Had a good year last year.  I got 9 out of 10 of the SoCal fish, and then added some new species on my trips…striped bass (New York), steelhead (Columbia River – OR/WA), and sailfish (Guatemala).  Same criteria, just some new perspective after spending my first full year fishing religiously in SoCal.  Some changes for this year…I was going to include a shore fish, but it didn’t happen.  There are some changes though, some reordering and I replaced one of the fish.

1st Jackpot of 2012 thanks to this fat scully

The Count: Mission Accomplished! (Updated Dec 31. 2012)

10. Sculpin – Yes

I love sculpin.  Great eating, fun to catch.  Alway a spot in the Top 10 for the scorpionfish.

9. Rockfish – Yes, March 3rd on the PI

Juju’s 1st ‘real’ fish – Nice barberpole

It’s easy enough to catch rockfish, that’s my 5 year old daughter catching a barberpole aka flag rockfish.  If you go out, in season, you will catch them.  They get the nod over sculpin because of table quality.

8. Sheephead – yes
(May 30th on the Freedom at Clemente I., but better one Dec 30th on the PI)

Baaa

Baaa

The new entry this year.  Sheephead are good eating.  They require a recognition of the right environment and employing the right technique to catch them.  And when you are successful, they will often land you a jackpot.  I credit Jake with successfully arguing for this fish to be in the Top 10.

7. Barracuda – Yes (May 16 on the New Del Mar)

Jake’s first cuda – last year

Barracuda are pretty good if you eat them right away.  Good breaded and fried, smoked, or as fresh (very fresh) ceviche.  The thing though is catching them.  The first time you get whacked after throwing iron, you’ll know what I mean.  Barracuda usually mark the first topwater action of the season too, so their spot is well deserved.

6. Saltwater Bass – Yes, already scored in Dana Point and MDR

A fat sandy caught off Dana Point

Saltwater bass (calico, sand, and spotted bay bass) are highly regarded in SoCal.  Lots of different ways to catch them depending on location, conditions, time of year.  High degree of skill required to consistently catch, especially big ones.

Me and Jimmy on the PI

5) Ling cod – yes

Possibly my favorite eating fish and a favorite in terms of their attitude.  If you’re fishing rockfish and you get some big headshakes and pull on your line, chances are it’s a ling on the other end.

4. Halibut – on the Basshole with my buddy Jeff 5/28/12

Big day on the Basshole

A frustrating fish, for me at least.  It took me until December last year to land one, but I finally got my first legal.  Definitely requires some skill and species specific work to get one.  Usually about 5 shorts to every legal one.  Big payoff on the table though when you score.

3. White Seabass

Down it goes…July 12th on what else, the Seabiscuit 😉

2. Tuna

World record: Mike Livingston and his 405# YFT

Some would say it’s #1 and with good reason.  Huge fight.  Great eating.  Truly world class gamefish.  You’re not going to get a big cow like Mike Livingston’s record yellowfin locally, but a 50 or 60 lb-er wouldn’t be out of the question with the right conditions.

YFT Sept 17 on the Eclipse

1. Yellowtail – YES!

April 18 on the San Diego, off La Jolla, on the yo-yo iron