FISHING / DAN STANTON : An Up-And-Down Year for Local Anglers

Fluctuating water temperatures made for an unpredictable year of fishing. The sand bass migration started in June, a month early, but albacore fishermen had another frustrating year as the fish moved as far north as Oregon.

Yellowfin and bluefin were plentiful, with several fish caught in the 200-pound range.

Barracuda action was steady, and the white seabass run that started last fall is expected to continue until spring because of the abundance of live squid for bait.

It was a disappointing year for bonito as the fish failed to move into local and island waters in any numbers.

Calico bass fishing remains excellent. Because of quality winter bait, anglers can expect to continue to catch their 10-fish limit.

It was a dismal season for marlin. The total brought to scale at Avalon reached only 64, down by more than 100 from previous years.

Ray Hawkes of the King Harbor Marlin Club said his group hooked, tagged and released only nine marlin, compared with the 1990 total of 40.

Russ Izor, who coordinates the yearly sand bass tagging program, said it was one of the best years since the study started as 2,000 fish were tagged and released.

Izor said little is known about the yearly migration. When an angler catches a fish wearing a tag, important data is needed as to the area the fish was caught and the date.

This information should be sent to the Department of Fish and Game, 330 Golden Shore in Long Beach.

An angler will be given $5 for each tag that has the information needed to help with the study.

The Cabrillo Marine Museum has scheduled a special trip on Saturday at 2 p.m. aboard a Catalina Cruise ship to observe the migration of the giant gray whales and to view an eclipse.

Museum director Larry Fukhara said at sunset the moon's shadow will eclipse the sun and the observers at sea will have the best vantage point.

Information and reservations: (310) 545-7563.

The first winter storm failed to keep avid anglers from fishing.

All South Bay sportfishing boats made morning trips last weekend.

Anglers aboard half-day boats that worked Rocky Point and Horseshoe Kelp returned with catches of calico bass and sculpin.

But all outer island rock cod boats remained at the docks because of the storm conditions.

B Local Catches: Perel Barak of Santa Monica, aboard the Happyman in the bay, caught the whopper of the week, a 28 1/2-pound halibut.

Pat Whittaker of Long Beach, aboard the Southern Cal, caught a 22-pound golden eye.

Leon Simon of Gardena caught a 25-pound white sea bass while fishing aboard the Hitless Miss at Horseshoe Kelp.

Fishing off Catalina Island aboard the Sportking, Anthony Fumicello of San Pedro caught a 23-pound lingcod.

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