Boaters out of Santa Barbara found a consistent bass bite on both calico and sand bass, along the mainland coast and at the Channel Islands. Halibut action was good and spearfishers reported large concentrations at mid-depth. Shore-based halibut action was also good. Outings for bottom fish were excellent and reliable.
“For the umpteenth week in a row, the calico and sand bass bite has been off the charts and now the halibut bite has settled in strongly, so I’m weaving custom Vague Rods for bassers and halibuteers like there is no tomorrow,” said Capt. Tiffany Vague at Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center in Santa Barbara. Similarly, on M/V WaveWalker charter trips the bass bite has been so fun that groups with kids never want to leave the fast-paced action. On other trips, halibut have been the target or charter groups have decided to go after the sure-fire thing… rockfish and lingcod. Those bottom fishing trips were also run admirably well by the crews of M/V Stardust and M/V Coral Sea, both of which fished either Santa Rosa Island or the mainland coast near Santa Barbara.
Halibut populations were surprisingly high along the mainland coast. Capt. Chris Goldblatt, founder of Fish Reef Project (our best hope of inshore reefs off California) said, “I spearfished off of Mira Mar and found loads of halibut in the 50-foot depth range, however the water was clear and the fish were very spooky.” All up and down the coast near Santa Barbara and Goleta, boat-based and shore-based anglers were hooking into halibut. The bite was up and down but most folks knew the fish were right there waiting for good feeding conditions.