by Andy Schneider
Winter time usually doesn't draw a lot of bottom fisherman to the coast. Maybe the icy coastal passes, cold weather or a winterized boat, hinders bottom fishing enthusiasm? But when you see a Ocean Cam that looks like this:
And a NOAA forecast that looks like this:
NE wind 5 to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at 14 seconds.
Thu Night: NE wind 5 to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at 13 seconds.
Fri: E wind 5 to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft. W swell 5 ft.
You really need to brave this (which doesn't look too bad), to get to the coast:
Taking a look at the tides for this week and weekend, you can easily grab some breakfast, wait for the coastal passes to thaw and still make it to the coast just as the tide starts to flood-making for a comfortable bar crossing. Bottom fish don't bite any different in the Winter time, than they do in the Spring or Summer months. If anything, they are a little easier to catch with less competition on the salt. While using a banana sinker and a short mooching rig with a Herring or Anchovy will catch Lings and Bass all day long. Using a 5-inch fish trap usually works just as well, if not better, without the mess of bait. As you walk down the "Bottom Fishing" aisle in Fisherman's, you notice large quantities of "bulk" swim baits. While these will catch fish, investing in a little higher quality swim bait will produce better results. FishTrap, Berkley and ZMan are some of the most popular ones to find, but a tour down the "Bass" section of Fisherman's, will yield a lot more Swim bait options.My favorite bottom fish colors
Often times in the Winter months you may need to move in tight to the structure you're fishing, as shallow as 20-feet to find where the fish are feeding.Shawn Seals with some shallow water Bass
When Winter Steelhead season slows, or you find the Broodstock crowds just unbearable and still want to feel a fish on the end of your line; check the forecasts, roads and tides-then head to the coast!