Posted by: socalsalty | December 22, 2012

SoCal Fishing 2012 – Year In Review

I want to call it the Year of the Dodo, but as I look back on the year, it was so much more than that.  It was a warm water year.  We found ourselves chasing dorado, tuna and other exotics all the way into October.  Too much fun!  A lot happened over the course of the year, mostly good, but we faced some challenges as well.  I followed my calendar and things went almost as scripted.  Next year will be different, but for now, let’s take a quick stroll through 2012 and savor some of those moments…

Manny's jackpot sand bass on the Clemente (Dana Wharf)

Manny’s jackpot sand bass on the Clemente (Dana Wharf)

January/February 2012

The target fish for these months were sculpin, bass and halibut.  Easy enough to score on the sculpin and bass, but didn’t get the halibut.  Had an amazing day though in Santa Monica Bay where we saw gray whales and the biggest school of dolphins the Salty crew had ever seen!  I caught a nice ling fishing on the Clemente, but he got a pass since we were out of season.

South Bay Gray Whale

South Bay Gray Whale seen on the New Del Mar (MDR)



March 2012

Ryo & LeRoy with their lings (Jimmy Bass photo)

Ryo & LeRoy with their lings (Jimmy Bass photo)

Rockfishing reopened in March and this year lingcod opened at the same time.  A bunch of us traveled north to Oxnard and got on the Pacific Islander for opening weekend.  Captain Steve Virtue took us out to San Miguel Island…the westernmost island in the Channel Islands chain.  It was LING-sanity!  I think just about everyone scored a limit of fat rockfish and got at least 1 ling.

April 2012

Last and biggest, 28lbs!

28lb La Jolla yellowtail

Yellowtail made an appearance off La Jolla for a couple weeks in pretty big numbers.  I went down and fished 3/4 day with the San Diego and ended up having one of my biggest days of the year catching 3 fat ones on the yoyo iron.  Almost as cool was I smoked fish myself for the first time and the yellowtail was amazing smoked!

May 2012

I traveled down to Baja Sur and spent 2 days fishing off the shore in Cabo, and 2 days in the East Cape on a 976-Tuna sponsored trip.  I was looking to score all 3 of my made up Salty Slam for the trip: a big bull dorado, a roosterfish, and a striped marlin.  I succeeded and in the process won the competition amongst the anglers making the trip down.

Locally, May was good to me too.  I got a sheephead on the Freedom off Catalina.  As usual, barracuda showed up in Santa Monica Bay around Mother’s Day and we got into them on the New Del Mar.  And I scored my personal best halilbut on my buddy Jeff’s boat, the Basshole, on Memorial Day to round out an epic month!

Juj's "Best day on the water Daddy!"

Juj’s “Best day on the water Daddy!”

June 2012

June was maybe the best month fishing for my kids.  Juliana had her best day ever fishing (she told me so!) scoring 14 bass down at Dana Wharf!  Jake went on his first overnight trip, accompanying me on the Pacific Islander.  He scored a monster red and to our surprise found himself in Western Outdoor News!  Also, white seabass made their first local appearance of the year in Santa Monica Bay.

Jake's big red

Jake’s big red

Levi's biscuit on the Spitfire

Levi’s biscuit on the Spitfire



July 2012

July was another big month.  We chased Biscuits and Buts up north.  I finally got my seabass for the year.  July 4th was spent on the Mission Belle, where we got into some nice yellows at the Coronados Islands, just before Mexico shut them down to us.  Then we finished the month strong with another Pacific Islander trip scoring some big halibut at Santa Rosa.

Capt. Alex has a big but

Capt. Alex has a big but

Rob visited from AZ and scored 2 YT at the islands

Rob visited from AZ and scored 2 YT at the islands

SMB crew got 5 of the 8 halibut

SMB crew got 5 of the 8 halibut on the PI

Cook/deckhand Brian and lucky Bob with the JP dodo

Cook/deckhand Brian and lucky Bob with the JP dodo

August 2012

Dodo Madness kicked in.  I went on an exploratory trip looking for them offshore with Capt. Brian on the Sum Fun.  We had our own personal spotter plane to help in the effort, and my new salty friend Bob Beyer scored one just off Carlsbad in Northern San Diego county.  From there, I made my way down to San Diego and that’s when it busted open on the Belle!

September 2012

Tuna time…we headed offshore as tuna got within day and half range of San Diego.  I got my first ones of the year on the Eclipse.  In between the tuna trips, I got to fish with Alabama’s Striper King, Gary Hanson.  We took Gary up to the Channel Islands and among other things, Juj scored the biggest sculpin I’ve ever seen!

Tuna time on the Eclipse

Tuna time on the Eclipse

Gary, Juj, and the biggest scullie I've ever seen

Gary, Juj, and the biggest scullie I’ve ever seen

October 2012

One more offshore trip and then we got into some fall rockfishing.  My best friend Doug visited the Salty crew in October.  We took out Uncle Doug to catch some dinner and got into some fat reds on the New Del Mar.

Uncle Doug with the kids

Uncle Doug with the kids

Big reds on the NDM

Big reds on the NDM

November / December 2012

Some dropper loop yellows on the New Seaforth and more rockfishing to round out the year.  Yes, it was truly an outstanding year of fishing here in SoCal.  Thanks again to all our salty friends…the captains and crews, our fellow anglers, and to all of you who followed along on the blog.  Happy Holidays and see you in 2013 for more salty fun.  Tight lines!

Group shot: 12 of 14 were taken by 9am

12 of 14 yellowtail on the NSF


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