Izor's Reef/Bolsa Chica Reef
For many SoCal anglers Izor’s Reef is nothing new. If you have fished long enough or are a private boater fishing the coast, chances are you’ve fished the reef. But every year new anglers and new boaters are introduced to the sport and often times have no idea where to start. This article is geared to those individuals.
Izor’s Reef is a series of small artificial reefs created just off shore from Huntington Beach. The reefs were primarily created by dropping tons of old concrete pilings into the ocean that sit in approximately 100 feet of water. The reef is home to various types of fish and wild life including the following: perch, white fish, sculpin, sheepshead, lingcod, halibut, sand bass, calico bass, barracuda, wolf eel’s, rock fish, yellowtail, crabs, lobster and various invertebrates. In addition to the rock structure created by the pilings, plant life has grown throughout the reefs location. With all the nook and crannies to hide plenty of fish and bait can be found spread out over the area which easily spans several hundred yards in every direction.
Location: Latitude Longitude
Izor’s Reefs #1 33-38-61 118-06-36
Izor’s Reefs #2 33-38-54 118-06-22
Izor’s Reefs #3 33-38-84 118-06-12
Izor’s Reefs #4 33-38-82 118-06-32
Izor’s Reefs #5 33-39-35 118-06-10
Izor’s Reefs #6 33-39-19 118-05-95
The approximate location of several of the reefs structure can be found using the GPS coordinates above. Also if you have GPS on your boat you can navigate to the reef as the general area should be outlined on your map. I’ll screen shot my GPS for reference. As you can see from my pic below the reef is full of structure and drop offs. Navionics lights up the screen with tiny fish symbols to give you hope.
The reef is very easy to access and is a short ride out of the harbor if launching from either Davey’s launch ramp or Huntington Harbor. If you don’t have an anchor that will reach the bottom don’t worry. You can still fish the reef effectively by the following two methods. First you can motor your boat in reverse when you find good marking on your sonar. This will take some practice and skill but you will soon become proficient at this. Second, purchase a boat parachute anchor which will allow you to do a slow drift across the zones. I prefer using a combination of both methods. A slow drift with the parachute anchor will allow you to cover a lot of water and locate which structure the fish happen to be concentrated on that day. Once you’ve located the fish you can slowly toggle your motor in and out of reverse to stay in the zones longer.
Now that you’ve located the fish and have solid sonar marks how do you get the fish to bite? Chum, chum, chum. Chum like there is no tomorrow. I take along several pounds of chum to keep the fish active throughout the day. Cut up fish, squid, shrimp, cat food, dog food. Whatever you have keep a consistent chum line going. This is the key to successfully fishing these reefs. The smaller perch will usually feed on the chum first. This will then attract the bass and rockfish. As more fish enter the chum line soon you will have the attention of the entire reef. Yellowtail and occasional seabass will also move into the chum to check out what the other fish are feeding on.
The following rigs work well for catching fish along the reef. ¼ ounce to ½ ounce sliding sinker rig. Dropper loop. Reverse dropper loop. Sculpin rig. ¼ ounce to 1.5 ounce lead head with a whole squid attached as bait. Swimbaits fished straight or tipped with squid. If you’re generally interested in catching sand bass and calico bass stick with the lead head and swimbait methods. Otherwise the other methods will pretty much catch anything on the reef.
Tackle. Keep it simple. Any light or medium action outfit will work just fine. I generally fish 10 to 25 pound test line fishing the reef. My favorite outfit to use is a light weight swimbait rod/reel combo with a baitcaster using 12 to 15 lbs. P-line as a leader. The reef can be fished all year long. During the winter months the reef receives less pressure and you can easily catch and release sand bass in excess of 25 inches in length. There are some big bass that love these artificial structures.
Izor’s reef is a very beginner friendly area to fish. This is perfect for introducing young anglers or beginners to the sport. There is plenty of fish and a wide diversity of fish to keep anglers busy for the day. The tackle used to target the fish along the reef is simple. Any rod and reel combo with a hook, line and weight will work. Just remember to bring plenty of bait and chum to keep the fish active.