Jul 28, 2014
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Sand Dabs Abundant in Bay

Calico and sand bass along with some nice halibut continue to provide good wintertime action. Also inside: One boat's run-in with the Mexican Navy.

Sand Dabs Abundant in Bay Sand Dabs Abundant in Bay Sand Dabs Abundant in Bay Sand Dabs Abundant in Bay

Some excellent local fishing continues to entertain anglers in this mild La Niña winter. Private boaters out of Redondo have been catching some calico and sand bass along with fair numbers of sculpin. The 22 anglers aboard the New del Mar out of Marina del Rey caught 28 sand bass, six calico bass and 61 sculpin Tuesday.

The Clemente out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing reeled several nice halibut on Tuesday. Jason Johnson nailed a 25-pound flattie, while Jason Glass added a 19.3-pound halibut. Scott Buchert from Corona del Mar also caught an 8-pound flatfish.

The Westerly out of Long Beach Sportfishing was out on Saturday and Sunday and caught a combination of halibut, sand and calico bass, sculpin and lots of sand dabs.

Ron Hobbs from Huntington Beach had a 20-pound halibut on Sunday, while Ricky Perez from Long Beach caught a 12-pound flatfish. Both men were fishing with frozen squid on the bottom, and both men hooked up at the same time. As Hobbs’ big halibut came to the surface, anglers on board the Westerly could see another smaller halibut following close behind.

The Westerly also caught copious amounts of great-eating sand dabs. Anglers aiming for sand dabs need an 8-ounce sinker with a five-hook sabiki rig to catch. One angler combined two six-hook rigs and caught 12 sand dabs at a time. There is no limit on sand dabs.

Anglers have also caught some nice sand bass recently. Todd Lee from Long Beach took his private boat out on Tuesday evening and caught and released more than 40 sand bass with a friend. Lee and his friend caught bass weighing up to 6-pounds, along with some fat sculpin and cabezon.

Fishing inside Long Beach Harbor, Thomas Barbee reeled in two nice halibut this week. The fish were in the 6- to 10-pound class and were taken on live anchovies. Barbee said that he has been able to score consistently on flatfish in the harbor, so he saves the fuel and stays close to home.

Orcas back off Palos Verdes Peninsula

in Southern California waters. Captain Chris Batts was on board the Christopher out of Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach on Tuesday when he saw a killer whale toss something in the air out towards the horizon. When he arrived at the scene, there were 10 orcas there. Some of them were feeding on sea lions.

It is not uncommon for an orca to toss its prey in the air like it’s playing with its dinner before eating it. Adult orcas need to consume about 500-pounds of meat per day, so sea lions in Southern California should be very afraid as long as the apex predators are visiting.

The out of the is running trips from the pier while the orcas and the gray whales are off the coast.

U.S. boat evicted from Mexican waters

The three-quarter-day boat Malahini out of H&M Landing in San Diego was fishing at the Coronado Islands in Mexican waters on Saturday when a rigid hull craft was launched from a Mexican Navy ship and sent speeding towards the fishing vessel and her passengers.

Captain Mike Schmidt said he was sure they were coming to check for visas. A recently passed Mexican law requires all anglers have a visa in their possession while fishing. Schmidt said he had purchased $1,500 worth of the visas for his passengers, so he thought he had little to worry about.

The heavily armed soldiers arrived and boarded the fishing boat at 12:30 p.m. After going through a checklist, the soldiers asked Schmidt to produce his Mexican boat permit—otherwise he would have to leave Mexican waters, Schmidt said.

Schmidt said that with the help of a passenger who spoke fluent Spanish, he tried to explain that Mexico did away with the requirement for boat permits in 2008; however, the soldiers insisted he either produce the boat permit or leave.

Don Ashley, who is on the board of directors for the Sportfishing Association of California, confirmed that Mexican boat permits became obsolete several years ago.

"No one has been required to have a permit since 2008," said Ashley.

The larger Mexican Navy vessel’s commander spoke fluent English and told Schmidt via VHF radio that without the required boat permit, the Malahini would have to leave, Schmidt said.

He further told Schmidt to inform his passengers that it was his fault that their fishing trip was being cut short, Schmidt said. "He told me to tell our passengers that since I had not complied with Mexican law, they would have to suffer the consequences.”

So Schmidt and passengers pulled anchor and pointed the Malahini's bow toward Point Loma. Schmidt issued rain checks redeemable for a free trip in the future to every angler on board.

"We did everything right,” said Schmidt. "We had Mexican permits for fishing as well as the new visas for everyone on board. The funny thing is that they never even asked for our visas.”

In an economy that has been especially hard on the San Diego fleet, Schmidt lost the fuel burned, crew wages and $1,500 in visa purchases.

"Now I can't even run a trip until this all gets ironed out," said Schmidt.

When contacted for information, a representative of the Mexican Navy said the incident is under review.

Quick bites

  • Thresher sharks in the 40- to 100-pound class have been biting for private boaters off San Clemente, Newport Beach and Corona del Mar. The sharks are being found wherever schooling baitfish accumulate. While thresher sharks are very good eating, please keep in mind that you should only take what you intend to eat and release the rest.
  • Fishing with Phil will once again be on the Westerly this weekend out of Long Beach Sportfishing. I’ll be on board with lots of raffle prizes and some great instruction. Of course, I will also be shooting a new Patch video that you can star in. The Fishing with Phil trips will be departing at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Anglers can fish until after 4 p.m. for an extended half-day adventure. To reserve a spot, call 424-237-0250 or 562-432-8993.

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