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Orcas and Strong Winter Fishing Greet Anglers

Great fishing for bass, sculpin, sanddabs, fat halibut and a chance to see orcas await Southern California anglers this week.

Rockfish season has closed but a mild winter combined with plenty of live squid available for bait has kept the action going. The Victory out of Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach had great fishing this week. Fifteen anglers caught limits of delicious sculpin, 125 perch, 300 sanddabs along with a few sand bass.

"It’s great fishing and beautiful weather," said Mike Blue from the Victory.

Sanddabs look like little halibut and are quite tasty. There is no limit on these delectable flounders and they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Combine that with great eating sculpin and a chance for some wintertime bass and halibut, and there are plenty of reasons to get out on the water now. 

Danny Stevenson took over the lead in the Dana Wharf Halibut Derby with a monster 39.3-pound flattie. The Derby jackpot is currently nearing $1,700 and is growing every week. It’s so easy to enter the Derby. You can fish on Halibut Drift Days or cough up an extra $5 on any ½ or ¾ day trip to be eligible for the big money and prizes.

Out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing, 31 anglers caught over 100 sand bass along with 18 calico bass and 45 sculpin. The weather in the Santa Monica Bay has been glorious lately and there have been enormous pods of dolphin as well as whales passing by.

Steve Herckt from Orange hoop-netted the Marina del Rey breakwall this week and took limits of lobster in less than an hour.

“We set our nets at 5:30 p.m. and were headed home with 14 lobster for two of us in less than an hour,” Herckt said.

Herckt said they threw back another four legal lobster as they had their limits.

“I don’t know what was better; the fishing or the meal," he said.

Orcas have been showing up all week from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Orange County.

“These are the same ones that we had for the past two days,” said Alisa Shulman-Janiger, who is the head of the California Killer Whale Project. “They ate at least five sea lions off our area, and more off Orange County.”

Pete Thomas from Pete Thomas Outdoors believes the orcas are expanding their range into Southern California possibly taking advantage of an abundant sea lion population. Video of the killer whales suggest that they are gregarious and boat friendly in nature, making for some great whale watching trips now.

Gray whales continue to make their way from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California. They have been passing by the Southern California Coast in record numbers entertaining whale watchers and fishermen alike. Anglers on the Westerly last week were also treated to fin whales lunge-feeding off the Huntington Oil Rigs while catching copious amounts of sanddabs.

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