Scorpionfish (Scorpaena guttata) aka sculpin
Inshore: Sculpin, or California scorpionfish, are back on the menu as of January 1, and in the first two days over 600 of the spiny-yet-tasty fish were taken from San Diego landings. Yellowtail are still chewing on the yoyo iron at the Coronados, off the canyon edge and near-shore banks in 100-150 feet of water. Kayakers, being a bit stealthier than the average motorboat, are getting a few of the often shy white seabass to bite in the usual spots off La Jolla on dropper-looped whole market squid or on the yoyo iron.
Outside: Yellowtail are still biting well on the yoyo iron from L.A. County down the coast of Baja. The outer banks and Baja coast are churning out good lingcod action along with a steady supply of reds and vermillion rockfish. Whitefish are being caught in decent numbers off the deeper high spots in 180–210 feet of water. Further south, five-day and longer boats venturing to Cedros and beyond are still getting wahoo to bite on the high spots as well as some yellowtail surface action and decent yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds off Mag Bay. Ten day and longer boats traveling to the offshore banks in the long-range “zone” south of Cabo are reporting large yellowfin tuna in the 150-200 pound class with a few cows near or at 300 pounds.
12/27 – 1/2 Dock Totals: 1248 anglers aboard 72 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 440 yellowtail, 49 calico bass, 98 sand bass, 4349 rockfish, 99 sheephead, 167 bonito, 88 whitefish, 39 lingcod, 691 sculpin, 35 blacksmith, 10 croaker, 23 halfmoon, 10 sanddab, 87 rubberlip seaperch, 6 halibut, 8 bocaccio, 1 finescale triggerfish and 5 barracuda.
Whale Watch: The southbound migration of the Eastern Pacific gray whales is on in earnest as they make their way down to the lagoons of Baja Sur to calve. There are many operations running tours and reporting sightings. For those a bit boat-shy, this time of year is when spotting whales from the bluffs is at its best. Pick a day with offshore conditions, low winds and clear skies; find a vantage point with a good view off La Jolla or Torrey Pines and odds are you’ll see some grays not far off shore.
Scheduled trout plants (lbs): 1/9 Wohlford (N/A), 1/13 Poway (1500, Including trophy-sized trout)