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First Gray Whale Spotted in SoCal

The availability of live squid is making for some excellent wintertime surface fishing, while gray whales start their 12,000-mile journey.

The first reported sighting of a gray whale took place aboard the Sum Fun earlier this week near Dana Point. Pacific gray whales migrate more than 12,000 miles each fall and winter from Arctic waters to Baja California's lagoons for the calving and nursing season. Gray whales' feeding pattern is unique among whales—the giant mammals turn on their sides and scoop up sand from the sea floor, filtering out everything except krill and bottom-dwelling crustaceans.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a researcher in charge of the annual ASC-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project from the Point Vicente Interpretive Center on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, needs volunteers for this year's Census and Behavior project. Orientation meetings will be held Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. For more information, contact Schulman-Janiger at 310-519-8963 or Janiger@cox.net.

Fishing booms in Orange County, Long Beach

Fishing in Orange County and Long Beach has been excellent lately.

The half-day boat Clemente out of Dana Wharf Sportfishing caught 100 sand bass recently, while the three-quarter-day Sum Fun registered a mixed bag catch of calico bass, sand bass, sheephead and perch.

San Juan Capistrano resident Joey Engel, who was on the Sum Fun, posted on Facebook about epic fishing. He said small strips of squid really worked well for catching sheephead.

Don Ashley from Pierpoint Landing is also reporting good local bass fishing at times on the local wrecks off Long Beach while halibut continue to be taken inside Long Beach Harbor with great regularity.

Because most of the bass biting are taken on wrecks, 25- to 40-pound test line is advisable. You really need to pull hard on these bass to get them out of an environment that is not very kind to fishing line.

There have also been some nice halibut taken recently. On Tuesday, the Landing reported that 55 anglers on two boats caught 64 calico bass and 181 sand bass, among other rockfish. The winter catch was arguably better than the summertime bite.

Rockfish still hanging around

The Santa Monica Bay has also been a good venue for rockfish.

Marina del Rey Sportfishing continues to catch a mix of sand bass and rockfish with some nice lingcod from time to time. On Tuesday, the Spitfire reported that 14 anglers caught limits of sculpin, near limits of rockfish and five nice lingcod.

While rockfish catches continue to dominate the Southern California scene, anglers can still take advantage of good surface fishing. Watch the weather as another front is headed our way for this weekend.

Quick bites

  • The half-day boat Redondo Special out of is running a weekday special of only $30 per person. Redondo Sportfishing is also offering a month of free fishing to the angler who catches the largest lingcod in November.
  • The abundance of live squid for bait is making for some excellent wintertime surface fishing and may well be tied in to the cooler water temperatures that have prevailed for the past two years in our local waters. The commercial squid quota was met for the first time ever in 2010. This year, the quota will be met a month earlier on Nov. 18.

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