Posted by: Jimmy | September 15, 2015

On Hiatus

Hello my loyal readers (and Internet),

After a while of thought, I have decided to take a leave from my blog. Although you might say that I’ve been doing that since I haven’t made a post in almost three months, but instead of leaving you hanging, I thought I’d make it official.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been fishing, but for the last few months, I’ve had little desire to write reports as I have been the last few years. I write so much in school now (I’m a senior in college this year) that I just don’t feel like doing it anymore. And that’s a shame, but it is what it is.

Now, that’s not to say I won’t be back sometime in the future with more fishing reports (hell, I might even be back in a few months – or maybe several years). That is one reason why I am not going to deactivate the blog, but put the project on hiatus. But the main reason why I’m keeping it up has to do with why I started this blog in the first place: to build an archive of fishing reports that I hope you will enjoy. After four years of this blog being live on the interwebs, I think I’ve achieved that goal.

So I thank you for taking the time to read what I had to offer – I appreciate it very much. And maybe I’ll see you out on the big pond, where one day I might have something to bring back on here.

Take care,


Posted by: Jimmy | June 21, 2015

Yellows to Bass to Yellows

Thought I’d play catch-up here as I haven’t posted in a while. The short of this report is that the yellowtail bite off Long Beach is still going strong, and 1/2 day boats have been posting better counts than overnight boats. (When was the last time you saw that happen?) I also snuck in a bass trip that was surprisingly good. Here’s the slightly longer report:

On June 9, Ray and I hit the Spitfire with Capt. John “Couch” Corzel at the helm in search of yellowtail. The fish were in a biting mood and wanted a variety of presentations; the surface iron, dropper loop, flyline, and yo-yo all produced fish. Ray tenaciously fished the Salas 7X and ended up with three yellows. I tried different things and went two for three – one on dropper loop (the runner-up fish) and one on the Colt Sniper. While fighting the latter fish, I was on pins and needles because the trebles are small on those jigs. I had already pulled the hook on one, and the only reason I got the second was that the fish inhaled the jig, with only the eye of the jig sticking out of its mouth. Lucky! We ended up with 42 yellows for the day.

On June 12, my Dad and I hit the Clemente with Capt. Corey Lieser at the helm in search of the elusive calico bass. The bass fishing had taken a dump in the week prior, so Corey decided to try an area that doesn’t receive a whole lot of boat pressure. It paid off in spades, and we put together the best *keeper* bass count in a long time. The bass were hitting plastics no problem, but the big ones were eagerly hitting the trout-sized sardines we had for bait. Hieu “So Vo” Vo won jackpot with a calico that looked bigger in person than it does in the picture.

On June 16, I hit the Spitfire once again with Captain Couch at the helm for another yellowtail odyssey. This time, however, the fish were a little picky with presentation. They didn’t want the yo-yo (but then again I didn’t try a traditional yo-yo jig), and they didn’t hit the Colt Sniper like they did for me the week before. They were hitting the surface iron pretty good, so I put in some time with a Salas 7X, and was rewarded with my first ever yellowtail on the “plug.” That’s something I knew was on my to-do list, but also something that I wasn’t stone-dead-set on accomplishing. I’m not that good of a jig fisherman (anybody can yo-yo, and anybody can go codding with jigs, but fishing the surface iron takes skill). The boat ended up with 30 yellows, with around 10 of them on the surface iron.

Get out there and fish! There’s more than definitely going to be more to come, but once everything returns to normal, we won’t see fishing like this for years and years and years and years.

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Posted by: Jimmy | June 5, 2015

Long Haul from MDR for Yellowtail


Date: June 1, 2015

Trip: Extended 3/4 Day (6:30am – 5pm)

Destination: The 150

Crew: Capt. Jeremy Maltz, Derek, John

Load: 23 Anglers

The day before, relief captain John Corzel made the long run down to Long Beach to “make something happen,” and he found some yellowtail that were willing to bite. Today, we’d make that run with Jeremy to try to get on them again. We didn’t start fishing till around 10am, but it’s worth it if we get into the fish.

As it turns out, the fish kind-of put their noses down for us, but we had a brief window of opportunity. Of the 10 fish that were landed, only two came off of jigs, unlike the day before when all of the fish bit the yo-yo or surface irons. When one kid hooked into the first yellow of the day on a dropper loop within seconds of hitting bottom, I wasted no time switching over to bait. On the second stop, I got my fish, which went a solid 20 pounds. Joining me today was the newly-retired Tom, who was rewarded with two nice yellows and a small mako shark (released). One or two more stops produced yellows after that, and then they all scattered for the remainder of our time down there.

Highlight of the day was watching Jeremy hook up on a surface iron. Catching a yellow on a surface iron is still on my to-do list. But it’s not like I put in the effort – I’d rather catch than go for glory. One of these days, though…

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Posted by: Jimmy | May 29, 2015

Return to the Yellowtail


Date: May 28, 2015

Trip: 3/4 Day (6am – 3pm)

Destination: Offshore and Inshore

Crew: Capt. Chad Steffen, Marcus, John

Load: 24 Anglers

Nevermind the amazing news that we’re catching kelp paddy yellows in May. The amazing-er thing about this is that these fish are HUGE!!! for kelp paddy fish. Normally, kelp paddy yellows range from bait-sized to about 12 pounds. On the other hand, these fish that have been caught recently are 15-35 pounds, with most over 20. WOW!!! Now that’s incredible.

The bite had been pretty good over the weekend, but it tapered off with holiday traffic and pressure. Nevertheless, we headed out first thing in search of kelp paddies. It was overcast out (my favorite kind of weather) but clear enough to spot paddies. The guys spotted one and we headed over to it, passing a smaller kelp on the way. After the first kelp didn’t pan out, we went back to the one we passed. Bingo!

We landed 4 yellows on this kelp, all fish being over 20 pounds. But the most amazing thing that happened were all the boils we saw. They didn’t look like yellows, so what could they have been? Bluefin tuna, that’s what! But that close to Dana Point? This year, anything’s possible! The fish that boiled appeared to range from schoolie size to “Volkswagen” size. I think a couple of the big boils we saw were definitely 100-plus-pound bluefin. Awesome to see, but today it was just see, no touch. They weren’t the least bit interested in touching anything we had on a hook.

Only one other kelp we stopped on produced fish, and two more were landed at that kelp. My dad was one of the two lucky people. He hooked his on 20-pound test, so it was touch and go for a while. While the crew worked feverishly to clear five lines on his, the yellow swam out to the kelp paddy. On this light of line, that would probably spell disaster, but fortunately he managed to get the fish free. After a brief battle, his landed the fish, a nice 18 pounder or so.

That was it for the yellowtail. I didn’t catch one, but I still won. You know why? I’ll still get to eat some of the awesome smoked yellowtail jerky my Dad and I make. I think if this summer’s as good for tuna and yellowtail as I think it is, we’ll be pretty busy with the smoker.

On the way into the beach to fish bass, the guys spotted a swordfish cruising along on the surface. We tried to “bait it” (as in slowly creeping up on it and tossing a hooked sardine or mackerel to it), but it wanted nothing to do with us. Surprisingly, however, it didn’t sink out. Oh, well…but it would have been great to try swordfish jerky.

Anyway, in the beach, conditions were awesome, but bass fishing wasn’t up to its full potential. If you fished bait you did all right and even scratched at some keeper calicos, but if you know me, you know I’d rather throw rubber. No keepers in my bunch, but I did get to pull on several shorts, short barracuda, and a few huge, cornfed mackerel. At color, I thought they were bonito. No dice on that, but they sure were fun to pull on.

And that was about it. Six yellowtail for our efforts and a nice hour of throwing plastics for bass (my favorite). As I write this, the Dana Wharf boats got some more yellows today. Capt. Brian Woolley of the Sum Fun says the conditions are getting nice, so hopefully the fish get with the program here shortly. These yellows are not “catchable”-size fish, but they are catchable if you have the right gear and you know what you’re doing. They weren’t really line shy, either, but fluorocarbon might be good to use to give you that extra edge over other anglers on the boat. Good luck and have a great season!

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Posted by: Jimmy | May 17, 2015

The Red and the Goat


Date: May 11, 2015

Trip: 3/4 Day (6am – 3pm)

Destination: Box Canyon

Crew: Capt. Brian Woolley, Capt. Shane Mansur

Load: 14 Anglers

Dad and I hadn’t fished together in two months, so we figured it was about time. We fished the Box Canyon rockfish area in the morning, picking at some bocaccio and reds. We limited out on bocaccio pretty fast and then focused on the reds. Dad managed to catch a nice one. It was jackpot until I landed a nice Sheephead that looked to be about the same size, so there was a bit of competition at that point. But sheephead have something that reds don’t – real teeth and a dense body. As it turns out, even though they were roughly the same length, my fish weighed two pounds heavier than his red (5.5 lbs to 3.5 lbs). To end the day, Brian took us into the kelp to fish calicos. Very few keepers, but just about a bass a cast on live bait and plastics.

Also, this sheephead was my personal best female (a.k.a. “Pinky”). All sheephead are born female and go through a sex change at some point. My personal best male sheephead is 9 pounds.

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Posted by: Jimmy | May 9, 2015

Rockfish Limits by 10:30


Date: May 9, 2015

Trip: 3/4 Day (6:30am – 3pm)

Destination: Santa Monica Bay

Crew: Capt. Jeremy Maltz, Axel, John, Chris

Load: 25 Anglers

I’ll make this one brief. We headed out about eight miles to load up on belindas and bocaccio, and hopefully some reds as well. The first spot was really, really good for the bigger belindas with a handful of nice reds thrown in. Tom and I started with the jig. He quickly caught a nice red but nothing else, so he switched to bait. In doing so, he was rewarded with several big belindas. Meanwhile, I stuck with the jig and scrapped up about half a limit of medium-sized belindas. Had I gone to bait sooner, I probably would have ended up with bigger belindas and maybe a few reds, but at least it was fun fishing the jig.

We rounded out our boat rockfish limits at the second spot. The bocaccio crashed the party at this spot, but luckily caught so many belindas at the last spot, that our rockfish limit didn’t include our sub-limit of three-around on the bocaccio. Nevertheless, they are fun on the jig when all you are catching are belindas.

For the next hour and a half, we targeted some sculpin. Usually I have a trick for getting bigger sculpin, but not today. It was pretty mundane fishing: drop down donkey rig (leadhead on a dropper loop) with squid, fish bites, wind them on, reel fish up. It is a nice feeling, however, when you hook into a sculpin that’s heavy, so you know it’s going to be a nice once (or at least legal). I ended up with an easy limit and gave some more to other people.

To finish the day, we anchored on a rockpile to try for some lingcod. This would not be an easy task: all we had were anchovies and frozen squid, and we didn’t come across any sand dabs to save for lingcod bait. Regardless, four legal lings came out to play. Two were caught on frozen squid, and two were caught on the anchovy. Proving that elephants eat peanuts, Tom hooked and landed what would be the jackpot lingcod on (I believe) two anchovies pinned on the same hook, a nice fish at around 8-10 pounds.

The waters of the Santa Monica Bay may be cold and green, but the rockfish certainly don’t give a damn.

Tom's JP Lingcod

Tom’s JP Lingcod

Posted by: Jimmy | May 5, 2015

I Didn’t Forget…I’m Just Busy!

It has been a while since my last article. I’ve been up to my neck in school work (a ton of reading and essay writing) and I haven’t fished for a month. It’s almost over and I should be back with a report next week.

To fill the void left by a lack of fishing, I’ve been laughing to Dave Letterman’s last bunch of shows over on CBS. Whatever you think about him, there’s no denying his influence on the late-night talk show format. Dave is to me what Johnny Carson was to my parents and grandparents.

Anyway, I’ll be back with another report soon. And remember – laughter is the best medicine.


Posted by: Jimmy | April 5, 2015

New Del Mar Marathon


Date: April 4, 2015

Trip: PM 1/2 Day (1pm – 5:30pm) & Twilight (6-Midnight)

Destination: Santa Monica Bay

Crew: Capt. Danny Ericson, Dylan, Vic, Eric, Julian, Victor / Capt. John Petrov, Jordan, Steve

Load: 45 Anglers / 28 Anglers

I hadn’t been on the New Del Mar in a couple years, so I decided to sleep in for once on a Saturday and hit the afternoon half day, and then stick around for the twilight. The rockfishing’s been very good in the Bay, but it would be a toss up on the twilight bass since they don’t post those reports. But structure bass is one of my favorite kinds of fishing, so I’d be happy regardless.

For the afternoon trip, we headed out about seven or eight miles to fish for bocaccio and belindas. Danny said the rockfish absolutely clobbered the anchovies that the bait boat had recently brought in. Even the belindas that usually go for the squid were all over the chovies. As usual, I got bored with the usual double dropper loop and gave the jig a try for a bigger bocaccio. No such luck so I decided to have fun with my bass rod with 12-pound test, six ounces of weight, and a single dropper loop. My decision to have fun paid off with two nice reds that pulled hard on the light line. I also caught a short ling on the set up. Very good fishing with the afternoon and I took home a limit of great-eating fish.

For the twilight we headed up to Santa Monica to try for the always fun structure bass and sculpin. John said the bass bite had kind-of tapered off from what it was the last few months, but they’ve been picking away. My rig for the night was 30-pound test with a two-ounce leadhead (and that reminds me, I’m running low so I need to put in another order and fire up the fluid bed). On the first spot, I connected with a fish that had me in the rocks so bad it seemed like the line was going to break in a zing-POW! moment, but I wrestled the fish out, and soon, up came a nice big grumpy sand bass, about 3-1/2 pounds. The second spot had really good calico bass fishing, with most of the fish in the first 30 minutes at this spot being legal. We finished it off at a third spot where, after repositioning a couple times, we were able to throw on some more bass and quite a few sculpin. I ended up taking jackpot with my big sand bass.

I had a great time on the New Del Mar and it was good to see all the guys who work on the boat again. Sorry, no pictures this time, but here’s a picture of the fine vessel courtesy of my friend So Cal Salty.

Go for a fun day of sportfishing on the  New Del Mar!

Go for a fun day of sportfishing on the
New Del Mar!

Posted by: Jimmy | March 14, 2015

Spitfire Yellowtail!


Date: March 6, 2015

Trip: 3/4 Day (6:30am – 4pm)

Destination: Santa Monica Bay

Crew: Capt. John Corzel, Axel, Derek

Load: 31 Anglers

This report almost got away from me so I’ll make it quick. I overslept but made it to the landing with five minutes to spare, and suffering through the aggravation of traffic was well worth it. We started the day with a stop on three nice yellowtail. I caught the last one on the stop on an orange and yellow Salas 6X (the “punk rock” color, not scrambled egg). The yellows sank out so we filled boat limits of belindas (speckled rockfish) and grouper (bocaccio rockfish). We were back on the hunt in the afternoon and had a couple good drifts for a dozen more yellowtail, and this time some of them came up high in the water column. I hooked my second about 40-50 feet from the surface on the same jig, which was my biggest of the day at 21 pounds. Before time ran out, I landed a third fish. The boat ended up with 15 yellowtail to 25 pounds. All three of my fish were put in the smoker and cut real thin so they achieve a nice jerky consistency. How did I do it? Ancient family secret.

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Posted by: Jimmy | March 2, 2015

Spitfire for the Rockfish Opener


Date: March 1, 2015

Trip: 3/4 Day (6:30am – 3pm)

Destination: SMB Rockfish Grounds

Crew: Capt. Jeremy Maltz, John, Chris, Kaley

Load: 41 Anglers

After being sick on two separate occasions in the last month, I thought I would relieve my withdrawal symptoms and try to fish the rockfish opener. At first, it looked like the weather would put that out of the question, but then the forecast downgraded, and all systems were a go.

The Spitfire has been getting on the yellowtail lately, so the game plan was to look for them first, and then get on the rockfish later. We metered around a little bit and saw some, but they just weren’t in the biting mood. I tried a Salas 6X heavy in “punk rock” orange and yellow, and I guess it was outrageous enough for a “steamer size” Red to take a swing at it. Nothing to write home about, but catching it officially opened the Spit‘s rockfishing season, as Jeremy announced over the P.A.

Then the time had come to mount up on the rockfish grounds. The predominant rockfishing style out of Marina Del Rey is to hit bottom, and then wind up 10-15 cranks for belindas (real name, speckled rockfish) and bocaccio. However, this day we hit some spots where traditional bottom-dweller rockfish wanted to bite. Some nice chuckleheads, reds, and boscos (real name, greenspotted rockfish) came over the rail, in addition to some of the toothy bottom grabbers.

Before we tried for the yellowtail, we stopped to catch some mackerel to throw at the yellowtail if we found them. Instead, I rigged up a lingcod rig (dropper loop with circle hook trailing down to the sinker) and tried to make something happen with one. Dropped down…1…2…3…instant ling! And when they pull drag, you can tell, for sure, that it’s gonna be a keeper. I was sure to wind it up nice and easy until the fish met John’s gaff. Not only did I catch the first rockfish of the season, I got the first lingcod, as well!

The boat ended up with 5 lings and about 210 rockfish for 41 anglers. Nothing wide open, but a nice steady pick at some awesome-tasting fish. The weather was pretty good, too – a little windy in the afternoon but not bad. I took jackpot with my nice ling, which was nice for me because the last two nice lingcod I’ve caught, I took second place to fish that were just a little nicer. Some call that silver, others call that “first-place loser” – it just all depends whether you see the glass half full or empty. Regardless, it makes pulling off the gold all the more sweeter.

So that’s about it for now. Get out there for your rockfish and lingcod fix…or go after some yellowtail. They didn’t bite for us, but they’re still around and biting in other areas!

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