Summer fishing in Santa Barbara Channel

summer-fishingAs water temps rise, the surface gamesters of summer ride the warm water currents up the coast and fan out along both the mainland and the islands. This is when we tie on casting iron such as jigs and spoons, and give our drag systems a good test on bonito, barracuda, and the occasional yellowtail.

Calico bass are joined, at this time of year by hordes of big grumpy sand bass scouring the nearshore clambeds and feeding around the inshore reefs. It is quite common to catch a mixed limit of calicos and sandies. The calicos will usually move up higher in the water column, while the sandies generally stay just a little lower. That isn’t a hard rule however, and many individual fish seem to do their own thing with wild abandon. That’s part of the fun of bass fishing. The other part is grinning ear-to-ear at how hard these fish can fight!

Halibut haunt the shallows all throughout summer and autumn. Drifting lazily and dragging a live bait along just outside of the surf zone is a deliciously decadent way to spend a summer afternoon. I’ve noticed that some of my passengers have trouble concentrating on fishing because of all those bikinis on the beach.


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