Posted by: socalsalty | January 4, 2011

Happy New Year! Now What?

Knowing that rockfish season was rapidly ending here in SoCal, I’ve been asking around, reading up, and generally exploring my options for fishing SoCal in January and February 2011.  Here’s what I came up with…

1. Try Surf/Jetty Fishing: I’ve made a couple lame attempts, but as I’ve read up on it, I’m intrigued by the possibilities.  Given we’ve been having a lot of rain, spots where there is big runoff are potential hotspots for sand/calico/bay bass, halibut, perch and corbina.  Also look at the tide schedules and make time to hit the beach at low tide.  Look for spots with creases and depressions where fish can hold when the tide comes up.  Low tide is also a good time to collect live baits like sand crabs, mussels, bloodworms, and ghost shrimp.

and Spider Jake

Bat Ray (aka Mud Marlin)

2. Fish The Piers: OK, it’s not tuna or yellowtail fishing, but it’s a matter of readjusting your expectations.  As I wrote in my Christmas Eve post, I had a great day not catching croakers at the Venice Beach Pier fishing with the kids.  One of my best fights all year was pulling in a 20# plus bat ray at Venice.  Jake has caught legal spider crabs…TWICE…on rod and reel, from a pier.  Try a new pier.  San Clemente has a beautiful pier.  I fished Stearn’s Wharf in Santa Barbara earlier this year and caught 4 species of fish.  Pier time is also a good time to organize your tackle box, or test out new gear when you aren’t paying to be on a boat.  Check out for some tips.

3. There’s Still The Half Day/Midnight Boats: There are 3/4, full day and overnight trips.  There’s a chance of hooking into white seabass, especially with the way the squid have been exploding in all the cold water we’ve had.  Lingcod and rockfish are off limits.  The focus is now structure bass fishing inshore and sculpin fishing deeper out.  In my opinion, you might as well hit the half day/twilight boats at less cost this time of year.  I will definitely be hanging with the guys on the New Delmar for some bass/sculpin trips.

Kayak Sculpin

4. Go to San Diego: I just fished an SD/Baja rockfish trip and will go again in February on the Indian with H&M.  They do it on half day boats (you just don’t stay in the spot as long), up to multi-day trips.  I can’t help myself, I enjoy it, so I’m willing to drive down to do it. I want to fish with John on the Mission Belle, or his boat the Daily Double out of Point Loma. I could also revisit kayak fishing off Shelter Island, or take some kayak classes in La Jolla.

5. Just Leave: These winter issues of Saltwater Sportsman are killing me.  Exotic locales like the Bahamas, Central America, Hawaii and Mexico are calling my name.  I’ve been obsessed with catching a roosterfish.  Cabo perhaps?  The offshore season for big tuna is in full swing.  I’ve been reading the fish reports at home (Pacific Northwest) and late steelhead is going off.  Maybe the FethaStyx boys can teach me something new up in Washington?

Jake of the Lake

Well and I guess there is lake fishing.  They’re stocking it up with trout.  There’s even a free kids trout derby in MacArthur Park with Dan Hernandez on January 29th.  Some of the regulars and even some crew guys swear by it.

Have I given you enough to get you through to Spring?



  1. Good to see you guys have some decent alternatives for the winter time out there. On this side we have VERY limited options, take a stroll on the ice and dangle some minnows through a hole ( NO THANKS!! LOL), take a shot at stocked trout (NAH!!) or jump on one of the headboats for cod (BRRRRRRR!!!!)

    I think I’ll just wait for winter to end!!!!! 🙂

    • Good to see you again Capt. Paul! Yeah, I have a buddy that just got back from Michigan and did some ice fishing out there. Doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for Salty. But not fish!?!?!? I’d go crazy. You must have another hobby to occupy your winter.

  2. I do get the chance to get down to the water. We make a habit of hitting a local whitetail deer gathering spot and get some pictures of them, go to a LOT of movies and on the fishing related front, I’ll tie dozens and dozens of each of the rigs I use during the season and then MAGICALLY, it is March and time to un-cover the boat to get her ready for the April 1 launch 🙂

    Works well for me and it is a LOT warmer this way 😉

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