By George Van Zant, columnist
To all my faithful readers, I ask that you react to the following to help save the fishing spots we have been fishing for nearly 100 years.
Yesterday, my son Cal and two fishing buddies fished the Catalina white sea bass in a variety of well-known sea bass spots and yes, there were many sportfishing boats doing likewise.
They stopped at West Cove, Iron Bound Cove, Johnson's Rock and virtually every known spot around the west end of the island. They made their way down the front side of the island testing every fishing location known to the regulars and the flotilla of small sportboats that follow them around.
This could easily come to an end. If some groups get their way, all those traditional spots will be permanently closed to all fishing and diving. The United Anglers of Southern California and sport divers organization L.A. Fathomiers are teaming up to provide us local anglers and other water users with an understanding of the MLPA process and the real threat of closures.
The two groups are presenting free seminars to educate people to the situation. Dates for the free seminars are Saturday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.
Two seminars have gone by but there will be plenty of information at the two remaining sessions. Each event will be held at the Alamitos Bay Sportsmen's Club: 1933 Temple Ave, Signal Hill. Please call USASC's headquarters at (949) 863-9447 if you will attend.
Barracuda are still being caught by the San Diego sportboats and, last week for the first time, a few were caught by the Dana Point and Newport boats. The water temps are really warming up the area with a flood of 60-plus-degree water washing to as far as the east end of Catalina. The warm water has been slowly moving up to our area and when it gets here, the barries will jump on our hooks, unless the relentless wind continues.
The wind is keeping the off-shore and island fishing to a minimum. But those boats that ventured forth, wind or not, did very well catching some huge white sea bass. Both the MarDiosa and the Dreamer out of Pierpoint Landing have been scoring limits on the sea bass when they get by the wind.
Warm water = Barracuda White sea bass tourney
The sixth annual Yamaha/Won White Sea Bass Jackpot Tournament takes place this weekend at Two Harbors, Catalina Island.
Anglers will not target only white sea bass but many will fish for halibut and yellowtail as all the species qualify equally in Sunday's weigh in. You can still enter. Call Kit McNear at (949) 366-0030 ext. 27.
All you fishermen readers know that warm water at Catalina and the absence of wind cause the yellowtail and halibut to bite, especially if you have live squid for bait.
If squid is unavailable try catching some of those smelt that swim around your boat on the mooring or anchor. Throw bread in the water and when the blue-dart smelt crash the crumbs drop a very small "bait catcher" to hook them and throw them in the bait tank.
Island smelt are different than the ones swimming around in the local marinas. They are lightning fast and they are an unknown bait, one of the more unknown baits swimming around. The proof is in the pudding when all the old time veteran anglers can remember when sometimes these smelt were the only thing you could use or bait.
The hook size on the "bait catcher" has to be no more than a No. 12 to fit into the smelt's miniature mouth. P.S., yours truly owns the last of the smelt nets Jed Welsh began selling 50 years ago and they are a heck of a lot more productive than "bait catchers." If you can find one, grab it as they are the best at what they do. Meantime, any time you go to the island carry a loaf of bread with you.
Two major Mexico fishing tournaments are being rescheduled thanks to the swine flu situation. The International Government Cup Tournament scheduled for May 5-8 has been tentatively set for July 1-4 in Cabo San Lucas. The other is The 10 th Annual IGFA Off-Shore World Championship on May 10-15 rescheduled to Nov. 8-15, Cabo San Lucas.
The local lakes are heading into their warm water fishing times. Soon the lake waters will be too warm to support trout and plantings will cease. The trout-fishing finale can be really good when this happens.
As the water warms, the trout mass up in the deeper waters of the lake and bite like crazy. Most of the lakes remove the five fish-bag maximum because the trout cannot live through the warm water periods of summer. Last year, I fished Irvine Lake during this warm water period and caught all the trout I wanted at the dam where the deepest water area of the lake is located.
Some of the lakes that will offer all the trout you can catch with no limits are: Lake Irvine, Laguna Niguel and Santa Ana River Lakes. Basically those lakes that do not require a California Fishing License are the ones that eliminate the trout bag and possession limits. Give the lake a call for further info.
The 30-Minute Beach Clean Up will be Saturday at 10 a.m. Report to No. 1 Granada Ave beach parking lot (free). Those signed up to help by 10 a.m. will receive a free t-shirt. Complimentary refreshments will be offered at 10:30 for the helpers.