Sport boats targeting coastal waters

JIM NIEMIEC

Sport boats are sticking pretty close to the beach on trips out of

local landings due to the lack of quality fishing in the channel.

Despite excellent conditions, trips to outer waters for albacore and

yellowtail have been very unproductive, while the sand bass bite

continues wide open for half, three-quarter and twilight runs.

Catalina Island is having an off season and over night boats making

the longer run to San Clemente Island are returning to the dock with

yellowtail weighing in the 12- to 25-pound class.

The best sand bass bite is occurring down off San Mateo where

quick limits are being sacked by anglers fishing anchovies and

plastics. "There is a solid mass of bass below the San Clemente pier

and the afternoon bite has been nothing short of fantastic," reports

Captain Norris Tapp at Davey's Locker. Other areas that continue to

produce for the local fleet are between the Newport and Balboa piers

and up along the Huntington Beach flats. There are barracuda mixed in

with the sand bass and an occasional yellowtail is being caught.

A few of the kelps in the channel are holding yellowtail but they

are not really in a feeding mood. Many anglers on private boats

report seeing yellows under patties that refuse to bite on live bait

or lures and the same scenario holds for single dorado holding tight

to the patty. Perhaps fishing on the outside might improve when a

little warmer water moves up the coast from Mexico or there is a wave

of new fish that will move in with the full moon phase coming up next

week.

San Diego based sport boats are having a tough season as well. All

day and multi-day boats are having scratch fishing at best with the

dock count still way down from what it should be for this late in the

summer fishing season. Captain Buzz Brizendine, owner/operator of the

sportfisher Prowler, told this writer that no one can figure out why

the albacore are not coming to the boat. "We are metering big schools

of fish that won't bite. There is plenty of bait, water conditions

are perfect and we are fishing a pretty large area. Hopefully it will

be just a matter of time before things settle back down and albacore

fishing gets back to a normal pattern of quality fishing," said

Brizendine during a call-in fishing report.

Not too much to report on marlin fishing either. Over this past

weekend there were a few tailers spotted off San Clemente Island and

a couple of fish seen on the Avalon Bank but no hookups were

reported. With the water temp holding in the channel in the low

seventies it's just a matter of time before spikebills start jumping

on fast trolled jigs around the high spots in the channel.

Roger and Gretchen Porter and their fishing pals, Tom and Julie

Rielly, all of Newport Beach, just returned from a trip to Waterfall

Resort located on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, where Gretchen

caught a record 79.2-pound king salmon. Gretchen took King of the Day

honors for the resort and will be eligible for Waterfall's $100,000

King of Kings fishing tournament, her name is also in the hat to win

a 2004 F-150 truck. The Porters, along with their two daughters, will

be heading back to Waterfall next week for their annual family

fishing trip.

Surf fishing is pretty good between the mouth of the Santa Ana

River to down past the Newport Beach pier. Good numbers of yellowfin

croaker and barred perch are being caught on sand crabs and blood

worms fished just inside the breakers on both the incoming and

outgoing tides. Rob Meinhardt of Newport fished live bait and

plastics in the surf over the weekend and released croaker weighing

up to 3 pounds to go along with a few small corvina. The water temp

is holding at 65 degrees off Newport and the best time to go fishing

is early in the morning to avoid all the swimmers. A fishing license

is required when fishing from the surf or in the bay, but no license

is required to fish from ocean piers.

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