Sheephead make excellent table fare
Inshore: Rockfish continue to dominate the local catch as is usual for this time of year. The past two weather systems seem to have quieted the bite for the pelagic species, though a few bonito are being caught off the kelp edges. With roughish seas, it’s hard for boats to get out there and look, so most are finding a good spot to anchor up on a spot and fish the bottom for reds, vermillion, lingcod and whitefish. Sheephead are still eating well off the deeper kelp stalks. They are excellent table fare. A whole shrimp on a dropper loop is the best bet for the bigger toothy “goats”, especially near any lobster pots.
Outside: The big NW swell kept a lot of the overnight and longer boats at the dock again this past week. Yellowtail are showing deep on bait in their normal winter mode as boats able to get out to the offshore banks south of the border are having good success on the yoyo iron and butterfly jigs in 150 to 200 feet of water. Not one tuna was caught in the local offshore (1-4 day) counts, which, by my research, is a first for 2015 for the San Diego fleet. The long-range boats are doing well down south of Cedros to the Hurricane Bank with lots of yellowfin over 200 pounds and good limit–type wahoo action on the high spots.
12/13-12/19 Dock Totals: 1074 anglers aboard 34 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 21 yellowtail, 91 calico bass, 28 sand bass, 1662 rockfish, 30 sheephead, 56 bonito, 12 whitefish, 10 lingcod, 1 white seabass, 1 halibut, 1 rubberlip seaperch, and 15 spiny lobster.
San Diego Bay is producing a solid fall spotted bass bite in 20-40 feet of water, especially on the channel edges and deeper holes off the eel grass. Leopard sharks are moving in for their spawn and can be found in 6-15 feet of water. A few halibut are coming off the edges in the slack tide when they slide up to feed in the less turbulent water; two hours preceding and in the low slack they can be caught right off the edge of the eel grass, especially if there is bait activity around.
Scheduled trout plants (lbs): 12/24 Santee Lakes (800), 12/26 Wohlford (N/A), 12/28 Jennings (1000), 12/29 Poway (1,500- trophy trout included)