Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just as expected, last week had some very sorry tides with little water movement and sleepy fish.  The good news seemed to be the small surf and warm weather.  This week and moving into next week we have some great tides and a chance for both good surf fishing and bait catching.

Took a few minutes to go down to my favorite bait spot, sucked up a few ghost shrimp and wrestle with a dozen sidewinder crabs.
On Sunday I decided to cover the beach from Newport to Seal Beach and was greeted at sunrise with thick wet fog.  Within the hour it cleared up and was a beautiful day.

First cast--Great Scott! -- a yellowfin croaker

At each spot we had a decent pick on medium sized barred surfperch.  Nothing big or exotic today—just a great day on the beach.


This upcoming week, weekend and early next week have some great tides for fishing.  This time of year it always seems that you have your best luck fishing at high tide.  The one exception may be at the peak low tide when fishing for halibut.   The rest of the time you are looking for perch and croaker who like feeding near shore in the inshore trough.

I like to find a minus-tide day and take a trip down to my local beach for a walk.  This is when I have a chance to find the holes and troughs that have been carved out by the surf.

Knowing that these spots are the best places to fish I turn toward shore and line them up with something permanent. 

When high tide returns, I come back to the beach, line myself up with my landmark and fish those holes and troughs.  By doing that you will have a much better shot at catching fish and spend a lot less time looking for them.

Provided this great weather keeps up fishing may get even better.  Just three years ago we had a similar dry winter making the spotfin croaker fishing at the beach the best in years.  In fact, one day I caught two at once!  One was hooked and an even larger spotfin was following and got tossed up on the beach by a wave.  Just before letting them go it made for the great picture (the hook and bait were still in the small fish!)
Tight lines and good fishing,

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The weather man said this week that a storm was coming so I made my way down to a favorite bait spot and picked up some ghost shrimp, clams and sidewinder crabs.  This time of year fish always find their way to a place where they have a bit of protection from the weather—so I made my way down to the rocks in Huntington Beach to find a few perch.

Beautiful conditions awaited me the day before the storm

 It was high tide and the water was fairly calm.  I cast out a sidewinder and before it made it to the bottom a nice barred surfperch jumped on the line

I switched baits to the ghost shrimp and sent my bait out into the current.  Another quick bite and a feisty walleye perch fought me to shore
 Another sidewinder and another perch
This went on until the tide dropped and the current picked up. 
Finally out of bait it was time to move on…

This time of year I like to fish near rock structure.  Jetties, harbor entrances and estuaries are all great places to surf fish once the water cools down below sixty degrees.  Fish find their way off the open beach and into estuaries or near rocks so that they are somewhat protected from winter storms and also because that’s where their forage will be.  Now that sand crabs are gone from the beach, rock areas really are the only places to offer food.

When I fish near the rocks I like to fish right where rock meets water.  We could call that the “snag zone” because you are right on the edge of the rocks.  This is my favorite area to fish because the biggest fish actually live right in the cracks of the rocks and dart out after a sizeable wave to feed.

 Did you see this great report from the SWAT team?  Dan Corey with a nice striper taken on a Lucky Craft in the South Bay...They caught three that day!

In order not to get my Carolina rig snagged I shorten my leader to twelve inches (6lb fluorocarbon) and lighten my sliding sinker to one-eighth ounce.  That way, if my bait/rig does get pulled into the rocks it is unlikely to snag and I can just softly “bounce” it out of the rocks and cast over. 

Sidewinder crabs, clams, worms and ghost shrimp make great bait this time of year for perch and croaker.  Also, grubs work well and for halibut fishing a small krocadile or a hard bait like a Lucky Craft lure are my go to baits.

This week we have some very small tides.  These tides don’t offer great opportunity but as the high builds in and the water calms down there will be some good times to fish at or near the high tide periods.  The extended forecast for the New Year’s week looks great with good weather expected, light winds and some awesome bait collecting and fishing tides.

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