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Winter blues beginning to settle in? Try bluefin, they’re still around

Trout season open at all San Diego area stocked lakes by December 2nd

Happy anglers with a good-sized wahoo caught while fishing aboard the Intrepid near Alijos Rocks off Baja Sur.
Happy anglers with a good-sized wahoo caught while fishing aboard the Intrepid near Alijos Rocks off Baja Sur.

Dock Totals 11/19 – 11/25: 982 anglers aboard 45 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 408 bluefin tuna (up to 150 pounds), 28 calico bass, 2 halibut, 48 lobster (53 released), 54 perch, 61 rock crab, 3373 rockfish, 81 sand bass, 41 sanddab, 237 sculpin, 41 sheephead, 1 triggerfish, and 292 whitefish.

Saltwater: Though it is starting to feel like winter, with dorado and yellowfin heading far south of the short-range fleet, bluefin tuna and rockfish continue to be the main catch for boats working in U.S. waters from around San Clemente Island south to the Corner, while boats venturing further south have been finding some willing yellowtail off San Quintin and along the coast of Baja California. Again, there were no lingcod in the counts with the boats working the deep rockfish from the allowed 300 to 600 feet in depth, as lingcod prefer water from 90 feet to 330 feet. If you want lings or yellowtail, trips heading into Mexican waters are your best bet. There were also no yellowtail in the counts for trips up to 3-days this past week, though the long range fleet has been getting a few in the northern half of their trips along the Baja coast, and some private boaters scored on yellowtail near the middle grounds at the Coronado Islands.

Further south off Baja California Sur on the Pacific side, wahoo, dorado, and yellowfin tuna have been showing well for folks fishing out of the Bahia Asunción area and on down to the Ridge outside of Bahia Magdalena. Grouper fishing in the lagoons has been very good for both broomtail and gulf grouper for those anglers staying inside, along with some impressive snook in the mix. Dorado and yellowfin tuna have been the main catch in the southern Sea of Cortez off the East Cape to Loreto, while further north, sierra and cabrilla have been biting well for both shore and boat-based anglers from Gonzaga Bay to Puerticitos.

For the local half-day boats, calico bass, sculpin, and sheephead continue to bite well inshore for the short runs to the kelp beds off Point Loma and La Jolla, while sand bass and a few halibut are showing on the sand flats off Imperial Beach. For those who want to put some “bugs” on the table, the evening lobster trips have been finding a good ratio of keepers on their hooping outings along the outer stretches of San Diego Bay to Zuniga Jetty.

Surf fishing for barred surfperch, spotfin croaker, and California corbina has been good lately along county beaches, though moreso the further north one goes. With sandcrabs all but gone for the winter, go-to baits have been strips of mackerel, squid, and lures. Plastic grubs on a Carolina rig, Kastmaster spoons, and castable crankbaits such as Lucky Craft’s 110 Flash Minnow have been working best for those pitching lures just beyond the break. Inside the bays, spotted bay bass and halibut have been biting well, with the spotties biting more along the edges of the deeper eelgrass, and around docks and channel edges. Halibut have been laying in holes and depressions in slightly deeper water and have been biting slow and low presentations of plastic grubs, swimbaits, and live or fresh-dead sardine or anchovy drifted along the bottom, bounce-ball style. Keeping the bait down and slowly moving has been the key to success.

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One note on the saltwater scene: the 520-pound broadbill swordfish caught back on October 27 by angler Mason Karafa, fishing with Brother’s Sportfishing has been certified as the new California state record, beating the previous record from 2003 by 80 pounds. Congrats to Mr. Karafa and Brother’s Sportfishing; it was a very impressive deep-drop catch, considering it took only an hour and a half to get the beast to gaff. Swordfish battles can last several hours, even on heavier line, and are noted for their back-breaking strength among the anglers who normally target them.

Temecula fishing guru and content creator Tracy Hartman with a fat lightning trout caught just north of San Diego County at Lake Hemet.


Freshwater: Trout season has officially arrived in San Diego area lakes, with lakes Dixon and Poway holding their openers this weekend. On Friday, December 1, Poway will open after being closed November 29 and 30 to let the 2000 pounds of freshly-stocked trout settle in. On Saturday, December 2, Dixon Lake opens their season with 4000 pounds of stocked trout. The rest of the area lakes that stock trout have already opened their seasons, including Chollas, Cuyamaca, Hemet, Jennings, Miramar, Murray, and Wohlford, all with trout plants in mid-November. Note: Miramar is closed to all but shore-based anglers due to an algae bloom. Powerbait and mini-jigs have been the go-to methods for success on these stocked rainbow and lightning trout.

For those trying to get into the holiday mood, Santee Lakes is holding their annual holiday drive-thru light show, December 1-28 from 5:45–8:45 pm, featuring over 100,000 Christmas lights in displays around the park. This will be after fishing hours, and all who wish to cruise the light displays will need to have a ticket in hand to enter, including those camping or staying at the lake cabins. The required tickets at $19.99 plus a $1.50 processing fee per carload of up to 8 people can be purchased on their website. They’re out there, so go get ‘em!

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Happy anglers with a good-sized wahoo caught while fishing aboard the Intrepid near Alijos Rocks off Baja Sur.
Happy anglers with a good-sized wahoo caught while fishing aboard the Intrepid near Alijos Rocks off Baja Sur.

Dock Totals 11/19 – 11/25: 982 anglers aboard 45 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 408 bluefin tuna (up to 150 pounds), 28 calico bass, 2 halibut, 48 lobster (53 released), 54 perch, 61 rock crab, 3373 rockfish, 81 sand bass, 41 sanddab, 237 sculpin, 41 sheephead, 1 triggerfish, and 292 whitefish.

Saltwater: Though it is starting to feel like winter, with dorado and yellowfin heading far south of the short-range fleet, bluefin tuna and rockfish continue to be the main catch for boats working in U.S. waters from around San Clemente Island south to the Corner, while boats venturing further south have been finding some willing yellowtail off San Quintin and along the coast of Baja California. Again, there were no lingcod in the counts with the boats working the deep rockfish from the allowed 300 to 600 feet in depth, as lingcod prefer water from 90 feet to 330 feet. If you want lings or yellowtail, trips heading into Mexican waters are your best bet. There were also no yellowtail in the counts for trips up to 3-days this past week, though the long range fleet has been getting a few in the northern half of their trips along the Baja coast, and some private boaters scored on yellowtail near the middle grounds at the Coronado Islands.

Further south off Baja California Sur on the Pacific side, wahoo, dorado, and yellowfin tuna have been showing well for folks fishing out of the Bahia Asunción area and on down to the Ridge outside of Bahia Magdalena. Grouper fishing in the lagoons has been very good for both broomtail and gulf grouper for those anglers staying inside, along with some impressive snook in the mix. Dorado and yellowfin tuna have been the main catch in the southern Sea of Cortez off the East Cape to Loreto, while further north, sierra and cabrilla have been biting well for both shore and boat-based anglers from Gonzaga Bay to Puerticitos.

For the local half-day boats, calico bass, sculpin, and sheephead continue to bite well inshore for the short runs to the kelp beds off Point Loma and La Jolla, while sand bass and a few halibut are showing on the sand flats off Imperial Beach. For those who want to put some “bugs” on the table, the evening lobster trips have been finding a good ratio of keepers on their hooping outings along the outer stretches of San Diego Bay to Zuniga Jetty.

Surf fishing for barred surfperch, spotfin croaker, and California corbina has been good lately along county beaches, though moreso the further north one goes. With sandcrabs all but gone for the winter, go-to baits have been strips of mackerel, squid, and lures. Plastic grubs on a Carolina rig, Kastmaster spoons, and castable crankbaits such as Lucky Craft’s 110 Flash Minnow have been working best for those pitching lures just beyond the break. Inside the bays, spotted bay bass and halibut have been biting well, with the spotties biting more along the edges of the deeper eelgrass, and around docks and channel edges. Halibut have been laying in holes and depressions in slightly deeper water and have been biting slow and low presentations of plastic grubs, swimbaits, and live or fresh-dead sardine or anchovy drifted along the bottom, bounce-ball style. Keeping the bait down and slowly moving has been the key to success.

Sponsored
Sponsored

One note on the saltwater scene: the 520-pound broadbill swordfish caught back on October 27 by angler Mason Karafa, fishing with Brother’s Sportfishing has been certified as the new California state record, beating the previous record from 2003 by 80 pounds. Congrats to Mr. Karafa and Brother’s Sportfishing; it was a very impressive deep-drop catch, considering it took only an hour and a half to get the beast to gaff. Swordfish battles can last several hours, even on heavier line, and are noted for their back-breaking strength among the anglers who normally target them.

Temecula fishing guru and content creator Tracy Hartman with a fat lightning trout caught just north of San Diego County at Lake Hemet.


Freshwater: Trout season has officially arrived in San Diego area lakes, with lakes Dixon and Poway holding their openers this weekend. On Friday, December 1, Poway will open after being closed November 29 and 30 to let the 2000 pounds of freshly-stocked trout settle in. On Saturday, December 2, Dixon Lake opens their season with 4000 pounds of stocked trout. The rest of the area lakes that stock trout have already opened their seasons, including Chollas, Cuyamaca, Hemet, Jennings, Miramar, Murray, and Wohlford, all with trout plants in mid-November. Note: Miramar is closed to all but shore-based anglers due to an algae bloom. Powerbait and mini-jigs have been the go-to methods for success on these stocked rainbow and lightning trout.

For those trying to get into the holiday mood, Santee Lakes is holding their annual holiday drive-thru light show, December 1-28 from 5:45–8:45 pm, featuring over 100,000 Christmas lights in displays around the park. This will be after fishing hours, and all who wish to cruise the light displays will need to have a ticket in hand to enter, including those camping or staying at the lake cabins. The required tickets at $19.99 plus a $1.50 processing fee per carload of up to 8 people can be purchased on their website. They’re out there, so go get ‘em!

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