Sand bass biting inshore — large blue catfish at Lake Jennings

San Diego fishing Jan. 14-20

Chris Sprecco was fishing with nightcrawlers for trout.

Chris Sprecco was fishing with nightcrawlers for trout.

Lake Jennings

Dock Totals Jan 14 – Jan 20: 980 anglers aboard 41 boats out of San Diego landings this past week caught 115 bluefin tuna, 408 yellowtail, 51 calico bass, 504 sand bass, 1,035 rockfish, 36 lingcod, 15 bonito, 129 whitefish, 2 halibut, 25 halfmoon, 482 sculpin, 4 rubberlip seaperch, 1 sheephead, and 22 spiny lobster.

Saltwater: The bluefin tuna are still out there giving the 1.5 and longer boats a shot at decent grade tuna when they’d normally be focused on rockfish for south of the border while the fishery is closed on the US side. Yellowtail continue to bite throughout the water column when found, some coming on surface irons and fly-lined sardines, while others have been caught in the normal winter-spring deeper waters on flat-fall jigs and yoyo irons. South of the border along the northern Baja coast, the rock fishing has been fantastic for vermilions, sheephead and whitefish – with a few decent lingcod in the mix. Even some of the ½ day boats are making the extended run and still getting limits with the shortened amount of fishing time.

Along the beach in water out to 60 feet or so, halibut have been showing on the slacker tides, while from 40 to 80 feet of water sand bass have been going off anywhere they are stacked up along the sandy patches between reefs. Plastics, including swimbaits, grubs and scampis in the six- to eight-inch size, are working. If using plastics for sand bass, make sure to use an appropriate leadhead that will keep the lure in the bite zone considering wind, drift and current.

A little tip: sand bass respond to a quick jerk up from the bottom of 5 to 10 feet and a free-fall back down. They will bite on the sink or right as the lure is coming off the bottom. For this reason, dead-sticking (raising and lowering the rod without reeling) a lighter 70 gram or so flat-fall works on the larger sand bass, and even will get an occasional halibut. As sand bass tend to tear up a lot of plastics and there are few snags where they are caught, using a flat-fall or yoyo iron to fish them can be more economical.

Large blue cat caught at Lake Jennings: As it is trout season, predators take advantage of the trout stocking in most of our county reservoirs. This includes wintering birds such as bald and golden eagles, as well as larger gamefish that love trout. Largemouth bass, Striped bass and catfish all get into the action and can be caught during trout season. On Friday, January 19, angler Chris Sprecco was fishing with nightcrawlers on six-pound test line for trout in Siesta Cove in Lake Jennings when he hooked, fought and landed a hefty 45.8 pound blue catfish!

Top boats of the week:

Jan 14 – 37 anglers aboard the Condor overnight trip landed 159 yellowtail. The New Lo-An reported 13 bluefin tuna and 77 yellowtail caught by the 32 anglers aboard their 1.5 day trip.

Jan 15 – Again the Condor overnight trip gets results with limits of 75 yellowtail for the 15 anglers aboard.

Jan 16 – 10 anglers aboard the Premier extended ½ day run caught limits off the bottom in Mexican waters with 99 rockfish and 1 lingcod for the 10 anglers aboard.

Jan 17 – 19 anglers aboard the Daily Double ½ day run caught 21 sand bass, 10 calico bass, 8 sculpin and 2 rubberlip seaperch on a tough day of fishing.

Jan 18 – The New Lo-An reported limits of 48 bluefin tuna caught by the 24 anglers aboard their 1.5 day run.

Jan 19 – Great half-day fishing for just 9 anglers on the Dolphin as 40 legal-sized sand bass were kept along with 3 sculpin for the morning. The Pacific Queen reported good tuna fishing, with 54 bluefin caught by the 31 anglers aboard their 1.5 day trip.

Jan 20 – No boats out due to weather

Fish Plants: 1/26, Santee Lakes, Trout (TBD), 1/29, Jennings, Trout (1,700)

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