Every time the seasons start to change, I get over anxious and want to start changing my techniques too soon! The approaching fall has been no exception. I started picking up my jig rod and my crankbaits too early and the results were only so-so. A jig fish here, a crank fish there.... The real fall is coming soon though, so let's get ready for it.
I talk a lot about weather and I always think a lot about the conditions when I put together what I want to do for a day of bass fishing. The fall re-energizes me because the clues that tip you off as to what to use become more apparent. Soon we will have some real fronts come through, so it's time to keep an eye on the jetstream, the fronts, and the forecast. Not that I'm going to skip a trip because of bad conditions, but because the conditions are going to dictate how I fish.
As a weather front approaches the coast of California a couple things happen. Cloud cover starts to filter in. I call it the wispy wispy clouds. The high altitude windblown, stringy looking clouds. Those signal to me that I should be looking for active fish. Crankbait, trout plug, heavy fast moving jig. As those clouds thicken up and the barometer drops is going to be a good window for catching quality fish.
Fishing during a front can be pretty hot too, but it can be hit or miss. I have had the most amazing experiences during fronts where very localized conditions can really influence a bite. Maybe the sun burns through for an hour and the bite is totally dead. But then a big cloud appears on the horizon and it starts sprinkling. All of a sudden you stick a good fish. It happened to me at Spring Lake last year with an 8lb Slammer fish. Be ready for localized conditions during the front and adjust your presentation to the cloud cover and the "feel" in the air. If you are aware of your surroundings, you can really feel the barometer drop sometimes, and when you do, gun for the big dogs!
Post front is the tough part of the bite. Believe me, I've stuck it out through a lot of post front weekend days :) But that doesn't mean you can't catch fish. The big thing I think about post front is bright sunlight and the fact that bass hate it and want to get away from it. That means flipping tight to shady cover or fishing deep. Post front is the time for worms, tube baits, light finesse jigs and that kind of stuff. During post front it can pay to wait until late in the day to try to get a few bites. It seems like sometimes the fish feel relieved by the sun going down after a bluebird day and start to bite. It's also true that the early morning on what is shaping up to be a bluebird sky day can be your best shot for that day. I've seen good crankbait bites on wet post front mornings sometimes, so that's something to think about.
Writing this and previous main page updates, I realize that a lot of what I talk about winds up being fundamentals and basics and stuff like that. But the other thing I have been realzing lately is that so much of my success has come when I stick to the fundamentals and when I think rationally about the conditions and what the fish might be doing.
Fundamentally, my best advice is to picture your trip the night before, think about what you are expecting and start with that in mind. But when you are out on the water, live in the moment. Listen to your instincts, build your instincts with every trip and every experience, and fish in the moment for what it is!
It's going to be a fun fall, I want to thank everyone who has been sharing their reports and keeping the forums going. I sometimes sit back and think about what the site has become and it makes me really happy. Thanks for being a part of it.
Ocean fishing has been strong this fall. There are several really good bites happening right now.
Yes the chickens of the sea are in their fall frenzy on the Central Coast and they are growing in size every week. The best bite is out of Morro around 25+ miles right now. It sounds like mostly bait fish, but the bites are so wide that you could probably catch them at will on whatever your lure of choice is. The weather was very good last weekend but got very snotty the past 2 days. Fall can bring the best weather of the year, but when it's Morro, it could always be windy and nasty. Now's the time to jump on a trip if you want tuna.
The yellowtail bite kind of amuses me. It's not like the tuna bite where everyone shares scoop and numbers and such. What seems to happen every year is that the party boats find them at whichever island they are biting at. They beat up on them during the week and during the good moon phases, but there's never much dope online about where. Even private boats seem to be kinda tight lipped about it too. All I can really gather this year as that the fish are at SBI and the Tanner Bank. I haven't heard of any Catalina or Anacapa yellows, but no doubt they are around there somewhere. Anacapa and Santa Cruz yellows seem to be pretty fickle in general. Maybe it's the cooler water or something, I don't know. If you want them, fish weekdays and fish on a waxing moon.
When I was a kid growing up in SB, we always had the best weather in September. So even though the kids are back in school, there's probably still plenty of good inshore action to be had. Pete Wolf and his cohorts have been doing well all summer at the usual spots and I would expect it to last at least until the first northern storm and big swell blows through.
Calico bass are MIA this summer. I think the green water around SB just doesn't have them aggregating on the reefs like they usually do.
I have some great new updates for the Corbina article from Bill Hartman. I will post that when I have a chance and put an announcement on the forum.
Good fishin to everyone.