Best bite at north end of Salton Sea


May 31, 2002|By AL KALIN, Staff Columnist

Salton Sea fishing guide Ray Garnett reported good corvina fishing most days last week while guiding customers along the west side of the Salton Sea from the Navy base all the way north to the snag off Avenue 81 at the extreme north end of the sea. Garnett, who mainly uses live tilapia for bait, also reported some customers limiting out with soft plastic baits.

Coachella Valley fishermen Joe Kitagawa and Jose Aguiar launched from Johnson's landing Sunday and boated nine corvina up to 10 pounds using live tilapia. Kitagawa said the largest corvina were caught on the largest tilapia.

Bait was so hard to find last week Ray Garnett reported stopping to net a small floating tilapia. Once netted, it was discovered the tilapia's gills were fouled with fishing line. When the line was retrieved, a lively 8-pound corvina was found hooked at the end … honest.

Although a tough fish, corvina can easily become overstressed when hooked and may not survive once it's turned loose. If you plan on releasing your catch, don't net it. The natural body slime from the fish acts as a barrier to protect it from bacteria and infection. If the fish is netted or allowed to lie in the bottom of a boat or on shore, the slime is wiped off and the fish may not survive. Try to release the fish outside the boat so it has a better chance of surviving. Once the water temperature warms in August it may be impossible to catch and release a corvina without killing it.


Red Hill had one of its busiest weekends as anglers motored around the south end of the Salton Sea looking for corvina. Fishing on Friday and Saturday was good with some boats reporting limits and most boats catching fish. On Sunday, though, red tide conditions moved in and put a damper on fishing. An abundance of pile worms also played a hand in slowing down the bite.

Last week Westmorland fishermen Allan Martin and Bill Lyall fished the dike near Jack's Hole in the afternoon with Rat-L-Trap lures and landed four fish ranging from 8 to 17 pounds. Darrell Ramey from Brawley also had excellent success and limited out while fishing with Mogambo grubs and orange/black back Swimmers from the same location.

With fast currents moving in the Salton Sea, fishing can bounce back within hours as the bad water is carried away by the tide and new water follows to replace it. On Monday, using a GPS to determine true speed, I found the current was moving my boat 1.3 mph. With speed like that it doesn't take long for water conditions to change.

>> If you would like to report your day afield, Al Kalin can be reached on the Internet at

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