Bolsa Chica Inlet 11-14, HB Pier 11-15


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Hit the Bolsa Chica inlet on Saturday with my brother inlaw. Big surf redirected us from the Newport Jetty towards a safer spot. I fished from 7AM -1PM. My brother in law joined me around 8:30AM. Between the two of us we fished, jerk baits (calissa 110mm sardine color and smaller lucky craft 100DD), live ghost shrimp on a carolina reverse dropper loop, plastic fluke and live mussel and clam on a drop shot, and coolbaits spinning jig head with a 3" Big Hammer swim bait. No fish and no detectable bites for us.

Really strong rip current and big swells at the beginning made the fish tricky. Our rigs would get littered with floating seaweed on almost every cast. We did see a guy pull up two small yellowfin croaker and a thornback ray on frozen anchovies and another guy caught a very nice sized sargo on a live ghost shrimp.

The two times I've fished here the current has been quite strong. But I bought an annual parking pass so I will be back. The fact that there is a bathroom right near the jetty, the option to fish the surf or a mini jetty and the location 10 minutes from my house makes it irresistible.

I had bought some head-on shrimp that I forgot at home so the next day I went to HB Pier. I started fishing around 8:30AM. Bite was very slow. I dropped a medium sized sabiki rig all the way to the bottom and pretty quickly a small/medium sized mackerel hit the top hook. That was the only productivity I got out of that rig for the day. I started fishing for live bait. There were very finicky. I fished a size 4 Hayabusa sabiki with cut shrimp. I also mixed the cut shrimp with Pro-cure calico scent and the fish bit that better. While the bite was slow I caught 3 small smelt and one big one. The big one bit hard once and took off horizontally like a mackerel. It was fun to fight on the ultra light trout rig I was fishing.

I fished a live smelt and ghost shrimp on a reverse carolina dropper loop. No bites on the live smelt. I think the shrimp were getting eaten by crabs as I did not feel any strong bites but pulled up twice to find the ghost shrimp gone. I had also pulled a small live crab up to the surface of the water earlier on the larger sabiki that I was fishing.

The bite started to pick up around 11:30AM. Like someone flipped a switch and the fish that were there all of a sudden decided that they were hungry. I caught another 6 small smelt and a small mackerel fairly easily. Would have caught more but I was leaving my rod unattended while I was cleaning up.

No bigger game fish, so I decided to eat the bait. Fried the fish and served them with cilantro garlic brown rice and Vietnamese style watercress with shitake mushrooms and thai chilis.

While I was there I saw the mackerel fisherman at the end pull up one string of mackerel but otherwise quiet for him. He left shortly afterward. There were a couple older Vietnamese gentlemen across from me who pulled up a thornback and a large mackerel on three sabiki poles that were dropped all the way to the bottom. No other catches that I could see but an occasional smelt.

Walking back I talked to a guy that was fishing live ghost shrimp in shore and he reported that he caught a “bass” that was about 16”. I’m assuming it was a White Sea bass


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That smelt looks delicious. Reminds me of some of the best stuff I ate in Spain.
It is really tasty. Crispy, salty. I also fried a couple small mackerel and they were just as good. Slightly different because you can't eat the whole fish but the strips of fried mackerel come off the bone and are really tasty!

Is your profile picture you looking at a large planted aquarium? I used to manage a shop that specialized in selling tropical fish and plants around dutch and japanese style freshwater planted aquariums.