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By Zach Cavanagh

Mike Kanel of San Clemente pulled in this sheephead on a Christmas Eve charter that focused on that fish, using a load of shrimp bait. Photo: Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

Despite the week of colder weather, 2020 closes on a good note for fishing at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching.

In his weekly report, Captain Brian Woolley said the Dana Wharf fleet had a solid week of fishing with 58-degree waters all week. The half-day fishing trips followed a familiar script, with the cooler weather punctuated by some sunny days that brought some bass action to the surface. The bass were biting on fly-lined sardines and artificial lures, and the sheephead were biting on more exotic baits including shrimp.

The shrimp bait worked out well for a half-day charter on Christmas Eve. Woolley said the group only wanted sheephead, and their load of shrimp bait pulled in nearly 50 sheephead, with plenty of caught and released fish. The charter found its catches in a shallow reef and also pulled in some bass and triggerfish.

The three-quarter-day trips found their action toward the bottom, with great numbers of vermilion rockfish. Woolley said the fish were being found in the deeper reef areas following the schools of bait fish. He also said that movement made them a little unpredictable, as the fish would be on their spot some days and would be caught in the mud on other days as they chased the schools.

Around the reefs, there were whitefish catches and some good sculpin on the edges. Woolley said they would ride through the end of the month with rockfish before switching over to targeting the sculpin.

The Halibut Derby slowed down a little, as Woolley reported no new halibut action. The captain said the good run of halibut from a couple weeks ago has not been matched on the last few Derby drift trips. Woolley said it was hard to say why exactly. “Just no good sign of fish, I guess,” he said.

The top six positions on the Halibut Derby leaderboard are all catches from Dec. 6, including the clear leader of 24 pounds, 10 ounces from Frank Sahanas.

For more info on the Halibut Derby and all fishing trips from Dana Wharf, check out

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

Dec. 30 – 2 boats, 59 anglers: 72 whitefish, 55 rockfish, 52 vermilion rockfish, 42 sculpin, 18 sheephead, 3 blue perch, 1 rubber lip perch, 50 bass released.

Dec. 29 – 2 boats, 58 anglers: 82 whitefish, 42 sculpin, 32 rockfish, 30 vermilion rockfish, 7 sheephead, 35 bass released.

Dec. 28 – No trips due to inclement weather.

Dec. 27 – 4 boats, 76 anglers: 80 rockfish, 48 whitefish, 38 vermilion rockfish, 27 sculpin, 10 bocaccio, 1 calico bass, 1 sand bass, 29 bass released.

Dec. 26 – 3 boats, 62 anglers: 38 vermilion rockfish, 31 sheephead, 35 whitefish, 76 rockfish, 15 sheephead, 3 calico bass, 2 blue perch, 1 treefish.

Dec. 25 – No trips due to Christmas holiday.

Dec. 24 – 2 boats, 39 anglers: 80 vermilion rockfish, 75 rockfish, 47 sheephead, 28 sculpin, 23 whitefish, 3 calico bass, 2 blue perch, 1 trigger fish.

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