Rules tightened on lingcod, loosened on scorpionfish, canary rockfish

Hard to believe we’re in the middle of December

21.3 lb sheephead caught aboard the Dolphin

Dock Totals Dec 9 – Dec 15: 936 anglers aboard 63 half day to three day trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 3 bluefin tuna, 1 yellowfin tuna, 21 skipjack tuna, 75 yellowtail, 14 bonito, 1 mako shark, 155 calico bass, 87 sand bass, 3,633 rockfish, 9 lingcod, 556 whitefish, 110 sheephead, 5 halibut, 112 sanddab, 21 bocaccio, 1 rubberlip seaperch, 1 smoothhound shark, 8 red rock crab and 97spiny lobster (284 released)

Saltwater: With the angler count rising for the fleet, seas settling after the last couple fronts, and a few tuna still hanging around, it’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of December. The yellowtail bite outside of the Coronado islands picked up from the week previous, and the fork-tail jacks are (yellowtail are jurel in Spanish, and hamachi at sushi restaurants) biting better the further south one travels down the Baja coast. By the time you get to Bahia Asunción past the Baja California and Baja California Sur state line, you’ll find plenty of them in the 15- to 25-pound range biting on the inshore grounds from San Pablo to the north of San Roque, to Chorro’s Camp south of town.

Closer to home, bonito are an occasional catch on the surface while much of the fleet looks for the bottom-dwelling rockfish, lingcod and whitefish. Speaking of lingcod, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will reduce the limit from two fish to one fish per angler per day this coming year. The limit for lingcod was reduced from three fish to two fish in 2016. The size limit for lingcod remains at a minimum of 22 inches.

Other proposed changes coming for the Southern Management Area in March 1, 2019, include an increase of the allowable depth for the recreational groundfish fishery from 60 to 75 fathoms; increasing the recreational season length for California scorpionfish by removing the September 1 to December 31 closure; and increasing the recreational bag limit for canary rockfish from one to two fish.

As for other inshore species, sculpin (California scorpionfish) are still verboten for take until the first of the year when they will be allowed in the gunnysacks, though many are being caught and released by anglers aboard boats fishing inshore. The size limit once they are legal to take will remain at 10 inches overall length. Sheephead limit is 12 inches and are limited to 5 fish per angler, per day, while whitefish have no size limit and anglers may keep 10 fish.

Fish Plants: 12/24 - lake Jennings, trout (1,500)

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