Even without live bait in the bait receiver there were quite a few calico and sand bass caught off of Santa Barbara at shallow structure spots. Surf fishers found good perching from Hope Ranch down to the Rincon and groundfish from shore between Goleta and Gaviota.
“If we had live bait aboard this catch would probably be a legal calico,” Said Capt. Tiffany Vague aboard the 6-pack charterboat WaveWalker while fishing shallow structure spots near Santa Barbara harbor during morning weather windows between afternoon stiff wind events. Live anchovies around the 4-inch mark had been available in Santa Barbara through much of January and part of February, adding significant size to the average calico bass caught by boaters.
Without the live bait, the average calico seems to have shrunk by a couple of inches. Sand bass however averaged out a bit better and there were some sandies caught that didn’t even need to be measured to know they were good. Most bass of both species came on squid strips or on swimbaits or twin-tail plastics tipped with squid strips.
Sandy beaches at Hope Ranch, East Beach, Padaro Beach and the Rincon gave up some good counts of barred surf perch for people casting small plastic grubs or Gulp! Sandworms. There were no reported halibut caught, but folks casting Lucky Craft lures for halibut did manage to connect with the biggest of the perch units measuring up to 15 inches. Mark Diaz got the big 15-inch dinner plate size unit.
Up the coast from Goleta and Ellwood, people caught cabezon and rockfish from shore using Carolina Rigs tipped with squid. Near the campgrounds of El Capitan and Refugio, cabezon were on a tear and a few of the fish measured over 20 inches including a 22 incher caught by Gabe Garcia and a 21 incher taken by Frank Tutelio