South Saltwater

Updated September 21, 2020

CENTRAL COAST — Windy weather offshore couldn’t stop the fleet from fishing and catching before those winds moved ashore in the afternoons. For Morro Bay, more big reds were the top catch, with a 24-pound ling topping the chart, and winning the WON Rockfish Showdown. For private boaters, halibut continued to be an attractive option. But launch days were limited.

SANTA BARBARA/VENTURA COAST — These areas saw some attention as windy conditions at the outer islands limited access for a few days. The results were lots of reds and coppers along the shelf break off the Gaviota Coast, and ocean whitefish out on the 4-mile and other local mid-depth reefs. Both surf fishers and private boaters had success with halibut and smaller seabass. Bounce balling in open waters from boats and throwing small plastics or the hard baits like the 110 Lucky Craft drew the strikes while fishing from the sand. Goleta Beach was a hot spot for this.

SANTA MONICA BAY — The coastal strip along the northern and central sections was again cool as waters rolled with the afternoon breeze. South toward Rocky Point the effect was less but still there. The bass bite was less than stellar but better than zero. Rockfish, sculpin and whitefish were the order of the day.

LONG BEACH/SAN PEDRO LOCAL —  From Ferman south to Dana Point, coastal waters were cool and green again, warming from the low 60s inside the outer harbor to low 70s a few miles north of Catalina Island. Half-day fishing focused on bottom biters while 3/4-day boats made the crossing.

ORANGE COUNTY LOCAL — From Dana Point south the coastal dip in sea surface temperature was less pronounced than north of there but still enough to damper the action in the coastal kelp beds. Still there was enough catch and release bass action to keep it interesting and both fly-line and sliding sinker rigs were effective. There were some nice sheephead and sand bass in the mix.

From Newport, bottom biters were a good option for local fishing. Early in the week some schools of 5- to 7-pound bonito made for fun troll and throw jig-stop fishing.

OCEANSIDE LOCAL — The standard suite of options was on tap, mostly catch and release bass fishing plus the option to fish deeper waters along the shelf break for and assortment of rockfish. From here to La Jolla the inshore waters remained warm on top, while the rest of the coast lost its warm topwater layer to afternoon winds.

SAN DIEGO LOCAL — Yellowtail showed off La Jolla providing some extra excitement. There were a few bonito to be had but skippers frequently opted to got for the bottom in an effort to assure successful angling. For coastal bass and surface action the strip with the best conditions was from Mission Bay north to Encinitas.