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By Zach Cavanagh

The halibut derby continues to get better as the days go on at Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching.

In his weekly report, Dana Wharf captain Brian Woolley said large schools of mackerel and sardine have layered the halibut underneath with good fishing anywhere from Laguna Beach to San Mateo Point.

The Clemente pulled in a staggering 17 legal halibut on Jan. 14 as part of this incredible run.

“Best local halibut fishing for our derby time frame ever, hands down,” Woolley said in the report. “Not the best we’ve seen locally, but for sure the best we’ve seen in a very long time.”

On that Clemente trip, Cher Owens pulled in a 32-pound halibut to slide into the No. 2 spot on the derby leaderboard. Woolley hopes to have a 10- to 12-pound fish as the bottom at No. 25 and fill the board with larger ones from there. A 36-pounder holds the top spot.

The sculpin fishing continued to be good, according to Woolley, with regulars pulling in a “pretty easy” five fish. Woolley said that rental rods are catching “their fair share,” and that those fishing the braid have done better. Lucanus jigs with squid have worked well too.

It was fortunate the sculpin were biting because the bass were not despite 60-degree waters, Woolley said.

Woolley added the Sum Fun is undergoing seasonal painting and touch up and hopes to be back on the water soon.

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