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By Zach Cavanagh
The change of the calendar to 2020 brings the annual fish closures to open the new year.
As of Jan. 1, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife closes off the catches of sheephead, whitefish, lingcod and rockfish to boat-based anglers until March 1.
Dana Wharf Sporfishing & Whale Watching Captain Brian Woolley said that for anglers on half-day trips from January to March 1, most things won’t change except for releases of those fish when caught. There are still plenty of fish to be caught, including kelp and sand bass, halibut, sculpin and several species of perch.
Woolley said that the Dana Wharf three-quarter-day trips in January will target sculpin. Anglers will use descending devices to increase the likelihood of getting to deeper water for better sculpin action.
For seasonal information on rockfish, sheephead and whitefish, check out the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website at wildlife.ca.gov.
Last week, the Dana Wharf fleet had a 24-pound halibut catch that would’ve taken the top spot on the Halibut Derby leaderboard, but the angler did not purchase a derby ticket to register for the competition. Woolley reminds anglers that you can buy in on any open party trip. It does not have to be a specific halibut drift trip.
For more information on trips at Dana Wharf, including Halibut Derby drift trips through March 31, check out danawharf.com.
Here are the latest fish counts from Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching:
Dec. 30 – 5 boats, 98 anglers: 85 vermilion rockfish, 77 rockfish, 45 whitefish, 18 sculpin, 13 sheephead, 9 bocaccio, 3 sand bass, 1 calico, 62 bass released.
Dec. 29 – 3 boats, 105 anglers: 108 sculpin, 80 rockfish, 60 bocaccio, 45 vermilion rockfish, 23 sheephead, 21 whitefish, 17 calico bass, 3 blue perch, 1 sand bass, 30 bass released.
Dec. 28 – 6 boats, 210 anglers: 77 rockfish, 70 sculpin, 49 whitefish, 41 vermilion rockfish, 14 bocaccio, 11 sanddab, 6 sheephead, 4 sand bass, 1 lingcod, 1 calico bass, 1 halibut, 1 triggerfish, 150 bass released.
Dec. 27 – 5 boats, 101 anglers: 57 vermilion rockfish, 45 rockfish, 22 sanddab, 17 whitefish, 13 sculpin, 6 sand bass, 3 sheephead, 2 bocaccio, 3 halibut released, 50 bass released.
Dec. 26 – 1 boat, 28 anglers: 4 sheephead, 1 calico bass, 5 blue perch, 1 rockfish, 25 bass released.
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.