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Monday, November 19 , 2018, 12:13 pm | Fair with Haze 65º


Captain’s Log: Get Out There and Fish While the Biting Is Good

Tuna, yellowtail, white seabass and halibut — options are plentiful, but times like these won't last

Drop what you’re doing, grab your fishing gear and git yer butt in gear. If you don’t, you’re going to miss the hottest bite of the whole year.

Now don’t start thinking you’ll request a day off in the near future and plan a trip for sometime in the weeks ahead. It doesn’t work that way. Allow me to repeat myself — drop what you’re doing, grab your fishing gear and go now. Right now! Bites like these don’t necessarily last.

Here’s the hot scoop. Albacore are biting well offshore from Santa Barbara or much closer to shore (sometimes only 15 miles off the beach) out of Avila, Morro Bay and even Monterey. The best thing is, these fish are braggin’ size with 20 to 35 pounders common. Have you any idea how good fresh barbecued albacore tastes? It is to die for.

Out of San Diego, boats are getting into bluefin tuna and yellowtail (a tasty member of the jack family of fishes). The drive to San Diego is a hassle, but the fishing trips are rewarding. Some of my customers at my tackle store, Hook, Line & Sinker, have been kind enough to bring me some tuna fillets when they return from these adventures. Bless them!

Long drives aren’t necessary. We’ve got some fabulous fishing right here locally.

For the past week, the commercial squid fleet has been making bank along the coast from Naples Reef to Gaviota. The quantity of squid spawning along our mainland coast this year is phenomenal. White seabass (WSB for short) are right in among those spawning squid, gorging themselves and growing like crazy. Anglers chasing WSB are boating beauties of more than 40 pounds. The key has been to jig some live squid and then use it for bait just a few feet above the bottom.

Guess what else is right in the area? Halibut! This is a great year for halibut, and they show no signs of leaving as long as such a great food source (spawning squid) blanket our coast. Most halibuteers are bounce-balling off of Goleta, Ellwood and Gaviota.

Want more options? We’ve got ‘em. Thresher sharks are still in the area, especially off Goleta Beach. Another great option is yellowtail off of Anacapa Island and the southeast corner of Santa Cruz Island.

Fishing is wild and wonderful at this time of year. As you can see, there are plenty of options for glory species this autumn. With these long, calm periods, another surefire option is groundfish such as rockfish (think red snapper) and lingcod.

We’ve got the best fishing on the California coast. So again, get your gear and get out there — quick!

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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