Socal Winter Fishing 2020
winter time bite!
San Diego, California
As I look out my window it is raining. Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is on the way. The tuna fishing season is definitely over. And I say that with a laugh because my customers are still asking how far they would have to go to catch them. I tell them, “far” and “south”. To have a decent chance at Tuna right now, you would need to schedule a 2 or 3 day trip on one of our faster six-pack boats like the Easter B and head due south at best speed. Even that will soon be over.
However, there is a bright side… Rockfish season is in full swing, and there are still Yellowtail, White Seabass, not to mention Calico Bass, Sand Bass, and Halibut. The awesome thing is, you don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money to enjoy the local fishing just outside of Point Loma, Imperial Beach, and La Jolla. Our ½ day the and ¾ day trips will absolutely put you on the fish, many times with each Angler catching limits or a really big fish.
rockfish & rockcod
Easy to catch, Almost a sure thing, The Best Taco Around!
Many of our winter trips will focus almost solely on rockfish, but even if we do you will still have a chance at bass, lingcod, and other species at the same spot. Usually, we will find the good rockfishing spots on areas of rock from 100 feet down or deeper. Usually, a two-hook setup is used, double the fun, double the catch. Just before and just after we drift over the rock patches, there is a sand bottom, and big Halibut tend to hunt here. Lingcod also share this spot too!
Somewhat difficult to hook one, but tend to be one of the larger winter fish.
What makes these fish difficult to catch is not that they are rare, it is that they are subtle and skittish on the bite. They can clean your hook in the blink of an eye without you knowing, unless you are paying attention. You only have a moment of opportunity to set the hook before these flatfish make off with your bait. However, if you do land one, you have dinner for four. My advice, keep your rod in your hand, and your line tight, wait patiently, and be ready for the bite.
Hardest fighting and ugliest fish award go to this mean-looking bottom dweller. When this fish picks up your bait, you will instantly know it. Putting up a good fight is what they do, especially on the lighter tackle that we use during the winter and spring season. The meat of this fish can sometimes have a blue tint, but I can assure you that it is quite tasty. It is a strong fighting fish!
calico & sand bass
Calico, Bay, Striped, and Sand Bass - If you get tired of fishing on the bottom, Bass Fishing is the answer. Grab a 10lb test rig and a shiny metal lure or plastic, and start casting. Fishing on the surface down to about 30 feet along the kelp forest is our go-to strategy. Be sure to try several different lures until you find the one they like that day. The secret here is to maximize your time by staying on the job of casting your bait out as many times as possible in the time allowed. Be sure to try several lures, and if no bite happens, try fly lining some live bait with the smallest BB lead you can find.
Whitefish are bottom fish that love squid. If you want to catch a whitefish, just put some squid on the bottom hook of a two hook rig and drop it down right in the same area as rockfish, rocky bottom structure deeper than 100 feet. These fish generally only weight a few pounds, but what they lack in size, they make up for in quantity. Also, this is a great tasting, and very easy to prepare fish that can provide a succulent dinner.
In the wintertime, a large majority of Yellowtail head south for the winter, but some stay. Generally, we catch them in all but the coldest months, along the kelp beds around La Jolla, and at the Coronado Islands in Mexico. Usually, you will catch them using a freeline sardine or anchovy and also occasionally on a crankbait. If you do hook into yellowtail on lighter tackle, be prepared to fight hard, as you will be hard-pressed to land this fish without using the drag to your full advantage.
One of the most challenging and rewarding fishing trips we offer. To catch White Seabass, first, you have to find them. There are only a few spots that I know of that can be said to hold a decent year-round population. Now keep in mind, everybody has there favorite spots, and its a matter of opinion, but I generally recommend Catalina Island. This island provides the most consistent bite other than Mexican waters. Farnsworth Bank and the backside of the island near Twin Harbors is my suggestion. Check out our multi-day trips to chase these beautiful fish.
Winter fishing is awesome! Get out on the water and enjoy the beautiful scenery, spend some quality time with your friends and family, and catch some fish!
At SanDiegoTunaFishing.com, all of our boats and Captain’s follow the letter of the law. Please arrive with your one-day or year-round saltwater stamped California Fishing License which you can obtain by clicking here.
To look over limit, size, and seasonal restrictions, please go here;