Fishing the Wall
|Long Beach Federal Breakwall: I started fishing the breakwall in 1985. The wall is approx. 7 miles long, approx. 3 miles out at the Los Alamitos end. It has 3 openings (shipping lanes), Los Alamitos, Long Beach, and San Pedro. It can be fished year round. It is reportedly 330 feet wide at the base with a 45 degree slope on the inside and a 33 degree slope on the outside.|
The Rocks: My brother built a 14' johnboat and we took it out to the wall on a regular basis in the late 80's. It was light enough that most times we actually lifted the boat out of the water and left it on the rocks on the inside while we fished the outside. I found that the fish tend to be larger and more plentiful on the outside. Our normal strategy was to launch near low tide. Once we got to the wall, we used a claw hammer to break off mussels for bait. Our tackle was simple. Light spinning outfits (6-10lb range), small baitholder hooks (#10-#4) and small spitshot 18" above the hook. We normally fished within 20' of the rocks. EVERY drop resulted in a bite within 20 seconds or less. We would land approx. 1 fish out of every 4 bites. All fish were released. Smaller treble hooks helped keep the mussel on the hook, and more fish caught, but also resulted in more swallowed hooks. Mixed bag of Opaleye, Blue Perch, Garibaldi, Smelt, Sardines, Sand Bass, Calico Bass, Kelpfish, and Croaker.
Bass: When targeting bass from a boat, I like swimbaits. Unlike most saltwater situations, you'll have better luck with smaller baits. My personal favorite is the 4" green grunion Fish Trap. I typically use a 12lb baitcasting setup. We set up a drift 50'-100' (as close as conditions will allow) from the wall on the outside, and cast to the wall, let the bait sink as far as you can without losing it to the rocks, then a slow retrieve. We've also had some success slow trolling swimbaits. I've seen pictures of a 9lb Calico and a 12lb Sand Bass taken off the wall.
White Sea Bass: Although I've never caught a legal WSB on or near the wall, there are stories of 40lb WSB taken off the wall every year. Spawn & squid may very well play a role.
Halibut: The 3 openings come into play for halibut. Typical depth for the wall runs from 40'-45'. The Long Beach and San Pedro openings are down to 80'. Carefully drift these openings, as there is much boat traffic and many large ships using them, and they have the right-of-way. Once again spawn comes into play. There are a few days per year when the party boats fish the openings and pull up large numbers of the flatties. When we target the flatties we use 25-40lb gear. We use live squid when available. Live sardines also work. If you want to take the time to catch your own, smelt can be the hot ticket. The sliding dropper loop with a trap hook has worked for us.
Yellowtail, Barracuda, Bonito & Mackerel: Although Yellowtail, Bonito and
legal Barracuda don't live at the wall year round, in season we have caught Yellowtail and
Bonito within 50 yards of the outside of the wall. In season we have caught have
caught legal Barracuda on both sides of the wall. We have found that small barracuda
also live near wall year round. They will hit live bait, swimbaits or lures.
Mackerel can also be caught year round near the wall.
|Most all of my experiences on the wall have been from sunrise to
sunset. Many fisherman target the wall in the evening hours and swear its an even
better fishery after dark, especially for the lunker Calico's. "The Wall" along
with the rest of the Long Beach Harbor is a valuable and often overlooked resource to the
Southern California fisherman.
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