceptions of nice catches, fishing has been slow and bites hard to come by down here.

Along comes this week, and even though we did have some weather in the middle of the week, the bite dramatically improved by week’s end. Although none of my fish were very big the bite on palm sized walleye and barred perch went from almost non-existent to nearly wide-open.

I’ve been fishing the grub as I have moved away from live baits while the conditions work on improving. I don’t know about you guys, but I find that when swells have beaten down the beach and cloudy water is everywhere you need to cover a larger area. Fish seem to school up in conditions like this and are not always at the stock places you had found them in the past.

I like to get setup using the Carolina rig with (a heavier) 1oz sliding sinker to slow down the presentation in the presence of waves and long-shore current. Also, I will use a short 18-inch or so leader to keep my grub on the bottom. Most of the fish I found this week were very close in—60 feet from shore or less. My best luck seemed to come when I would cast “up stream” of the current, keep line tension tight to my sinker, and let my line coast downhill in the current.

The fish seemed extremely hungry and just inhaled the bait. This was a big change from a week ago where they were just picking at the bait. With any luck, the conditions should progressively get better this week after the coming storm. The welcome sign of sand crabs is finally here and fishing over the next few weeks should no doubt improve. Another great sign was the huge number of birds working the Huntington Flats area diving on bait right under boiling fish (which I assumed were barracuda or mackerel).

This week and into next weekend we have some great tides. We are just seeing the first sand crabs and they will be here in numbers once the water temp comes up from 58 to 60 degrees. Today seemed to have a southwest swell which will help push warmer and cleaner water up the coast. I predict we we be well into corbina and sand crab season in less than a month!!

Here's one last look at the sunset. Hope to see you at the beach....

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