By: Terrence Berg

While there are not a lot of options during the midwinter rockfish closure in California waters, there have been two pretty decent options for SoCal anglers. First, a handful of San Diego-based boats are running into Mexican waters for rockfish there. Over the weekend, Fortune returned with limits of rockfish, including some big reds and bocaccio, along with a nice bunch of big whitefish. Voyager was on an overnight trip Feb. 2 with 20 passengers, and they caught 100 red snapper and 100 mixed rockfish — an easy limit. Premier was on a half-day trip Feb. 5 with 18 anglers, and they landed 180 rockfish. The second option has been the bite in the Santa Monica Bay for sculpin and bass. The average catch has been three to five sculpin per rod, along with a bass or two. New Del Mar, out of Marina del Rey Sportfishing, had a pair of half-day trips Feb. 4, and the 33 anglers on those two trips landed 151 sculpin, 15 sand bass and seven calicos. Spitfire was out on Feb. 3 with 22 anglers, and they landed 110 sculpin, seven sand bass and a calico. Elsewhere, the action is very tough in nearshore waters. Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing in San Diego had a half-day trip Feb. 5 with 12 anglers, and they landed 19 calicos, three sand bass, seven perch and two sculpin — in one of the best scores for a local San Diego boat in a week. California rockfish season reopens March 1.

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