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Grumpy sand bass caught aboard Dolphin

Grumpy sand bass caught aboard Dolphin

Jason Coz, Dolphin Sport

Dock Totals Jan 27 – Feb 2: 698 anglers aboard 36 half day to three day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 92 yellowtail, 145 bonito, 70 calico bass, 412 sand bass, 9 halibut, 1,159 rockfish, 10 whitefish, 9 lingcod, 1 sheephead, 673 sculpin, 181 blacksmith perch, 282 rubberlip seaperch, 34 blue perch, 17 triggerfish, 2 sargo, 12 halfmoon, 53 sanddab, 1 black seabass (released), and 50 spiny lobster (112 released)

Saltwater: When the boats do get out between the gusts and downpours, they are doing well on bottomfish and sand bass on the reefs and flats along the coast. Sand bass have been biting best on bait; either squid or sardine on a dropper loop with enough weight to get it down in the current. Those fishing plastics are getting the bass to bite, but a strip of squid added to the grub or swimbait will put more fish in the gunnysack. Some of the sand bass coming up are true grumpies. They get that nickname for the grumpy appearance of the larger fish, and there have been some nice-sized sand bass caught.

When fishing sand bass it is important to check the line for twisting. These particular fish tend to twirl as they come up. Often, I have added a swivel and used a three-foot or so leader when catching and releasing a lot of smaller sand bass that fight less and twirl more. The majority of sand bass are being caught low in the water column in 60 to 80 feet of water along the beach in sandy areas. Rockfish are coming from the edges in La Jolla Canyon and Scripps Canyon for the half-day boats.

It is maintenance and repair season for the fleet, but there are available trips other than the local ½ day runs or long range trips. If you want to target Mexican waters this time of year, 1.5-day boats usually depart on Friday and fish Saturday. Boats offering those trips include the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman’s Landing, the Old Glory out of H&M Landing, and the Tribute out of Seaforth Sportfishing. 1.5 day Baja coast trips require a passport and run around $350. The Josie Lynn out of Point Loma Sportfishing is offering a full-day combo trip that fishes rockfish in Mexican waters during the day and finishes up lobster hoop-netting back on the U.S. side. That trip is $250, plus Mexican permit, FMM travel visa, lobster report card, and California fishing license.

After being pushed back due to the new ramp at Shelter Island, weather forced another rescheduling of the San Diego Anglers Open Bay Bass Tournament. The new date is Saturday, February 16. That may change; as of this writing the long-range weather looks a bit sketchy for that date but better for the following day. The good news is that with all the inclement weather passing through the San Diego area, sand bass and spotted bay bass tend to bite during and after storm fronts. Click here for updates.

Fish Plants: Feb 8, Santee Lakes, trout (1,000), Feb 11, Lake Jennings, trout (1,500), Feb 12, Lake Cuyamaca, trout (1,200)

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