| TOP OUTDOORS WEBSITES|
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SURF FISH
|Surf fish are caught on the beach areas in
the pounding surf line. They are also found in the shallow bays along the
coast. They are caught mostly on mussels, various clams, ghost shrimp,
innkeeper worms, blood worms and some artificials. Traditional tackle used
by surf fishermen is a long rod for distance casting, sand spikes to hold
the rods in position, and heavy 3 to 6 ounce sinkers to keep the bait from
sliding in the powerful current. There is also a group of light tackle
anglers that fish with artificial rubber tails and some plugs.
To The Fish Species Directory Index
Species brought to you in association with Wickstrom Publishers Inc.
Excerpts from the book Sport Fish of Florida a must for every tackle box and
boat in and around Florida waters!!! Get your copy now!! Other great titles
include Baits, Rigs & Tackle!
TheOutdoorLodge.Com is happy to partner with the leading fishing forum online, BigFishTackle.Com. To find out answers to all your "fishing" questions please drop by the fishing forums at bigfishtackle.com (http://www.bigfishtackle.com/forum/). With over 100,000 members their fishing forum can answer just about any fishing question you may have. Friendly, helpful and informative anglers really make you feel like part of their online fishing community!
Corbina are almost
always found over sandy bottoms, usually where there is extensive wave action.
They are also found cruising the bays close to the sand drop-offs when the tides
are moving at their maximum speed. They have always been one of the most sought
after surf fishes.
RANGE: Corbina range
from Point Conception to the Gulf of California.
HABITAT: Corbina exist in the extreme shallow surf areas of the beach. Many
times, their backs are exposed as they swim in with a wave to chase sand
crabs. They have been caught 150 feet deep but are known mainly for their
existence in very shallow water. They are also found in the numerous bays along
the Southern Cal coast.
are long slim croakers with a chin barbel used for smelling out food buried in
the sand, mostly sand crabs and grunion eggs. They are usually gray or bluish on
the back and white below. In the summer
the females turn very dark and their pectoral fins are black. These colors
darken as they approach the spawning period. Their tails are large and powerful
for mobility in the strong surf. Corbina have been taken to 32 inches. The State
record is 6.9 pounds. From many of the piers along the coast you can see groups
of small male fish chasing the much larger females during the heat of the spawn.
FOOD VALUE: The corbina filets are pure white, light and very tasty. They rank at the top of the
list for surf fish.
GAME QUALITIES: Corbina are very powerful because of the size of their tail, and
especially powerful to those anglers fishing with 4 to 6 pound line. Large
corbina are virtually impossible to get up to dry sand using light
tackle. To land them, light tackle anglers have to get in the water and grab
them. Many of the traditional long rodders have had their rods yanked out of the
sand spike as hooked fish lunge for deep water.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Light tackle anglers use long 8ı to 9ı rods with reels spooled with 4 to 6 pound
line. The sinkers are usually slip egg sinkers from 1/4 th ounce to 1 1/2
ounces, blocked by a swivel. Light tackle anglers
walk down the beach with the ever moving current. Their sinkers bump along the
bottom until the bait gets to a fish. Their bait is usually sand crabs,
bloodworms, or rubber worms. Long pole fishermen use 10 to 13 foot rods with
reels spooled with 15-pound test line or heavier. They cast large 3 to 6-ounce
sinkers out into the surf where the heavy sinkers hold the bait in place until a
fish swims by. Bait is available in most tackle stores along
the coast. The best all around bait (highly arguable) is mussels. The next is
ghost shrimp with sand crabs following in there somewhere.
BARRED SURF PERCH
The most prolific fish found in the
turbulent surf is one of Southern Cals most common fish, the surfperch. Surf
fishermen catch more of these fish than any other fish that live in the surf.
There are ten different species of surfperch: calico, kelp, pile, shiner,
spotfin, silver, striped, wall eye, redtail and barred perch. Contrary to what
their names imply most of them exist in bays, under piers and around pilings.
The two most popular are the redtail and the barred perch. The redtail lives
mostly in northern California waters and the barred perch is a Southern Cal
resident. Walleye surfperch are also caught while fishing for the barreds and
sometimes become targets for anglers, especially those fishing artificials.
aggressive fighters live in the surf from northern Washington to north Baja, but
most commonly found from Santa Cruz southward.
perch swim in very shallow water. They like to school up and swim in the trench
that parallels most of the beaches in Southern Cal. You know! The one that you
fall in when you first enter the surf.
are silvery or brassy fish with 8-10 yellow or rust colored bars on their sides.
Usually there are spots between the bars. Barreds reach 17 inches and the
California record is 4.2 pounds. Barreds
bear live young and itıs not unusual to land a one while the young ones pop out
and swim off. Spawning occurs from February to July.
FOOD VALUE: Like
most surfperch the barreds have firm white, light tasting meat. They are
There is no question in the mind of an angler who has a barred perch strike.
They hit harder than any other surf fish. This is especially true when you are
fishing with rubber grubs for bait. There is a
selective group of anglers that roam the beaches with light lines and various
artificials, mostly rubber grubs. They fish the incoming tide to the point of
the highest pounding surf and the rougher it is the better these guys like it.
They twitch the rubber grubs behind sinkers from 3/4 th ounce to 2 ounces.
TACKLE AND BAIT: Most
anglers use traditional surf fishing tackle. They use 10-13 foot rods with reels
full of 15-LB test line. Sand spikes are necessary to support the rod while 3 to
6 ounce sinkers hold the bait in
place. Sand crabs are barreds favorite food. Ghost shrimp, mussels and
bloodworms also work well. Light tackle anglers use 8-9 foot rods and reels
filled with 4-6 LB test line. Slip egg sinkers are used blocked by a swivel.
The leader is about 24 inches if bait is used. The best bait is a live sand crab
put on a number #6 hook in such a way as to not kill the crab. Many fishermen
use small, single tailed rubber "Grubs". They are an inch long and
come in various colors. Number #4 -#6 bait holder hooks are used so the worm
doesnıt slide back on the hook. Some anglers place as many as 5 tails trailing
off an 8-foot leader. Most use only two grubs behind the sinker.
croakers like many of their cousins that swim the beaches of Southern Cal.
Springtime through the summer bring them to the beaches and bays by the
thousands. Yellowfin are the most caught of the surf fishes
right along side the barreds. Yellowfin are easily the most frequent biters of
all. They bite at any time of the tides. They are caught anywhere in the shallow
waters of the coast.
range from San Francisco to the Gulf of California but are rarely taken above
HABITAT: These fish
hang out in large schools behind the surf line. They like rapidly moving water
and can be found within bays in areas of swiftly moving tidal bores. They are
most abundant from July through September and scarce the rest of the year.
DESCRIPTION: Yellowfins have shiny gray, green or bluish backs with white bellies and a
series of diagonal yellow brown stripes on their backs. There is a pronounced
barbel on the chin. Their fin color can be a dark yellow brown to a brilliant
canary yellow color.
FOOD VALUE: These
fish can have firm white filets of delectable quality. They can also assume a
strong iodine taste. Apparently this taste is most prevalent in the middle of
their spawn. Sometimes itıs so strong you can
detect the smell as you remove the hook from the fresh caught fish.
GAME QUALITIES: Yellowfins are prime targets for many pier fishermen and surf fishermen. They
hit the bait very hard and fight with reckless abandon. This is especially true
when artificials are used. Halibut anglers using
live anchovies for bait, catch many incidental yellowfin. The California State
record is 2.1 pounds.
TACKLE AND BAITS: If the surf is where you wish to fish the yellowfin then remember that it takes
long casts to reach them. In this case you should use a long rod with light #15
pound test line so that you can really throw the
bait great distances. You can use light tackle in the bays and off the piers.
Their favorite food is live anchovies but readily take any bait that you can put
in front of them. Casting great distance calls for bait that will stay on the
hook and not get thrown off. Blood worms and ghost shrimp are probably the best
for this application. You can enjoy some real tackle busting fun if you can get
a boat into their zone and fish with artificials. They love to hit small plugs,
rubber grubs and small barracuda feathers. Trolling these artificials can
sometimes really catch them.
"Spotties" have long
been the number one objective of the long casting surf fishermen. They average
larger than the other surf fishes and their powerful strikes are legendary, some
fish bending the long rods in the sand spikes
completely down to the water.
RANGE: Spotfin are
found from Point Conception, California to southern Baja California, most
commonly from Los Angeles Harbor southward. They truly are a Southern California
hug the shoreline in water less than 30 feet. They cruise the area behind the
breaker line and come into the surf area only during the flood high tides. They
also enter the bays in large schools with the
incoming tide, especially a tide moving up to a flood level.
DESCRIPTION: Spotties have very obvious black spots at the base of their pectoral fins. They
are bluish-gray or gray on their backs, brassy on their flanks and white on
their bellies. During the breeding season the males may
be completely brassy or golden. Some anglers have thought these golden males
were a separate species.
FOOD VALUE: They are
white fleshed and very table worthy.
GAME QUALITIES: When ever a spottie strikes there will usually be a series of
immediate follow-up strikes as the school moves by. Their strikes are strong and
steady as they pull those 4-ounce sinkers effortless across the
bottom. Spotfin are not caught with artificials. They are caught mostly on bait.
Contrary to popular belief the best time to catch spotties in the surf is at a
dead low tide, where the angler can wade and cast into their zone.
This zone becomes much harder to reach as the tide moves up. Bay fishermen can
use light tackle if they can find the spotties thoroughfare. This usually
requires a boat. Spotfin are very large and the California State Record is #14
TACKLE AND BAIT: Long casting for spotfin is the answer to landing them. If you can throw bait long
distances your chances of catching them becomes much greater. Sometimes
individual fish come into the surf zone at high tide but most of them are
deeper. Use 10-13 foot long, slow bend, casting rods with 15 pound test line or
less. Put small one inch pieces of bloodworm on a #4- #6 hooks. String the worm
completely onto the hook with only the point of the hook exposed. Ghost shrimp
is probably a better bait but difficult to cast without falling off
on the casting arc. The best bait is mussel tied to the hook with string or a
rubber band but they are also really hard to cast.
Sargo have a resemblance to spotfin and sometimes
are mistaken for them. Very large individuals are caught at Catalina Island by
anglers fishing with squid for white sea bass. Some anglers target Sargo for
catching but most are caught by fishermen looking for other surf type fish. They
are popular targets for pier fishermen.
RANGE: Sargo have been found from Santa Cruz in central California to southern
Baja, California. They were planted in the Salton Sea in 1951 and have done very
well there. They are abundant from Santa Monica southward.
HABITAT: Sargo are schooling fish that are found near the bottom from shallow subtidal waters to
198 feet, most often in 40 feet or less. They like to hang around structure such
as rocks, kelp, oil platforms and pier pilings. They are abundant in marinas
under the boats near the mooring pilings.
DESCRIPTION: Sargos are deep bodied, perch shaped fish. They have vertical dark bars on their side
near midbody. They are silvery and sometimes brassy colored. They donıt get as
large as a spotfin but there are reports of 6 pounders being caught.
FOOD VALUE: Sargo flesh is firm, white and light tasting, not fishy tasting.
GAME QUALITIES: They
are tremendous fighters. Sargo attack your bait and fight much like a spotfin.
They are caught strictly on bait. When you catch one expect another instantly
because of their schooling tactics.
TACKLE AND BAIT: Not many are caught in the surf but they are caught piers and in bays. Light tackle
can be used efficiently. 8 to 9 foot rods with 8 LB to 10 LB test line works
well around the base of piers and rocks.
Mussels, razor clams, and ghost shrimp are the best baits for sargo. Fish for
sargo during the fast water tidal flow around bridges, piers and bays. The
largest sargo of all are caught in 10 feet of water or less at Catalina Island
during the white sea bass bite.
| Featured Fishing Ads|
| More Featured Fishing Sites|