Posted by: socalsalty | December 6, 2012

Winter Fishing In SoCal

It’s been a little slow on the blog of late.  I started a new job.  I moved into a new place (and am still waiting for my internet to get hooked up).  And the fishing has slowed as well.  Last weekend, I wanted to get out, but between the move and the weather, I didn’t make it.  I’m still getting daily updates, reading the counts, and sharing the pics that flow thru my timeline on Facebook or get texted to me.  Here’s what’s happening.



One of 19 lings on the Aloha Spirit (Picture courtesy of Channel Islands Sportfishing)

December is the last month of rockfish season and it’s been pretty good all up and down the coast.  The fishing has been aided by an abundance of squid in the water, so most of the landings have live squid for the anglers.  Mixed into the counts have been several sheephead (though a big black and red bull has still eluded me this year) and lingcod.  Now’s the time to get out and fill your freezer before the closure.  The best rockfishing is up north out of Channel Islands Sportfishing.  On Monday, aboard the Aloha Spirit (full day), 23 anglers took home limits of rockfish with nineteen lings and 7 sheephead mixed in for good measure.  Rigging is nothing fancy…your standard double dropper with a strip of squid will get the job done.

Structure Bass Fishing

The bass fishing has been pretty good.  This time of year though, with the colder water, it’s different.  The fish are slower and holding more toward the bottom…this is especially true of sand bass.  The way to go is to fish a whole squid (live or dead) on a leadhead.  Cast and drag back to the boat slowly.  If you get hit on the fall, it’s probably a calico.  If you get hit on the drag, it’s probably a sandie.  Work as much area as is possible.  With less people on the boats, you are able to move around more freely.  Find the rock and you’ll find the bass.  The local San Diego boats and Dana Wharf have had the most consistent counts on the bass.  Marina Del Rey is doing their twilight bass trip (6-12) Friday and Saturday nights on the New Del Mar as well.  Big bass for the month gets the following month’s rides for free!

Halibut, WSB and Yellowtail


Nice WSB on the Sea Watch (Picture courtesy of Seaforth Sportfishing)

As I mentioned in the last couple posts, the morning halfie out of Seaforth (the New Seaforth is back online) usually kicks out one exotic per ride.  Last week, there was a seabass in the count.  The week before they got a nice big yellowtail and lost 3 more on the Wednesday morning ride.  Overnight boats to Catalina and Clemente Islands have been finding yellowtail on and off as well.  The Daily Double (Point Loma) got a halibut last week.  And the Halibut Derby out of Dana Wharf is in full swing now.  Last year’s winner, Peggy Stein, got this 32lb 8oz beast last week!  Nice job Peggy.

Weather permitting, there is still a lot of fun fishing to do in SoCal before year end.  Get out and enjoy it.  Tight lines!


Peggy aboard the Reel Fun (Picture courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing)



  1. Joe, great stories as always and some really quality pics of reds! I admire for your how you handle your kids! I only get to the San Diego area a few times a year. And I can’t seem to connect with a yellowtail or WSB. Can you recommend a peak period to fish for them? And do you have a favorite landing that you prefer for them? Thanks again Matt

    • Hey Matt, thanks for stopping by. WSB and yellowtail…those are 2 fish that you always kind of have a chance for, but there are definitely better times than others. Now isn’t really one of those times, but I’ve been recommending people go do the morning halfie out of Seaforth. They’ve been getting live squid and anytime there is squid in the water and you’re fishing it, good things can happen. I got YT beginning in Apr of this year and I think I caught the last one in September, but where and how you catch them changes a lot over the course of the year. Same with WSB. Follow the page on facebook is probably the best way to keep current on the latest. Tight lines!

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