Most of the boats going offshore 3 days and less are done for the year.  I saw a count for a 4 day trip where they only got about 50 yellows, and single digit tunas…4 days.  Safe to say our ‘local’ offshore season is done for 2013.  Some of these boats will transition to rockfishing, but a lot of them are done for the year. You will want to double check your regular boats’ schedules as many use between now and March 1st (rockfish opener) as a time to do their annual maintenance and give the crews time to be home and do other things.

For a lot of anglers, this is the time of year that they may do a little freshwater fishing…the trout opener was last weekend. Or now is also a popular time to go long range and chase big tuna south of the border. In the past, I’ve taken this time of year to go far afield for exotic fishing, but that’s not in my budget this year. So what does this time of year mean for the rest of us hardcore salties that are staying local?

Here are some ideas…

Rockfishing

Deckhand Derek Cano hoists a hitcher on the Spitfire

Deckhand Derek Cano hoists a hitcher on the Spitfire

Some anglers think rockfishing is boring.  I love it.  It’s not as tense as when you go offshore, so it’s more relaxing.  At the same time, there are plenty of thrills if you hook into something big like a nice lingcod or sheephead.  And you can up your enjoyment level using various artificial baits to add an element of skill to the equation.  Bonus for me, I love eating rockfish.  Lingcod may be my favorite fish to eat.

This year, I’m not chasing getting #thatdamnfish crossed off the Top 10, and my freezer is full.  For these last trips of the year, my focus will be to try some different things and go big.  Now’s the opportunity to get a big 6lb red or 18 lb sheephead.  I’d love to crack 20 on a ling or finally get that hitchhiker to the gaff.  I’ve only got one of the Extra Salty goals to my credit this year.  It’d be great to knock off 1 or 2 to end 2013.  It shuts down for 2 months at the end of the year, so get out and enjoy it.  We have another Pacific Islander trip coming up in a couple weeks…

 

Halibut

Peggy has her work cut out for her this year (photo courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing)

Peggy has her work cut out for her this year (photo courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing)

The Halibut Derby at Dana Wharf is in full swing.  A 40 lber caught by Stephen Green of San Clemente is already on the board, but plenty of open spots to make it into the fish off.  Last year, they split a pot of over $5000 (biggest for Derby and biggest for fish off trip)!  For me personally, I only have that 11 lb fish from February on the Native Sun.  I’d love to get a bigger fish before the end of the year, and halibut for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner sounds really good.

Lobster Hooping

I’m still trying to live down the last time I went lobster hooping.  Who can forget the pain and suffering that trip caused me?  Not me.  Maybe this is my year for redemption?

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Surf Fishing

The holiday season is a busy time of year and you may not have time to go ride a boat.  A great option is to spend a couple hours at the beach.  This time of year, there are less crowds so parking is easier and you are more free to roam the beach.  Check out my Surf Fishing 101 and 102 posts if you aren’t familiar with this style of fishing.

Twilight Bass Tourney

It’s back on, on the New Del Mar.  Win the monthly tournament with big bass and win a free month of fishing (as much as you want to go!) the following month.

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