Inshore: The calico bass bite off the kelp edge came on by the weekend as the tide flux slowed and offshore conditions warmed up the surface temp a bit. Sand bass did well off the flats south of Point Loma to Imperial Beach. A few halibut are showing in the mix as spring approaches. The grunion will be spawning soon, which should bring some of those flatties closer to the surf zone during the runs on the high tides. This is a good time to start packing the 15- to 25-pound gear along for the surf trips. Spoons, Carolina-rigged live bait and even 6” floating plugs with a swiveled leader below an egg sinker or “hali slider” (a tube with a snap to change weights) will sometimes work well on halibut feeding on the staging grunion.
Outside: It’s a yellowtail kind of thing offshore as schools are stacking up on the various banks on the plethora of red crab and baitfish fry in the water. I saw loads of krill on the 240 bank off San Quintin this past week. Several large whales were feeding around the outside of a group of boats full of anglers winding hard on yoyo irons for the jacks. It was flat-calm and pushing 80 degrees; a day so quiet on the water you could hear folks chattering and whales breathing a half mile away. Most of the yellows have been in the15 pound range, with a few going to 25 or so. The rockfish slowed this past week due to some ripping currents, but as long as the good weather holds the end of the month is setting up nicely for the freezer trips south. Large calico bass are starting their springtime chew a bit early at Cedros Island.
2/7 - 2/13 Dock Totals: 899 anglers aboard 39 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 800 yellowtail, 93 calico bass, 202 sand bass, 1,26 rockfish, 5 halibut, 2 sheephead, 17 lingcod, 504 sculpin, 13 rubberlip seaperch, 23 bonito, 270 sanddab, 9 barracuda, 91 halfmoon, 35 whitefish, 1 white croaker and 210 mackerel.
Whale Watch: Calm offshore conditions with relatively flat, clean seas this past week has provided whale-watch passengers with some great views of not only the southbound migrating grays, but also several fin whales and the odd humpback or two. There are pods of common dolphins running into the hundreds as well as a few foraging bottlenose dolphins in smaller pods putting on an occasional acrobatic show. These Santa Ana conditions coupled with small swells can produce the most ideal conditions for observing marine life in its natural realm.
Scheduled trout plants (lbs): 2/23 Cuyamaca (1000), 2/24 Wohlford (1500), Dixon (1500)