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This 15-pound halibut was caught by Jeff Balazs on a halibut drift trip on Sunday, Nov. 24. Photo: Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

By Zach Cavanagh

Bottom fishing continues to open up as the waters continue to cool down at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching.

In his weekly report, Captain Brian Woolley said it was more of the same for the fleet last week, despite the little bit of rainy weather. With the storm coming in over Thanksgiving, things could come down a little more.

Woolley said they’re seeing a “good mixed bag (of) bottom fishing” with the three-quarter-day trips. Those trips were going into deeper water off San Onofre and Box Canyon. Anglers pulled in bocaccio, vermilion rockfish, sculpin and whitefish. Live sardine bait was getting the better fish.

The half-day trips were also getting most of their catches from bottom fishing. The shrimp and clam baits are still working well on the sheephead. These trips were getting some sandbass and kelp bass, but most of the fishing was still at the bottom.

With winter coming, the Fury wrapped up its season last week. The boat will be worked on over the next few months to ready for the next season.

The leader of the Halibut Derby still sits at 20 pounds, but a 15-pound catch (pictured) pulled into third place. The Derby runs through the end of March.

For more information on the Halibut Derby and other trips, check out

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Here are the latest fish counts from Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching:

Nov. 26 – 3 boats, 150 anglers: 37 bonito, 20 calico bass, 7 sand bass, 37 sculpin, 26 sheephead, 20 whitefish, 97 rockfish, 127 vermilion rockfish, 44 bocaccio, 175 calico bass released.

Nov. 25 – 3 boats, 98 anglers: 92 vermilion rockfish, 85 bocaccio, 52 rockfish, 34 whitefish, 34 sculpin, 8 sheephead, 27 sand bass, 9 calico bass, 60 bass released.

Nov. 24 – 4 boats, 121 anglers: 38 rockfish, 31 whitefish, 28 sanddab, 21 vermilion rockfish, 21 sheephead, 19 sculpin, 5 bocaccio, 5 sand bass, 3 calico bass, 1 halibut, 1 triggerfish, 4 halibut released, 106 bass released.

Nov. 23 – 3 boats, 71 anglers: 70 rockfish, 34 vermilion rockfish, 28 sculpin, 26 bocaccio, 22 whitefish, 10 sheephead, 8 calico bass, 2 sand bass, 90 bass released.

Nov. 22 – 4 boats, 44 anglers: 68 vermilion rockfish, 16 sheephead, 11 sanddab, 8 calico bass, 3 bocaccio, 2 sand bass, 1 bonito, 1 whitefish, 49 bass released.

Nov. 21 – 1 boat, 12 anglers: 55 vermilion rockfish, 15 rockfish, 11 whitefish, 8 sheephead, 15 sculpin, 1 sand bass, 1 calico bass, 40 bass released.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.

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