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3rd Quarter 2023 California Surf Fishing (CSF) Updates

Well folks, it's Oct 2023, and this year is delivering as promised! With a few exceptions… But overall, we’re experiencing record California surf-catching! Anglers who are new to the sport are experiencing many firsts, and our most experienced surf casters are hauling in record numbers and quality fish. Now it’s time to celebrate our 3rd quarter, 2023 member catches!

Striped Bass

As you probably already know, the California Surf has been loaded with Striped Bass ever since the heavy rains of winter 2022/spring 2023.

"Mid-July 2023, A friend named Sam asked if I would go fishing with them on his son's 14th birthday. We got the spot. We got the tide and the time. And we got the fish! Happy 14th Birthday Moses Moreno! It was such an honor to take you guys out and get you on some fish. I'm so glad the fish cooperated on this day." - VINCE GOES FISHING

Michael Labucay of @MikesTackleBox holding a 37" Striped Bass he caught on his signature color pattern of the Battlestar 115 Jerkbait.
Michael Labucay of @MikesTackleBox holding a 37" Striped Bass he caught on his signature color pattern of the Battlestar 115 Jerkbait.

Battlestar Tackle released Mike’s signature color this week, YELLOW HEAD BLUE STARDINE, and the very next day, Mike caught a 37” Striped Bass on his own bait! How cool, right? See this action for yourself! Subscribe on

Here is a great tip for how to land these fish, or any fish in the surf for that matter, as Edward Tomilloso ( and I shared in his recent Youtube video “6 Mistakes New Surf Anglers Make” starting at 17:10.

Stripers are our only non-native predators on the West Coast shore, so it’s quite interesting to see how this species is naturalizing, populating, and invading new territory at such a rapid rate. They’ve been in north/central waters for over a hundred years, but for the first time ever we are seeing record numbers moving further and further south. Certainly, the heavy rains promote this. So we can expect more and more striped bass to be introduced on sufficiently wet years.

This creates exciting opportunities for fishermen. It also stimulates a lot of curiosity and a bit of concern. What effect will this species have on the southern shallow-water ecosystems? We all have our fingers crossed, and we’re rooting for a healthy coexistence to ensure healthy fish populations for generations to come. The prospect of an additional sport fish is undeniably exciting for any fisherman. In any event, we can predict that these fish will continue to adapt and populate like weeds, providing us with an abundance of sporty, hard-fighting, delicious fish. There’s a lot of them out there, so if you’ve never caught one, this year and next year should be a great opportunity to do so. Do your homework. Study up by reading articles and watching YouTube videos. Ask your questions in our Facebook Group California Surf Fishing (CSF). Then get out there and give it your all, again and again until the magic happens!

However you feel about the so-called "alien invasion" of Striped Bass in the central and southern California surf, we ask that you please stay objective and continue to make observations and share them with us in our group on Facebook, so we can continue to be responsible stewards of the California surf, which we all love and depend on.


Surf Perch

As usual, there’s some incredible Surf Perch fishing to be had along the California coast this year.

Congratulations to everyone who is enjoying the awesome Surf Perch fishery that our California coastline has to offer. I'm not sure I can describe it, in a way that anyone can understand, without having the experience themself. Until you feel the power and head shakes of a big Barred Surf Perch chewing on the tail of your favorite jerkbait. Until then.


We are witnessing some interesting events here in south San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties which are worth mentioning, however.

Here in South SLO, we experienced some shockingly slow windows at times. Right when we expected to find the large females popping out babies in the shallow troughs of Pismo, they were nowhere to be found. Aside from a random big one here and there, they just didn’t hit through the spawning season this year like they did during previous years.

It began in spring when we noticed that we were catching striped bass consistently, but practically no perch. At this time, I was looking for ways to promote the #KeepFishInTheWater initiative. So I recorded this video.

Sometimes, it was as if the schools of large perch had completely vacated the beach. On multiple occasions, I personally spent upwards of 4 to 6 hours combing 5 miles of beach with perch grubs and jerkbaits only to come up empty-handed. This is a real contrast from what we experienced the prior summer, as you can see here on this YouTube Playlist Barred Surf Perch, Oceano CA, Summer 2022, @VINCEGOESFISHING.

At times this summer, there were no other fishermen on the beach. At this time I became really concerned. At this same time, for at least a while, the big perch were hitting hard down in Santa Barbara and Ventura, leaving us wondering if they had been displaced by the novel presence of Striped Bass, and herded off of their native beaches.

In late summer, the stripers suddenly disappeared from South County SLO, and the Perch soon returned. From 12” to 16” and some even larger models. The perch were back and the bite was on. What a relief!

The return of our favorite SLO county sport fish to our northern beaches of Oceano was refreshing to say the least. We wondered and asked each other, "where did the stripers go?" Well… I won’t say too much yet, but here’s a peek into our 4th quarter CSF update… We found them staging right around the corner from a major freshwater outlet. It was reported by one fisherman that about 100 Striped Bass were caught one morning, on a single beach! Interestingly, hardly any Perch were caught on that same beach that day. But, we’ll have to stay tuned to see how this evolves. We’ll report more on this after the new year.

It’s a bit early to form any empirical conclusions regarding the relationship between Striped Bass and Perch, and if "the greatest surf perch fishery in the world" of south San Luis Obispo County can continue to thrive in the presence of this succeeding alien species. For all we know, our observations may be the result of some other conditions altogether. So again, regardless of your opinion or feelings on this subject, we ask that you please remain objective, and share your observations in our Facebook group California Surf Fishing (CSF). And most importantly, enjoy the fishing!


Congratulations, new member Robert Kearl on his recent first-ever surf fishing experience.

Robert joined the group weeks ago with a burning fever to go surf fishing. He quickly became our most frequent contributor in the group, with many posts and comments. Robert posted questions and based on our council here in the CSF group, he bought a rod and reel and baits. He was preparing for a trip to the beach. The only problem, he lives in Utah. So, this week Robert drove 9 hours to San Luis Obispo County, where I had the pleasure of trying to get him on some fish.

Day 1 was rough for Robert. We walked out 3 miles to get to the best structure on the beach. Robert caught his first perch (the tiniest you’ve ever seen) and a Jack-Smelt. No skunk! But, he watched me slay 6 slabs, and so he was feeling a bit frustrated and exhausted after the 3-mile hike back. Yet I never heard him complain. Rather he was so grateful for the experience.

Day 2, we pulled out all the stops. We hiked a total of 7 miles to try a different beach. It paid off! Robert quickly harvested a limit of big beautiful perch on jerkbait and Carolina rig. He used the Battlestar 115, Glow Green Mackerel, and a FlipFlopsNSocks 2” Paddletail, Motoroil.

As our rods began to bend again and again we got more and more excited about what was happening. We had accomplished our goal. We got Robert on a hot bite with some big perch. He had a world-class California surf fishing experience.

The walk back was brutal! But after a crush like that, our spirits were so light, I think it helped carry us. I once heard Ed from @hook2cook say, “Friends don’t let friends skunk.”


A particularly fun and memorable Perch bite for me this year was on Sept 15th.

Battlestar has now released Replacement Treble Hooks made specifically for your favorite jerkbait, the Battlestar 115! 2X are the stock hooks. 3X are a heavier version intended for more powerful fish like Striped Bass, or trophy sized White Sea Bass and Halibut.

Also, grab a pair of these Battlestar Mini Split Ring Pliers which feature tiny jaws and force you to use the very tip of the pliers which helps to prevent malforming the split rings. Always fish with new, razor-sharp hooks! It makes a big difference in hooksets and after all, one bite can make the difference between losing or landing the #1 trophy fish of a lifetime!

Have you seen the Perch Pouch?

The Perch Pouch was invented by Edward Tomilloso from It solves many problems. First of all, you no longer have a stringer wrapping around your feet while fishing. It also keeps your fish in really good shape. They look beautiful coming out of the pouch even after many hours of fishing. This helps create beautiful catch photos for your fishing report.

My favorite thing about the Perch Pouch is, that I can scale and gut my Perch as soon as I catch them, then just drop them in the perch pouch, so I no longer have to clean fish when I get back home. This is a major lifestyle improvement. Enjoy the Perch Pouch. These will make excellent Christmas gifts this year so buy a few extras.


Congratulations to all participants of the ‘More Than Fishing Surf Perch Tournament'!

The guys take this Surf Perch Tournament pretty seriously. They push themselves to the limit for three days in a row for a chance at taking the trophy. The tournament is fished in teams of 2 and this year it took place on October 6-8. Last year the tournament winner was a team of 1 (because he couldn't find a willing partner). Geo Saniatan of GeoFishTV and creator of Got 'Em baits.

To follow the biggest Surf Perch Tournament in the world, save this link:

Sub to Jun's YouTube Channel: This year, I saw a lot of dedicated Surf Perch fishermen preparing for this tournament. I heard them talking about it. I sold and sponsored them plenty of Battlestar 115 jerkbaits so they could get out there and have the best chance at catching the trophy-sized Surf Perch that it takes to win this thing.

On the last day, one fisherman who was in the right place at the right time, got the bite of a lifetime. And it put their team over the top.

Watch this amazing video of the moment Geo Saniatan caught the winning 18" Barred Surf Perch!

Wow! That fish is close to a world record size! And the winners are….

Congratulations Team Dink Chasers! (Geo Saniatan and Toui Keonoi)

I've said it before. These two are the best Surf Perch fishermen on the central coast. The trophy rightfully goes to them! On this day Geo Saniatan fished the Lucky Craft 115, and Toui Keonoi fished the Battlestar 115. They worked as a team, and won this tournament! I think it's one of the coolest things I've ever seen in California surf fishing history. In second place,

Congratulations Team 805 Underdogs! (Edward Tomilloso and Martin Mansera)

These guys worked really hard. They started chomping at the heels of first place. Then, on day two they fell back several positions. Then, on the last day, they charged back to second place! What they accomplished is as good as a first-place win in my opinion. Let's remember to congratulate them to the fullest! During this tournament, Edward and Martin fished the Battlestar 115 Jerkbait. An honorary congratulations to third-place winners, team BlackBaits (Andrew Arriola & Dante Carnessale). These are some really talented fishermen. I had the pleasure of meeting them on the sand this year. Blacks Baits are a new brand of jerkbait that was introduced in the California Surf Fishing community this year. So far they have earned a good reputation. The fact that this team won third place is proof that this bait can get the job done, and proof that Andrew and Dante work really hard on the sand.

Register for, or follow next year's Surf Perch Tournament on

It's a blast watching these guys fish their hardest for 3 days for a chance to win. In the last two years, the winning teams fished in Southern San Luis Obispo County, which shows just how special our perch fishery is in this area. This year, the best catching came from the southern end of this zone. This is consistent with the previous year, and the known life cycle of Barred Surf Perch, and where we tend to find the big ones in spring/summer versus in fall/winter. Understanding The Bared Surf Perch Life Cycle During the winter months, the adult Barred Surf Perch move to deeper waters. For example, in San Luis Obispo, our southernmost beaches are steeper and deeper. The Perch prefer this in winter because the ocean is colder and rougher during this time, making it less favorable for them to stay on the shallow beaches. In the winter, target large sized Barred Surf Perch on your steeper deeper beaches. They stay in these deeper waters until the spring.

In the spring, as the ocean temperatures start to rise and the weather becomes milder, the adult Surf Perch begin to migrate back towards the shallowest beaches. They do this because the conditions near the beach become more suitable for spawning as well as feeding. This is why more perch are typically caught on the shallow beaches of Pismo in the summer months. To me, it makes sense that the pregnant females would want to pop out all of their babies in the shallowest, hardest-to-reach troughs, to protect the babies from being easily accessed by predators. The shallow beaches tend to feature networks of shallow troughs with smaller cuts, and in some cases even large isolated holes that are walled off by sandbars on all sides. A perfect baby Surf Perch nursery. Something I have noticed is that here in south San Luis Obispo, regardless of the season, you can always find big perch on the steeper deeper beaches in the south. Unlike the shallower beaches of Pismo on the north end of this range, which tend to produce better during the spring/summer season than they do in the winter. Perhaps this information can be translated and applied effectively in your own county, wherever you are. Please share your observations and fishing reports on our Facebook Group California Surf Fishing (CSF).



There are a lot of different kinds of grubs that you can use to catch Surf Perch. They all work, and I have fun experiencing them all. Many of these are made by hand in the homes and garages of our own California Surf Fishing (CSF) members. Please support them all. Enjoy these baits!

Got 'Em Baits, Crawdad, Synthetic Oil

Created by Geo Saniatan, champion of the 'More Than Fishing Surf Perch Tournament' two years in a row.

Got 'Em Baits, Crawdad, Synthetic Oil
Got 'Em Baits, Crawdad, Synthetic Oil

FlipFlop N'Socks Perch Baits

Created by Toui Keonoi, champion of the 'More Than Fishing Surf Perch Tournament' 2023 (Team Dink Chasers), and the 2021 Surf Perch Roundup Tournament.

FlipFlop N'Socks, 2" Phat Paddletail, Motor Oil
FlipFlop N'Socks, 2" Phat Paddletail, Motor Oil

Sierra Slammers Mini Swims

"Sierra Slammers offers a selection of soft plastic baits and jig heads. We set out to make the best trout jigs back in 2012, then expanded beyond trout lures to perch lures, bass baits and more."

Sierra Slammers, Mini Swim, Spawning Sandcrab
Sierra Slammers, Mini Swim, Spawning Sandcrab

Waxsmith Baits

Hyperfuel - Intense green to red (and all the in-betweens!) hyper-shift color with a motor oil base and small red and green flake. Our flagship color.

Waxsmith Baits, Hyperfuel
Waxsmith Baits, Hyperfuel

805 Custom Baits

The 2" custom recipe "Motor Oil Red" curly tail grub is a great alternative to our paddle tail and also an awesome producer.

805 Custom Baits 2" Motor Oil Red Curly Tail Grub
805 Custom Baits 2" Motor Oil Red Curly Tail Grub

HoneyBadger Baits

Created by legendary Surf Perch fisherman and creator of the HoneyBadger Baits, Glen Saldivar. With a wide selection of interesting designs, these baits have a great reputation for a reason; they catch fish.

HoneyBadgerBait Super Slayer Perch Bait
HoneyBadgerBait Super Slayer Perch Bait



Halibut fishing has been a little different than usual this year as well. Many experienced Halibut fishermen in Santa Barbara and Ventura are reporting slower fishing than usual. At the same time, we are seeing some mega-sized catches coming further south, with some awesome reports coming from LA, OC, SD, and Baja. And here in South SLO county, we experienced an extraordinary rush of Halibut on some west-facing Sandy Beaches. We can only wonder why the Halibut were allegedly not hitting like they usually do in SB and VT counties. Perhaps they repositioned? Well, in any event, it’s not too late! Fall is my favorite time to be Halibut fishing, so please get out there! Let’s score some flatties and come up in this 4th Quarter of 2023, before the winter North storm swells hit and water temps drop.