Monday, May 28 , 2018, 2:23 am | Mostly Cloudy 58º


Captain’s Log: Mass Quantities of Anchovies Surfacing Off Local Coasts

The surface of the sea erupted with thousands of skittering anchovies when dolphins and fish chased them to the surface, where they were vulnerable to attack. Seagulls and other seabirds swooped in quickly to nab some fish, thereby driving them back down toward the foraging fish and dolphins.

The savagery of the food chain is awesome to behold.

Water off of Santa Barbara, Summerland and Carpinteria are holding more anchovies than I have seen in years. Looking across the water, during my charters aboard the WaveWalker this week, I saw numerous dark spots on topwater, where baitballs — sometimes 100 yards across — surfaced.

Watching my fishfinder, I could see many more huge baitballs looking like giant haystacks in the middle of the water column. My feeling was that I was seeing enough bait, right off of our town, to fill a huge sports stadium to overflowing. There would be wriggling anchovies everywhere!

Our waters are loading up with food for a feast. We’ve already got calico bass, sand bass, thresher shark, white seabass, rockfish (like red snapper) and other species of fish joining dolphins, pinnipeds and seabirds in the feast. Soon now we will have an influx of barracuda and probably bonito (a wildly fun fish to catch) to partake of the feasting opportunity.

Late July, August and September is when our local seas explode in a frenzy of food chain action. The best part of the season is upon us. Come out to see and watch the food chain in action, or pick up a fishing rod and join in the fray.

One thing I love about Santa Barbara is that, unlike most of our SoCal coastal communities that are into their beaches, we are into our ocean.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >