Fishing the Harbor in Newport Beach can make for a very exciting day. Newport Harbor is home to a wide variety of fish which makes things interesting. The Most common catch for us in the harbor is Spotted Bay Bass and Sand Bass. These two fish are very fun to catch on light tackle. There are a couple different ways to fish for these guys. The first and most productive for us has been throwing Berkley Gulp baits on a little 1/4 oz leadhead. Some popular Gulp Baits are the 3 inch Shrimp, and the 4 to 5 inch Jerkshad. When using either of these baits your goal is to bounce them along the bottom where a majority of the fish call home. We like to drift our kayaks over various spots, that way you cover more ground.
The Second method for catching these fish is to use swimbaits. There are a few different brands but any 3 inch swimbait will do. You want to bring a variety of colors, I like white and brown ones. You'll want to cast these suckers out and bounce them along the bottom too. But you also want to be ready on the drop because a lot of times they will hit it on the way down. You will want to reel it in slowly. The good thing about these two methods is that it opens up the window to catch some Halibut. There are a bunch of Halibut in the harbor (mostly short) but there are plenty of keepers mixed in.
Another way to fish the harbor is to make or buy live bait and just drift around with it along the bottom. This method will get you higher numbers of Halibut most of the time. If you are going for the large Bat Rays who call the harbor home a piece of squid will work great on a carolina rig. Just toss that guy out and hold on, they dont call them mud marlins for nothing!
I always like to promote catch and release in the harbor so we can enjoy this prime fishery for many years to come!