The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Zach Cavanagh

The 13th annual Halibut Derby opens on Sunday, Nov. 1, and the fishing is still good in all areas as the winter season approaches. Photo: Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching.

With winter fishing and the annual Halibut Derby on the horizon, the catches are still rolling in at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching.

In his weekly report, Captain Brian Woolley said their nine-hour trips have still found success fishing in deeper waters. Woolley said when the trips can find giant schools of sardine and mackerel, they’ve been able to pull in some great rockfish catches. The trips are also still reeling in some large bonito.

The bonito have been plentiful on the fleet’s Catalina Island trips. The Catalina trips have also yielded fantastic yellowtail catches, with fish coming in up to 25 pounds.

With the calendar turning to November on Sunday, that signals the start of Dana Wharf’s 13th annual Halibut Derby. The Derby runs from Nov. 1 to March 31, and every Friday and Sunday Dana Wharf offers Halibut Derby drift trips specifically for those interested in entering the derby. A 30-pound halibut catch last week showcased what kind of winning fish are out there for this winter’s competition.

The top five halibut catches by March 31 earn prize money, with first place taking home $1,500. The top 25 catches earn entry into a free fish-off drift trip in April, with the top angler on that trip earning an additional $500 prize.

For more information on the Halibut Derby, check out, and go to for info on all fishing and whale watching trips.

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

Oct. 28 – 4 boats, 57 anglers: 406 bonito, 31 yellowtail, 40 vermilion rockfish, 17 rockfish, 10 whitefish, 5 bocaccio, 3 calico bass, 3 sculpin, 2 sheephead.

Oct. 27 – 4 boats, 57 anglers: 254 bonito, 40 whitefish, 38 sheephead, 20 vermilion rockfish, 19 calico bass, 12 sculpin, 12 rockfish, 8 bocaccio, 4 sanddab, 1 sand bass, 35 bass released.

Oct. 26 – 2 boats, 28 anglers: 120 bonito, 7 sheephead, 6 rockfish, 4 bocaccio, 4 whitefish, 3 calico bass, 1 sand bass, 48 bass released.

Oct. 25 – 7 boats, 173 anglers: 51 yellowtail, 3 bluefin tuna, 4 lingcod, 1 white seabass, 250 bonito, 164 rockfish, 162 whitefish, 55 calico bass, 40 sheephead, 31 vermilion rockfish, 27 sculpin, 8 sand bass, 105 bass released.

Oct. 24 – 7 boats, 149 anglers: 141 bonito, 140 rockfish, 72 vermilion rockfish, 72 whitefish, 31 sculpin, 28 bocaccio, 21 calico bass, 14 sand bass, 5 sheephead, 1 triggerfish, 250 bass released.

Oct. 23 – 6 boats, 117 anglers: 21 yellowtail, 292 bonito, 57 rockfish, 31 calico bass, 28 whitefish, 23 vermilion rockfish, 18 bocaccio, 6 sculpin, 4 sheephead, 2 barracuda, 1 blue perch, 117 bass released.


Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a multiple 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. Email at

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>