Santa Barbara Area (Santa Barbara County)
The Pacific coast of California has some of the finest saltwater angling in the world and is enjoyed year-round. Marine species range from marlin to salmon and from tuna to rockfish, and strategies to catch the various and diverse saltwater fish in Southern California are as unique as those used along the central and Northern California coasts.
Naturally, many marine gamefish are pelagic or migratory by nature, and follow currents. Migrtory patterns greatly impact gamefishing opportunity along the coast from year to year. Whether large numbers of yellowtail, for example, are caught off San Diego depends largely on water temperature and coloration. When conditions are ideal, large quantities of bait species such as anchovies, smelt, sardines, and squid move offshore. If the water is too cold or too dirty, there is no bait and thus no yellowtail. Likewise, changing temperatures, as happens with the well-documented El Niño phenomenon, may spread the range of some species, or curtail it, in a given year. Similar ecolo-gical relationships govern the albacore tuna and salmon fisheries in the central and northern sectors. Not all saltwater fish are pelagic, however. The surf fishes, such as corbina and spotfin croaker, usually stay in the shallow-water zones all year along southern beaches.